Popularly called as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi (also called Cochin or Ernankulam), is a major port city located along the Western Coast. Situated at a very strategic location, Kochi has been a significant trading zone and an attractive tourist destination since time immemorial. The place was an important spice trading centre from the 14th century and was first of the European colonies in India, occupied by the Portuguese from 1503 to 1530 and later by the Dutch and the British. Kochi is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747.
Kochi ranked first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala and sixth best tourist destination in India during 2008. Kochi is home to one of the oldest Jewish synagogue.
The popular sightseeing places include the historical FortKochi, with distinctive style of the buildings bearing influence of European architecture; the splendid BolghattyPalace located on the BolghattyIslands, one of the oldest existing palaces built by the Dutch in India and the famous Chinese Fishing Nets, fixed land installations used for a very unique method of fishing. The ancient monuments, like the Jewish Synagogue, FortKochi, the serene and austere MattancherryPalace, built during the pre-British times and the backwaters in Kochi brings hundreds of tourists flocking to this beautiful port city whole year round.
The Marine Drive with a beautiful promenade, the Pareekshith Thampuran archeological Museum, St Francis Xavier’s Church built during 1503, by the Portuguese traders are some of the other major attractions of the city. The Museum of Kerala History recounts the history of the land through magnificent and informative light and sound shows.
The Lush mangroves, ancient churches, cathedrals and forts has made Kochi a much sought after tourist destination in South India. Salman Rushdie’s the Moor’s Last Sigh, bases much action around Mattancherry and the synagogue.