Spread over a series of islands and crisscrossed by the sea and backwaters, Kochi (long known as Cochin) speaks of old world charm and leisure. The culturally and historically rich port city is the gateway for several visitors to start their tour of Kerala in South India, often hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’.
Nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, the city has been one of the sought after destinations in the world. Situated 10 degrees to the north of Equator; Kochi experiences hot and humid climate throughout the year. The best time to visit Kochi is between October and April.
Kochi earlier comprised of Ernakulam, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry but now refers to the sprawling urbanization making rapid inroads into the hinterland. Fort Kochi and Mattancherry remain wonderfully serene, steeped with sepia tinted memories of past glory and heritage. With its spice markets, Jewish synagogue, European church, Chinese fishing nets, Portuguese palace and seventeenth-century Dutch homes, Kochi stands testimony to the irresistible pull felt by wanderers and traders for over 600 years.
Kumarakom, known for houseboat rides on backwaters and also for its bird sanctuary, and Alappuzha (called Alleppey) are situated to the north of Kochi. Kochi serves as the gateway to the hill stations of Munnar and Vagamon in Idukki and the wildlife hotspots of Eravikulam National Park and Periyar National Park.
WHERE TO STAY
The city offers something to suit all budgets. Rooms can fill up quickly from November to mid-February (especially December and January), so plan well and book ahead. Hotels which are more European and American in style can be found in Fort Kochi. Willingdon Island also has some of the premium hotels. Ernakulam city caters for all travelers. There are a large number of boutique hotels in Fort Kochi. The city also has home stays (B&B) in Fort Kochi for backpackers and budget travelers. While tariffs for the home stays could range between Rs 350-800, price for staying in premium hotels could vary between Rs 9,000-20,000.
WHERE TO EAT
Being a coastal city, Kochi abounds with eateries which specialize in fresh seafood. From Thattukadas (roadside eateries) offering meals for less than Rs 50, to upscale restaurants, the city offers variety to suit every palate and to every budget. From the ubiquitous North Indian food to Chinese, Spanish and Continental menu, gourmands will be spoilt with choice. Foreign food franchise chains such as KFC and Domino’s also have presence. Though finding a purely vegetarian eatery could be difficult, several restaurants and hotels offer sadya, the typical Kerala lunch on banana leaf. Thattukadas offer value for money but lack of hygiene could be a concern.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Kochi is as given below. The best time to visit Kochi is also specified.