Spread over a series of islands and crisscrossed by the sea and backwaters, Kochi (long known as Cochin) speaks of the 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.
Located between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, Kochi has been one of the most sought-after destinations in India.
The best time to visit Kochi is between October and April.
Kochi earlier comprised Ernakulam, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry Palace but now refers to the sprawling urbanization.
Fort Kochi and Mattancherry palace 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 17th 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 the backwaters and its bird sanctuary and Alappuzha (formerly called Alleppey) are situated just a few hours to the north of Kochi.
Kochi serves as the gateway to the hill stations of Munnar and Vagamon in Idukki and the wildlife hot-spots of Eravikulam National Park and Periyar National Park.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KOCHI
From November to February, book ahead of time.
Hotels which are more European and American in style can be found around Fort Kochi.
Willingdon Island also has some of the premium hotels. Ernakulam city caters to all types of travelers.
There are several boutique hotels in Fort Kochi.
The city has homestays (B&B) for backpackers and budget travelers too.
While tariffs for the budget hostels could range between Rs 350-800, price for staying in premium hotels could vary between Rs 5000-20,000.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KOCHI
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 budget alike.
From the ubiquitous north Indian food to Chinese, Spanish and Continental cuisine, you can find almost every kind of food you desire to eat.
Though finding pure vegetarian eateries could be difficult, several restaurants and hotels offer sadya, the typical Kerala lunch on a 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.