ADD TO LISTOne of the principal seaports of India, Cochin (now known as Kochi) has historically been a trading city - particularly for spices. It is now a popular launching point for exploring the numerous islands of the Arabian sea.
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Is Jew Town,St.Francis,Santa Cruz,Vasco's House,Dutch Palace,fishing nets are they all in Fort Chocin & within walking distance of each other please.am there in April.
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Cochin is the gateway to modern Kerala (India) and the hub of economic activity in the state of Kerala which is one of the unique and interesting places in the world
The Malabar coast, long renowned in the ancient in the ancient world for its spices and the link to the far east as far as China had many ancient ports, not all of which have been identified to date. However, Kochi was not one of them. Presence of sand bars which obstructed ship movement and made it unsafe precluded its development as a major port for most of history. The most important port along the Malabar coast was Muziris, present day Kodungallur situated aprox 80 km north of Cochin. A major flood in the 13th century silted Muziris and opened the port of Cochin heralding its new era.
At the time of the epic voyage of Vasco de Gama, the prime focus of international trade was Kozhikode, but a dsipute with the Zamorin, the ruler of Kozhikode forced Gama to look elsewhere (Cochin) for trade links. It helped that the Kings of the principality of Cochin (Perumbadappu swaroopam) welcomed the Portuguese literally putting Cochin on the world trade map. It has not looked back since.
Kochi, as Cochin is known today, changed hands several times; Portuguese, then Dutch and finally British all leaving their marks on the life and culture of the place.
Cochin soon attracted traders from around the world trading communities settled elsewhere in Kerala soon shifted base here.
Most of the surface area of the region around Cochin is filled with waterways and backwaters.
Backwater cruises in "kettuvalloms" - house boats
Food: a unique blend of old European (prior to the evolution of continental cuisine) and local tastes is unrivalled in taste. Dozens of varieties of fish preparations, appam (a frilly pancake made from fermented rice and coconut milk) being the best example.
Culture: Kerala has the greatest concentration of classical arts in whole of Indian subcontinent namely, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam.
Music: While Kerala has made itls own contribution to Carnatic Music (the south Indian classical music), the real unique aspect of Kerala music is the variety and depth of percussion instruments and rhythms. Afficiandos of percussion music must not miss the percussion orchestras at "Pooram"s which are huge temple festivals. These can also be the opportunity to glimpse the Keral elephants.
Elephants: Elephants are revered by the people of Kerala and form essential elements in cultural life and are integral to temple festivities.
Ayurveda: Kerala is famous for its exponents of traditional healing system known as ayurveda. While it is excellent for rejuvenating the tired mind and body, travellers will be ill advised if they attempt to cure major illnesses (better take modern medical help)
For the traveller who wants to venture off the beaten track, it offers a unique experience which cannot be described.
Flip side: Kerala is expensive. Hotel rooms are always full in season due to heavy demand and small supply. Book your flights and hotel rooms at least a year in advance if you dont want to regret! Part of the reason for high prices is a deliberate attempt to discourage the non serious traveller and the back packer. However, a back packer who is willing to do some research and improvise (like the local Indian) can have a lot of value for money
Places to visit
Fort Cochin and Mattachery [ Jewish synagogue, St Francis church- the first European church in Asia, Dutch palace, Bishop's house - it houses a unique maritime musueum of the Portuguese period, the building itself was built by the Dutch]
For the traveler that is interested in Kochin,and needs a place to stay,there´s only one place you need to go.Beena homestay.This homestay run by an Indian couple,has it all to make you feel right at home.Great rooms,breakfast every morning and in the evening great Keralan food,which they start to prepare in the late afternoon.Free internet is also provided,and even if there´s no room,you´re welcome to join for dinner!The place is about a ten minute walk away from the centre.The Chinese fishing nets are probably a 15 minute walk..They also provide backwater tours,Munnar hill station tour and the houseboat.Just ask and they´ll arrange it for you.On trip advisor,this homestay is no.1 in Kochi!A home away from home!
When in Cochin, then eat at the small restaurants at the square just behind the fishing nets. What you do is to take a look at the fish market, don't let them annoying "guides" assist you in buying the fish... choose yourself. When you bought your fish you go to the restaurants (not the one closest to the sea, cause they are too busy and expensive) go to one of the smaller ones under the big tree, and they will grill your fish ANY STYLE YOU WANT. Just ask for coil as there are many mosquitoes.
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