Kochi is a port city in South Western India, situated on the coast of Arabian sea. Its population is around 600 thousand people and is considered for the most densely populated city in milliard India. As a big, busy port and the strategical location between Arabian sea to the west, Kochi is a desired place for the tourists.
In the beginning of 12 century Kochi was a capital and kingdom Kochin, representing a small estate, connected with the former empire Kulasekhara. During 14 century, the city became a significant center of the trade with spices. When it was conquered by the Portugueses in 1503, Kochi transformed in the first European colony in India and remained a capital of Portuguese India until 1530. Later conquered by Dutchmen, Mysores and Englishmen Kochi is the first city, which joins to India after announcement of the independence of the country in 1947.
Today’s city of Kochi is a beautiful, modern city, a financial capital of the state Kerala and second in significance in Western India after Mumbai. The city has rich history and interesting architecture.
One of the great landmarks of Kochi is the Saint Francis church – the first European church on Indian land, built in 1516, when was buried the famous sea-farer Vasco da Gama, before his body to be transported in Portugal. The home, in which the sea-farer used to live, while he was in Kochi, is also opened for visits.
The Mattancherry palace is a gift from the European settlers of the raja during 16 century. The palace represents a simple white building, with a gorgeous interior decoration. The walls and the ceiling are decorated with frescos from the Ramayana-Sanskrit epos, consisting of 24 thousand stanzas. The floors in the palace are drawn with mythological scenes. The very mixture for the line consists of coals, juices from different plants, shells from coconuts and etc. natural ingredients. The bedroom of the raja is most ornated. There are many canvases with scenes from the Indian epos. The Dutchmen appropriated and restored the Mattancherry palace one century later, therefore sometimes it is called the Dutch palace.
The Paradesi synagogue, built in 1568 is spectacular with the floor, covered with manually drawn tiles.
The eight-floor Adi Shancara sanctuary is dedicated to one of the greatest Hindu philosophers.
As a modern city, the sport is a favourite occupation in Kochi. Тhere is located one of the biggest stadiums in India – Jawaharlal Nehru, where are played besides football matches and cricket, a very popular sport in India.
In this ancient city is preserved one of the oldest institutes in India, built in 1875 – Maharaja’s college. And in the engineering college is designed the first satellite of India – Ariabhatba.
In Kochi is built the biggest trade center in India – Lulu and Mall and it represents a modern fantastically beautiful building. The walk through this enormous complex shall be a pleasant entertainment.
The walk along the coastal line is interesting, where fishermen catch fish with huge nets, called „chinavala“ and used only in China. In some of the numerous small restaurants here you may order yourself a specialty of just caught seafood with these exceptionally attractive nets, which resemble ship sails.
A tourist cannot leave Kochi without attending at the Kathakali festival– a spectacle with masks and folklore costumes, which represents the history of Mahabharata and Ramayana (Indian national eposes).
To Kochi can be reached by a plane as the local international airport is at 30 km from the city.
At 120 km from Kochi is located the Reserve for wild animals Periyar, Kerala, which is one of the most popular in India. It is situated on area of 777 sq.m. and is created by the royal family in 1895, in order to be preserved the hunting fields from the expanding tea plantations. The reserve is a home of elephants, Indian deer, wild-boar, mongoose, flying squirrel Malabar and more than 300 types of birds. Also not rarely can be met tigers and leopards. The best time for visit of the reserve is from December until April as it is recommendable to have a guide. The nature here is untouched by the civilization and is very beautiful, especially in combination with the local plantations for tea and spices and the impressive waterfalls on the hills.