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Things To Do In Kochi (Cochin)
Kochi (Cochin), located on the shore of the Arabian Sea and the Lakshadweep Sea, is one of India’s major port cities. Not just that, Kochi is one of India’s major tourist attracttions as well, drawing very high numbers of domestic and International travellers. There’s a lot one can do here. Here’s our top picks of the best things to do in Kochi.
Watch the Onam Celebrations
Nothing’s better than Kochi during Onam. Wake up to the excitement of Sadya, enjoy the mouthwatering meal and then head out to witness an evening full of revelry. The procession starts two lanes away from the beach and is a display of Kerala’s rich and myriad performing arts. Later you can enjoy a bharatnatyam performance by the beach or can watch the arrangement of gigantic flower rangolis.
Take the Ferry
It’s almost impossible to be so close to the ocean and the landscape bisecting backwaters and still stay away from it all. No one must get closer to the water in this port city. Take the ferry to Ernakulam or Vypin and feel the endless swirl of the water.
Have you ever witnessed a city turn into a live art exhibition? Come to Kochi for that. Starting in December, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale lasts till March. Artists from all over the world come here to display their work and the city space becomes the site of exhibition. Paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, graffiti, music and all kinds of performances bring the city to life. This, no doubt, is a must do at Kochi.
Kochi is a famous tourist destination. It receives hoards of foreign and Indian tourists on a regular basis. And like all tourist destinations, Kochi too is scattered with a variety of cafes and eateries. Inviting looking shacks on the way to the beach and even on the beach will allure you with their exquisite sea food menu. Be sure to not miss Oy’s Restaurant, Ginger House, Malabar Junction and Kashi Art Café on your visit.
Occupied by the Portuguese from 1503 to 1530, Kochi was one of India’s first European colonies. Before the Portuguese eventually discovered Goa and moved further north up the shore, they built Fort Emmanuel (this is where the place gets the Fort Kochi nomenclature). Today, very little of the Fort is still intact. Most of it lives on in luxury resorts but the small bit that remains open for the public is the Indo-Portuguese Museum. Would you dare to miss this chunk of carefully preserved history?
Explore this 27 kilometer long Island that was formed in 1341 after a massive flood and is today one of the most populated islands in all of Asia. Enjoy the sunsets at Nadungad, wade on the Cherai Beach and explore the 16th Century Pallipuram Fort. There’s a lot on offer and Vypin scores high on the list of the top things to do in Kochi.
Kerala Kathakali Centre
This is the best place to watch a Kathakali performance in Kerala. The likes of BBC, National Geographic and Lonely Planet have featured their performances. They host three performances each evening and remain open all round the year (including weekends). Catch the hour long Kalaripayattu performance starting at 4 p.m.; watch the intensive make-up of Kathakali performers (this takes 1 hour) and then immerse yourself in the one and half hour long recital. One of the best things to do in Kochi.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
Among the many churches the Portuguese built during their reign on Kochi, only two survived the Dutch invasion. Built in 1905, the church is a display of vivid frescoes and paintings created by Antonio Moscheni – a 19th century Italian artists who is famous for his frescos in the St. Aloysius College church in Mangalore.
Take a Walk By the Beach
Almost all walks eventually lead to the beach in shore cities. Enjoy the breeze and the sunlight shimmer on the water on your walks. Don’t miss those strange looking Chinese fishing nets. Watch as the fishermen untie weights from the bamboo poles and the net dips into the water to emerge with hundreds of fresh fish. At night, the beach offers quiet and calm and you’ll enjoy watching the occasional ship that’s sailed from the Kochi port, drift past your vision into the distant West.