A Day in Kochi, Kerala – Visiting the Land of the Gods

A Day in Kochi, Kerala – Visiting the Land of the Gods

My recent trip to India brought me to a beautiful coastal city in a south-western state also known as the Land of the Gods: Kochi.

Land of the Gods
Kerala – the Land of the Gods

Lonely Planet, the famous travel guru,  ranked Kochi as the seventh of the top 10 cities to visit in 2020. I wonder if my father and his friends knew about Kochi's charm when they chose it as the venue for their college reunion. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to unwind with my parents and their fun-filled group of friends as we explored some of the sights and scenes of this city.

Kochi for First-Time (and Frequent) Visitors

  • Kochi, also known as Cochin, is the financial, commercial, and industrial capital of Kerala. It's no surprise that Cochin is the largest and most densely populated city in the state.  
  • Kochi is an important port city on the west coast of India, so it's not surprising to see many large ships docked here. She is also fondly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.

Kerala's port city

  • Kochi had been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, and then the British. You'll notice many of these influences around the older parts of the city.

Fort Kochi
At Fort Kochi

  • Does Cochin sound familiar? Cochin was the name given to the city by the British during their occupancy. In 1996, the name was reverted to Kochi, its original Malayalam name.

watching the Arabian
Wait for me...wait for me

Getting to and Around Kochi

You can get into Kochi by rail, road, or air. On an earlier visit, I took a train to Kochi. This time, I flew in and was warmly welcomed by these majestic elephants.

Kochi Airport
Greeted by elephants

To travel around Kochi, you can opt for local taxis, Uber, and autos (the local three-wheelers). For this visit, we took a hired bus to explore some of the famous places in the city.

Reunion meet
We are ready!  Are you? Let's go! 

The Weather in Kochi

Kochi’s climate centres on tropical monsoon season, which means it's going to be moderately hot here. Comfortable cotton wear is advisable. If you don't have any, you can always pick up a few clothes in Kerala.

Shopping Kochi
Shop! Not me

A Few Kochi Essentials

Just like in any other major Indian city, you'll also find the regular traffic jams, tasty eateries, and stalls with piping-hot coffee. Once you acclimatise to these, I guarantee you that your trip is going to be a blast.

Despite being a densely populated city, most people I interacted with in Kochi were calm, warm, and polite when speaking to me.

The local and official language of the state is Malayalam, but English and Hindi are widely spoken in restaurants and touristy places. I communicated with traders at the smaller gift shops in what I thought were the commonly shared vocabularies between Tamil and Malayalam. I am pretty sure I did satisfactory job, because when I left with the purchases, we were both beaming ear to ear.

reaching delphi coffee
Coffee & Chai onboard. 💗 Anytime. Anywhere 💗

Exploring Kochi

Here are some suggestions for your trip to Kochi.

Fort Kochi

There are lots of numbers to share, so do bear with me for a bit. This area was originally a fishing village in precolonial Kerala. The town became as Fort Kochi when it was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi, after the forces of Afonso de Albuquerque helped him fight the forces of Saamoothiri of Kozhikode. The Dutch captured Fort Kochi 160 years later. In 1795, the British took control and remained until 1947. 

Fort Kochi
Guess what I am?

If you have limited time to spend in Kochi, I highly recommend you visit this area, as you’ll see the various historical influences here. The entire area can be explored by foot, and it’s easy to get mesmerised by its charm for hours.

Boilers fort kochi
We were once grand boilers. Come find me

St Francis Church

This church is one of the oldest churches in India. St Francis Church was originally built in 1503 by the Portuguese. Vasco Da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer, died in Kochi in 1534 and was originally buried in this church. His remains, however, were removed to Lisbon 14 years later.

st francis church kochi
Time for history revision

Mattancherry Palace Museum

Interestingly, this museum building was built by the Portuguese in 1553. When the Dutch took control of the state, they made extensive renovations to Mattancherry and called it the Dutch Palace. The structure of the building is solid wood, built in Nālukettu style, a traditional Kerala style of architecture.

Today, you can see Kerala's mythological murals and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. Photography of the exhibits is not permitted, but I did take some photos of the fine woodwork. A small fee is charged at the entrance.

dutch palace
Mattancherry Palace Museum a.k.a The Dutch Palace

Chinese Fishing Nets

No trip to Kochi is complete without having seen the Chinese fishing nets, also known as stationary lift nets. Just looking at the pictures I took of these famous nets never fails to calm my nerves.

chinese fishing net
Chinese fishing nets - stationary lift nets 

Chinese fishing nets were introduced back in the 14th century when Chinese explorers arrived in India. The nets are fixed-land installations for fishing. More formally, they’re known as shore-operated lift nets.

chinese fishing net
Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi

Jew Town 

Jew town is in the old Cochin quarters. Be sure to take a slow walk around and pick up souvenirs while exploring this beautiful area. Today there are many cafes and handicraft shops along these old streets. 

jew town kochi
At the Fort Kochi neighbourhood

When you are here, don't forget to look out for the Paradesi Synagogue that was built in 1568.

Paradesi Synagogue
Paradesi Synagogue at the old Cochin quarters

Local Souvenir Hunting 

Trust me, you are not going to be disappointed. I just fell in love with the colours and charming items offered at a bargain. I’m not usually drawn to shopping, but this time I couldn't resist picking up a couple of mementos.

shopping in Cochin
OMG...look who is shopping in Kochi

Get a Refreshing Drink

The temperature can get high, so it's essential to stay hydrated. Here is a reminder to do so.

coffee here
Stay hydrated...some times it feels hot as an oven 😎

Watch a Local Cultural Performance

India is so rich in traditions and classical dance. Kathakali is a form of Indian traditional dance that originates from this region. We didn't get to see a performance, but we're fortunate to see two performers at the hotel where we stayed at.

Kathakali performers
Kathakali performers

Sunset at the Harbour 

If you have more time and are spending the night in Kochi, then don't miss an opportunity to see the glorious Indian sunset by the harbour. It’s simply amazing!

Queen of the Arabian
Queen of the Arabian Sea

Over at the harbour, you can also opt for a sunset cruise through the backwaters, which will offer views of the marine drive, Chinese fishing nets, and the point where the Kochi lagoon meets the Arabian sea. I do this every visit, and I am never disappointed or bored. For me, this is the icing on the cake.

Queen of the Arabian
Sun set, golden memories

And, what's just as good is to enjoy the sunset with some local coffee or chai, like what I am doing here.

reaching delphi coffee
See you soon. 💛

This trip was very special. It was a reunion of friends and I got to be a party crasher. I was reminded that strong bonds are built and sealed over time. Where we live doesn’t have to matter. The distance in between nor the seas can truly separate us. I wish this group many more happy years of good health, prosperity and reunion meet-ups.

Counting Stars, Reaching Delphi. Wishing everyone good health, happiness, safety and peace.

Stay calm, safe, and healthy while together we overcome the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Never forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours.
Ludwig Van Beethoven

chinese fishing net
Never forget the days I spent with you

*** Note : This travel was made made prior to the Covid-19 virus related travel ban.