One of the criteria that most people have in choosing their next travel destination is that of a country filled with rich history and culture. One of the places that make it to everyone’s list is India. And one of the places in India that has just that and more is Kochi – the largest city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala.
For centuries, Kochi has been a gathering place for merchants and tourists from various nations with it being situated in the South West Coast overlooking the Arabian Sea. Today, flights to Kochi, India are readily available and it is a destination that offers history and tradition woven together with modernization from beaches and backwaters to tea plantations and spice estates. To help you plan your Indian escapade, here is a list of some of the wonderful places and fun activities you can visit and enjoy while in Kochi.
- Visit Mattancherry Palace
Source: Mark Hills
Considered to be one of the most important places to visit in Kochi and popularly known as Dutch Palace, Mattancherry Palace has the style and architecture that resembles a typical traditional Kerala house. Get to view a collection of frescos and paintings that cover the palace walls and visit the beautiful temples of Bhagavati, Shiva and Krishna. Also, take photos with the famous sprawling gardens and manicured lawns as your background and have evidence that you have visited one of the best tourist places in Kochi.
- See the Chinese Fishing Nets
Source: Elroy Serrao
These iconic Chinese Fishing Nets are one of the most recognizable sights in Kochi and have been there since the 14th century. Legends say that the Chinese Fishing Nets were a gift from the famous Chinese King, Kublai Khan. Local fishermen still use it to this day making Kochi the only other destination, other than China, to have and use these fishing nets. You can visit Fort Kochi to get a glimpse of these fishing nets. If you happen to pass by late in the afternoon, head to the waterfront where the nets line shore and enjoy a seafood meal cooked by one of the fishmongers as you watch the sun set.
- Spend time in Jew Town
Source: Prashant Ram
Treat your senses by spending time at Jew Town, a quaint aromatic area in the heart of Mattancherry. It’s the center of the spice trade in Kochi which is evident with the air being filled with the heady waft of masala. Wander through the streets and lanes to take fabulous photos. Explore the antique stores to get authentic finds. You can also spend a minute or two in the Synagogue and marvel at the chandeliers, gold pulpt and imported floor tiles. This Synagogue remains in use and is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth.
- Take Kerala Food and Cooking Lessons
Source: Stuart Spivack
Enjoying local cuisine is a part of every tourist’s to-do list. Kerala, in particular, is renowned for its cuisine featuring delicious seafood and coconut flavors. In Kochi, seafood has a pride of place in one’s daily meal. People here take pleasure not only in what they eat, but also in how they cook it. Learn from hosts of homestays or take quick lessons in known cooking schools in the area. Just take note that the traditional way of cooking in Kochi involves the use of clay pots on firewood – just to add an additional smoky flavor.
- Watch a Kathakali Performance
Source: Yogendra Joshi
Kathakali is the traditional dance performance in Kerala. For a tourist, it is a very unusual and ancient form of dance-drama. The movements of the dance are subtle yet they tell a meaningful mythological story. The look of the performers borders on grotesque with the signature red bloodshot eyes. Performers are required to undergo intense training, including hours of eye exercises when learning the art of Kathakali. Catch performancesin the Cochin Cultural Center, Kerala Kathakali Center, or Greenix Village.
- Walk along Cherai Beach
When you want to spend some alone time with yourself or with your loved ones, go to Cherai Beach. Located on the north end of Vypeen Island, this is a tranquil and pristine beach popular for its golden sand beaches, palm trees and wide expanse of blue water. Be adventurous and explore the surroundings, especially the backwater, fishing nets, thick coconut groves and paddy fields. You might even be one of the lucky ones who get to spot dancing dolphins. What makes this beach even better is that it is accessible 24/7 – just remember to refrain from entering water during high tides.