- For other places with the same name, see Kochi (disambiguation).
Kochi (formerly Cochin; Malayalam: കൊച്ചി, Hindi: कोच्चि) is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is the financial and commercial capital of Kerala and, with a population of more than 2 million, the biggest conurbation in the state.
A city born in storm, nurtured in rivalry and established as battling ground for European empires. This phrase is a good description of Kochi, which was formed as an ancient port city after the Great Floods of the Periyar River in 1341. With partitioning of Chera Kerala empire in 14th century, this region came under control of a new dynasty, rivaled by other local feudal lords. With the advent of colonization, Kochi became the first major battle grounds of almost all European powers.
Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Arabs, Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese and Chinese more than 600 years ago. This helped Kochi to prosper and to become the gateway to old India. It was from Kochi that the colonization of India started. Portugal was first to establish its base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch and British. The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814, compelled the Dutch to hand over Kochi to the British in exchange for Bangka Island in Indonesia. The British managed to establish their influence over Kochi, limiting their direct administration to a small enclave of Fort Kochi and British Ernakulam with their capital at Bolgatty Island. The rest of the Kochi Kingdom was administered by Kochi Maharajas from their capital at Thripunithura. However, the real administration was done by Diwans (Prime Ministers), leaving the Maharajas to patronize culture, arts and focus heavily on the areas of public health and education.
The foundations of modern Kochi city started when Sir Robert Bristow, a senior Royal Navy Engineer, felt the need for a modern large port after the opening of the Suez Canal. This resulted in the creation of the largest man-made island of the country, Willingdon Island, to house the new Kochi Port.
In the 1930s, the Kochi Maharaja joined the public outcry to form a common state of Malayalam-speaking people by merging with the Kingdom of Travancore and British Malabar. Kochi Maharaja Kerala Varma Raja was at the forefront of this agitation, and passed the Aykiakerala Resolution in the Kochi Parliament. In 1947, the Kingdom of Kochi and Travancore merged to form the Royal State of Travancore-Kochi. The Kochi Maharaja was amongst the first to advocate the state joining the newly formed Indian Union. Finally, in 1948, the state of Travancore-Kochi merged with India.
Since the formation of Kerala in 1957, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court. Since 2000, Kochi has revitalized its economy, with a focus on tourism, information technology and its port.
Kochi has a cosmopolitan culture, highly influenced by historical trading partners, Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Chinese, and Japanese. Kochi is the seat of the Latin church of Kerala and has many Catholic churches and followers.
Kochi was traditionally a potpourri of various Indian and international communities. Syrian Christians started the first wave of immigration, followed by Jews between the 7th and 10th centuries. Arab merchants also made a strong settlement in Kochi. In the 15th century, Gujaratis settled in Kochi, especially on Mattancherry, where they played a strong role in spice trading and other areas.
Later, at the beginning of the colonial era, the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British all made their settlements in Kochi. The Portuguese had a strong influence in Fort Cochin. British culture was strongly felt, lending Kochi a strong community of Anglo-Indians.
In the early 1970s, Punjabis settled here, focusing their strong presence on the local automobile industry. Tamilians, Telugus, Kannadigas have all formed small settlements since the days of royalty. Students from Cambodia, Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia have settled down in Kochi for studies and research activities. Kochi has a sizeable expatriate population mainly from European countries who have settled in Fort Kochi. Most of them are senior citizens who settled down to enjoy retirement life and many run boutique hotels and restaurants in that area. Due to the rapid growth of the city, a majority of the local population are now immigrants.
Generally, Kochinites are modern and fashionable. Being a city that has a tradition of various cultures being given equal respect, a high level of tolerance exists. The city has a modern attitude, but some basic social modesty still prevails, especially in villages and rural areas.
Kochi has a typical tropical climate. Temperatures range between 30°C and 35°C during daytime and around 24°C at night. Kochi is one of the first places to experience the heavy monsoon showers, which start around mid-May. It thus experiences heavy rainfall between mid-May and the first week in September. Daytime temperatures during the monsoon fall to between 25°C and 30°C. From September to early February, the weather is fine, marked with cool winds and light showers. Summer starts in February. Although temperatures never reach 40°C, the high humidity can make summers uncomfortable. This continues until early May. Frequent showers cool down the harshness of summer.
After rapid growth during the two last decades, Kochi is now one of the most densely populated town areas in India. Kochi city consists of:
- Aluva — the second largest town in Kochi U/A, famous for its Periyar river banks. Kochi International Airport is nearby.
- Bolgatty Island — the island where the British established a Royal Residency, which is now converted into a five star hotel. Famous for its large golf course, horse riding tracks, marina and boatyards.
- Ernakulam Mainland City — the heart and transport hub of Kochi with three distinct parts: the Central Business District (CBD) which has Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road) as the main arterial road along with Marine Drive and Chitoor Road; Downtown with upscale residential areas and the business district at SA Road and Vytilla Junction and the Suburb which has many business and commercial areas.
- Maradu — next door to Kochi city; an upcoming business district with numerous high-end hotels.
- Peninsula of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi (Old Kochi) — primarily a tourist enclave. Fort Kochi forms the upper part of the Peninsula with neatly arranged colonial buildings, narrow well-paved roads, Anglo-Dutch influenced structures and large antiques shops. Mattancherry is primarily a trading city, famous for its thriving Gujarati settlement brought to the city in the 16th and 17th centuries by the spice trade.
- Thrikkakara Town — famous for the large Vamana Temple, the focal centre of Onam, the national festival of Kerala. Also the home of Cochin University and other educational institutes.
- Thripunithura — the erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Kochi is famous for various historical palaces, museums and temples, and as a centre of the arts.
- Vallarpadom Island — where the new Kochi International Mega Container Terminal (ICT) has opened.
- Vypin Island — one of the most densely populated islands in world with numerous fishing villages, tourist villages and the popular Cherai Beach.
- Willingdon Island — large man-made island made from sand dredged from the backwaters to deepen the Kochi Port. Named after Long Willingdon, then-the reigning Viceroy of India, it houses the Kochi Port, Southern Naval Command Headquarters of Indian Navy and many five-star hotels.
When to visit
The peak visitor season is often from August to February with December being the busiest month when there are many festivals and special attractions along with the famous Cochin Carnival and Christmas celebrations. Onam season (mid Aug-mid Sept) is also a busy tourist season considering traditional line up of various festivities. Monsoon is being promoted heavily by the tourism department as a rejuvenation season which also slowly becoming a popular season to visit to experience the heavy rainfalls. However it is advisable to avoid March and April considering the harsh summer, though it is a primary Indian domestic tourist season.
Free information and city maps are available at state run Kerala Tourism Development Corp (KTDC) offices at:
- Airport Tourist Counter (in Arrival hall of both terminals), ☏ , .
- Central Toll-Free Number, ☏ .
- City Tourist Information Centre (Old Collectorate in Park Ave), ☏ .
- Railway Tourist Office (Ernakulam South Railway Station), ☏ .
- Tourist Reception office (Marine Drive from where KTDC city tours starts/ends), ☏ .
- India Tourism, Willingdon Island, ☏ .
- District Tourist Promotion Council (DTPC), ☏ , . Providing information to tourists about other parts of Kochi District
Kochi is well connected by air, road, rail and ferry from others parts of India, and to some other international destinations. As Kochi is a financial capital of Kerala and possess commercial port, it is easy to get into this city.
- 1 Cochin International Airport (COK IATA), Nedumbassery (29km from the city centre), ☏ , , , (flight status and airline desk transfer). This is the largest airport in Kerala and one of the major gateways to India.There are regular flights to the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. There are regular direct services from Europe and the USA during the tourist season. There is a duty-free area at the international terminal providing a good collection of international premium brand liquors, perfumes, chocolates and other items at competitive prices.
Facilities in and around the airport
Transit and early passengers can use the airport guestrooms in Central Block on hourly or per-night basis for ₹750-2,000. The international terminal has good reasonably priced multi-cuisine restaurant and a terrace garden dining and lounge bar with BBQ. There are cafes and snack corners in the waiting area. The Concourse has free wifi network, a business centre, free public telephones for local calls and large plasma televisions in the waiting lounge. Premium lounges are available for first and business class passengers. Visa-On-Arrival for selected nationalities has started. The Airport has a full-fledged Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), whose chief officer is empowered to grant visa extensions, fee waivers and other visa-related issues.
The airport has a good 18-hole golf course nearby. Golfers can register at the Airport Golf counter and pay green fees to use the facility. There is a small recreational centre, a pool and a bar lounge at the golf club.
There are five major airport hotels opposite the airport terminal that offer rooms on an hourly basis. There are also many budget hotels and restaurants near the terminal.
The domestic terminal has a good shopping arcade selling mainly Kerala-specific items. Food is expensive and limited within the check-in lobby. There are cheaper options after security.
Getting to and from the airport
KSRTC operates four classes of bus service from the airport: regular, fast passenger, super fast express (operate every 10-20 minutes to most nearby towns). All bus services stop only at the bus point near the departure gate of the international terminal (city-side).
KSRTC Orange Bus air-con Volvo service (locally called "Low Floor Buses") operates every 30-40 min to Kochi City via Aluva, Kalamassery, Vytilla and terminates at Fort Cochin. Fares are ₹70 or less and the journey takes 1 hour 40 minutes.
To the airport, the Orange Bus leaves from the Fort Kochi bus area near the Chinese fishing nets at the following times: 7:25AM, 8AM, 9:45AM, 11:35AM, 12 noon, 1:55PM, 3:30PM, 4PM and 6:05PM.
All taxis operated from Cochin airport belong to the Cochin Airport Taxi Society (CATS) which is a pre-paid taxi service. While other taxis can drop-off passengers at the airport, only CATS taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. CATS charges government fixed rates and their process is simple. Take a receipt from the CATS counter in the arrivals hall and walk to the prepaid taxi stand to find your taxi. For airport/city transfers, the standard charge is ₹510 for non air-conditioned taxis or ₹650 for an air-con taxi, with an additional premium of 15-25% as night charges (7PM-6AM). It costs ₹250 for a trip to Aluva. CATS also operates limo services as well as customized packages available for full/half day trips.
Many car rental companies operate counters in the arrival area of both terminals. Many hotels and travel agents provide free pick-up/drop-off services in their cars. It is safe to travel by these cars as they are operated by experienced drivers and you will get some more information them while on the go.
The nearest railway stations are Aluva or Angamaly (15 km) where almost all major express and passengers trains to all over Kerala stop.
By three-wheeler auto
Three-wheeler autos are not allowed to ply inside the airport, to protect the interests of CATS taxis. However, it's pretty easy to get an auto outside the airport premises, ideal for budget-conscious travellers. Auto ride from the airport to the nearest railway station at Angamaly or Aluva costs less than ₹50. Be prepared to bargain. Getting autos early in the morning and late at night is pretty difficult.
Pawan Hans, in the departure gate of thecdomestic terminal, operates a wide range of helicopter services to almost all parts of city as well as state, which requires a prior booking. K-Air also operates air-taxi and private jets.
Cochin Airport has its own helicopter services with support of Bharat Airways. Scheduled and chartered helicopter services to pilgrimage centres like Sabarimala, Guruvayoor and major cities like Thiruvananathapuram, Kozhikode are available.
Kochi is well connected by train from all parts of India. Most Kerala-bound trains have a major stop here. There are two major rail terminals inside the city limits.
- 2 Ernakulam Junction railway station. A major Indian railways station. Most of the long distance trains to and from Kerala pass through here. There is a good food court, large waiting areas, book shops, a medical shop and a few retiring rooms along with a dorm. IR code ERS.
- 3 Ernakulam Town railway station. Mainly for Inter City trains and a few long distance trains usually travelling to or from Kottayam. IR code ERN.
Some of the major trains that pass through this station are:
|Train Number||Train Name||From|
|12431||Rajdhani Express (Luxury)||Nizamuddin (Delhi), Bhopal, Pune, Mumbai, Goa|
|12284||Duronto Express (Non-Stop)||Nizamuddin (Delhi)|
|12623||Madras Mail||Chennai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Palakkad, Thrissur|
|13351||Dhanbad Express||Dhanbad, Ranchi, Vizag, Chennai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore|
|16324||Shalimar Express||Calcutta, Bhubaneswar, Vizag, Chennai, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore|
|12511||RaptiSagar Express||Lucknow, Kanpur, Bhopal, Nagpur, Pune, Vijayawada, Chennai, Coimbatore|
|17230||Sabari Express||Hyderabad, Tirupati, Erode, Salem, Coimbatore|
|12625||Kerala Express||New Delhi, Agra, Bhopal, Nagpur, Vijayawada, Thirupathi, Salem, Coimbatore|
|12643||SwarnaJayanti Express||New Delhi|
|12653||Kerala Sampark Kranti Express||Chandigarh|
|16346||Netravati Express||Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore|
|16309||Patna Express||Patna, Gwalior, Nagpur, Pune, Hubli, Mangalore|
|12683||Bangalore Super-fast Express||Bangalore, Salem, Coimbatore, Palakkad|
|12977||Marusagar Express||Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore|
|12507||Guwahati Express||Guwahati (Assam), Calcutta, Bhuvaneswar, Hyderabad, Salem, Erode Coimbatore|
Kochi has many suburban railway stations where long-distance trains stop, such as Aluva, Thripunithura and Angamaly. Book in advance, as trains are usually crowded. Reservations are available from 3 months in advance of the travel date. Depending upon the season and day bookings may close up to several days prior to departure with all remaining travellers going onto a waiting list. You can also try using Tatkal which is an emergency booking system costing ₹150 above the normal rate. The Tatkal service opens one day(excluding the day of journey from the train originating station) before the departure of the train.
One of the best ways to get to Kochi is to take the Konkan Railway train from Mumbai. The train ride is renowned for the breathtaking scenery and the natural beauty of the terrain.
Outside Ernakulam Junction Station (South), there is a pre-paid taxi stand where you can stand in line for a receipt and take an auto-rickshaw to other parts of Kochi. The service fee is ₹1. This is recommended for getting a fair fare and no haggling or scams with the drivers. A pre-paid auto rickshaw to Fort Kochi cost ₹179 as of March 2014.
Kochi is accessible from all southern parts of the country as well as other parts of the state, through the extensive state run Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services and services of neighbouring state transport corporations.
KSRTC operates 3 types of services; Super Fast (No Frills), Express (Standard non-A/C) and Garuda Hi-tech(Volvo premium). Karnataka State buses run daily services from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore with three types of services; the Rajahamsa (executive service, with reclining seats), the Airavat (A/c service, with reclining semi-sleeper seats), and Ambaari (A/c sleeper service). Tamil Nadu SETC operates superfast and executive services to many destinations like Madurai,Ooty, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli,Salem, and Trichy. Most inter-state buses start and end their journey from KSRTC Central & Inter-state Bus Station (CBS), in the heart of the city at Rajaji Rd. To reduce congestion at CBS, some local KSRTC buses start/end their services at KSRTC Boat Jetty Stand in Park Avenue.
Apart from govt services, numerous private bus companies operate scheduled services to almost all major cities in South India as well as Mumbai, Goa etc. All these buses are executive or premium services offering air-conditioned travel with good facilities and higher prices to match. Several online bus booking sites exist like RedBus, KPN Travels, Customer Needz, TicketGoose.com, Via.com and MyTicketBuddy.com.
Kochi is well connected by road from all parts of the state as well as other major cities. Three major national highways connect Kochi with other parts of country.
- NH 17, the 7th longest highway in India, connects Kochi with Mumbai via most of major towns in Malabar, Mangalore, Goa.
- The heavily congested NH 47 connects Thiruvananthapuram with Kochi and continues on to Coimbatore and Salem in Tamil Nadu via Palakkad and Thrissur.
- NH 49 connects Kochi with Ramaeswaram in Tamil Nadu which passes through Madurai via Munnar.
Kochi is well connected to other parts of state through various state highways.
Kochi can be reached by sea in yachts or the occasional cruise ship from Goa, Mumbai, Lakshadweep, Colombo and Male. Almost all leading international cruises on global voyages operate to Kochi from the US and Europe at Wellingdon Island Cruise Berth. Yachts can be anchored at Kochi International Marina or Yacht Club Marina. There is a direct ferry service between Kochi and Lakshadweep.
At peak hours, traffic moves at a snail's pace in Kochi. Limit your plans to three or four places in a day unless you have good knowledge of the geography or a trustworthy transport option Remember to club nearby places in your trip with buffer time of one hour per trip. Air pollution is acute.
The main city arterial road is Mahatma Gandhi Road. Traveling inside the city at peak times (8AM-10AM, 1:30PM-2:30PM; 5:30PM-7PM) takes a lot of time, with frequent road blocks and traffic congestion. North and South over-bridges are two bottlenecks. Knowledge of side roads and crossroads is very useful to avoid traffic blocks.
Kochi has a typical Indian-style address system which is a bit confusing, as there is no sector or house numbering system. Most buildings have their own name which are commonly used along with the road name for the address, e.g. Alappatt House, Diwans Road, Near Lakshmi Hospital.
Some up-market areas have their own house-numbering system. Panampilly Nagar and Giri Nagar are divided into various zones and each house has its own zone number followed by a house number. Many residential areas have formed their own associations and established their own addressing system. In most of the residential colonies or areas, a map sign is found at the entrance. Fort Kochi has a more western-style numbering system, yet still locals use the nearby landmarks for addressing, rather than house numbers.
For communicating with auto/taxi drivers, you must know the nearby landmarks.
Kochi has an excellent public bus network with four types of buses operated by Govt-run KSRTC and private operators. The most common option is privately operated Blue bus (also referred to as 'Line buses') which provides a cheap no-frills journey. Using these is not that difficult as many destination boards have English lettering in small and most bus conductors can provide assistance in basic English, though route numbers exists only on papers. Peak hours on weekdays can lead to overcrowded buses, particularly Route 1. Govt-operated KSRTC offers no-frills city services Thiru-Kochi which also ply in same Red-Bus routes. Thirukochi buses can be distinguished from other buses with its blue-white livery. Most of Red and Thirukochi buses run primarily on the Big 4 Routes. These cover virtually all parts of the city. There are other feeder routes, which interconnect places between these Big 4 Routes. Vytilla-Vytilla circular services cover most of the city core. The minimum fare for all city buses is ₹8. The average waiting time is 1-10 mins.
Apart from regular city services, KSRTC under JnNURM's funding operates 2 class of bus services which can be distinguished from other city buses with its distinctive livery and JnNURM logo.
For premium travel, low-floor air-conditioned Volvo services called Orange buses connect many important destinations. Rates are ₹10 for first 5 km, ₹2 for every km thereafter. Average waiting time is 10-30 mins. These buses can stop anywhere on the route as per passenger's request.
For standard travel, use Green bus, a non air-conditioned low-floor service which links all suburbs to city centre. This is ideal for budget tourists as it connects to many faraway tourist attractions while maintaining excellent standards. The rates are ₹5 for first 5 km, 75p for every km thereafter. Only 3 lines are served, which will be increased soon. Like Orange Bus, these buses stop anywhere on the route as per passenger's request. Timetable for Orange/Green are available at the KSRTC site.
All city bus services start at 6AM and end by 10PM. A certain number of seats are allocated for women in the forward portion of each bus, and men must vacate them when a woman wishes to sit there.
Different bus shelters/stops are used for bus plying different routes. Route notices displayed at each stop will be in Malayalam. Route notices for Orange bus lines are now in English also. Asking locals or bus conductors would be very helpful. The important city bus stations where all services touch are:
- Aluva Rajiv Gandhi bus station, large bus station nearest to Airport and interchange for long-distance services
- Fort Kochi Beach Road bus stand, the major terminus which is nearest to most tourist attractions
- Kakkanad Civil Station bus stand for Kakkanad area, a commercial and IT sector zone
- Kaloor bus stand, a major city bus station and interchange for long distance private buses.
- Marine Drive-Menaka bus stands, the heart of Ernakulam shopping with Broadway market nearby.
- Palarivattom-Padivattom bus stand
- South Girls High School bus stand, nearest to South Railway station (ERS)
- Thevara KURTC Bus Stand, only for Low Floor Buses.
- Thoppumpaddy bus stand, major junction for Mattancherry
- Thripunithura terminus
- Vytilla Mobility Hub at Vytilla Junction, a new bus station where almost all city buses and inter-city/inter-state bus meet. The station is the Terminus for all Inter-city and Inter-state services by all operators. This is a spacious 37-acre bus station.
Kochi metro has been flagged off on 17 June 2017 and is operational from Aluva to Palarivattom. The second phase from Palarivattom up to Maharaja's College has been flagged off in August 2017.
The unveiling of the metro was considered a landmark event in India in terms of completion time, control systems used and initiatives such as employing transgenders, vertical gardening, respecting migrant laborers and use of solar power. Each station in the metro is designed on a specific theme around Kerala culture and geography. The metro can be used with regular tickets, and has also adopted a single card, single timetable and a singular command and control. Along with this debit card a mobile app should be launched to replace tokens and tickets.
Some suburban areas are well-connected via regular passenger and long-distance express trains. The most used route is Ernakulam-Aluva. Almost all regular passenger, express and intercity trains have a stop at Aluva. Regular passenger trains have 1-minute stops at Edapally, Kumbalangi, Angamally and Aroor stations. Many long-distance trains operate between Thripunithura and Kochi North station.
It is a good idea to take rail during busy peak-hours when buses are overcrowded. Equally good idea to take rail to Aluva from city centre which is the nearest point to Airport (12 km) from where a taxi or Orange Route A bus can taken to avoid city traffic congestion.
By auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk)
This is a cheap method of transport between attractions. You can find an auto stand at almost every bus stop and important places near junctions and residential areas. Make sure you agree on a fare with the driver before the journey. The govt fixed rates starts at ₹30 for the first 1.25 km and ₹7 per km thereafter with a premium of 15% at night (7PM-6AM). Pre-paid auto stands are available only in railway stations.
Taxis are convenient, comfortable, and safer than auto rickshaws. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, this is a good option, though the rates are double that of an auto. Unlike many countries, taxis are not usually marked with signs on the top and do not have meters inside the taxi.
There are two type of taxi services, regular and call taxis. Regular taxis are normally available at designated taxi stands at places such as railway stations, the airport, boat jetties, major bus stations and in front of important hotels.
There is no need to negotiate prices, as most of them follow fixed rates. Regular taxis have tariff cards displayed on the dashboard. Call taxis have charges fixed by their respective companies (although they are normally uniform). The standard tariffs are ₹50 for first 3 km, and ₹8 per km thereafter. Add 10% for a taxi with A/C, and 15-20% at night.
Many taxi companies offer full or half day services. Most of them are fixed on ad-hoc basis, based on the negotiating skills of the passenger. Typical rates are ₹1,100/1,500 for standard/AC taxis for a full day and ₹500/750 for a half day. These rates are not available after 7PM.
By private car
Unless you are into adventure seeking, self-drive in Kochi is not recommended as driving discipline is almost non-existent. There are long stretches of roads passing through heavily populated areas that have no median breaks, and most of them are congested bi-lane roads. A few major roads like MG Rd, NH Bypass Rd and Marine Drive are two lane-dual carriageways with good medians. Speed limit inside city zone is 30 km/hr. Driving is on the left, and all foreign drivers need a valid International Driving Licence attested by the Road Transport Office (RTO). Driving outside the city limits is a fine experience with good scenery and far less traffic. Most of the bridges and few roads carry toll charges collected at manned toll plazas or checkpoints. Almost all tolls are uniformly charged separately for one/two way; 2 wheelers- ₹3/5, 4 wheelers- ₹5/10 and bus/minivans - ₹15/25. Almost all the toll pass is valid for unlimited travel for a period of 24 hours, though a few bridges allow one time validity.
Car rental is not popular among foreign visitors. Many car rental companies refuse to provide self-drive cars to Westerners. Normally a bank guarantee letter or security cheque/traveller's cheque to the value of the car or a passport are taken as security for renting the car. No security deposit is needed if the car is chauffeur-driven.
Most hotels with three stars or more provide private cars for their guests at rates slightly higher than elsewhere.
Kochi has an excellent system of cheap (₹2.5 Park Jetty to Fort Kochi) inter-island ferries. The Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) ferry service called Junkar between Fort Kochi and Vypeen is very popular. There are regular boat services operated by KSINC and other private operators, every 20-30 minutes, from Ernakulam to Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Vypeen and Willingdon Island which are cheaper and in many cases faster, than buses. All services operates from 4:40AM-6:30PM with an exception to Fort Kochi-Vypin Junkar service which operates from 4AM-10:30PM. The major boat jetties are Ernakulam Main Jetty (in Marine Drive near High Court), Park Jetty (in Park Avenue next to KSRTC Bus station), Customs Embarkation Jetty in Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi Jetties. Do take a look at the map provided, as some ferries do not stop at all stops along the way. A few tourist oriented private ferries service non-scheduled routes during tourist seasons connecting mainly to Kumbalangi Tourist village from Ernakulam Main Jetty as well as from Aroor.
As of April 2018, the Vypeen-Fort Kochi vehicle ferry has been out of action for 2 months, and vehicles must make the round trip through Ernakulam.
Main Boat Times :
- Fort Kochi to Ernakulam. 7 INR.
- Fort Kochi to Willingdon Island. 7 INR.
- Mattancherry to Ernakulam via Fort Kochi. 10 INR.
- Vypeen to Ernakulam via Willingdon Island. 9 INR.
Kochi is traditionally not a pedestrian-friendly city considering the humid tropical climate, poor pedestrian walkways and reckless traffic. So it might be good to avoid too much walking in the busy city-centre area. Fort Kochi is one of the better places to walk, with elaborate colonial-style stone pavements.
Most of the famous destinations fall within the range of 10 km so it is good idea to cover them by foot.
Fort Kochi is a perfect place for cycling with dedicated tracks and walkways. However, there are no separate cycling tracks on mainland city roads. Motorbikes are becoming a popular option for tourists to take a ride in other parts of city. Take extra care while biking in Kochi roads as road users can be reckless. There are several tourist firms that offers cycles and bikes on hourly basis.
- Vasco Information Centre, Fort Kochi, ☏ . A popular option, which rents cycles for ₹7 on hourly basis.
- 1 Bastion Bungalow, Napier St, Fort Kochi, ☏ . Typical Indo-Dutch architecture, this bungalow was built on the site of the erstwhile Stromsburg Fort, which was demolished during the Arab raids. It serves as the official residence of the Cochin Sub-Collector and entry is restricted.
- 2 Chinese Fishing Nets (Cheenavala), Fort Kochi Beach, Beach Rd (Next to Fort Kochi Bus stand). Serves as the official icon of Kochi and are a testimony of relations between Ancient Chinese Empires and the Kochi Kingdom. They were gifted by Chinese Emperor Kubalagi to Kochi King in 14th century. There were more than 100, though only a few remain in working condition.
- 3 Chendamangalam Palace Fort, Chendamanalam, nr North Paravur, ☏ . Historically the seat of Paliath Achan, the Prime Minister of Kochi Kingdom. Here the plans were forged for revolt against the British in the 1820s. A functional Jewish Synagogue and a large market are some of the attractions. It is now a centre for handloom weaving and coir manufacturing.
- 4 David Hall, 1/264, Napier Street, Fort Kochi (Opp. Parade Ground), ☏ . Tue-Sun, 11AM-7PM. This 315 year-old Dutch bungalow was the official residence of Dutch Army commanders, the most famous being Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draakestein who authored Horticus Malabaricus. The complex belongs to Netherlands Govt. agency CNO which has been renovated to open a large art gallery, a traditional Dutch performing-arts centre and large studio for young painters. The building is a classic specimen of colonial Dutch architecture with elaborate Dutch gardens. Check at the reception to know the schedule of cultural performances.
- 5 Durbar Hall Ground, DH Rd, Ernakulam City. The venue for many fairs during festivals and regular evening concerts and other programs. Open, free..
- 6 Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Kottaram), Palace Rd, Mattancherry. Sat-Thur 10AM-5PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1568 as a gift to Maharaja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma, after he granted permission to construct Fort Immanunel. During the Dutch siege of Kochi, many parts of the original palace were destroyed. However the Dutch Governor repaired the palace and renamed as Dutch Palace. Coronations of Kochi Maharajas are held here. A large throne and coronation costumes are on display and there is an extensive collection of royal chariots, swords and other artifacts. The most interesting part is the mural room, which has the entire Ramayana and Mahabharat depicted in a single mural. entry ₹5.
Cochin Royal Crown
The biggest highlight of Hill Palace, is the display of Royal Crown, crafted in pure gold weighting 1.75 kg with 95 diamonds and 2,000 other precious stones. It was a gift by the Portuguese to Veera Kerala Varma on his coronation day, which was regarded too extravagant for the Kochi Rajas, who were known for their simple lifestyle. This became a famous tradition that no Kochi Maharajas ever wore this crown, only to keep it on his lap as a testimony of his humility and simplicity. Nearly ten golden crowns were given to the Rajas by the various colonial powers of Dutch, English, Chinese, Arabs which were never worn by the Maharajas.
- 7 Hill Palace Museum, Hill Palace Rd, Thripunithura (12 km southeast of Ernakulam), ☏ . Tu-Su 10AM-12:30PM; 2PM-4:30PM (Crown Gallery closes at 4PM). The erstwhile Kochi Maharaja's palace, now converted to a large museum with a small zoo. Has paintings and epigraphy from collections of Travancore & Kochi royal families. It is the *largest archaeological palace in South India* with more than 500 artifacts divided into 16 galleries. The highlight of the Palace is the display of multi-billion worth Cochin Royal Crown and Crown Jewels. The Crown Gallery is a high security zone with elaborate security checks. Photography and bags are prohibited. The Palace complex is huge with several buildings inside. There is a good Deer Park (10AM-4:30PM) which also has peacocks. A small fauna garden was set up in 2003. The palace has more than 100 different species of trees and plants of medical value. The palace has five large gardens and two large resting grounds of late Maharajas. Indians ₹20, foreigners ₹100 (including Deer Park and all attractions).
- 8 Holy Koonan Cross Church (Pradhankuriyacha Palli), Bazaar Rd. Mattancherry. 24 hrs. Historic church where native Christians had once received the Bishop of Persia and declared their affinities to the Orthodox Eastern Church. Here, Malayalee Christians in 17th century revolted against Portuguese Jesuit missionaries' attempts to convert them to the Latin church. This was the first recorded revolt against Europeans in India, forcing the Pope to recognize native Christians and establish a new church, the Syro-Malabar Church. Free.
- 9 International Pepper Exchange, Jew town, Fort Kochi, ☏ . Kochi's answer to New York's Wall Street, but instead of money, its all about pepper trading. This is the world's only pepper exchange. Its worth to visit to see the wide range of pepper varieties as well as some of trading practices. Free.
- 10 Jew Street and Paradesi Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry. Synagogue Su-Fr 10AM-5PM, Fr afternoon and Sa only open to Jews. The synagogue was constructed in 1568 after allowing Jewish refugees from Jerusalem to settle here during the Crusades making this the *Commonwealth's oldest Synagogue*. This is one of the very few functional synagogues in India and the structure is unique due to influence of native Hindu-Christian architecture as well as the only synagogue having two bimahs. Many Jews lived in the area until the creation of Israel, today there is only a handful. Jew Street is a heritage zone with several antique/handicraft shops. entry ₹5.
- 11 Pallipuram Fort, Pallipuram, Vypin Island. The oldest existing European fortification in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, it was later handed over to the Travancore Army to become a major army base till 1903 when it was converted into a heritage museum. It has a small museum and good views of the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other.
- 12 Pierce Leslie Bungalow, Beach Road, Fort Kochi. The only surviving bungalow built in authentic Portuguese style, it was the home and office of famous English merchant family- the Leslies. It has been restored into a boutique hotel. The hotel management allows tourists to explore the grand exteriors and public interior spaces.
- 13 Princess Street (Loafer’s Corner), Fort Kochi. The most famous street of Fort Kochi which gives you a slice of authentic colonial European architecture. The only street that never faced any raid or demolitions in past, Princess street is a perfect destination for evening walk with numerous western styled cafes, souvenir shops, art galleries and heritage complexes.
- 14 St. Francis CSI Church (CSI Pally), Church Rd, Fort Kochi (Near to Fort Kochi Beach). Daily 7AM-5.30PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1503 and the burial place of Vasco da Gama (his remains were later transferred to Lisbon). His tombstone can be seen inside the church. The church has a large cemetery which serves as resting grounds of many Portuguese army officials and soldiers. The church is the only Catholic Church not demolished by Dutch which was handed over to British to re-establish an Anglican church. A large war memorial is at the back, and honours the unknown soldiers who died in World War 1. Free.
- 15 Santa Cruz Basilica, Cathedral Grounds, Fort Kochi (opposite Children's Park). Daily 7AM-5.30PM. The first European Church built in Asia, by the Portuguese in 1502, also the first Cathedral of Asia and seat of second Catholic Diocese in India. The British modified the structure and added oil paintings. Today, it serves as the primary seat of the Latin church of Kerala. Pope John Paul II declared it a Basilica in 1984. It houses several historical paintings, decors and artifacts. Free.
- VOC Gate, Fort Kochi (opposite the Parade grounds). The only remains of the office of Dutch East India Company is this large wooden gate with a monogram (VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) emblem of Dutch East India Company).
Museums and galleries
- 16 , INS Dronarcharya, Fort Kochi. 0930 to 1300 hrs &1400 to 1800 hrs. Built by the Indian Navy, the museum has one section taking you through the Indian Navy's moments. These include details of Junaghad operation, Goa liberation, Indo-Pak conflicts of 1965 and 1971 and strategic maneuvers during Kargil war. Many battle scenes are recreated with life-size models, a huge display of naval arms and ammunitions, replicas of large naval ships, personalities, are some of the major highlights. When you visit, bear in mind that India is one of the top ten naval powers in the world. At the museum, the visitors are enlightened on the evolution of the navy since 1612. Another section unravels India's shipbuilding prowess which took its culture to the shores of Java, Sumatra and Bali between 4 BC-11 AD.
- 17 Indo-Portuguese Museum, Fort Kochi. highlights the start of European colonization of the Orient in the 16th century. The museum showcases the growth and decline of the Portuguese life in Kochi with focus on the growth of the Latin Church. There are also excavated ruins of the former fort wall in the basement of the museum.
- 18 Kashi Art Gallery, Burgar St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 8:30am - 7:30pm. is both an art gallery and cafe that serves light breakfasts and lunches. The gallery exhibits work by popular contemporary Indian artists.
- 19 Museum of Kerala History, NH 47 Rd (near Edappally Toll Gate). A good, well maintained museum with a 40 minute light and sound show (English and Malayalam) about Kerala history. Depicts the history of Kerala through life-like wax statues. Adjacent are the Museum of Dolls with nearly 1,000 dolls from various countries, and M.N.F Art and Sculpture Gallery that has many good collections of paintings and sculptures. This museum has a small, well maintained garden. ₹100 (30 for children).
- 20 Pareekshith Thampuran Durbar Hall Art Gallery, Dubar Hall Ground, DH Rd. Contains oil paintings, old coins, sculptures, Mughal paintings plus models of temples and traditional Kerala buildings. It was the official Durbar Hall of Kochi Maharajas, now converted into a large fine arts gallery. It is named after last Maharaja of Kochi, who was an oil painter. A small studio nearby promotes young artists. Free.
- 21 Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village, Kumbalangi island (15 km from city centre), ☏ . India's first eco-tourist village, this award winning initiative allows tourists to explore and enjoy the authentic rural culture with the cooperation of natives without disturbing their natural lifestyle. Tourists to this island village have chances to explore rural work styles, a specialized local paddy cultivation, canoeing in a country boat in a maze of mangrove forests or enjoying fishing or partying in rural style with locals. In order to maintain best eco-protection practices, several restrictions are placed on use of plastics, smoking or even carrying soft-drinks.
- 22 Mastyafed Milky-way Aqua-Tourist Village, Malipuram Village, Vypin (12 km from city centre), ☏ . 10AM-5PM. A unique concept where a large shrimp farm of the state-run Mastyafed Organization is converted into an Aqua-tourist village with options to fish for fresh prawns, crabs and shrimp for a nominal fee, canoeing within a mangrove forest, sun-bathing, swimming at a private beach nearby and enjoying sunset picnic cruise. Breakfast and lunch are included in entry cost and have a wide range of fish delicacies and pickles. ₹100 per person.
Places of worship
Hindu, Jain and Sikh
- 23 Aluva Manalpuram. Famous for the annual Shivarathri festival on the banks of the Periyar river.
- 24 Chottanikkara Devi Temple (at Thripunithura 15 km from city). One of the 108 large Devi (Goddess) temples of India. The temple is famous for treatments of various psychic disorders like split personality syndrome as well as for its annual Makam festival (mid Feb-mid March). It is believed to have 3 forms of the Goddess in 3 phases of day. Famous during Navarathiri time.
- 25 Dharmanath Desar Jain Mandir, 5/688 Gujarathi St, Mattancherry (12 km from ernakulam jn), ☏ . Popularly known as Gujarathi Mandir is one of the oldest Jain temples in India, established by the Gujarathi community who settled here more than 300 years ago. This is a major Theerth (pilgrimage) for Jains and all major North Indian festivals are celebrated in grand way. Pigeon feeding during noon, is one of the main rituals here.
- 26 Ernakulam Siva Temple (at the centre of town, near the Durbar Hall Ground, Ernakulam), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Has three temples within its complex.
- 27 Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha (in Perumanoor in Thevera, south end of MG Rd), ☏ . Is the lone Sikh Gurudwara of Kerala, established by the Punjabi community of Kochi in 1955. Special rites and Guru ka Langar rituals are held every Saturday and Sunday.
- 28 Poornathrayeesa Temple (in the heart of Thripunithura). Devoted to Lord Vishnu was once the royal temple of Kochi Maharajas. This temple is famous for its Panthizhuaari (Milk Dessert made of rice flakes) distributed during afternoons and grand temple festivals twice in a year.
- 29 Thirumala Devaswom Temple, Mattancherry. Built by the Gowda Sarawatha Brahmins with Lord Venkateswara as the main deity. It is famous for housing the second largest brass bell in Asia. The North Gopuram is fully roofed with copper.
- 30 Thrikkakara Temple, Thrikkakara. A major centre for celebration of the Onam festival and the only temple in India devoted to the Hindu deity Vamana. Get here during Onam and you can catch ten days of festivities, peppered with performances of Kerala's traditional arts including songs, dances, dramas, musical instruments, apart from fireworks and elephant parades, and ending with a Onam feast. The makaram Ayyapan festival, Saraswati puja and other Hindu festivals are also celebrated here. Open, free..
- 31 Malayattoor Mount (26 km away). A major Christian pilgrimage centre believed to be the place where St Thomas performed his first miracle in AD 52. Today, it is famous for its annual Holy week-Easter pilgrimage.
- 32 St. Antony's Shrine, Banerji Rd, Deshabhimani Junction, Kaloor (Mathribhumi Junction), ☏ . At this shrine that belongs to Archdiocese of Verapoly people of different faith and culture flock together day and night seeking blessings.
- 33 St. Francis Assisi Cathedral, High Court Junction, Marine Dr (behind Verapoly Archdiocese HQ). Locally known as Kappalpalli (Ship Church due to its ship shaped structure).
- 34 [dead link] St.George's Church, Edapally, NH 47 Rd. A popular church, also amongst non-Christians. Famous for its poison cure treatments.
- 35 St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam,, High Court Junction, Marine Dr (behind Verapoly Archdiocese HQ), ☏ . The Cathedral is dedicated to "Our Lady of Ports". The Cathedral was built in the early twentieth century under the direction of Mar Louis Pazheparambil The church is also a prominent Marian Pilgrim Centre in India.
- 36 Chembittapally Mosque, Fort Kochi. Famous for its large super-imposing structure having large shining copper domes (thus the name, which means Mosque having Copper Roofs). The compound has 3 gates; one in west which opens way to Panayapilly, second in south which opens way to Goldenmukku and Kochangadi, and the main gate in the eastern side of compound, which opens way to Angadi, which in turn leads the way to Jew Street and Mattancherry Bazaar towards the north and to Chullickal towards south.
- 37 Kanjiramattam Mosque, Kanjiramattom Thalappara Road, Millungal Junction, Kanjiramattom (30 km to the east), ☏ . Major Muslim pilgrimage centre and venue of the Kudikkuthu Festival. Famous for the annual Urus festival. Imams of this mosque are famous for being leading scholars who were advisors to Kochi Rajas. This mosque is an example of antique beauty of mazhars and dargahs. This was recognized by Kochi Maharajas as official along with temples. The annual Chandanakudam in January attracts many pilgrims. During the festival, pilgrims carry pots smeared with sandalwood paste in a procession to the mosque, with caparisoned elephants and percussion musics – both found in temples – form essential parts of the Chandanakudam festival.
Parks and nature
- 38 Changampuzha Park, Edapally, ☏ . A spacious place established in 1977, ideal for picnics and group discussions.
- 39 Managalavanam, Tatapuram-Pachalam Rd (Behind High Court Complex), ☏ . A thick 80-acre mangrove forest in the heart of Kochi and declared a flora sanctuary. More than 30 unique flora are found here and it is also a major bird sanctuary, where migratory birds feed and rest when they escape the cold northern winters.
- 40 Marine Drive Promenade, Ernakulam Jetty. It starts from Gateway Hotel area and ends in Ernakulam boat jetty bus station. The total distance is less than one km. There is a children's park in the middle.
- 41 Subhash Bose Park, Park Ave. One of the largest parks in Kochi.
- 42 Cherai Beach, North of Vypin Island (Take Route-3 bus from High Court stand). Gold beaches with big sand grains, coconut palm corridors, backwaters and historical monuments. Cherai Beach surpasses all with its swimming facility and coconut groves. Occasional sights of dolphins is also an added attraction. This is one of the safest beaches for swiming, watersports and beach games. A very large beautiful backwaters just 250 m from beach is famous for scenic beauty and boating.
- 43 Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi. A historic beach where 1st Portuguese-Dutch war broke out in the 17th century. Once a very large beach, it has reduced to a quarter in size after the Tsunami. A beautiful, small walkway is ideal for evening strolls. One can find remnants of Old Portuguese Immanuel Fort along with parts of Dutch Stormberg Fort with some canons still kept intact. An obsolete boiler that once used for powering cranes of old port and a very large anchor of an old Portuguese ship are displayed on the walkway. Works for creating a new artificial beach is undergoing near to this old beach with help of Tsunami development funds.
- 44 Kodanad Elephant Training Centre (Ana Thothil), Vallom Panamkuzhi Road, Malayattoor, ☏ . 9AM-6PM. Lies on the southern bank of the Periyar amongst the scenic beauty of the high ranges, Kodanadu is extremely famous for its unique elephant training college, elephant orphanage and a mini zoo with deer and peacocks here. Wild elephants are first tamed in special cradles and then taken to the nearby training college, where they are trained. The elephant orphanage rears baby elephants until they are ready for training college. Elephant safari is one of the most sought tourist activity here along with kids playing ball games with baby elephants.
The Marine Drive Promenade
- Walk @ Marine Drive. The Marine Drive is not a street but a two-km-long promenade with vehicle traffic banned. The backwaters are on one side and a busy shopping district is on the other side of the walk. The walkway starts from the High Court jetty, goes through two scenic bridges and ends at Rajendra Maidan. A few malls stand along the way. Chill off the heat while you walk with a Sharjah shake or ice-cream, or one of the local delicacies.
- Ernakulam Public Library.
See Festivals of Kerala for further details.
- Chendamangalam Matta Chanda (2 days prior to Vishu Festival) near Chendamangalam Fort, is the only official barter market in the world, as reminiscent of olden market style. The recorded history of this market is nearly 300 years old, where traditional & heritage items are sold in exchange of modern items of equal value. Matta Chanda is today a tourism attraction and a traditional ritual rather than serious shopping, hence only traditional Kerala specialties can be brought in exchange of modern and regular items like branded soaps, perfumes, clothes, hair accessories, electronic components, batteries, medicines, as agreed mutually buyer and seller.
- Cochin Carnival (Dec 20-Jan 2) is the biggest carnival festival in the city. Started in 1582 as part of Portuguese New Year's celebrations. A wonderful array of colourful rallies, fancy dress parades, regular competitions, bike races, beach games, sports, theme festivals, concerts and dances, fireworks and most important, the night beach parties, make it one of the largest celebrations in India. The New Year's Eve party is the highlight of this festival, when a large parade carrying a huge statute of Papanai (a Santa Claus-like image) is taken to the beach, where it is set on fire on the stroke of midnight. This is followed by a grand party. The carnival ends with the Grand Parade on the afternoon of January 1st.
- Fireworks Festival of Maradu Kottaram Devi Temple(mid March - mid April) hosts India's second largest fireworks as part of their temple festival finale. Takes place in the festival grounds of Maradu with mega fireworks display lasting for 1.5 hours for last two days.
- Onam Festival (ten day festival mid-August to mid-September) is the state festival of Kerala originating in Kochi. It is based on the legend of welcoming the mythical King Mahabali whose capital was believed to be at the current site of Thrikakkara Temple. The ten day festivities start off with an parade on Atham day called Athachamayam. It is held in Thripunithura starting from the Atham Grounds and has many tableaux, dance parades, cultural art forms ending at Thrikakkara Temple.
- Shiva Temple Festival (first week of January) takes place at the Shiva Temple and Durbar Hall Ground, famous for its ten elephant parade and host of cultural activities. The last day of the festival, Pakalpooram, is famous for its traditional Kerala percussion ensemble, a huge display of fireworks and a 21 gun salute by the Indian Navy and Kerala Police.
- Thripunithura Vrischikolsavam (mid November - mid December) at Thripunithura Poornathrayeesa Temple is a grand temple festival in Kerala, one of the biggest after Thrissur Pooram. This was once the royal festival of the Kochi Kingdom. The cultural attractions draw huge crowds with regular performances of Kathakali.
- Dream World, Near Silver Storm.
- Silverstorm Water Park. A good family theme park with 29 water and dry rides, a very large park and a Chinese village. Near Athirapally Waterfalls area, this park is 50 km from Kochi City, 18 km from the airport.
- Wonderla - in Kakkanad is second largest theme park in South India. Spread over 50 acres of land with more than 50 Rides and various shows, it has well maintained gardens and five restaurants as well as small cafes. Open 9:30AM-7PM.
Kochi has some good sporting facilities. Football is the official game here and is regularly played by locals in open areas. Cricket is extremely popular and regularly played by youngsters.
- Beach Sports. Fort Kochi beach and Cherai beaches are very popular among locals for playing beach volleyball. Try a tough game of beach-football which is very popular here. Water-ski and biking is also popular in Fort Kochi beaches.
- Cochin International Stadium at Kaloor has good open football court and a cricket court where locals play regularly, free of cost. Badminton and tennis courts next to this ground can be used on payment of fees at sports office of St. Albert's College which owns them. The stadium can be easily accessed by bus or a nearby MRT stop.
- Cricket pitches, Palace Oval Grounds in Tripunithara is the most popular large open cricket pitch where the Kochi Royals used to play their favourite past-time. Apart from this, there are new large pitches in Parade grounds of Fort Kochi and in Kadavanthara (near GCDA Nagar).
- Football pitches. There is a large football pitch at Parade Grounds in Fort Cochin, where locals play regularly in evening and you will likely be welcome to join in. Likewise at Maharaja's Football and Cricket pitches near College Ground in MG Road, Ambedkar City Stadium near KSRTC Bus station in Rajaji Rd and at the Marine Drive ground.
- Go Karting @ Airport. A short karting circuit is at the city side of Cochin Airport, opposite the airline complex. Regular karting competitions are held on weekends and a few rallies are also organized.
- Maharaja's Stadium Grounds, at KPCC Jn in MG Road has large athletic grounds, a state-of-art synthetic track popular among athletic enthusiasts.
- 1 Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Kadavanthara. It has badminton, tennis, squash, volleyball and basketball courts. Rooms for chess, caroms, table-tennis and board games are also available. For an entrance fee payable at the indoor sports office, you can play here or join regular users. There is a state-of-art fitness complex and billiards-snooker pool inside this stadium. An Olympic-sized swimming pool is available outside. Large football and cricket pitches are available free-of-charge. Locals play regularly here and you can join them.
- Water Sports is popular in Kochi, particularly in Fort Kochi beach and Cherai beach where water skis/jets and water scooters are available. Cochin Marina in Bolgatty Island, Yacht club in Thevara and Ramada Resort in Panagad operate a wide range of water sports games. Para-gilding is not allowed due to proximity of several strategic military installations.
- Boating on the Kochi backwaters (at Marine Drive). Get the real feel of the Vembanadu Lake through boating. There are many cruises offered by many private players as well as the Kerala State Inland Shipping Corp. Sunset cruises are popular. Many guesthouses offer the trip and in the centre you can arrange it by yourself as well. Speedboats also ply on the backwaters. Some premium hotels in Willingdon Island and Fort Kochi offer motorised watersports for its guests. <
Daily backwater tours can be organised directly through the state tourism office at Erankulam Park Jetty. They cost ₹650 per person and must be booked at least the day before. The tour includes a stop at local small industry and food sites.
There are many performing arts complexes across the city, offering a good experience of various art-forms and culture. Kochi has the largest number of regular evening Kathakali theaters, offering the best insight into this traditional dance-drama art-form of Kerala. Apart from Kathakali, many other events are regularly performed in Kochi.
- Greenix Tourist Theater, Greenix Village, Kalvatty, Fort Kochi. A good cultural theater with a gallery, food court and mini museum.
- JT Pac Cultural Theater, Choice House, Choice lane, Kumbalam. is one of the most modern and upscale performing arts complexes, which has regular concerts, drama festivals, dance programs and other arts and cultural activities. A 1000 seater theater, it also has a good gallery and latest visual-audio systems. Booking may be necessary to secure seats and the theater has strict dress code regulations.
- Kalikotta, Palace Rd, Thripunithura. is the official concert palace hall of the Kochi royal family who are patrons of more than a dozen cultural institutions and societies. Most performances are free. The mega Kathakali festival organized prior to Temple festival of Thripunithura Poornathresya Royal temple, is one of the largest Kathakali events here.
- Kerala Fine-Arts complex (Foreshore Rd). This is one of the oldest centres, with regular cultural performances. Many require prior booking, as they are organized by prestigious societies and groups. There are some performances that have free entry, and the monthly cultural programs of Bank Employees Union is one such.
- Kerala Folklore Theater (Near Thevara-Island bridge, Folklore Junction, Thevara). Good cultural theater with regular evening performances, a state-of-the-art museum and cultural gallery.
- See India Foundation, ☏ . Kalathil Parambil Crossroad, nr Valanjambalam Temple, Chitoor Rd. An evening Kathakali theater, where daily performances take place from 6PM-8PM. This is the oldest and first evening Kathakali theater in India. The show is preceded by a detailed discourse of Kathakali history and philosophy, elaborate make-up performances and a demonstration of Kathakali techniques.
Day-shopping is more popular than night-shopping. All shopping outlets close by 8PM. During festive seasons, late night shopping (11PM-3:30AM) are organized to reduce day-time shopping congestion.
The Onam Festival (mid of Aug-Sept) is one of the best shopping seasons, when you get heavy discounts ranging between 10-50% for almost all items as well as regular consumer fairs. X'mas is the next best season. The Kerala Government has started the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (15 Dec-30 Jan), to promote Kerala as a shopping destination. Kochi is the main focal centre of this festival and you get heavy discounts at participating stores and regular lucky draws.
The narrow strip sandwiched between Marine Drive and MG Road houses the celebrated Broadway Market which is one of the Kochi's oldest shopping corners where you can buy anything from safety pins to motor scooters. A spice market operates inside, offering the best of Kerala's spices, saffron and various oils. There is also a cloth market, a jewellery market, a fancy items market, a vegetable/fruit market and an electronic/watch market. Also try at Mattancherry Old Spice market, which is one of the oldest spice markets in the country. There are nearly half dozen small markets, mostly run by Gujarathi and Konkanis where you can slice of Indian market flavours.
Jew town in Fort Cochin has numerous antique and craft stores. Most of the antique shops sell colonial era and heritage pieces, as well as Jewish items from the traditional Jewish homes of the area. You can also find many kinds of Indian sculptures, decor, interior artifacts and souvenirs. Bargains are available but be warned that many 'antiques' were probably made in the owners backyard. Shop with care and bargain hard. Never trust touts, who get hefty commissions from unscrupulous antique dealers.
- Cauvery, M G Rd (at Jos Junction), ☏ . A government emporium well known for quality handicrafts at reasonable price.
- Cochin Crafts Antique Shop, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue), ☏ . Good collection of crafts and antique shops.
- Crafters Exports, Jewtown (Walk down from the synagogue), ☏ . This shop has certified large collection of artifacts and heritage pieces. Its a very popular option.
- Isidore Art Palace, Jewtown (next to the Synagogue), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Will reliably ship stuff outside India. Bargain hard.
- 1 Yousuf Art Gallery (Galleria Synagogue Art Gallery), 776 Jew Town (walk down the street from the synagogue), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Showcases art work from many different local artists. Prices are reasonable, and they very often have exhibitions showing some amazing art work from the region. They feature art works and exhibitions by professional artists as well as talented emerging artists from South India.
Try state-run emporiums that offer high quality certified antiques and artworks. However, they offer no bargain or discount. Check at Kerala's state emporium showrooms, Kairali & Surabhi and Karnataka's Kaveri, all on MG Road.
Large western-style shopping malls opened up in the last decade. Six are functional. Apart from malls, there are numerous shopping complexes in Cochin (large complex having many shops close to each other, selling mostly only one type of product).
- Lulu Mall. In the Edapally area of Kochi is India's largest mall. Opened on 10 March 2013, the mall consists of more than 360 outlets including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones and a nine-screen multiplex, ice skating rink and bowling alley. Buses frequently leave Kochi Bus station for Lulu Mall for around ₹20 one way.
- 2 Oberon Mall, nr Padivattom Signal Junction, NH Bypass Road, ☏ . was one of the earliest large scale multi-format shopping malls here. A typical mall with wide range of branded stores, large hypermarket, anchor store of Reliance Trends (multi-brand apparels), book/stationery store, spa, beauty saloon, large food court and four-screen cinemas.
- Nucleus Mall, Maradu. is the latest entrant to the Kochi's Mall culture. A spacious sub-urban mall, ideal for shoppers to shop in hassle free area without worries of traffic and large crowds.
- Grande Gold Souk, Vyittila Junction.. This is the only mall having a wedding theme, with more than 150 stores selling various jewellery brands and branded/unbranded apparel. The mall has a large bowling alley, sports bar, gaming zone, a luxurious multiplex and good food court.
- Centre Square, M.G road. was the latest mall opened in Kochi and has a food court and a 11 screen multiplex called Cinepolis.
- Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive. A small-sized family mall, one of the earliest in Kochi, in heart of city with a few brand stores, a small food court, a fitness centre, a gift shop and a music store.
Apparel and fabric
Kochi has many famous designer boutiques, mostly in Convent Junction between MG Road and Marine Drive. Panampally Nagar also houses premium exclusive designer boutiques. MG Road, the arterial road, is lined with many premium brand stores, leading apparel shops and boutiques. Cloth bazaar in Broadway Market is one of the largest apparel market selling unbranded fabrics and apparels at lower rates. For dress and fabrics the best options are:
- Adidas, Lulu mall, M G Road, Centre Square. Adidas clothes, shoes etc.
- Being Human, Centre Square, Lulu Mall.
- Calvin Klein Jeans, Lulu Mall.
- CAT, Lulu Mall.
- Club Burgoyne, Lulu Mall. A place to buy Linen
- FCUK, M G Road.
- Fila, Bay Pride Mall.
- Jayalakshmi Silks, Shenoys Junction, MG Rd. The oldest and most popular destination for bridal collections and popular throughout Kerala. It also houses a very large men's collection with many traditional and modern outfits. It is suitable for a wide range of budgets.
- Kalanikethan, M G Road. A newly opened shop in kochi, a place for women's wear.
- Kalyan Silks, General Hospital Rd. One of the largest silk saree showrooms and a good place to get many kinds of Indian and western clothing, including popular western brands, at very reasonable rates. Silk Sarees are its trademark and most of them are well priced.
- Karalkada, MG Road, near Pai dosa. a Perfect place for Traditional Kerala Sarees and Munds.
- Kasavukada, South End of Foreshore Rd near Church Landing. A good place to buy a wide range of ethnic Kerala dress like Mundu, Kasavu Mundu Neyriyattu and ethnic men's Jubas.
- Levi's, Ernakulam South, Lulu Mall.
- Louis Philippe, M G Road, Lulu Mall.
- Lulu Celebrate, Lulu Mall. Bridal Dresses
- Lulu Fashion Store, Lulu Mall. A fashion store for the whole family.
- My Kingdom, Shenoys Junction, MG Rd. An upscale apparel and accessories store spread over four stories, each of which is for different age groups and genders. Has an extensive collection of latest clothing. Also a spa, beauty saloon and baby centre.
- Nike, Lulu Mall, M G Road, Centre Square.
- Pepe Jeans, Lulu Mall,Oberon Mall.
- Puma, M G Road, Lulu Mall, Centre Square, Oberon Mall.
- Reebok, Lulu Mall, Centre Square, M G Road.
- Seematti, North End, MG Road. One of the posher silk and dress fashion centres and a trend setter in creating unique designs and special materials for its Sarees. Its owner - Beena Kannan - is a leading fashion designer and new designs come every six months. Most of its sarees are out-of-traditional kind, making its unique. It is comparatively more costly than other brands. The men's area is not so elaborate and has only few collections.
- Shalini James's Mantra, Oberon Mall. A Boutique.
- Tommy Hilfiger, M G Road, Lulu Mall.
- Tommy Hilfiger Kids, Lulu mall.
- United Colors of Benetton, Mg Road, Lulu Mall. Casual wear
- Village Shop, Behind Sony Center, Ravipuram, MG Road, +91 484 3078472, +91 484 2361717 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Village Shop is a Home Furnishing store in Kochi. They sell hand-loomed soft furnishings.
- Wills Lifestyle, Lulu Mall, M G Road.
Bookshops and stationery
There are numerous bookstores in Convent Junction and the Fort Kochi area. Pressclub Rd in Convent Junction is a hot-spot for book lovers.
- Blossom Book Fair, I S press road. Good place to get brand new and second hand books at discounted rates.
- Crossword, Lulu Mall. Stationery and bookstore, providing various fiction and non-fiction books and music CDs, branded pens like Cross, Sheaffer and Parker and other stationery.
- DeeCee, Island Castle Complex, Chittoor Rd (Opposite YMCA), ☏ . A very large multi-lingual bookstore, famous for wide range of English fiction books.
- Kurien's Tower, Banerjee Rd (opposite Saritha Cinemas). Has many good book stores within it. Includes DC Books.
- Pai&Co, Broadway and MG Rd. The first bookstore of the city, its very popular for all kinds of reading materials.
- The Penguin Store, Centre Square. a desirable place to buy all sorts of books.
Footwear, luggage and watches
There are many shops selling footwear and luggage in all price ranges. For budget options, try the shops near both railway stations. Beware, many of these shops offer cheap varieties which may not last long.
- American Tourister, Oberon Mall, M G Road.
- Bata, M G Road, Lulu Mall, General Hospital Road.
- Calvin Klein, Lulu Mall.
- Casio, Bay Pride Mall, Lulu Mall, Oberon Mall.
- Citizen, M G Road, Lulu Mall.
- Crocs, Lulu Mall.
- Fastrack, M G Road, Lulu Mall.
- Footwear Bazaar, small dedicated bazaar in at the northwestern side of Broadway Market.
- Pavers, Lulu Mall. British footwear brand
- Rado, Oberon Mall, Lulu Mall.
- Reliance Footprints, Oberon Mall. A national footwear chain, most famous for its in-house brands.
- Swiss Time Boutique, Lulu Mall. Features Rolex,Mont Blanc, Longines and many other brands
- Samsonite, Oberon Mall, M G Road.
- Seiko, Lulu Mall.
- Swatch, Lulu Mall.
- Swiss Time House, GCDA Complex. A watch shop offering watches from many brands including TagHeur, Casio, Titan, Zoop, Q&Q, Timex, etc.
- Sylcon Footwear, Oberon Mall, M G Road. A leading Kerala footwear chain, that offers many national and international brands as well as luggage.
- Timex, Near Bay Pride Mall.
- Tissot, Lulu Mall, Oberon Mall.
- Titan, M G Toad, Lulu Mall, Oberon Mall.
- Wildcraft, Lulu Mall, Oberon Mall. All types of bags and Camping Gear.
- Witco, M G Road. A perfect place to buy branded bags and luggage.
Kochi is famous for gold, silver, diamond and platinum jewelry. Most jewellers are concentrated at Jewel Junction (Woodland Junction), MG Road near Hotel Woodlands. Normal gold purity in India is 22 carat. 24 carat gold ornaments (thankam) are not so popular but are available. Lightweight collections in 18 carat gold have become popular among youngsters and teenagers.
- A Geeri Pai, Broadway, M G Road.
- Alapatt Gold, Jewel Junction, MG Road, ☏ . One of the oldest with an extensive gold collection, ranging from traditional to modern.
- Avatar Jewellers, Lulu Mall.
- Bhima Boutique, Lulu Mall.
- Bhima Silver Palace, Jewel Junction, MG Rd. Large collection of silver ornaments, souvenirs and cutlery.
- H. Venkatesha Naik Jewellery, ☏ . Rajaji Road, Near Kavitha Junction. Offers modern designs and lightweight collections. It also has an extensive diamond gallery and trendy collection of watches.
- Josco Jewellers, M G Road, Lulu Mall. A Good 916 gold and diamond jewellery.
- Kirtilals, ☏ . Opposite Maharaja's College Ground, MG Rd. A grand exclusive diamond gallery, featuring more than 2,000 diamond collections and platinum jewel designs.
- Malabar Gold, ☏ . Jewel Junction, opposite Grand Hotel, MG Road. An extensive gold, platinum and diamond collection. It has one of the largest watch gallery selling latest international premium brands like Rado, Tissot and others.
- Tanishq, South. Jewellery by Tata
For cosmetics and women's accessories, Convent Junction is the haven for the fairer sex. Many international cosmetics and personal care brands can be bought at prices lower than in western countries.
- Alphonsa Cosmetics Collections, ☏ . Convent Junction. A good collection of all international and national cosmetics brands.
- The Body Shop, Lulu Mall.
- Goodwill Collections, ☏ . TKM Park, Convent Junction. One of the largest cosmetic store with collections of jewellery and bags.
- Le Mars, Civil Lanes, Palarivattom, ☏ , , . A popular multi-brand women's store.
You can buy electronic gadgets at comparatively lower rates than most other regions in India. For the latest technology, Kochi hosts many large consumer electronics fairs and every new technology gadget gets into stores very fast. The Electronics Street (opposite Medical Trust Hospital in Pallimukku) and Kadavanthara are the prefect place to buy most of electronics gadegets. Penta Menaka and GCDA Mall are famous for mobile phones. Atlantis Junction and Ravipuram are well known for various computer/laptop hardware shopping.
- Canon Image Square, Lulu mall.
- Currents, Centre Square. Apple's premium reseller
- Imagine, Lulu Mall. The first Apple premium reseller in Kerala
- Lulu Connect, Lulu Mall. a perfect place for gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones and other appliances.
- QRS, Edapally, near Ravipuram. A store for electronic appliances.
- Reliance Digital, M G Road. A showroom for all sorts of electronic gadgets.
- Samsung, Ravipuram, Lulu Mall.
- Sony Center, Ravipuram.
- Sony Vaio, Lulu mall.
Food shopping is mainly done at supermarkets and bakeries. Bakeries normally sell bread and branded food products, while most supermarkets sell household provisions and packaged food items.
- KR Bakes, Anns Bakery, Bake My Days, Breadworld and Best Bakery are the most popular local bakery chains, with many locations.
- Lulu Hypermarket, Lulu Mall. The largest hypermarket in Kochi, it has all sorts of groceries and household objects. Over 20 billing counters.
- Reliance has many branches in Kochi, in 2 formats, Fresh (offers a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruits with limited other grocery items), Super (large supermarket, offering groceries and vegetables/fruits). Reliance is a pure vegetarian supermarket chain but outside the supermarket, they operate a small store called DeLite that offers non-vegetarian items, including fresh meat.
- Mitra, Food Bazaar, Big Bazaar Express, Nine-Ten, WellMart and Triveni are other popular supermarkets.
- Supplyco (Govt run), operates an extensive chain of small stores branded Maveli and regular supermarkets branded as Supplyco throughout the city. They also have a medical pharmacy attached to the supermarkets, offering English medicines at a 30% discount.
- Varkeys was the most popular supermarket chain in Kochi. It is a locally owned chain. Has a good in-house bakery. Only one or two stores.
Banks, ATMs and changing money
Almost all national banks operate in Kochi and most have branches in MG Road, as do a few international banks such as HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered and Oman Bank. ATMs are uniformly spread across the city and most major shopping places have an adjacent ATM.
Most of the nationalized banks are authorised to carry out Forex activities. Western Union and Moneygram have many franchises in the city.
- American Express Foreign Exchange Services Pvt Ltd, 39/1728, Tharakan House, MG Rd., ☏ .
- Muthoot Exchange Co (P) Ltd, ☏ . G.F.13, Muthoot Chambers, Kurian Towers, Opp. Saritha Theatre, Banerji Rd.
- Pheroze Framroze & Co (P) Ltd, ☏ . Behind Woodland Hotel, Layam Rd.
- Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, ☏ . Palai Towers, 1st Floor, Right Wing, M G Rd.
- UAE Exchange, ☏ . Opp Maharaja's College Ground, M G Rd.
- Wall Street Finance Ltd, ☏ . G 42, Pioneer Tower, Marine Drive.
For the past 600 years, Kochi has catered to many visitors from around the world including Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, Russians and Japanese. This has made the city a melting pot of various cultures, and this diversity is evident in the cuisine.
Being a coastal city, plenty of fresh seafood is the local speciality. With the backwaters, freshwater fish is also popular here. Prawns, squids and shrimps are easily available and cooked in many styles. The most famous of Kochi's specialty dishes is Meen Molagitta Curry (smoked freshwater fish with chilly and coconut milk). The English popularized smoked fish with steamed bread and mashed potatoes. One of Kochi's traditional vegetarian specialties is Kurukku Kalan (a thick yogurt curry with toasted banana and hot rice). Packed Kurukku Kalan as well as Palada (a sweet dessert with rice flakes and milk) are sold in many supermarkets and food stalls, especially during festive times.
At Fort Kochi beach you can buy fresh fish and have it cooked at the nearby food stalls. Fishmongers will sell you a kilo of tiger prawns for around ₹300 and a kilo of squid for around ₹250. Food stalls will charge you ₹40-50 per person to cook your fish (grilled, curry, whatever) and provide you with a serve of chips and salad. Conditions are reasonably hygienic.
Fried fish, Fish molly (a coconut milk sauce based curry almost like stew), Alleppey fish curry (traditional curry with tomato sauce and fish tamarind) and Fish Peera (chunks of fish toasted with grated coconuts with fish tamarind sauce), Varatharacha Kozhi curry (semi-fried chicken toasted with coconut and chilly) are the favorites, usually taken with rice or steamed tapioca (cassava). Also worth trying are the traditional rice based breakfast snacks, puttu and kadala, appam and stew.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
- Bloomsbury's, Lulu mall. Has an artisan bakery and boutique cafe.
- Cafe Coffee Day, Ravipuram, M G Road, Lulu Mal(2).
- Costa Coffee, Lulu Mall.
- McDonald's, Lulu Mall and M G Road.
- Subway, Multiple Locations- Lulu Mall,Centre Square mall,Panampilly Nagar.
Kochi has a variety of cheap restaurants all over the city. A full meal should cost less than ₹50.
Thattukadas are streetside food hawkers, where you can get hot, fresh-cooked delicious food, costing a maximum of ₹50 for a good filling meal. Most offer set meal combinations served from portable cooking trolleys with a few benches or chairs nearby. The most famous delicacies are stuffed or plain thattu dosas (thick dosas almost like pizza bread), hot Kerala porottas (flat bread of milled wheat), Kerala roast beef with chappatti and kanji (rice porridge). The main concern is the lack of hygiene and constant reuse of oil for frying.
Kochi has some home-grown fast food chains: KR Hot Chicken, 61 Pai Dosas, Luciya's Food Court, Potpurri, The Oven, Krispy Chicken, Arabian Treat, Papa Milano's and Breadworld Broasted Chicken have a presence in most parts of town. Foreign franchises such as KFC, Chicking, Noodle Kings, McDonalds, Burger KIng, US Pizzas, Marrybrown, Pizza Hut and Domino's also have a presence here.
- Aruvi Restaurant, for non-toxic beverages, Nature lunch etc. Tea, coffee etc. are not available. Instead "Jappi" an ayurvedic herbal drink is ordered by the visitors. Aruvi is on I. S. Press Road (9496044519), Kacherippady (9496044519), and Chambakkara at Vyttiila (9496044517).
- Arya Nivas, Chitoor Rd (opposite South Bus Stand). A chain of vegetarian restaurants run by Tamilians, famous for typical south Indian foods.
- Bimbis Foodcourt, Jos Junction, MG Rd. Famous among backpackers and budget tourists, it has a wide range of veg options from North Indian, South Indian, Continental and Chinese food courts.
- Hotel Thali (opposite Little Flower Church, near Kadavanthra). Very good Kerala style cuisine.
- Hotel Unnikrishnan, Pallimukku (opposite Medical Trust Hospital). Famous for Kerala style fish fries and set meals.
- Indraprastha Gujarati Food Court, MG Rd (Ground floor, DD Food Court, near Shenoy's Theatre). Famous for its unlimited North Indian thalis and various sweets. A full plate thali with five dishes, Roti and rice costs ₹50.
- Kayees or Kaikka's Biriyani, there are two restaurant,one at Mattancherry & opps.durbar ground south ekm. open from early morning briyani avail from noon only and most of the time finish by 2PM. kayees is very famous for the briyani don't leave Kochi, without tasting the kayees mutton biriyani, very trusted name in this field for many decades, hygienic at reasonable pricing too. below hundred for chicken briyani.
- Krishna Kripa Seafood Restaurant, Fort Kochi (opposite SantaCruz Basilica Church). Good Kerala-style food, low prices and a great location.
- Mughal Restaurant, South Railway Station Rd. Has a good range of north Indian foods and a good juice bar.
- Sree Krishna Cafe, Gujarathi St, Mattancherry. Gujarati restaurant famous for its cutlets and battoora and vegetarian curries.
There are many street side Arabic restaurants offering shawarma and grilled chicken. Popular options are Real Arabia, Arabia Dreams and Grill Arabia, which are dotted all over the city. Most supermarkets and bakeries have a Shawarma Corner outside, which is a cheap, yet filling sandwich. most budget Arabic restaurants are open from 5PM-midnight.
- Royal Food Court (Near North Railway Station). Good food with Arabic-Lebanese delicacies around the clock.
- Street Menu (Opposite SBT Bank, Padma Junction, MG Rd). Offers a lot of grilled options at low prices.
Most of the restaurants in Kochi are mid-range and there are lots of them.
- Banana Leaf, Jos Junction, MG Rd (near Jos Collections), ☏ . noon-3PM. Good traditional Kerala food with non veg and veg options. ₹60.
- Dal Roti, Lily St, Fort Cochin. Authentic North Indian tastes.
- Delhi Durbar, Pallimukku, MG Rd. A good, small North Indian restaurant.
- Fort House Restaurant and Hotel, 2/6A Calvathy Rd (next to Coast Guard), ☏ . At the water front offering good Kerala food and great views.
- The Grand Pavilion, Grand Hotel, Jewel Junction, MG Rd. Popular especially during evenings for its seafood, particularly karimeen pollichathu (smoked pearlspot fish) and alleppey fish curry.
- Kadaloram, Abad Plaza. Good typical Kerala buffet at about ₹300 per head.
- Khyber Pass, First floor, Bimbis Restaurants, Jos Junction, MG Rd. A North Indian/Afghan food outlet with a wide range of tikkas and kebabs.
- Mirch Masalas, TD Rd (near to Temple). Vegetarian Punjabi restaurant with good ambiance.
- 1 Ojeen, By-lane after SBT towards Broadway, Marine Dr (From High Court junction, proceed toward SBT along Shanmugham Road. Right after SBT, on the left, there's a by-lane leading to Broadway.), ☏ . 11AM-7PM. Variety of snacks from the Malabar region, juices and milk shakes. Ojeen is probably the only place in Kochi for the delectable, meat-rich Malabar snacks. ₹100.
- Raju dhaba, Falcon truck terminal, Kalamassery. 11AM-11PM. Authentic north Indian dhaba food. ₹100.
- Shala, 1/605 Peter Celli St, Fort Kochi, ☏ . Started by the same people who run the Kashi Art Cafe, Shala serves delicious Keralan food. The menu which changes daily. The owner, Anoop, hires local housewives to cook their local specialties. The restaurant is in a beautiful and tastefully restored historical building.
- Sharma's Restaurant, Broadway, Marine Dr (Just behind Penta Menaka). Good North Indian food at low prices.
- Ceylon Bake House, Opp. Avenue Regent, South area, MG Rd. Ceylon parathas and Sri-Lankan styled chicken dishes.
- Chinese Garden, Dwaraka Junction, MG Rd and Kadavanthara, SA Rd. A good restaurant, serving lots of Indianised Chinese dishes.
- Chiyang Restaurant, Madhava Pharmacy Junction, Banerji Road (adjacent to PNVM hospital, opposite erstwhile Oman International Bank). One of the oldest Chinese restaurants.
- 14Avenue Restaurant, 14 Cross Rd, Main Avenue, Panampilly Nagar. Italian and continental cuisines, including lasagna, pies, pastas and steaks.
- South Star, Bimbis Menaka (near Penta Menaka, Marine Drive). Well maintained, nice interiors. Food styles from North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and Arabic and a wide range of Biriyanis.
- Thai BBQ House, Kunnumpuram Road, Njaliparambu Junction, Fort Kochi. Thai cuisine, with grilled squid tempuras and coconut prawns.
- Upstairs Italian, K.B. Jacob Rd, Fort Kochi (opposite Santa Cruz Basilica). Run by an Italian family, classic traditional Italian cuisines.
Most of the upscale restaurants are in hotels with 3 stars or more.
- BTH Kempa, BTH Hotel, BTH Junction, Durbar Hall Rd. A classic hotel which dates back at least 100 years. Its restaurant, Kempa, is popular among high end vegetarian travellers. Serves North Indian, South Indian and Kannadiga-Udupi dishes.
- Chillis Andhra, Layam Rd. Very tasty, as well as fiery food, particularly the chicken options. Few vegetarian options.
- Hotel Dwaraka, Dwaraka Junction, MG Rd. Was the first star hotel in Kochi and it remains a popular option for Indian vegetarian food.
- Ila, Marine Dr (near Hakkoba Lodge). 11AM-11PM. Tasty Travancore food, with both Southern Travancore veg options and Central Travancore Syrian Christian non veg specialities.
- Lily Grace Seafood Restaurant, Post box 22, River Rd., Fort Kochi (near Hotel Killians - Fort Kochi Vypeen Ferry Terminal), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 7AM-11PM. Freshly caught seafood from Kerala.
- Sreekrishna Inn, Warriam Rd, Durbar Hall Rd. This restaurant is famous for its classic look and theme, and offers a large range of Indian vegetarian dishes. The dosas are most famous, along with its elaborate thalis.
- S36, Mills St, Foreshore Rd (within Bat&Ball Inn), ☏ . 11AM-11PM. Traditional North Indian cuisine, particularly Mughal specialty foods.
- Tandoor (Clay Oven), Layam Rd (near Hotel Woodlands, Woodland Junction, MG Rd). 11AM-11PM. Tasty North Indian, particularly Punjabi, food. The Kadai chicken and ginger chicken is truly world class, and no other place in Kochi can offer their unique taste. The peas masala is also really superb. Their trademarks are romali roti and stuffed bread options. A full Kadai chicken serves at least 4-5 people. Caution, it is very spicy.
- Arctic Circle (next to Hokkoba Lodge, Marine Drive, near to Coffee Beanz). 11AM-11PM. Steak, more than 14 sizzlers, such as an American styled sizzler with Texas mashed potatoes with mushroom sauce. 20 European dishes, along with a few continental salads.
- Ayela & Keshai (Part of Dreams Hotel), near Elamkulam Lake, SA Rd. A very good seafood restaurant with four theme courts, Kochi, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese. It has a fresh seafood selection court, with the fish cooked in front of the guests. A multi-cuisine restaurant also operates at the site.
- Conucopia, Mills St, Foreshore Rd, ☏ . 11AM-11PM. A cricket theme restaurant, operating inside Bat&Ball Inn, this restaurant is famous for its wide selection of Continental, Greek, Mediterranean cuisines.
- Golden Dragon, Mercy Estate, Atlantis Junction, Ravipuram side of MG Rd. 11AM-11PM. A pure Chinese restaurant without any Indianisation. Serves alcohol.
- Hon. East India Company, Hotel Travancore Palace, Warriam Rd, Durbar Hall Rd. 11AM-11PM. A historical themed restaurant operating within the four star Travancore Palace Hotel. Famous for its classic paintings and heritage photo galleries as well as its food. The evening buffet is one of the largest in town, offering the best of English, Kerala and North Indian cuisine.
- Lokah World Cuisines, NH Bypass Rd, Vytilla (near Mithra Supermarket), ☏ , . 11AM-11PM. Offers nine international cuisines from an American Wild West theme to Vietnamese sea-food, Italian pastas and Arabic grills. This restaurant has a family hall, a smoking lounge, a street food area and French cafe along with bakery. Free wifi for guests.
- Itty's Place, G31, Panampally Nagar (near Hotel Centre), ☏ . 11AM-11PM. Itty's place is an eco-friendly restaurant made completely with bamboo, coir and wood having 3 sit-down options. Favourite Italy offers traditional Italian pizzas, pastas and subs.
- Ming's Wok (Opp.Bank of Baroda Near Malayala Manorama Panampilly Nagar Cochin), ☏ . 11:30AM-11PM. Authentic Chinese cuisine prepared by professional chefs, using quality ingredients.
- Spice Route, Level 4, Oberon Mall, NH Bypass Rd, Palarivattom, ☏ . 11AM-11PM. Themed around historical spice route with focus on traditional Persian foods.
- Somewhere Else (near Muscat Tower (Sony and Vileno Showroom), near Kadavanthara Junction), ☏ . 11AM-11PM. It has a cafe and restaurant. The cafe serves a wide range of coffees and mocktails, whereas the restaurant has sizzlers, steaks, grilled wraps, burgers and desserts. Also offers some good biriyanis and Indianised European options. Free wifi for guests.
- 24 Carat, 3rd floor, Gold Souke Mall, Vytilla. 11AM-11PM. A popular upscale multi-cuisine restaurant, themed around weddings, it is ideal for candle-light romantic dinners and high power lunches.
Keralites are well known for their drinking habit. Finding bars or pubs is not difficult in Kochi. For those who do not drink alcohol there are lots of excellent local options.
- Fresh toddy (kallu) is a brew from the coconut tree. Be careful as adulteration is very common. Your best bet is to get it from a local who has given over his coconut trees for extraction. Mullapanthal Kallushap near Thripunithura is a certified Kallu brew shop.
- Karikku /ilaneer (tender coconut), could be found at many hawker stalls, especially in Marine Drive.
- Sambhaaram (buttermilk), is especially popular on hot summer days when it is even distributed freely by some clubs in popular areas.
- Shakes, such has Sharjah Shake are good cool down options and there are numerous cool-bars and juice stalls across the city.
Finding a bar or pub is not difficult. Most of the budget oriented bars are near the railway stations and in Kaloor and Edappally. Mid-market and high end bars are all over. There are many beer and wine bars catering for foreign tourists at Fort Kochi. As elsewhere in Kerala, all bars and pubs have to close every first and second day of the month as well as on all state holidays. These are known as dry days. All bars have to close by midnight.
You can buy almost any brand of liquor from state-run Beverages Co stores, which have an extensive network of in Kochi, selling at competitive rates. Expect long queues, especially on the eve of dry days.
- Central Park Bar, Kaloor-Kadavanthara Rd. A posh well maintained bar having a designer lounge.
- Nasha, at the Metropolitan Hotel bar, South Railway station. A well maintained good lounge bar, ideal for families and visitor. Offers a wide range of drinks offering at moderate prices. Very famous for its signature Kerala dishes as short eats.
- Oberoi Bar, MG Rd. A good small bar dominated by men.
- Polakkulattu Sliverspoon Bar, Jewek MG Rd. A good, well maintained bar with branches in Palarivattom near Metlife, and in SA Rd at Janatha Junction.
- Silca Bar, Hotel Mercy, Ravipuram area, MG Rd, ☏ . A lovely, upscale bar lounge popular with businessmen and upscale visitors. Famous for its signature dishes and cocktails.
- Velocity, Banerjee Rd. A seedy bar with a wide range of liquors and beer.
- XL Fishnet Bar, Rose St, Fort Cochin. until about 10:30PM. The bar fills up each day with tourists looking for a beer in Fort Cochin. There is nothing cosy about the place and the staff are quite lazy. It can be a nice spot to meet other travellers, since everyone has one thing in common: drinking beer. There is a busy restaurant downstairs that also serves beer (more pricey) and may be preferred by solo women. ₹125 for a Kingfisher.
Nightlife DJ parties & pubs
Pub rules & etiquette
All discotheques, pubs have some strict rules and etiquettes.
The nightlife comprises pubs, DJ parties, and discos. Pubs and discothèques may not close down on dry days as is applicable to bars. However they do close on all notified state holidays such as Onam, Vishu, Easter and Good Friday. An exception to this rule is during Christmas time.
- ÁVA lounge, Dreams Hotel, SA Rd. A lounge cum disco bar, ideal for families. Good music, a large dance floor and wide range of cocktails.
- Champs Sports Lounge, Gokulam Park, Kaloor. Has a good sports gallery, cricket-themed interiors, 2 gigantic screens for regular broadcast of cricket or football matches, signature cocktails and snacks.
- Couchyn, The Grand Hotel, Woodlands Junction, MG Rd. A traditional English styled lounge bar with great music and a wide variety of cocktails.
- Glow&Corktales, ☏ . Atlantis Junction-MG Rd. Dance floor and large lounge bar. It has night parties from Thursday to Sunday with various themes and age groups.
- Opium the Club, ☏ . Palarivattom Jn, Palarivattom Jn., A posh upscale dance floor and large discotheque, it has various events from Tuesday to Sunday, each in various themes. (Closed on dry days)
- Loungevity, Hotel Avenue Regent, MG Rd. House an in-house DJ and the latest in electronic dance music. One of the coolest places for families.
- Tandav Discos, (Le Meridien), Maradu. Famous for its weekend all night parties and grand balls.
There are many coffee shops around the city.
- Amaara Maradu, Petta-Maradu Rd, Tripunithara (near Gandhi Square), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM-9PM. An unique heritage hangout set in 200 year old Mangayil house. Serves authentic Kerala coffee and popular varieties of dosas. Regular cultural performances, cooking class, ethnic handicrafts class are some of the popular activities there. The cafe also houses a large library for reading as well as venue of regular book exhibitions.
- Barista (Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive). 10AM-10:30PM. The place to cool down with coffee after a walk at Marine Drive. Not cheap though.
- BTH Coffee Shop (Nr North Railway Station; International Stadium-Kaloor). 9AM-10:30PM. A moderate priced coffee shop, famous for its traditional Kerala snacks and savouries along with dosas and idilies.
- Cafe Cochin Lavazza (G-360, Panampally Nagar), ☏ . 9AM-10:30PM. The only direct Lavazza coffee outlet in South India.
- Cafe Coffee Day (Shenoys Jn, MG R; Oberon Mall; Pallimukku, MG Rd). 10AM-9:30PM. A popular national chain, which is a standard coffee hangout with western style eateries and a wide range of coffee. ₹100 for coffee.
- Cafe Persia (TD Rd, near Banerjee Rd). 9AM-10:30PM. A unique Arabic themed cafe, famous for Sheeshas/Hookah smoking and an excellent range of Arabic coffee and tea, along with snacks.
- [dead link] Kashi Art Café, Fort Cochin, Burgher St (parallel to Princess St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 8:30AM-10:00PM. Serves great iced coffee, fresh lunches, and a variety of sandwiches and tasty cakes.
- Teapot (Peter Celli St, Fort Cochin). 10AM-10:30PM. A unique cafe which serves a variety of teas, particularly 6 unique Indian flavours. It also has good traditional English snacks.
Ice cream parlours
There are numerous cool-bars and juice stalls that sell branded and custom made ice-cream dotted all over the city. There are also a few specialist ice cream parlours.
- Caravan Softies, Caravan Complex, Marine Drive and Opposite Shenoys Cineplex. One of the most traditional ice-cream parlours famous for many in-house varieties.
- Horter Place de Glance, Jawahar Nagar Colony and Opp. Durbar Hall grounds. A premium ice-cream outlet selling the Uncle John brand. It has 29 ice-cream flavours and 18 ice-cream varieties with many toppings including sauces, creams, fruits and nuts.
- Kwality Walls, Foodcourt-Abad Bay Pride Mall Marive Drive. A local favourite.
- Merriboys Ice-cream Cafe, Food Circle, Oberon Mall. Famous for its original milk ice-creams and innovative fruit sundaes.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
- YMCA Youth centre, NH 47 Bypass (Opp.Medical Centre Hospital), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hrs. indoor sports, parking facility with a reasonable restaurant. A/c starts from ₹800 and non A/c strats from ₹375.
- Hotel Sreekrishna Inn, Near ESI Hospital, North Railway Station, ☏ , . Mr. MG.Menon, manager: 9349267906
- C.R.H. Dormitory A/c, Banerji Road, Near North Railway Station, ☏ . ₹100.
- Grand Residency, St. Benedict Road, North Railway Station, ☏ .
- Hotel Classic, North side of the North Railway Station, Near ESI Hospital, ☏ . ₹500.
- Viththaga Hotels, Banerji Road. Opp. Sani Rest., ☏ , , . ₹350.
- Hotel Malabar Plaza, Opp. Town Hall, North Railway Station, ☏ . ₹350.
- Elite Tourist Home, Paramara Road, Near Speciality Hospital, North Railway Station Area., ☏ , , . ₹500.
- Thankam Tourist Home, St Benedict Road, Near the North Railway Station, ☏ , , , fax: . ₹500.
- K. K. International, Opp. South Railway Station, ☏ , , . good restaurant attached. ₹600.
- Hotel City Tower, Near Reserve Bank. 1,200.
- PRB Residency, PRB Residency, 32/25005a., PJ Antony Road, Palaarivattom Jn, ☏ . 600.
- Banana Hut Hotel, Main Ferry Rd (On the left 150m to the Chinese Fishing nets from the main Ferry Station). Basic rooms, but cheap and kind hosts. Leaving your bag there during the day is possible and was safe. from ₹300 (off season).
- Casa Linda Ballard, St.Paul's St (Near St.Paul's School), ☏ . A well maintained hotel in typical European style. Budget.
- Hotel Fort Avenue, Bazaar St (Near old Bazaar), ☏ . A well maintained hotel. Budget.
- Hotel White Rose, Fort Nagar, ☏ . A newer hotel, which is clean and good looking. Ideal for families
- Vintage Inn, Rids Dale Branch Road, Njaliparambu Jn., (near K.B. Jacob Rd, traffic circle), ☏ . Clean, comfortable ensuite rooms, fan or A/C, free WiFi in the lobby, 5 min walk from historic centre.
- AJ Residency, Kaloor Rd (near Kaloor Jn, behind Lenin Centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 12noon. Near Kaloor bus stand at Kaloor Road and nearby Palarivattom Shopping district. It has the Rahamaniya tender Chicken Restaurant at ground floor. ₹350-800.
- Hotel Aiswarya, Warriam Rd (Near Durbar Hall Ground), ☏ . A good well maintained hotel with nice interiors and good hospitality in heart of the city.
- Hotel Bijus, Cannon Shed Rd, Near Boat Jetty (Near General Hospital), ☏ , . Ideal hotel for budget tourist. A well maintained, clean and nice hotel.
- Hotel Excellency, Nettipadom Road, Ernakulam South (Near Avenue Regent), ☏ . Very near to South Railway station, this is a moderate business hotel. Very good interiors, a restaurant and nice staff. ₹750-1,500/ night.
- Hotel Kavitha International, Chitoor Rd (btw Mulasserry Canal and Iyyattil Jn), ☏ , . Check-in: 12 noon. Clean hotel, very near to MG Rd at the heart of city. 24 hr reception. ₹600-₹900.
- Railway Retirement Room (inside the south railway station). ₹180.
- 1 John’s Residency, TD road (between Cannonshed Rd. and Mullassery Canal Rd.). At the Ernakulam side, its a very laid back place, where the check in is sometimes done by phone at the reception with the number to call. The fact that is on the Ernakulam side make it cheaper. It's not far from the train station (Ernakulam Jn.), the metro Maharaja College it's even closer, and the ferry jeti (to reach Fort Kochi) it's also at 5 minutes walk. They have double rooms and apparently one single room (which is always taken) ₹700 for a double room (also for one pax).
- Abad Plaza, Kavitha Junction, MG Rd, ☏ . One of the oldest hotels in town. There is also another hotel just behind which belongs to this chain. It has good restaurants, pools, gyms, spa, supermarket, bookshop and business facilities in centre of the city.
- Avenue Centre Hotel, Panampally Nagar (Opposite Rotary Club and near to Passport Office), ☏ . A good hotel in an upscale residential area with a multi-cuisine restaurant and swimming pools.
- Ballard Bungalow (Near Fort Kochi Junker Jetty), ☏ . A heritage colonial bungalow, which still maintains the colonial charms and recreates an atmosphere of the British Raj. Moderate.
- [formerly dead link] BTH, BTH Round, Durbar Hall Rd (Near to Shiva Temple), ☏ . The oldest business hotel of the town, BTH is a popular option, especially among Indian families. It has good lawns, a large swimming pool and vegetarian restaurants.
- Gama Heritage Residency, Napier St, ☏ . A typical Portuguese bungalow, which housed the Portuguese army until its defeat by Dutch forces. Today it is a stylish heritage hotel, famous for its hospitality.
- Mermaid Hotel, Kaniyampuzha Road, Vyttila, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Spacious rooms with river views.
- Old Courtyard, Princess St (Near Vasco Da Gama Square), ☏ . An old Dutch bungalow, remodelled with modern interiors. Famous for lovely dinner parties. Moderate.
- Sealord, Marine Dve, ☏ , . One of the first star rated hotels in Kochi and offers rooms at moderate rates. Has good restaurants and a pub.
- Times Square, Layam Rd, Near Durbar Hall Ground (Opposite Chief Justice's House), ☏ . Business hotel, near the shopping quarters of MG Rd with a very good multi-cuisine restaurant.
- Brunton Boatyard, Fort Kochi Jetty, Beach Rd (Near Bus stand), ☏ . Check-in: 12 noon. A heritage bungalow, once built as Dutch Governor's Palace, later owned by the Brunton brothers boatbuilders. Today is a premium property of CGH group. It has huge Dutch styled gardens, Kerala-Dutch style interiors, large cannons and good restaurants. ₹3,000-₹14,000.
- 2 Killians Boutique Hotel, River Rd (Near Harbour), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A very well maintained and modern hotel in the heart of Fort Cochin (water treatment plants, attuned to the German Standards).
- 3 Koder House, Tower Rd (Near Fort Kochi Beach, Opposite Beach Park), ☏ . Check-in: 12 noon. Once home to an affluent Jewish couple, today this has is a large Jewish theme hotel. It has a good restaurant which serves authentic Kosher certified food and a very large indoor pool. ₹2,000-10,000.
- 4 Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Opposite Fort Kochi, Beach Rd (Next to INS Dronarchary of Indian Navy), ☏ . This heritage property was once the residence of Sir Robert Bristow - the architect and father of modern Kochi Port. It has opulent interiors in a traditional English style and a good antique collection, along with large pools, a garden and host of other facilities.
- CGH Casino Hotel, Willingdon Island (Near Kochi Port Trust Complex), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 12 noon. The first property of CGH established in 1957, its an iconic hotel famous for its seafood restaurants and themed room, all overlooking Cochin Harbour ₹9,000-₹20,000.
- Trident Cochin ((former Hilton Kochi)) (Near Kochi Port Trust Complex), ☏ , . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Near to Ernakulam Port Wharf, this premium property has 69 luxury rooms and 10 premium suites along with several world cuisines restaurants and a world-class spa. ₹9,000-₹20,000.
- Vivanta Malabar by Taj ((former Taj Malabar)) (Near Kochi Port Trust Complex), ☏ , . Check-in: 24 hr. On the tip of Willingdon Island. Its heritage wing was built in 1935 to accommodate the visiting Princess of Wales (Queen Elizabeth II), and later to accommodate senior officials of the Royal Navy. It is full of Victorian design & decor and was a Crown Property until its handover to the Taj Group in 1954. The tower wing is more modern. The Infinity Pool is one of the oldest swimming pools famous for its beauty. ₹9,000-31,000.
- Beaumonde The Fern
- Dreams, S.A Rd, Kadavanthara (Opp. Naval Enclave), ☏ . A premium property which is a sister concern of Times Hotel-New York, with all 5 star facilities. ₹6,000-20,000.
- The Gateway Hotel (Formerly Taj Residency), Marine Drive, City. Near the harbour with good sea views. Popular amongst business visitors and upscale tourists. It has very large pools, cafe, gardens and own ferry services. This is a 4 star property of the Taj Group.
- Gokulam Park Inn International, Kaloor (opposite Techno-towers), ☏ . A 4-star property in the business corner of Kochi. Has a good convention centre and a host of facilities. ₹4,000-12,000.
- Harbour View, Opp.Shipyard, Atlantis Junction, MG Rd, ☏ . Ideal business class hotel, with lot of premium features, in the main area of city. ₹4,000-12,000.
- Holiday Inn, NH Bypass, Vennala 33/1739 A, Chakkaraparambu Junction, ☏ , fax: . 132 king bedrooms, 47 twin rooms; 18 deluxe rooms; 12 executive suites, 1 presidential suite and 2 specially able rooms. Tea/coffee makers, iron and iron board, separate work area; LCD, TVs, mini bar and safe. Restaurant, cafe, sports pub, pool bar, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, multilingual staff and Business centre.
- Le Méridien, Maradu Junction (Near Maradu Bridge), ☏ . One of the most exclusive addresses in the city. It has a host of facilities, including a large convention centre. Near to riverside, it offers good boating facilities and has an indoor shopping complex selling luxury items ₹6,000-20,000.
- Renai Cochin (formerly Rennaissance), Palarivattom Junction, ☏ .
Ideal if you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy holidays in an idyllic mood.
- Bolgatty Palace, Bolgatty Island South (take ferry from High Court Jetty or reach through Goshree Bridges), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: noon. A premium heritage property of KTDC, where English Royals celebrated their life during British Raj days. The Palace complex was built in 1630s by Dutch owners and soon became the residence of the British Resident Commissioners for Kochi and Travancore. The resort is famous for its honeymoon cottages, large Dutch style gardens, horse tracks and golf course. A Marina and accompanying marina suites are nearby near to the ex-Residence. ₹5,000-15,000 per night.
- Ramada Resort Kochi, Kumbalam South End, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hr. The resort is famous for a vast maze network of pools that merges into backwaters overlooked by the balconies of well appointed cottage suites. The resort is equally famous for its pool parties, dance floors, lounge bars and sprawling gardens. ₹3,000-10,000 per night.
- Adams Wood House, Andy Achari Rd (Behind Saga at Paravana junction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Four clean rooms with comfortable beds. The owner,and his family are very friendly and helpful. Free WiFi, help with arranging trips inside and outside of town. Breakfast available. ₹1,000-3,000.
- Daniels Homestay, Rids Dale Branch Rd (2 min walk from Santa Cruz Church), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. In one of the silent by-lanes of Fort Kochi very close to the Santa Cruz Basilica. Friendly, clean and comfortable. ₹750-1,000.
- Dream Catcher Home Stay, Vasavan Lane Rd (Near Thamaraparambu School), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Home-cooked food, clean rooms, but host quite unpleasant. Free pick-ups from bus and railway station. ₹600-1,200.
- 1/1375 A KB Jacob Rd, Njaliparambu Junction, ☏ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Clean with comfortable beds. The owner and his family are very friendly and helpful. Free internet, help with arranging trips inside and outside of town. ₹400-800. , ✉
- Green House Home Stay, Kunnumpuram Road, Njaliparambu, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Friendly home stay in a good location close to Princess St. TV and a fridge are provided in the communal living room as well Internet. High season doubles are around ₹1,000 non A/C or ₹1,500 A/C, ₹300-600 during the low season, extra charge for A/C rooms.
- Leelu Home, Cheerans Ebenezer, behind Fort Kochi Post Office, Quirose St (2-min walk from the famous Santa Cruz Basilica), ☏ . A renovated Victorian building in the heart of Fort Kochi. Cooking classes are conducted in the kitchen daily from 11AM-1PM and from 6PM-8PM.
- Maison Casero Home Stay, Near Santa Cruz Basilica Church, Fosse Road, Kottavalappu, Fort Cochin (45 km from the Cochin International Airport, 18 km from the Ernakulam Junction railway station, 150 m from the fort cochin bus stand), ☏ , (Mob). Check-in: 11:30AM, check-out: 11AM. The owner Jaison and his family are very friendly and helpful. 600-1500.
- Padikkal Residency, Njaliparambu Junction (50 m from Santa Cruz Basilicum), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM price=. Free WiFi, private rooms with ensuite bathroom. Common balcony. Traditional style homestay with helpful staff. Approved by the Department of Tourism Development. Close to the main Fort Kochi area, but in a quiet enough location to be away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist traps.
- Prem's Homestay, Njaliparambu Junction (Close to the Santa Cruz Basilica), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Clean, homey atmosphere, welcoming hosts. Home-cooked food on order. Close to major tourist attractions. Will organise trips inside and out of town if you wish. ₹600-1,000.
- Riverside Heritage Homestay, ☏ .
- Rak Villa, P.O. - 682502 Vypin Island - Near Edavanakad Juma Masjid, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2 PM, check-out: 11 AM. Rak Villa is a four bedroom villa mostly suitable for family. Alcohol is prohibited here. Most preferable for Arabians.
- San Mike Tours Homestay, No. 1/957, Directly opposite Santa Cruz Basilica, ☏ , . Friendly homestay run by two brothers Victor and Martin. They can organise anything from a ₹500 backwater cruise in Allepey to a day riding an old Enfield motorcycle down the Malabar coast. ₹500 per person or less if there is more than one of you.
- Sherlys Casa Grande, 10A, Asset Casa Grande, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Features a lake view.
- Tag und Nacht (Homestay), Beach Rd, Mackenzie Garden (opposite the Naval Maritime Museum), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Very clean and beautifully decorated rooms with comfortable beds. The owners, Antonio & Kristina, are friendly and helpful. Free WiFi, assistance with arranging trips inside and outside of town. Fabulous breakfasts. ₹500-1,200.
There are many popular institutes for learning local art-forms such as Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattom, Kathakali and music, which can offer regular and crash courses.
- Kerala Kathakali Centre, ☏ . Offers short term courses in Kathakali, Kalaripayattu and percussion instruments for visitors. Ideal for learning a bit about the essence of Kerala's, although it is not so authentic being aimed mostly at tourists.
- RLV College of Dance and Music, ☏ . Established in 1920s by Maharaja of Kochi in Tripunithara as a remembrance to his late wife and daughter, this is one of most popular music and dance colleges in the state. There are many short-term courses, making it ideal for interested visitors.
- Sree Sankara School of Dance and Music, ☏ , . Popular school for learning classical Indian artforms, offering certificates and diplomas.
Learn this martial art of Kerala at the following government-authorised centres:
- ENS Kalari, ☏ . One of the most popular Kalari centres in the state. Part of Kerala Kalaripattyattu Association, this institute is guided by trainers who are versed in ayurveda, mathematics and physical education.
Yoga and meditation
- Art of Living-Ernakulam Chapter, ☏ . Part of the international yoga and spiritual centre of Sri Sri Ravishankarji.
Kochi is one of the safest cities in India with excellent police coverage. Common sense is of course required when being alone at night.
- Late night life is not common in Kochi. If you are planning on clubbing, make your own transport arrangements before hand, very few buses ply after 9:45PM, and none after 10:30PM. You can find autos and taxis, but only near railway stations or major bus stands. Be wary of eve-teasers, especially drunkards.
- Kochi is infamous for mosquitoes, due to presence of large water bodies across the city. Make sure any room you book, has mosquito repellents or at least a mosquito net. Its always better to have any anti-mosquito creams or spice oil extracts like lemongrass oil to ward off mosquito bites.
- Crossing roads - unlike in the other cities in India, vehicles do not tend to stop when you initiate crossing; so wait till there is a comparative lull in the traffic - the oncoming vehicles will slow down for you.
- Be wary of Private Line bus and KSRTC bus drivers on the roads. Pedestrians live a hard life especially during peak hours in Kochi. There are many cases of road accidents and hit-run cases involving private buses and pedestrians, thus earning them the nickname, Red Killers. Take extra care, while crossing the roads. If difficult to cross then do so only at major signal junctions or seek assistance of local traffic policeman.
- Kochi lacks good pedestrian walkways, though many are being rebuilt now, along with the roads. Beware of walking on these walkways, especially during night. Jaywalking may be safe in the nights in sub-urban roads, but with the coming of better roads and with an increasing traffic, avoid walking on the roads in the city, especially in the daytime.
- Kochi is only a few metres above the sea level, so a few roads in the arterial city tend to flood during rainfall. Its better to avoid such roads while raining. When the these roads are flooded it may be difficult to distinguish whether you are walking on road or walkway, which sometimes can land you inside drainage holes. However, these floods do tend to drain off quickly after the rain. Flood prone roads are - Edapally Junction, roads leading to Ernakulam Junction (South) Railway Station, South junction (in front of Hotel Woodlands)
- Public smoking bans are strictly enforced in the city more so than in other regions. The High Court of Kerala has decreed a public smoking ban across the state. Smoking on the roadside, in shopping complexes, restaurants, and parks is illegal and police can charge ₹500-1,000 for breaches. No shop that sells loose cigars or tobacco is allowed to provide lighters. Provision of lighters to customers may lead to a ₹150 fine being imposed upon both the supplier and the purchaser.
- Prostitution is illegal in Kochi, as elsewhere in Kerala and India. However, there is a good chance of encountering street prostitutes and their agents who may try to lure you. Beware of such offers as many such prostitutes are affected by HIV. Being illegal, they have no access to medical controls or treatments. As it is a criminal offence to commit adultery, regular police raids occur in local cheap hotels to catch prostitutes and their clients.
Emergency support & assistance
For any emergency support of Police, ☏ 100 (for Flying Squad) or ☏ 1090 (for Crime Stopper). The city has around 16 Police Station zones.
- Kochi Central Police Station (Central Circle), Old Railway Station Rd (Behind High Court of Kerala), ☏ . 24 hours. This is the main police station in Kochi.
- Kochi Women Police Station (Vanitha Station) (General Police Quarters, Near to High Court), ☏ . 24 hrs. An female-staffed police station dedicated to assist female travellers.
- Kochi Tourist Police Station (Fort Kochi Station) (Parade grounds), ☏ . 24 hrs. This is the country's first and only tourist police station. Assistance for tourists including visa and immigration information can be provided. There is a small police museum here. Check for the difference of police uniform here. The Tourist Police wear a blue shirt and khaki pants.
- Foreigners Registration Office-FRO (City Police Commissioner's Office) (Commissariat, City Police HQ, Marine Drive), ☏ . 10AM-5:30PM. The city commissioner is the FRO, who has powers and authorization for any immigration issues. For any visa conversion, loss/theft of foreign passports, extension of visa, overstay of visa, immigration clearance, reporting a missing foreigners then report at this office.
- Sailors & Seaport Users Registration Office (DySP Office- Island) (SSRO Office, Near Port Trust Office, Willington Island), ☏ . 24 hr. For sailors or ship crew, their registration and embarkation/disembarkation order has to be issued for this office. The DySP has authorization to issue landing permits for yachts, private boats as well as foreign ships and allow its passengers to board down for 72 hours without visa. Travellers arriving on cruisers and yachts should report at this office for any transit visa or short term visa required.
Along with Trivandrum, Kochi stands out as one of south Asia's best medical hubs and it's not at all difficult to get medical attention. Many hospitals operate in the city, with 12 specialist hospitals. For accident cases, only hospitals marked with accident care are authorized to admit such cases. The toll free emergency number (from all telephones) is ☏ 102 and ☏ 1298
- Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) (Amrita Hospital), Edapally North (Take left in NH 17 after Edapally Toll Gate), ☏ , , (hotline). 24 hr. One of the top 10 leading specialist hospitals in South Asia. AIMS is reputed for its cost effective complex treatments and latest medical care facilities. Reputed for its cost-effective surgeries, the hospital offers several specialized over-all general check-ups
- Ernakulam General Hospital.
- Lakeshore Hospital, Near Maradu Bridge, NH Bypass, Maradu, ☏ , . 24 Hrs. One of the most high tech hospital in South India famous for its innovative, modern medical treatment. Has various specialized departments including cancer care treatment and bone/neuro treatment. The cardiac division has the latest facilities and highly qualified dcotors. There are 8 other specialist clinics. The hospital is well-equipped with all emergency services. Also offers comprehensive medical check-up services.
- Medical Trust Hospital, Pallimukku, MG Rd, ☏ , , , . 24 hr. One of the oldest Super Specialty hospital in heart of the city, this hospital is one of the most important referral hospital in Kerala. Famous for its organ transplant operations. Has the largest number of intensive care facilities in the state. Its a very crowded hospital but is well organised. This hospital is part of Rapid Medical Action Force and they have an accident care.
Other important hospitals are -
- City Hospital, Padma Junction, MG Rd, ☏ . 24 hr. A good hospital, with accident care facilities. It is famous for its orthopedics and paediatrics department.
- Cochin Port Hospital, Willingdon Island, ☏ . 24 hr. General medicine and has a large in-patient ward. Near to Kochi Port area, its regularly used by sailors. All certifications required for mariners and sailors are available from this hospital.
- Gautham hospital, at Panayapilly, near Fort Kochi and Mattanchery, ☏ , , . 24 hr. A major multi-speciality hospital in West Kochi. 24 hr casualty, accident and trauma unit, ambulance services and an ICU and other state of the art medical care.
- Kerala Ayurveda Samajam Hospital (KA Samajam), Carrier Station Rd, Karikkamuri (First right from South Railway Station), ☏ . Open 24 hr. Branch unit of world's first Ayurvedic Hospital Chain- Shornoor's famous KA Samajam Hospital Kochi branch is equally good for various treatments, including cancer and serious aliments with regular medical panel visits from its main hospital.
- Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala Hospital, Thrikkara, Kakkanad (Next to Bharat Mata College), ☏ , . 24 hr. One of the state's most celebrated Ayurvedic hospitals, the branch unit in Kochi is famous for its complex ayurvedic surgeries and treatments. The hospital has Out-Patient clinics at MG Rd (Dwaraka Junction) as well as in Aluva along with second in-patient treatment facility at Aluva
- Air Ambulance, ☏ , . Need to have prior booking
- Amrita Jeevanraksha, ☏ , .
- Emergency Medical Assistance, ☏ 1298.
- Kochi Police Medical Assistance, ☏ , 100.
- Lions Club Free Ambulance, ☏ .
- NSS Community Free Ambulance, ☏ .
- On-Road Accident Emergency Care Force, ☏ , .
- Rapid Medical Action Force, ☏ 102.
- Rotary Emergency Medical Force, ☏ .
24 hour pharmacies
- Gautham Pharmacy, Panayapally, ☏ , .
- Amritha Pharmacy, AIMS, Edappally, ☏ .
There are many pharmacies near Medical Trust Hospital in Pallimukku, all 24 hr pharmacies.
The Area code for Cochin is 0484. If calling from outside India the format is +91 484 xxxxxxx. Almost all national telecommunication operators, operate in Kochi.
Mobile Services. If you require an Indian phone number it is strongly recommended that you get a pre-paid mobile connection. To do this you need a photocopy of your passport (including the visa and the ID pages), a colour photo, and (officially) proof of local address (in Kochi). Most star hotels allow you to use their address for this. In the event of not having address you can still get a pre-paid connection using your visa number, finger prints and in some cases providing passport size photographs.
Most of the mobile operators in India operate in Kochi, GSM as well as CDMA. Popular GSM service providers are BSNL Mobile, Vodafone, Idea Mobile, Aircel, MTS, Airtel, Tata DOCOMO, Uninor, Virgin Mobile GSM and Reliance GSM. Popular CDMA service providers are Tata Indicom, Reliance India Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
Public Telephony :- PCOs (Public Call Offices) are a good option. You will find them almost every 100m. These are public pay-phones (post-pay) and there will be a person on the shop to take the payments. Check your bill generated (from the billing machine) and make the payment accordingly. Payments are always in Indian rupees (₹). Coin boxes are available everywhere where you can make local calls (within a radius of 10km from the phone).
BSNL Calling cards are available in all stores, which is a prepaid calling card, that could be used in any phone, without charging the phone user. Vodafone World Cards and Airtel Globe cards are also another good option.
General & business telephone directory can be accessed by calling ☏.
Toll Free directory enquiry from BSNL landphones & BSNL Mobile is ☏ 197.
Kochi was one of the first places in India to be connected to the Internet. Being the landing site of 3 major international submarine network cables (FLAG, SEA-ME, SAFE) as well as focal point for most of the fiber-optic networks in South India. The city has good bandwidth at low rates.
There are plenty of internet centres which charge around ₹10 per hour. Some cafes in Convent Road as well as near Cochin University offer high speed net connectivity at ₹5 per hour. If you have laptop with wifi connection, you can roam anywhere with BSNL WiMax USB connection (speed around 40 Mbit/s to 512 Mbit/s), as Kochi has 4th generation Wimax. In addition to this, Kochi is also a network city with services provided by the 3rd Gen-EVDO BSNL network as well as 3G services of BSNL, Docomo and Reliance Mobile.
Most of the 3 Star hotels provide wifi connectivity. You require pre-paid connection cards of Tata Indicom or Reliance. The majority of hotels have Tata. Some hotels provide complementary wi-fi for the use of their guests.
India Post has offices throughout the city, generally open 8:30AM-5PM weekdays, 8:30AM-1PM Saturdays, closed Sundays. The Kochi Airport post office (in Departure side of International Area) is open 6AM-8:30PM on all weekdays and Saturdays. The General Post Office (GPO) is in MG Road (Opp. Avenue Regent) and in Edappally near High School. The Head Post Office (HPO) is at the Postal Complex, Hospital Road. The express (EMS Service) is available at the HPO and Edappally GPO, which is open 24 hrs on all days except the 5 state holidays. Service through EMS Postal service is very fast and reliable. Post boxes are available all over the city and daily clearance is at 10AM and 4:30PM. A postcard to anywhere in the world costs ₹20 (March 2018).
There are numerous of private courier companies operating in Kerala. FedEx, DHL, First Flight, UPS, DTDC and Aramex are some of leading private services.
Almost all the national newspapers have editions for Kochi. The major English language dailies are The Hindu (has a detailed city tabloid called Metroplus), The New Indian Express (The local City express along with this paper provides good insights of city happenings), The Times of India, The Pioneer, Hindustan Times and many popular Malayalam and Tamil newspapers. Being seat of Cochin Stock Exchange and the principal financial hub of Kerala, lots of financial dailies in English are available in Kochi, like The Economic Times, The Business Standard, Businessline, The Financial Express.
Lots of popular English Magazines are available. Many American and British magazines like Forbes, Mirror etc. is available in many supermarkets and bookstalls. Popular Indian English magazines are India Today, The Week and The Frontline.
Kochi uses the British three-pin and two-pin circular socket that follows British standard 546 (230 V/50 Hz). Plug adapters are available at any hardware store.
Kochi has 15-20 public listed state holidays as else where in Kerala, when almost all government and a few private offices are closed. However, few holidays involve total closure of all commercial establishments. Please be aware that on these days most of the public transport options like bus, taxis and autos take a break. Beware of days declared as hartals, which are mass political strikes often involving a shutdown of the city. Attempting to travel in public routes could be dangerous without local information on the severity of the hartal. For the few holidays listed below, restaurants and food corners other than those operating inside hotels also close. Its always better to avoid these days, while planning holidays. The major holidays that Kochinites love to spend indoors are
- Christmas (25 Dec)
- Good Friday and Easter (April)
- Thiruvonam - the main day for Onam celebrations (between August-Sept)
- Vishu - the Malayalam New Year (14 or 15 April)
A few religious holidays listed below marks closure of all commercial establishments owned by members of that communities. However public transport works as usual.
- Cheriya Perunal (Eid al-Fitr), Valiya Perunal (Eid al-Adha) and Muharram marks full closure of all Muslim owned establishments. All these firms take break for 3 hours from noon for Friday Juma Prayers.
- Diwali, Holi and Navarathri marks private holiday season for almost all North Indian establishments, particularly in Mattancherry.
- Saturdays, Hanukkah and Rosh Hashanah marks total closure of all Jewish establishments, particularly in Fort Kochi
Apart from these holidays, the Sunday laziness can make most of the establishments do not to function in the morning time, though many open by afternoon. The city bus services on Sundays are also limited, though other public transport like autos and taxis function normally.
- Eloor Lending Library, Convent Junction (Near St. Theresa’s College), ☏ . Daily 10AM-8PM. Eloor Lending Library has mainly two membership options. Unlike other libraries, this library has a different way of lending books: when you take membership by paying ₹1,200 you can access books worth ₹1,800. When you pay ₹600 you can access books worth ₹900. Here you have to pay (an additional) 10% of the price of the books you take, as the reading charge.
- EMS Co-operative Library, Mavelipuram, Kakkanad (Near Ernakulam District Co-Operative Bank), ☏ . Mon-Sat 1PM-7PM, Sun 10AM-5PM. A well maintained library where subscribers can register by presenting proof of identity(non-residents of Ernakulam will have to pay 50% extra on admission and annual fees). There are many subscription plans (₹50 as admission fees, plus annual membership fees starting from ₹100). This library also has a park near it, though it is not very well maintained.
- Ernakulam Public Library, Convent Rd (Opp. Shenoys Theater), ☏ . Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun 10AM-5PM. The Ernakulam Public Library is one of the oldest public library in India started in 1839. Books could be rented for 2 weeks for various rental options ranging from ₹60 for four books to ₹15 for single book. A refundable caution deposit is required ranging between ₹1,000-250 depending upon membership class. There is a free reading room with good collection of all national and international newspapers and magazines. Try here if you like read some of the treasured archives or original historical manuscripts.
- Just Books, Panampilly Nagar. a good library
Sunshades and prescription glasses in stylish frames are much cheaper in India than in the West. Across the city, one can find numerous optician stores. Most have computerized testing and many have optical clinics within with the store.
- Indian Opticals (M G Road, North End), ☏ .
- Kurian's Opticals (Broadway; Kurian Towers-Banerjee Road; KTDC Complex-Marine Drive; MG Road; Kadavanthara and Civil Lanes-Palarivattom), ☏ , , , . A good chain of opticals, it has all major brands.
- Lawrence and Mayo
- Lens & Frames (Opp. Abad Plaza, Kavitha Junction, MG Road; Near KTDC Information Centre-Marine Drive and South Area-MG Road), ☏ , , . A well stocked leading optical store, it has branches all over the state. It has wonderful collection of all leading national and international brands.
- Vithayathil Opticians (M G Road, Jos Junction,), ☏ .
Kochinites are particular about their hair styles and adopt almost all latest fashion. Thus there is no shortage of various hair salons charging from ₹50 up for the latest trends. Most of the budget saloons are found almost every part of the city, normally calling as Barber shops or Saloons. The middle range hair salons are mainly in MG Road, Palarivattom, Marine Drive and Edappally areas, offer haircuts with hair wash as well as other frills. For splurge, most of the premium beauty palours and skin clinics are in Panampally Nagar, GCDA Nagar, Girinagar, SA Road and MG Road that offers various skin and hair treatment, all costing above ₹1,000.
- Polonica, Kanchanja Apartment, Palarivattom, ☏ . 9AM-8PM. A popular men's only saloon, which has all leading styling techniques and brands. ₹100-1500.
- Styl-X Men Salon, House-14, Panampilly Nagar, ☏ . 11AM-9PM. ₹100-2,000.
- Lakme Beauty Salon (G-130 Panampilly Nagar), ☏ .
- Pretty Face Ladies Beauty Clinic and Spa (House-14, Panampilly Nagar), ☏ .
- Shahnaz Herbal Beauty Care (Civil Lanes-Palarivattom), ☏ .
- Kaya Skin Care Clinic (Ground Floor, Shop No. 14, Swapnil Enclave, Marine Drive), ☏ . Popular national chain, it's famous for its skin/hair treatments and dressing styles.
- Ole' International (Grand Hotel- MG Road; International Hotel- MG Road), ☏ . A popular uni-sex parlour, it's a favourite among Malayalam movie celebrities and businessmen.
- VLCC International (1st Floor, ABM Tower, Kadavanthra), ☏ . Popular national chain, famous for its special products and treatments.
- Alappuzha (70 km) — (also called Alleppy) is famous for house boats, the heart of backwaters of Kerala with amazing maze of lagoons, backwaters, rivers, canals created by nature. ₹81 bus from the interstate bus stop.
- Athirappilly Falls — milky waterfall in Chalakuddy 18 km from Cochin International Airport. This 80-foot-high waterfall at the threshold of the Sholayar ranges on the Western Ghats is a popular picnic spot. Two amusement parks, DreamWorld and SilverStorm, are nearby. The falls are referred to as the Niagara of India - you can spot two large falls reminiscent of the Bridal veil and Horseshoe falls at Niagara, and a smaller falls nearby. The falls are most famous for being shooting locations for popular Indian movies such as Ravan, Punnagai Mannan and Guru. From the entrance, a 5-minute walk leads to the head of the falls. From there, a walking path criss-crosses downard to the foot of the falls. The water falls into a deep well, making the location unseemingly dangerous, so the water area is off-limits to tourists. ₹15.
- Bhoothathankettu (35 km) — scenic dam site with boating facilities is situated in a vast virgin forest. It is a popular picnic sport with Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary near by.
- Guruvayur (102 km) - A Hindu religious town that attracts 6-10 million pilgrims every year.
- Idukki (90 km) — a hilly region with lots of hill resorts, in Northern Travancore.
- Kumarakom (40 km) — popular internationally known bird sanctuary on edge of a backwater island.
- Kottayam (55 km) — The biggest spice trading hub famous for large churches, wild trekking and cultural monuments.
- Muvattupuzha (30 km) — a small town famous for pineapple cultivation, historical orthodox churches, spice trading and rubber plantations.
- Paniyeli Poru (55 km) — an unexplored beautiful scenic river bank
- Thattekkad (45 km) — bird sanctuary near Kothamangalam, famous for a good boating and a wild picnic.
- Thenmala (225 km) — famous for ecotourism, waterfalls, boating, adventure activities and a deer park.
- Thiruvananthapuram — the capital city of Kerala, 5 hours away by train with many attractions such as Kovalam beach, Neyyar dam, Ananthapadmanabhan temple and East fort.
- Thrissur (60 km) — cultural heart of Kerala famous for various cultural monuments, temples and grandest festival- Thrissur Pooram.
- Wagamon (50 km) — famous for pristine forests, small rapids, vast green meadows, its also known as Scotland of Asia.