I would like to believe that I have a ‘quickie’ relationship with Kochi city (or Cochin, whatever you may like to call it). I have visited Kochi 3 times now, but each time it has been on short duration of 1 to 1&half days. Neverthless, like the thrilling way quickie relationships enjoyed, I have enjoyed my time in Kochi thoroughly, experiencing parts of it while leaving some things for the next visit. I realised that I have done quite a few things in Kochi, much more than a regular traveller and decided to share my list of ‘Things to do in Kochi/Cochin’ here:-
- Sightseeing in Old Jewish Town – The Cochin Jews are widely accepted to be the oldest group of Jews in India. The Cochin Jews trace their ancestry in the city of Cochin as early as the 12th century and the old Jewish town today serves as a poignant reminiscence of a bygone era. Though the Old Jewish town hardly has any Jews living (at last count it was 7), the town itself has been beautifully preserved along with the Pardesi synagogue, the interiors of which are very pretty. There are many souvenir shops in this area, mostly run by migrant kashmiris, but if you have to pick something authentic related to Jewish heritage here, please head to one shop named ‘Sarah’s Hand Embroidery’ which sells Kippahs (star-adorned velvet Jew caps), hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and cushion covers.
Read my travel guide on half day city tour of Cochin, Kerala.
- Dutch Palace – The Mattacherry Palace, popularly known as the Dutch Palace was a gift by the Portuguese to the king of Cochin in 1555. The palace has imbibed both Kerala and Portuguese influences in its architecture. A visit here gives an interesting insight into the mutually convenient relationship the Dutch and rulers of Kochi.
- Cherai Beach – The Cherai beach is a bit away from the main city centre of Cochin, near Vypeen Island in Ernakulam. It is quite pretty beach and makes for some nice time out in the early mornings or evenings.
- Spices Shopping – One cannot visit Cochin and not buy spices, its original claim to fame and the reasons for many invaders over centuries wanting to have hegemony on this city on the international spices trading route. There are many shops selling spices, infact wholesale shops run by the Marwari communities and it’s a visual and olfactory indulgence to go into one of these shops and experience the magic of spices.
- Banana Chips shopping – If spices seem too spicy for you, you can always shop for banana chips, a speciality of Kerala. Fresh banana chips are made in many shops, in front of customers and sold by the gram.
- Textiles and Saree Shopping – When in Kochin, it is highly recommended to get yourself the best of Kasavus (traditional kerala sarees), Mundus and other cotton traditional textiles. For Kasavus, the best place to head is undoubtedly the Kasavu Kada boutique in Cochin.
- Backwater Cruise – If you are tired after all the shopping and sight-seeing, then take a backwater cruise which takes you through the backwaters into the biggest lake in Cochin. One can see the Chinese fishing nets going about doing their job, many interesting birds and the evenings are particularly breezy & relaxing on a backwater cruise here.
I hope when you are in Cochin next time, you do get to experience any or all of these interesting things. I certainly look forward to visiting Cochin again soon for experiencing a bit of all these!
You may also like to read my following articles on Kerala