Culture signifies customs and civilization of a particular people or group of people. It endows the whole content of skill, capacity, talent, ability, efficiency, education, general knowledge, wealth, status and high birth. Culture is to be primarily a selfless, self-giving human being to whom every other person is a human being. Usually, a particular genre of culture prevails in specific areas or region by virtue of a particular group of people living there. But, Kochi, the erstwhile Cochin, in Kerala stands in total contradiction to this general conception.
Kochi stands a mute witness to a number of alien visitors who came to Kochi but could not leave it. The commercial prospects, natural environment and the amicable local responses made them forget their own home land. Its location on the western Ghat of the Arabian Sea provided the foreign nationals, a direct thoroughfare into India, a centre of attraction for the foreign invaders because of its material abundance. The Arabs, the Dutch, the Chinese, the British, the Portuguese, the Japanese came to Kochi with commercial and political interest and settled colonies there.
Kochi thus became a confluence of multi-culture and today stands as the third best tourist destination, as rated by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The National Geographical Traveler has featured it as one of the fifty greatest places of a life time. The primary commercial prospect of Kochi was abundance of spices such as black peppers and cardamom. The political prospect was Kochi served as gate way to India for further annexation and rule.
“Religion is one, though there are a hundred versions of it. One can realize the truth behind this great saying of George Bernard Shaw if he pays a visit to Kochi. He would be enthralled with the symphonic sound of the ringing of bells and smell of Aarati” from a temple, the “Aazaan”, coming out from mosque, the astounding sound of bell from the church and serenely mingled up with “Budhham Saranam Gachhami”. This is the rarest of the rare occasion to rise above one’s own religion and experience God in a single entity.
The historically rich Kochi has today become the commercial and industrial hub of Kerala. Kochi has developed into a great metropolis along with Fort Koch, Ernakulam, Mattencherry and other surrounding villages and towns. One can still experience the tint of royal aristocracy by riding a horse, playing golf and boating in the marina. The erstwhile British Residency, turned to a five star hotel offers these facilities at the Bolgastty Island.
The best time to visit Kochi is from October to March for honeymooning in house boat and exploration of backwater and of course the annual Onam festival.
Those having interest for History can find Bolgastty Palace, Geernix Village, Jewish Synagouge, Kaladi, Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace), Paliam Palace, Chendamangalam, Parishhath Thampuram Museum, Tripunithura Hill Palace, Chottanikkara. For those having interest in nature can visit Cherai Beach, Fort Kochi, and Santa Cruz Basilica.
The combined effects of History, Culture, Religion, Nature and the behavior of the locals will leave on a visitor’s mind a permanent imprint of multi-cultural Kochi