Formerly known as Cochin, Kochi is a charming South Indian city that holds an interesting mix of British, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Arab and Jewish influences from its colonial past. Many flock to Kochi for its harmonious ambience and vast open spaces – the perfect idyllic holiday. While it is mostly known for the scenic Kerala Backwaters, the city of Kochi also comes alive with traders and tourists bargaining over the price of quirky memorabilia as well as traditional clothing and jewellery.
Best of Kochi
1. Kerala Backwaters
Take a ride on the famous houseboat and lay in blissful tranquillity as you glide past the many lagoons and lakes which run parallel to the Arabian Sea Coast (Malabar Coast). Bring your camera as the scenic network is made perfect with views of elephants, kingfishers and butterflies by the waterside.
2. Chinese Fishing Nets
Locally known as Cheena vala, the Chinese Fishing Net is an amazing technique once practiced only in China 500 years ago. It’s one of the iconic symbols of Kerala. Best to visit here at dusk as the setting sun provides a stunning backdrop to the fishing net!
3. Munnar Hill Station
Lush green tea plantations along mountainous terrains, surrounded by graphite mountains – it’s the perfect honeymoon destination. Enjoy panoramic views with waterfalls, wildlife sanctuary and spice plantations. Munnar means three rivers in Tamil, where the town is situated at the confluence Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kundani mountain streams.
4. Fort Kochi
A major part of the city’s history, Fort Kochi is once known as Old Kochi. Here not only will you find quirky colonial houses with architectural influences from the Dutch, Portuguese and British, but also the contemporary way of life of Kochi residents as well. Buy fresh seafood at the stalls nearby the beach and have the vendors cook them for you. Delicious!
5. Kerala Kathakali Centre
Head here for the nightly show of classical dance drama that re-enacts various Indian legends and myths. A wonderful experience with special effects in an intimate setting, come here before the show starts to see the actors put on makeup for the performance!
6. Paradesi Synagogue & Jew Town
The name might invoke puzzlement from visitors, but the Jewish community actually has a long history in Kochi. Amongst the old buildings and remnants of Jewish heritage infused within the South Indian culture is the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in India. Look out for the series of paintings in the entry room of Paradesi Synagogue that tells the story of the Jewish in Kochi.
7. Kerala Folklore Theatre & Museum
The museum showcases an amazing collection of South India’s exquisite art forms, such as puppets and masks, traditional costumes, and antique musical instruments from the 15th – 20th century. The building was made from old parts of traditional Kerala houses.
Looking for sarees, dried goods, or perhaps wooden handicrafts? Get ready for a delightful shopping experience here, where retail shops and wholesale merchandisers line up this bustling street located at the heart of the city.