Population: 16.6 lakhs, Greater Cochin (1991 census).
Climatet: Summers are hot, winters mild. The summer temperatures (March to May) vary from a high of 35°C to a low of 22.5°C, with winter months from December to February having a mean minimum of 20°C. Cochin experiences both, the southwest monsoons from June to September and the northeast from October to December. The average annual rainfall is 3099.1 mm, with 132 average annual rainy days.
Economy: Kochi is unofficially referred as the economic capital of Kerala by volume of trade; though, unlike other leading South Indian cities, Kochi has been slow to industrialise. In recent years the city has witnessed heavy investment, thus making it one of the fastest-growing second-tier metro cities in India. Sales tax income generated in the Kochi metropolitan area contributes heavily to state revenue. The economy of the city can be classified as a business economy with emphasis on the service sector. Major business sectors include gold and textile retailing, seafood and spices exports, information technology (IT), tourism, health services, banking, shipbuilding, and the fishing industry. The economy is mostly dependent on trade and retail activities. Kochi was ranked one of the hardest Indian cities in which to start a business in 2009. As in most of Kerala, remittances from non-resident Indians (NRI)s is a major source of income.
Schools and colleges in the city are either run by the government or by private trusts and individuals. The schools are each affiliated with either the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), or the Kerala State Education Board. English is the medium of instruction in most private schools; though government run schools offer both English and Malayalam. After completing their secondary education, which involves ten years of schooling, students typically enrol at Higher Secondary School in one of the three streams—Arts, Commerce or Science. Upon completing the required coursework, the student can enroll in general or professional degree programmes.
The Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) is situated in the city. Most of the colleges offering tertiary education are affiliated either with the Mahatma Gandhi University or the Cochin University. Other national educational institutes include the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, the National Institute of Oceanography and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.
Cochin is home to many large and medium scale industries making it the commercial capital of Kerala. For centuries, Cochin has been a very important trading post on the west coast of India, paving way for trade with the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British. Today, Cochin is a bustling industrial centre with industries ranging from ship building to handicrafts and petrochemical refining to spice trading.
Cochin Shipyard Limited
Cochin Shipyard is one of the leading ship building and ship repair yards in the country. It is in the top 10 public sector undertakings of the Indian government and a builder of the largest ships for both the merchant navy and the Indian Naval Services. Cochin Shipyard is involved in building/repairing tankers, bulk carriers, tugs, patrol vehicles, passenger vessels and docking pontoons.
Cochin Port Trust
Cochin has a strategic location on the international seafaring route lying midway between Europe, Middle East and East Asia and the Pacific Rim. The all weather natural harbour and the large export of goods, especially spices and sea food makes it a very important port in India. The port is located on Willingdon Island. As part of its expansion programme, the Port Trust is building an international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam to tap into the large cargo movement along the international east-west sea lane.
Heaquarters of the Southern Naval Command
The Southern Naval Command has its headquarters in Cochin. The base is home to the Navy's main training centre, an air station (which was used by commercial airlines till the new airport was established). INS Venduruthy, the premier officers/sailors training centre of the Indian Navy, and INS Dronacharya, the leading gunnery school, are based here. The base is located on Willingdon Island.
Kochi Refineries Limited
Kochi Refineries Limited (formerly known as Cochin Refineries Limited) is a petroleum refining company with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) as the majority shareholder. In addition to producing petrol, the company also makes diesel, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), furnace oil, aviation turbine fuel, and bitumen.
Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited
Fertilisers And Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT) is India's first large scale fertilizer plant. Set up in 1943 as a private enterprise, the Govenment of India is the major shareholder now. From its original business of manufacturing and distributing fertilisers FACT has now diversified into engineering consultancy and equipment manufacturing as wel
Cochin Stock Exchange
Cochin Stock Exchange was originally established in 1978. Cochin Stock Exchange was the first exchange to introduce computerization and online trading in 1990. In 1999, CSE set up a subsidiary Cochin Stock Brokers Limited, which is a coporate member of the National Stock Exchange, Delhi and the Bombay Stock Exchange, providing trading facilities on these exchanges to users all over the state.
International Pepper Exchange
Kerala accounts for 90% of the pepper that India produces. Malabar grade of pepper from India, traded at Kochi, is considered to be the premium grade of pepper that rules above other international grades.
Wish a vast expanse of sea on one side and an all-weather port it goes without saying that fishing and seafood export is one of the major industries in and around Cochin.
Infopark Kochi, an IT infrastructural programme promoted by the government of Kerala, is a 100-acre campus situated close to the Cochin Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Infopark is the best connected IT park in India with a host of ISPs as well as being close to VSNLs primary gateway that handles around 70% of the country's internet traffic. The Infopark aims to provide excellent infrastructure including office space and connectivity along with ease of starting up intotech companies within its campus.
High Court of Kerala
The High Court of Kerala is situated in Cochin near the north end of Marine Drive, close to the coast. The presence of the highest court in the state provides ample business opportunities directly and indirectly related to the legal system.
Cochin is also home to many other large to small-scale industries including Indian Rare Earths, Hindustan Machine Tools, Premier Tyres, Ogale Glass Works, Carborandum Universal, Hindustan Insecticides, Forest Industries of Travancore, Travancore Cochin Chemicals, Asoka Textiles, Indian Aluminium Company, Cominco Binani Zinc, Periyar Chemicals, Standard Potteries, Kerala Agro Machinery Corporation, Modern Bakeries, Kerala Electricals and Allied Engineering Company (Mamala), Traco Cable Company (Irimpanam), Transformers and Electricals (Angamali), Travancore Rayons (Perumbavoor) and Periyar Cables (Karukutty).
Cinema houses have daily shows in Malayalam, Hindi, English, and Tamil. Daily Kathakali shows at select cultural centres like Art Kerala (Tel: 2375238, Timings: 6 PM to 8 PM) and Cochin Cultural Centre (Tel: 2356366, Timings: 6.30 PM to 7.30 PM), classical dance forms and Carnatic music recitals at the Kerala Fine Arts Hall at Foreshore Road; and a range of art galleries such as the Chitram Art Gallery (Tel: 2357012) are increasingly popular venues. Disney-style amusement centres, kiddies fun parks, and pool clubs for yuppies are catching on as the in thing. There're also hundreds of places where you could surf the Net, a very popular pastime nowadays. Annual events like the Tourism Week (Dec-Jan) featuring boat races, food festivals, shopping festivals, etc. are all well worth seeing.
Kochi is located on the southwest coast of India at 9°58′N 76°13′E / 9.967°N 76.217°E, spanning an area of 94.88 square kilometres (36.63 sq mi). The city is situated at the northern end of a peninsula, about 19 kilometres (12 mi) long and less than one mile (1.6 km) wide. To the west lies the Arabian Sea, and to the east are estuaries drained by perennial rivers originating in the Western Ghats. Much of Kochi lies at sea level, with a coastline of 48 km.
ART COMPLEX - MADHAVAN NAYAR FOUNDATION, EDAPPALLY - Located at
Edappally, 10 kms north of Ernakulam en route to Alwaye, the complex consists
of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200
original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally
acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre
for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world
masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century. The centre also
exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art.
Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays. Tel: 2558296.
BOLGATTY ISLAND - This long narrow palm-fringed island, easily accessible from the mainland, is where the Bolgatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. Built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident later. In 1976 the palace was converted into a hotel under the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The Cochin Golf Club's course is on the palace grounds.
CHERAI BEACH - Located 25 kms from Ernakulam in a typical village ambience is this lovely unspoilt stretch of sand, ideal for swimming. But if the sea and sand still do not whet your appetite, there're any number of food outlets and ice-cream parlours to do so. At Cherai, life guards are always on the look out for the over adventurous. Dolphins are also commonly seen in the waters.
CHINESE FISHING NETS, FORT COCHIN - These fixed, cantilevered fishing nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. The best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.
DUTCH CEMETERY, FORT COCHIN - Consecrated in 1724, here's an authentic reminder of the many men and women from Europe who came down all the way to play out their roles in the colonial 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
DUTCH PALACE, MATTANCHERRY - The Palace, originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin raja Veera Kerala Varma in 1555, acquired its present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out some extensive repairs. The Cochin rajas held their coronation ceremoniesin the Central Hall of this double-storey quadrangular building. Rooms adjacent contain breathtaking 17th-century murals depicting scenes from the Puranas and the great epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Fridays.
ERNAKULAM SIVA TEMPLE, ERNAKULAM - Facing the historical Rajendra maidan, on Park Avenue, is this famous temple, considered to be amongst the most ancient in central Kerala. Though no historical records exist to indicate a precise date, an inscription found above the main entrance in Vattezhuthu, an antiquated script, suggests that the sanctum sanctorum was built in the year 1614. The deity is popularly referred to as Ernakulathappan. The temple's 8-day annual festival is celebrated in the month of Makaram (Jan-Feb) with colourful rituals and exciting cultural events. The bathing of the idol, on the eighth day, is particularly significant here. The ceremony of Ashta Bandham Kalasam, where the deity is anointed in a herbal paste, is performed once in 12 years.
FORT COCHIN BEACH - An ideal place for an evening stroll and to watch a spectacular sunset. Bathing and swimming are not recommended here. The colourful carnival at New Year's Eve is a feature of this beach.
HILL PALACE MUSEUM, TRIPUNITHURA - Set on top of a hillock, this prodigious palace-turned-museum displays 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The Heritage Museum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. As part of the establishment of a mini zoo, a deer park is run by the Society for the Preservation of Hill Palace Premises. The museum premises has also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from central America to Australia. Located 11 kms east of Ernakulam, en route to Chottanikara. Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays. Tel: 2781113.
INDO-PORTUGUESE MUSEUM, FORT COCHIN - Located within the compound of the beautiful 1506 Bishop's House, the museum established in a seperate building showcases artefacts like statues and coins left back by the Portuguese.
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE, MATTANCHERRY - Built in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue's elaborate lighting are of interest. Open 10 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 5 PM. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
KALLI KOTA, TRIPUNITHURA - As the name suggests, this beautiful, imposing building - a legacy of the Dutch rule - served as an entertainment auditorium to the erstwhile royalty featuring dance, drama, and plays. Today it functions largely as a marriage hall. Situated near Poornathreyesa temple.
KERALA LALITHA KALA AKADEMI ART CENTRE,ERNAKULAM - Located on DH Road, this hall, now opened up as an art centre, had been the durbar of the raja of Cochin. Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Tel: 2367748.
LIGHT HOUSE, VYPIN - The light house at Ochanthuruth in Vypin is open from 3 PM to 5 PM, on all days.
MANGALAVANAM (MANGROVE FOREST), ERNAKULAM - This small protected area, a haven for birds, is located on Dr. Salim Ali Road, adjacent to the High Court of Kerala. Best time to visit : mid-January to early March.
MOUNT CARMEL CHURCH, VARAPUZHA - This 1642 church is the second Indian vicariath established by Holy See after Goa. The Portugese church bells are of great interest.
MUSEUM OF KERALA HISTORY, EDAPPALLY - Located along with the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala. Commentaries in English and Malayalam. Open 10 AM to 4 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays. Tel: 2558296.
PALLIPURAM FORT, VYPIN - It is situated at the far end of Vypin island. Small and hexagonal, it was built in 1503, claiming to be the oldest European fort in India. The structure's walls have around 20 cannon emplacements. Open on Thursdays.
PARADE GROUND, FORT COCHIN - Covering more than four acres, this large open ground was used by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British for conducting military drills and parades during the colonial years. The defence establishments of these powers were housed in some of the elegant buildings surrounding the ground. Located adjacent to St Francis' church, the ground today serves largely as a recreation and sporting turf.
SANTA CRUZ BASILICA, FORT COCHIN - Originally built by the Portuguese, this church was elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The church was totally demolished by the British who took over Cochin in 1795. Later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building in 1887. Santa Cruz was finally proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The basilica, situated close to the St. Francis Church, has some beautiful paintings.
SREE POORNATHREYESA TEMPLE, TRIPUNITHURA - Formerly belonging to the Cochin royalty, this temple has Maha Vishnu as its presiding deity. Legend has it that Arjuna, the great archer and warrior, had established this sanctum. The annual temple festival is held in Nov-Dec, while the colourful Athachamayam, a cultural extravaganza, is celebrated every year during the festival of Onam.
SREE RAJARAJESWARI TEMPLE, CHOTTANIKARA - Located 15 kms from Ernakulam, this 10th century temple, one of the most renowned in Kerala, is an important pilgrim centre. The goddess here is worshipped in her three forms, one after another, as the day progresses - as Saraswathy in the morning, as Bhadrakali at noon, and as Durga in the evening. The temple's annual festival is held in Feb-Mar for nine days with 'Makam Thozal' considered the most important day. The Navaratri celebrations are also worth seeing.
ST. FRANCIS CHURCH, FORT COCHIN - Originally built by Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503, it is believed to be the oldest existing European church in India. The original structure was made of wood, but was rebuilt in stone around the mid-16th century. The church was Roman Catholic during the Portuguese period from 1503 to 1663, Dutch Reform from 1664 to 1804, and Anglican from 1804 to 1947. Today it is governed by the Church of South India. After his death, Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were transferred to Lisbon, 14 years later. Of interest are the rope-operated punkahs, or manual fans.
ST. GEORGE FORANE CHURCH, EDAPPALLY - An important pilgrim centre, this Roman Catholic church was built way back in AD 593 in a plot of land donated by the Raja of Edappally. After the seven churches were founded by St. Thomas, the Edappally church is considered to be one of the oldest in Kerala. The new church beside it was built in 1080. Historical records have it that a session of the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor), 1599, was held here. The church is also well known for its annually held nine-day feast in April/May.
SUBHASH BOSE PARK, ERNAKULAM - This sprawling park is an ideal place for an evening stroll, a family outing, or to take your children out for some fun and frolic. The park adjoins the Vembanad lake offering fantastic views of the Cochin harbour. A small aquarium is an added attraction. Entry free.
Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks) as well as Romans, Jews, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times. Kochi rose to significance as a trading centre after the port at Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1341. The earliest documented references to Kochi occur in books written by Chinese voyager Ma Huan during his visit to Kochi in the 15th century as part of Admiral Zheng He's treasure fleet. There are also references to Kochi in accounts written by Italian traveller Niccolò Da Conti, who visited Kochi in 1440. According to many historians, the Kingdom of Kochi came into existence in 1102, after the fall of the Kulasekhara Empire. The King of Kochi had authority over the region encompassing the present city of Kochi and adjoining areas. The reign was hereditary, and the family that ruled over Kochi was known as the Perumpadappu Swaroopam|Kuru swaroopam in the local vernacular. The mainland Kochi remained the capital of the princely state since the 18th century. However, during much of this time, the kingdom was under foreign rule, and the King often only had titular privileges.
Fort Kochi in Kochi was the first European colonial settlement in India. From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi was ruled by Portugal. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Jews living in the region, as the Inquisition was active in Portuguese India. Kochi hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, the first European explorer to set sail for India, who was buried at St. Francis Church until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. The Portuguese rule was followed by that of the Dutch, who had allied with the Zamorins to conquer Kochi. By 1773, the Mysore King Hyder Ali extended his conquest in the Malabar region to Kochi forcing it to become a tributary of Mysore. The hereditary Prime Ministership of Kochi held by the Paliath Achans ended during this period.
Meanwhile, the Dutch, fearing an outbreak of war on the United Provinces signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 with the United Kingdom, under which Kochi was ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Bangka. However, there are evidences of English habitation in the region even before the signing of the treaty. In 1866, Fort Kochi became a municipality, and its first Municipal Council election was conducted in 1883. The Maharaja of Cochin, who ruled under the British, in 1896 initiated local administration by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1925, Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state.
Towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased substantially, and the need to develop the port was greatly felt. Harbour engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Kochi in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then the Governor of Madras. In a span of 21 years, he transformed Kochi as one of the safest harbours in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbour equipped with a long array of steam cranes.
In 1947, when India gained independence from the British colonial rule, Cochin was the first princely state to join the Indian Union willingly. In 1949, Travancore-Cochin state came into being with the merger of Cochin and Travancore. The King of Travancore was the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from 1949 to 1956. Travancore-Cochin, was in turn merged with the Malabar district of the Madras State. Finally, the Government of India's States Reorganisation Act (1956) inaugurated a new state — Kerala — incorporating Travancore-Cochin (excluding the four southern Taluks which were merged with Tamil Nadu), Malabar District, and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara. On 9 July 1960, the Mattancherry council passed a resolution—which was forwarded to the government—requesting the formation of a municipal corporation by combining the existing municipalities of Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Ernakulam. The government appointed a commission to study the feasibility of the suggested merger. Based on its report, the Kerala Legislative Assembly approved the corporation's formation. On 1 November 1967, exactly eleven years since the establishment of the state of Kerala, the corporation of Cochin came into existence. The merger leading to the establishment of the corporation, was between the municipalities of Ernakulam, Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, along with that of the Willingdon Island, four panchayats (Palluruthy, Vennala, Vyttila and Edappally), and the small islands of Gundu and Ramanthuruth.
Kochi witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence. The city's economic recovery gathered momentum after economic reforms in India introduced by the central government in the mid-1990s. Since 2000, the service sector has revitalised the city's stagnant economy. The establishment of several industrial parks based on IT and other port based infrastructure triggered a construction and realty boom in the city. Over the years, Kochi has witnessed rapid commercialisation, and has today grown into a commercial hub of Kerala.
K.M from Chennai: Its At distance of 703km
Near By Places :
Old Cochin including Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Palluruthy, and Thoppumpady; Willingdon Island; the suburb of Edappally and the exurbia of Kalamassery, Thrikkakara and Kakkanad to the northeast, and Tripunithura to the southeast.
There are quite a few festivals that are
celebrated with much pomp and grandeur in the Kochi city of Kerala. Most of the
festivals of Kochi are associated closely with the socio-cultural life of
Kerala, that is, the Malayalum culture.
Three major Kochi festivals are the Onam , the Vishu and the Kochi carnival. All these festivals are very popular in the city of Kochi and the people of this busy industrial center of Kerala take a break from their work and rejoice on the occasions of these festivals.
Onam is one of the most popular festivals at Kochi in Kerala. The Onam is held to celebrate the season of harvest. The time of the Malayalam year when this festival is celebrated is the month of Chingam. The corresponding month in the English calendar is either September or October. The celebrations of Onam may be held for ten days at a stretch.
The Vishu is one of the most well known festivals in Kochi. This festival of Kochi is organized in the month of Medam in the Malayalam calendar. This month corresponds with either April or March according to the English calendar. Vishu is held to celebrate the advent of a new year.
Cochin Carnival is one of the important Kochi festivals. It is not linked with the traditional Malayalam culture. It has its lineage in the celebration of the New Year of the Portuguese, when they came to colonize India. The Kochi carnival is held in the last seven days of the year. The festival is mainly celebrated at the renowned Fort Kochi.