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Twinned with Ernakalum on the mainland, Kochi (formerly Cochin) has been luring travelers from across the globe since at least the 12th century. The sleepy lanes of this fortress peninsula are lined with historic relics - Portuguese palaces and basilicas, Dutch gravestones, even a 16th century synagogue that predates both the Dutch and Portuguese colonial missions to India. Set in an island-studded bay, Kochi is centered on Fort Cochin, with its Portuguese churches and cantilevered fishing nets, brought to India by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Ernakalum has the closest train station, but most visitors stay in the guesthouses ...

Twinned with Ernakalum on the mainland, Kochi (formerly Cochin) has been luring travelers from across the globe since at least the 12th century. The sleepy lanes of this fortress peninsula are lined with historic relics - Portuguese palaces and basilicas, Dutch gravestones, even a 16th century synagogue that predates both the Dutch and Portuguese colonial missions to India. Set in an island-studded bay, Kochi is centered on Fort Cochin, with its Portuguese churches and cantilevered fishing nets, brought to India by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Ernakalum has the closest train station, but most visitors stay in the guesthouses scattered around Fort Cochin; ferries connect Kochi, Ernakalam and the surrounding islands. After dark, visitors gather at theaters across the city to witness the ancient dance form of Kathakali, characterized by riotous costumes and make-up. Because of strict licensing laws, beer is sold as "special tea" in many local restaurants. Other diversions include cooking and dance courses and trips to outlying islands.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Formerly known as Cochin, located about 137 miles north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuramis in the Indian state of Kerala
  • Language: Malayalam, English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Otcober to March, though some visit in the monsoon for Ayurvedic treatments.