Cochin

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Kochi is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is the financial capital of Kerala and, with a population of more than 2 million, the biggest urban agglomeration in the state.

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Points of Interest in Cochin

Landmarks

  • Chinese Fishing Nets (Cheenavala), Fort Kochi Beach, Beach Rd (Next to Fort Kochi Bus stand). Serves as the offical 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 currently only a few remain in working condition.
  • Hill Palace Museum, Hill Palace Rd, Thripunithura (12 km southeast of Ernakulam),  +91 484 2781113. 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 along with a small zoo. Has paintings and epigraphy from the collections of the Travancore & Kochi royal families. This 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 which has elobrate security check procedures, photography and bags are prohibited. The Palace complex is huge with several buildings inside it. There is a good Deer Park (10AM-4:30PM) along with peacocks. A small fauna garden was set up in 2003. Also the palace has more than 100 different species of trees and plants, many of which are 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).
  • Santacruz Basilica, Cathedral Grounds, Fort Kochi (opposite Children's Park). Daily 7AM-8PM. 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.
  • St. Francis CSI Church (CSI Pally), Church Rd, Fort Kochi (Near to Fort Kochi Beach). Daily 7AM-7PM. 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 can be seen on its backyard to honor the unknown soldiers who sacrificed their lives for World War-1 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 (Verenigde Oostindische Companie) emblem of Dutch East India Company).
  • David Hall, Parade Grounds East, Fort Kochi,  +91 484 2218298. Tue-Sun, 11AM-7PM. This 315 years old Dutch bungalow was the official residence of the Dutch Army commanders, the most famous being Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draakestein who was the author of Horticus Malabaricus. Currently the complex belongs to Netherlands Govt agency CNO which recently renovated to open a large art gallery, a traditional Dutch performing arts center and large studio for young painters. The building is a classic specimen of colonial Dutch architecture with elaborate dutch gardens. For cultural performances, one need to check at the reception to know the schedule.
  • Bastion Bungalow, 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. Currently, it serves as the official residence of the Cochin Sub-Collector and entry is restricted.
  • Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Kottaram), Palace Rd, Mattencherry. 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. The coronations of Kochi Maharajas are always 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. Indians ₹ 25, foreigners ₹ 100.
  • Jew Street and Paradesi Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry. Synagogue Su-F 10AM-5PM, 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. ₹ 40.
  • 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 prefect destination for evening walk with numerous western styled cafes, souvenir shops, art galleries and heritage complexes.
  • 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. Now, it is a major centre for handloom weaving and coir manufacturing.
  • Pallipuram Fort, Pallipuram, Vypin Island. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, this is the oldest existing European fortification in India. 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.
  • 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. Currently it has been restored into a boutique hotel. The hotel management however allows tourists to explore the grand exteriors and public interior spaces.
  • Holy Koonan Cross Church (Pradhankuriyacha Palli), Bazaar Rd. Mattencherry. 24 hrs. A historic church where Malayalee Christians in the 17th century revolted against Portuguese Jesuit missionaries' attempts to convert them into the Latin church. It was here native Christians received the Bishop of Persia and declared their affinities to the Orthodox Eastern Church. This was the first recorded revolt against Europeans in India, forcing the Pope to recognize native Christians and to establish a new church, the Syro-Malabar Church.
  • International Pepper Exchange, Jewtown, 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.
  • Durbar Hall Ground, DH Rd, Ernakulam City. The venue for many fairs during festivals and regular evening concerts and other programs.

Museums and galleries

  • 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).
  • 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. This was the official Durbar Hall of Kochi Maharajas, now converted into a large fine arts gallery, named after last Maharaja of Kochi, who was an oil painter. A small studio is nearby promoting young artists. Free.
  • Indian Naval Maritime Museum, INS Dronarcharya, Fort Kochi. Built by the Indian Navy. 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.
  • Indo-Portuguese Museum, Fort Kochi. A modern museum highlighting 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.

Eco-Tourist Villages

  • 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.
  • 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 many options to fish for fresh prawns, crabs and shrimp (you can take your catch for a nominal fee), canoeing within a mangrove forest, sun-bathing, swimming at a private beach nearby and enjoying sunset picnic cruise. The breakfast and lunch, which are included in the entry cost, have a wide range of fish delicacies and fish pickles. ₹ 100 per person.

Places of worship

Hindu, Jain and Sikh

  • Thrikkakara Temple, Thrikkakara. The only temple in India devoted to the Hindu deity Vamana and a major centre for celebration of the Onam festival. Get here during Onam and you can catch ten days of festivities, peppered with performances of Kerala's traditional arts and ending with a Onam feast.
  • 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.
  • Ernakulam Siva Temple (at the centre of town, near the Durbar Hall Ground). Has three temples within its complex.
  • Aluva Manalpuram. Famous for the annual Shivarathri festival on the banks of the Periyar river.
  • Chottanikara 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).
  • Poornathresya 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.
  • Dharmanath Desar Jain Mandir, Gujarathi St, Mattencherry (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.
  • 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.

Christian

  • Malayattoor Mount (26 km away). A major Christian pilgrimage center 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.
  • St. Francis Assisi Cathedral, High Court Junction, Marine Drive (behind Verapoly Archdiocese HQ). Locally known as Kappalpalli (Ship Church due to its ship shaped structure).
  • St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam,, High Court Junction, Marine Drive (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.
  • St. Antony's Shrine, 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.
  • St.George's Church, Edapally, NH 47 Rd. A popular church, also amongst non-Christians. Famous for its poison cure treatments.

Muslim

  • Kanjiramattam Mosque (30 km to the east). A major Muslim pilgrimage center and venue of the Kudikkuthu Festival. It is famous for the annual Urus festival. The imams of this mosque are famous for being leading scholars, who were advisors to Kochi Rajas.
  • 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).

Parks and nature

  • Subhash Park, Park Avenue. One of the largest parks in Kochi.
  • Children's Park. With children's rides, a musical fountain and a small boating lake.
  • Indira Renewable Energy Park. Has unique rides and gadgets which run on renewable energy.
  • Beach Children's Park, Beach Rd. A good small park, which is well maintained for evening strolls.
  • Managalavanam, Tatapuram-Pachalam Road (Behind High Court Complex). A thick 80 acre mangrove forest located 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.
  • Poru (near Kodanadu, 14 km from city center). An unexplored beautiful scenic river bank. The Periyar river flows here in its original pure form, without any kind of pollution. During Summer season, when the volume of river water is at its lowest, it is very easy to cross the 2 km wide river from one bank to other. Beware during rainy reason, when a large volume of river water flushes this area and it is extremely dangerous to swim.

Other attractions

  • Cherai Beach, North of Vypin Island (Take Route-3 bus from High Court stand). Golden beaches with big sand grains, coconut palm corridors, backwaters, and historical monuments. Cherai Beach is one of the safest beaches to swim or play water sports or beach games. A very large beautiful backwaters just 250 m from beach famous for its scenic beauty and boating. Cherai Beach surpasses all with its swimming facility and coconut groves. Occasional sights of dolphins is also an added attraction.
  • Kodanadu Elephant Training College (Ana Thothil). 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.
  • 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 constructed recently, making 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.

St. Francis Church

Chinese Fishing Nets

Santa Cruz Cathedral

Durbar Hall Art Gallery

Mattancherry Palace

Jain Temple

Spice Market

Mattancherry Synagogue

Hill Palace

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Popular events in Cochin in the near future

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About Cochin

History

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 English. 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 public health and education areas.

The foundations of modern Kochi city started when Sir Robert Bristow, a senior Royal Navy Engineer felt need of a modern large port after the opening of Suez Canal. This made creation of largest man-made island of the country, the Willingdon Island to house 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 the port.

Climate

Kochi has a typical tropical climate. Temperatures range between 30°C and 35°C during daytime and around 24°C during night. Kochi is one of the first places to experience the heavy Monsoon showers starting by mid of May. Kochi experiences heavy rainfall between mid of May to first week of September. Day time temperatures during the monsoon fall to between 25°C and 30°C during these months. From September to early February, the weather is fine, marked with cool winds and light showers in between. However by February, summer season starts. Though temperatures never touches 40°C, the presence of high humidity can make summers very harsh. This continues till early May. However frequent summer showers cool down the harshness of summer.

Activities

Festivals

See Festivals of Kerala for further details.

  • Cochin Carnival (Dec 20-Jan 2) is the biggest carnival festival in the city. It 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.
  • Onam Festival (ten day festival mid-August to mid-September). The state festival of Kerala originating in Kochi. It is based on the legend of welcoming home 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.
  • Fireworks Festival of Maradu Kottaram Devi Temple(mid March - mid April), hosts India's second largest fireworks as part of their temple festival finale. The festival takes place in the festival grounds of Maradu, which has mega fireworks display lasting for 1.5 hours for last two days.
  • Thripunithura Vrishikolsavam (mid November - mid December) at Thripunithura Poornathresya Temple is the grandest temple festival, after Thrissur Pooram. This was once the royal festival of the Kochi Kingdom. The cultural attractions draw huge crowds with regular performances of Kathakali.
  • 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.

Theme parks

  • Silverstorm Water Park. A good family theme park with 29 water and dry rides, a very large park and a Chinese village. Near Athirampally Waterfalls area, this park is located 50 km from Kochi City, 18 km from the airport.
  • Wonderla - in Kakkanad, this 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.

Sport

Kochi has got 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.

  • Cochin International Stadium located at Kaloor, has good open football court and a cricket court, where locals play regularly, for which no fees are required. The badminton and tennis court located next to this ground can be used on payment of prescribed fees at sports office of St.Albert's College as it belongs to them.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium located at Kadavanthara, has badminton, tennis, squash, volley ball and basketball courts. Rooms for chess, caroms, table-tennis and board games are also available. For an entrance fees payable at the indoor sports office, you can play there or join with regular users. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness complex and large 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, the Yacht club in Thevera and Ramada Resort in Panagad operate a wide range of water sports games. Para-gilding is not allowed in any areas, due to presence of several strategic military installations.
  • Maharaja's Stadium Grounds, located at KPCC Jn in MG Road has large athletic grounds, a state-of-the-art synthetic track, which is popular among athletic enthusiasts.
  • 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.
  • Cricket pitches, Palace Oval Grounds located 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).
  • Beach Sports. Fort Kochi Beach, Cherai Beaches are very popular among locals for playing beach volley-balls. Try a tough game of beach-football being very popular here. Water ski and biking is also popular in Fort Kochi beaches.
  • Go Karting @ Airport. A short karting circuit is located at the city side of Cochin Airport, just opposite the airline complex. Regular karting competitions are held on weekends and a few rallies are also organized.

Golf

  • Cochin Golf & Country Club +91 484 3053598. Cochin Airport Area. A new 18 hole golf course. Nice scenery and located very near to the airport. A country club is under construction, though the recreation center with a small bar, lounge and changing rooms is available.
  • Cochin Golf Club, Bolgatty Island, ☎+91 484 2750908, +91 484 2098178. Established in 1922 by the Hon. British Resident to Kingdom of Kochi and Travancore. Today it became one of the oldest golf courses in the country. It is a 10 hole course open for non-members on payment of green fees. Guests of the Bolgatty Palace Hotel can use without any extra charge.
  • Naval Golf Course, Naval Enclave, Willingdon Island. One of the largest golf courses in the country which is not open to general public. You can play though by invitation from a naval officer. Guests of the navy and the Kochi administration have access to this large golf course..

Gyms

Major private gym chains include Ernakulam Men's Gym, South Railway station road, ☎ +91 484 2378798‎, Destination Health‎, Edapally, ☎ +91 484 4014353‎, Bio-rhythm Wellness and Spa center ☎ +91 484 4099908, Talwalkars, ☎ +91 484 2382696‎ and Women's World Muti Gym Health Club‎, Janatha Junction, Palarivattom, ☎ +91 484 2349294‎). Many gyms are branded as Health, Wellness or Slimming centers to avoid the traditional association of the word gym with men only centres. Most are open 7AM-8PM.

Boating

  • 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. Recently speedboats started plying 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.

Cinemas

Kochi has some good Cineplexes, featuring regular Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi movies. Most of the theaters have uniform movie timings with 4 shows fixed at noon, matinée (afternoon), first show (evenings) and second show (late night), though modern multiplexes offers shows at multiple timings. Some of the recommended are;

  • Cinemax Multiplex (4 screens); 4th Floor, Oberon Mall, NH bypass road - A modern multiplex, it has 4 screens offering Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and English movies on regular basis.
  • Q Cinemas (4 screens); 4th floor, Gold Souk Mall, Vytilla- The most luxurious multiplex in the town, it offers shows in all languages.
  • Padma Cinemas (1 screen),  +91 484 2354233. Padma Junction, MG Rd, ‎. A modern, well maintained 800 seater theater in 2 class configuration. It has a good cafe and Texas Wild theme restaurant called Cafe 20. Mostly Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi movies are screened here.
  • Sridhar Cinemas (1 Screen),  +91 484 2352529. Marine Drive, ‎. A modern, well maintained 900 Seater theater equipped with 3D facilities. It has a good cafe called Sridhar Cafe. This theater regularly screens Hollywood English movies. Malayalam and Hindi movies are screened sometimes, though rare.

Shenoys cinema (2screen), Sarita Theater,Savitha theater Sangeetha Theater are the other main theaters in Kochi.

Performing arts

There are many performing arts complexes across the city, offering a good experience of various artforms and culture. Kochi has the largest number of regular evening Kathakali theaters, offering the best insight into this traditional dance-drama artform of Kerala. Apart from Kathakali, many other events are regularly performed in Kochi.

  • 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.
  • Kalikotta, Palace Rd, Thripunithura. This 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.
  • JT Pac Cultural Theater, Choice House, Choice lane, Kumbalam. 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.
  • See India Foundation +91 484 2376471. 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.
  • Greenix Tourist Theater, Greenix Village, Kalvatty, Fort Kochi. A good cultural theater with a gallery, food court and mini museum.
  • Kerala Folklore Theater, Near Thevara-Island bridge, Folklore Junction, Thevara. A good cultural theater with regular evening performances, a state-of-the-art museum and cultural gallery.

Ayurveda

Ayurvedic pleasure treatments are widely available. Some of the better spas and massage centres are:

  • Kerala Ayurvedics in South (Near Arun's Studio, Warriam Road- between MG Rd and Chitoor Rd)
  • Punarva Spa and Ayuvedic Hospital (Edappally North, NH 17)
  • Birla Kerala Spa (Hotels Woodlands, Jewel Junction)
  • Ela World Spa, (4rd floor, Oberon Mall)

Food

Cuisine

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.

Restaurants

Budget

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 kanzhi (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, US Pizzas, Marrybrown, Pizza Hut and Domino's also have a presence here.

Indian

  • 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.
  • 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, Mattencherry. Gujarati restaurant famous for its stuffed parathas and vegetarian curries.
  • Kayees or Kaikka's Biriyani, there are two restaurant,one at Mattencherry & opps.darbar 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 dont 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.
Other

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.
  • Street Menu (Opposite SBT Bank, Padma Junction, MG Rd). Offers a lot of grilled options at low prices.

Mid-range

Most of the restaurants in Kochi are mid-range and there are lots of them.

Indian
  • Banana Leaf, Jos Junction, MG Rd (near Jos Collections),  +91 484 4022334. 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),  +91 484 2217103. 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.
  • Shala, 1/605 Peter Celli St, Fort Kochi,  +91 484 2216036. 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 Drive (Just behind Penta Menaka). Good North Indian food at low prices.
  • Raju dhaba, Falcon truck terminal, Kalamassery. 11AM-11PM. Authentic north Indian dhaba food. ₹ 100.
  •    Ojeen, By-lane after SBT towards Broadway, Marine Drive (From High Court junction, proceed toward SBT along Shanmugham Road. Right after SBT, on the left, there's a by-lane leading to Broadway.),  +91 484 3121591. 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.
Other
  • 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.
  • The Chyang Shek, Providence Church Rd, Banerjee Rd (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.
  • Upstairs Italian, K.B. Jacob Rd, Fort Kochi (opposite Santa Cruz Basilica). Run by an Italian family, classic traditional Italian cuisines.
  • 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.

Splurge

Most of the upscale restaurants are located inside hotels with 3 stars or more.

Indian
  • 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 Drive (near Hakkoba Lodge). 11AM-11PM. Tasty Travancore food, with both Southern Travancore veg options and Central Travancore Syrian Christian non veg specialities.
  • S36, Mills St, Foreshore Rd (within Bat&Ball Inn),  +91 484 645 9495. 11AM-11PM. Traditional North Indian cuisine, particularly Mughal specialty foods.
  • 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.
  • Tandoor, 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.
  • Restaurant “Lily Grace”, Post box 22 , River Rd., Fort Kochi (near Hotel Killians - Fort Kochi Vypeen Ferry Terminal),  +91 484 2217245, e-mail: relax@hotelkillians.com. 11AM-11PM.
Other
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Conucopia, Mills St, Foreshore Rd,  +91 484 6459495. 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 Byepass Rd, Vytilla (near Mithra Supermarket),  +91 484 4033220, +91 484 4033221. 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 Center),  +91 94 4657 5551. 11AM-11PM. Itty's place is an eco-friendly restaurant made completely with bamboo, coir and wood having 3 sit-down options. 3rd Place is one of the city's premium cafe and gelateria, whereas Favourite Italy offers traditional Italian pizzas, pastas and subs.
  • Ming's Wok (Opp.Bank of Baroda Near Malayala Manorama Panampilly Nagar Cochin),  +91 484 231355. 11:30AM-11PM. Authentic Chinese cuisine prepared by professional chefs, using quality ingredients.
  • Spice Route, Level 4, Oberon Mall, NH Byepass Rd, Palarivattom,  +91 484 4000040. 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),  +91 484 2313339. 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.

Drinks

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Bars

Finding a bar or pub is not difficult. Most of the budget oriented bars are located near the railway stations and in Kaloor and Edappally. Mid-market and high end bars are located 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.

  • XL Fishnet Bar, Rose St, Fort Cochin. until abour 10.30 PM. 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.
  • Velocity, Bnerjee Rd. A seedy bar with a wide range of liquors and beer.
  • 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.
  • Central Park Bar, Kaloor-Kadavanthara Road. 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.
  • Silca Bar, Hotel Mercy, Ravipuram area, MG Rd,  +91 484 2367372. A lovely, upscale bar lounge popular with businessmen and upscale visitors. Famous for its signature dishes and cocktails.

Nightlife DJ parties & pubs

Nightlife comprising of pubs, DJ parties, discos are recent phenomenon with new venues opening. Pubs and discotheques 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.

  • Tandav Discos, (Le Meridien), Maradu. Famous for its weekend all night parties and grand balls.
  • Glow&Corktales +91 484 409 0000. 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 +91 93 8825 6882. Palarivattom Jn, Palarivattom Jn., A new 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 inhouse DJ and the latest in electronic dance music. One of the coolest places for families.
  • Couchyn, The Grand Hotel, Woodlands Junction, MG Rd. A traditional English styled lounge bar with great music and a wide variety of cocktails.
  • 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.

Coffee shops

There are many coffee shops around the city.

  • Kashi Art Café, Fort Cochin, Burgher St (parallel to Princess St),  +91 48 4 2215769, e-mail: mail@kashiartgallery.com. 8:30AM-7:30PM. Serve great iced coffee, fresh lunches, and a variety of sandwiches and tasty cakes.
  • Amaara Maradu, Petta-Maradu Rd, Tripunithara (near Gandhi Square),  +91 484 2706922, e-mail: amaara@in.com. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cafe Cochin Lavazza (G-360, Panampally Nagar),  +91 484 3114816. 9AM-10:30PM. The only direct Lavazza coffee outlet in South India.
  • 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 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.

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.

  • 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.
  • Caravan Softies, Caravan Complex, Marine Drive and Opposite Shenoys Cineplex. One of the most traditional ice-cream parlours famous for many in-house varieties.
  • 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.

Shopping

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 center of this festival and you get heavy discounts at participating stores and regular lucky draws.

Markets

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 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 Mattencherry 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 Konakanis where you can slice of Indian market flavours.

Antiques/art works

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.

  • Isidore Art Palace, Jewtown (next to the Synagogue), e-mail: isidore@vsnl.com. Will reliably ship stuff outside India. Bargain hard.
  •    Galleria Synagogue Art Gallery, 776 Jew Town, Kochi (walk down the street from the synagogue),  +91-9847478882 or +91 484 222 1330, e-mail: info@galleriasynagoguecom. 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.
  • Cochin Crafts Antique Shop‎, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue),  +91 484 2221927‎. Good collection of crafts and antique shops.
  • Crafters Exports‎, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue),  +91 484 2227652‎‎. This shop has certified large collection of artifacts and heritage pieces. Its a very popular option.
  • Cauvery‎, M G Rd (at Jos Junction),  +91 484 2351968‎‎. A government emporium well known for quality handicrafts at reasonable price.

Try at state run emporiums that offer high quality certified antiques/artworks, however there is no bargain or discount. Check at Kerala's state emporium showrooms, Kairali & Surabhi and Karnataka's Cavery, all located in MG Road.

Shopping malls

Large western style shopping malls are new to Kochi and more than 30 are under construction in various parts of city, all scheduled to open between first quarter of 2010 and the end of 2013. Currently only two are functional. Apart from shopping malls, there are numerous of shopping complexes in Cochin (a shopping complex in local terms is a large complex having many shops close to each other, selling mostly only one type of product).

  • Oberon Mall, nr Padivattom Signal Junction-NH Bypass Road). The first large scale multi-format shopping mall in a western style. A typical mall, having a wide range of branded stores, a large hypermarket, an anchor store of Reliance Trends (multi brand apparel store), a book/stationery store, spa, beauty saloon, a large food court, a four screen multiplex and lots of entertainment options like Horror House, Mirror Maze and a cricket bowling center.
  • Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive. A small sized family mall located in heart of city with a few brand stores, a small food court, a fitness center, a gift shop and a music store.
  • Grande Gold Souk, Vyittila Junction. One of the largest malls in South India, this is the only mall having wedding as 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.
  • 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.
  • Lulu Mall. Located 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 Rps one way.

Apparel and fabric

Kochi also has many famous designer boutiques, mostly located in Convent Junction (between MG Road and Marine Drive). Panampally Nagar also houses many premium exclusive designer boutiques. MG Road (the arterial road) is lined with many premium brand stores, leading apparel shops and boutiques. The 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My Kingdom, Shenoys Junction, MG Rd. An upscale apparel and accessories store. Spread over four stories, each of which is designed for different age groups and gender. Has an extensive collection of latest clothing. Also a spa, beauty saloon and baby center.
  • 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.
  • Village Shop, Behind Sony Center, Ravipuram, MG Road, +91 484 3078472, +91 484 2361717 (e-mail: kochi@villageshop.in). Village Shop is a Home Furnishing store in Kochi. They sell innovative and designer Handloomed soft furnishings for all rooms of a home.

Bookshops

There are numerous of bookstores in Convent Junction as well as in the Fort Kochi area. Pressclub Rd in Convent Junction is a hot-spot for book lovers.

  • Kurien's Tower, Banerjee Rd (opposite Saritha Cinemas). Has many good book stores within it. Some of the popular are Book-Port +91 484 2397129, +91 97 4640 1310 [11]), Hamlet, ☎ +91 484 2395389) and very large multi-lingual store of DC Books.
  • DeeCee, Island Castle Complex, Chittoor Rd (Opposite YMCA),  +91 484 2362796. A very large multi-lingual bookstore, famous for wide range of English fiction books.
  • Reliance Time Out, 3rd Floor, Oberon Mall, Edappally. A popular store with books, music, entertainment, gifts and cafe option, it has a small library within it.
  • Pai&Co, Broadway and MG Rd. The first bookstore of the city, its very popular for all kinds of reading materials.
  • Treasure Island, MG Rd (near Padma Junction). An upscale bookstore with a music store and gift shop operating inside.

Footwear and luggage

There are many shops selling footwear and luggage in all price ranges. For budget options, try the shops near both railway stations. Be aware that many of these shops offer cheap varieties which may not last a long.

  • Sylcon Footwear, Oberon Mall. A leading Kerala footwear chain, that offers many national and international brands as well as luggage.
  • Reliance Footprints, Oberon Mall. A national footwear chain, most famous for its inhouse brands.
  • Footwear Bazaar, small dedicated bazaar in at the northwestern side of Broadway Market.

Jewellery

Kochi is famous for its gold, silver, diamond and platinum jewelry. Most of the jewellers are concentrated at Jewel Junction (Woodland Junction), on 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.

  • H. Venkatesha Naik Jewellery +91 484 4041890. Rajaji Road, Near Kavitha Junction.‎ Offers modern designs and lightweight collections. It also has an extensive diamond gallery and trendy collection of watches.
  • Alapatt Gold +91 484 2381862. Jewel Junction, MG Road.- One of the oldest jewellers with an extensive gold collection, ranging from traditional to modern.
  • Malabar Gold +91 484 2352916. 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.
  • Kirtilals‎ +91 484 2372911. Opposite Maharaja's College Ground, MG Rd. A grand exclusive diamond gallery, featuring more than 2,000 diamond collections and platinum jewel designs.
  • Bhima Silver Palace, Jewel Junction, MG Rd. Large collection of silver ornaments, souvenirs and cutlery.

Cosmetics

For cosmetics and womens accessories, Convent Junction is the haven for fair sex. Many international cosmetics and personal care brands can be bought at prices lower than in western countries.

  • Goodwill Collections +91 484 2380142. TKM Park, Convent Junction. One of the largest cosmetic store with collections of jewellery and bags.
  • Le Mars, Civil Lanes, Palarivattom. ☎+91 484 2339142, +91 484 2339152, +91 484 2339162. A very popular multi-brand women's store.
  • Alphonsa Cosmetics Collections +91 484 2366676. Convent Junction. A good collection of all international and national cosmetics brands.

Electronics

You can buy electronic gadgets at comparatively low rates, than most of other regions in India. For the latest technology, Kochi hosts many large consumer electronics fairs and every new technology gadget gets into store 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.

Supermarkets

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.

  • Varkeys is the most popular supermarket chain in Kochi. It is a locally-owned chain with many branches elsewhere. Has a good in-house bakery.
  • 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.
  • Spencers daily, Mitra, Food Bazaar, Big Bazaar Express, Nine-Ten and Triveni are other popular supermarkets.
  • Govt run Supplyco, 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.
  • KR Bakes, Anns bakery, Bake My Days, Breadworld and Best Bakery are the most popular local bakery chains, with many locations.

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. ☎ +91 484 2375839
  • Muthoot Exchange Co (P) Ltd +91 484 2395345. G.F.13, Muthoot Chambers, Kurian Towers, Opp. Saritha Theatre, Banerji Rd.
  • Pheroze Framroze & Co (P) Ltd +91 484 2367943. Behind Woodland Hotel, Layam Rd.
  • Thomas Cook (India) Ltd +91 484 2369729. Palai Towers, 1st Floor, Right Wing, M G Rd.
  • UAE Exchange +91 484 2360037. Opp Maharaja's College Ground, M G Rd.
  • Wall Street Finance Ltd +91 485 2372149. G 42, Pioneer Tower, Marine Drive.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kochi on Wikivoyage.

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