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Cochin, My Home Town

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ABOUT KOCHI

COCHIN - Queen of Arabian sea - Undoubtedly the commercial hub of Kerala, the city of Cochin is where ancient civilization gracefully mingles with modern life. Right from the early years, Cochin has had cultural and trade relations with the outside world. she had also experienced pulsating episodes of European colonial rivalry. Cochin is the palm-green commercial town of Kerala and one of the finest natural harbour in the world, Kochi has earned the sobriquet "Queen of the Arabian Sea". Here you can see the oldest church in India. The ancient temples, churches and synagogues in this district are of special interest to the archaeologists and historians.

From time immemorial, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese sea fares followed the sea route to Kochi and left their impression on the town. A Jewish community with roots going back to 1000 AD, a 16th century synagogue, and a palace built by the Portuguese and given to the Raja of Kochi which was later renovated by the Dutch are part of Kochi.

Kochi port is one of the largest in India. All the islands that make up Kochi are well connected by Ferry. Bridges and roads connect Ernakulam with Willingdon Island and the Fort Kochi/ Mattancherry. The Portuguese Fort is situated on the northern end of Vypeen Island at Pallipuram. The Chinese fishing nets, a method of fishing established in Kochi during the times of Kubla Khan can be seen at Fort Kochi. Kochi International Airport is situated at a distance of 35 kms from town.

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Location : Kochi (Cochin), the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is situated on the west coast of India in the beautiful state of Kerala. Kochi can be regarded as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Kerala is one of the most prosperous state of India, flanked by the Arabian Sea on the western side and the Western Ghats on the eastern side. Roughly speaking Kochi is 10 North and 76 East.

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Facts : Area : 87.341 sq.

Kms comprising of mainland Ernakulam; Old Cochin including Mattancherry, Fort Cochin, Palluruthy and Thoppumpady; Willingdon Island; the suburb of Edappally and the northeast and Tripunithura to the southeast.

Time : GMT - 5.30 hrs = IST

Altitude : Sea level

Language : Malayalam - official language. English is widely used.

Religions : Hindu, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Jews and Sikhs.

Climate : Summers are hot, winters mild. The summer tempratures (March to May) vary from 35 degree C to 22.5 degree. Winter months (December to February), the mean temprature is 20degree C. Cochin experiences both, the southwest monsoons from June to September and the northeast from October to December. The average rainfall is 3099 mm with 132 average annual rainy days.

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Season: The best time to visit is between October and March.

Electricity : 220 volts, 50Hz

Newspapers : Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi in malayalam, The Hindu, The New Indian Express in English are the major dailies.

Accommodation : Hotels range from 5 star to tourist lodges.

Smoking : Smoking in public places including roads are prohibited by law.

Visa extension for expatriots: The Commissioner of Police, Cochin city (Tel : + 91 484 2394770)

Tourist information offices :

Govt of India Tourist office, W.Island, Cochin. Tel: 91 484 2668352.
KTDC reception centres , Shanmugham Rd, Cochin. Tel : 2353234
Tourist information centre, Ernakulam Jn Railway station - Tel: 2378723
Tourist Information office, old Collectorate, Cochin. Tel: 2381743

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GO AROUND

Autorikshaws: Minimum fare - Rs. 7 upto a distance of 1.5 kms beyond which the rate per running km will be 3.50. If the travel is between 11pm and 5am, an additional 50% of the charge shall pe levied. It is advised to ask for the charges before the commencement of the journey and negotiate especially in autorikshaws. Prepaid autorikshwas are available from selected points in the city.

Tourist Cabs: Charge Rs. 4.50 per running km for a standard taxi and premium vehicles are available with almost all tour/travel operators.

Private city buses: The most common mode of transport, these buses are very crowded during the peak hours and should be aware of pickpockets. Minimum fare is Rs. 2.

State Transport Buses: The Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates shuttle, long distance and interstate express and super fast services. Interstate services of the Karnataka and Tamilnadu State Road Transport Corporations are available from the KSRTC Main Bus Stand. If you are planning to move to Guruvayur, Kodungallur...better to try buses from KSRTC Boat Jetty bus stand or High court junction private bus stand.

Long distance private buses: Hirange buses (Munnar, Idukki) starts from Ernakulam south railway station junction and BTH circle (Near Subhash Park). Guruvayur, Kozhikode, Kannur buses starts from High court junction, and Kottayam, Palai, Piravom, Pathanamthitta buses from Kaloor bus stand. Night service buses to Calicut, Kannur, Kasaragod are available from Kaloor Bus stand between 7pm-10.30pm.

Interstate luxury buses to Coimbatore, Bangalore, Madras (Chennai), Mangalore, Madurai, Velankanni etc.. are operated mostly from Ernakulam south. Almost all buses (except Coimbatore) are scheduled to reach destination by next morning.

Boats: Services of the government and private ownership are available from High court jetty and Main jetty at Park Avenue to various places.

Trains: Cochin is connected to various parts of the country by the Indian Railways, the largest railway system in Asia. Trains are accessible from ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town railway stations. (Reservation enquiry 132, Timings ; 8 am to 8pm, sundays upto 2pm.)

Air: International flights are operated from Cochin International airport, located 25 kms northeast of the city at Nedumbassery. International destinations include Abu dhabi, Bahrain, Colombo, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh,Sharjah and Singapore. Domestic flights are also available.

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WHAT TO SEE

CHINESE FISHING NETS: At the entrance of the harbor, these fishing nets are a fascinating sight. These fixed, cantinevered fishing nets along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan.

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BOLGHATTY ISLAND: This long narrow palm-fringed island, easily accessible from the mainland, is where the Bolgatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. Built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident Later. In 1976, the palace was converted into a hotel under Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The palace has a golf course on its grounds. Tel : 235 5003

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SANTA CRUZ CATHEDRAL: Roman catholic church situated close to St. Francis church. Some beautiful paintings can be seen here.

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JEWISH SYNAGOGUE: Built in AD 1568. the great scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest. Two hundred years old, no two tiles are alike. There are also five finely wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons. Timings: 1000 to 1200 hrs and 1500 to 1700 hrs.

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DUTCH PALACE: Also known as Mattancherry palace. Built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in AD 1555. It acquired the present name in 1663 after the Dutch carried out some repairs and extensions to the Palace. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Cochin Rajas. Adjacent rooms contain 17th century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana. Timings : 1000 to 1700 hrs. Closed on Fridays and national holidays.

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HILL PALACE MUSEUM: Displays articles of archeological importance like royal beds, paintings, epigraphy, carvings, arms etc... Timings : 0900 to 1730 hrs. Closed on Monday.

COCHIN MUSEUM : Collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, sculpture in stone and plaster of paris, copies of mural paintings etc... collections from Cochin Royal Family are also among them. Timings : 0930 to 1200 hrs and 1500 to 1730 hrs. Closed on Mondays and national holidays.

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MANGALAVANAM BIRD SANCTUARY: Believe it or not this bird sanctuary is situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory birds.

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FORT KOCHI BEACH : A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a fine experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline.

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KALIKOTTA PALACE, Tripunithura : As the name suggests, this beautiful, imposing building - a legacy of the Dutch rule - served as an entertainment auditorium to the erstwhile royalty featuring dance, drama and plays.

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VEEGALAND, Pallikkara : Located 10.5 kms from Palarivattom bypass junction is this unique amusement park offering a world of non-stop fun and adventure.

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CHERAI BEACH: Located at Vypin, this small, well kept beach attracts a lot. Now this beach is easily accessible from Cochin city through the new Goshri Bridges.


EMERGENCY NUMBERS

HOSPITALS
General Hospital, Ernakulam : 2361251
Government Hospital : 2224444
Maharajas Hospital, Thoppumpady : 2224561
Women's & Children's Hospital , Mattancherry : 2224511
Amrita Institute of Sciences & Research Centre : 2339086
Bharathi Clinic, Mullassery Canal Road : 2351313
Central Hospital, Kadavanthra : 2310005
City Hospital, M.G Road : 2361809
Cochin Mental Health Centre : 2317790
Dhanya Nursing Home, MKK Nair Road : 2345771
Diagnostic Research Centre : 2365578
Doctors Diagnostic Centre : 2315511, 2364141, 2337415
Dr. Joy's Hospital for Women : 2302841
Early Cancer Detection Centre, Kaloor : 2347531
Ernakulam Medical Centre : 2807101 - 06
Goutham Hospital : 2223055
Indira Gandhi Co-Operative Hospital : 2206734,2204110
Krishna Nursing Home : 2368451
Lakeshore Hospital : 2701032,2701033,984731 12301
Lakshmi Hospital : 2382111
Lissie Hospital : 2401006,2402308
Lourdes Hospital : 2391452
Medical Trust Hospital : 2371852- 59
Ojus Clinic & Nursing Home : 2370303
PNVM Hospital & Research Centre : 2390097
PVS Memorial Hospital : 2345451/52, 2345471
Saraf Hospital : 2380452
Specialists Hospital : 2395066
Sree Sudheendra Medical Mission : 2354139
Vijaya Hospital : 2391834
Mother & Child Hospital : 2303283

COUNSELLING CENTRE
Shilpa (For Mentally disabled) : 2328977
Maithri (For depressed & suicidal) : 2396272

24 HOURS PHARMACY
Oriental Pharmacy : 2366463
Medi Lab : 2368963, 2371031

AMBULANCE
General Hospital - Ernakulam : 23611251, 2381768
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences : 2339080, 2339085
Doctors Diagnostic Centre : 2364041
Indiara Gandhi Co- Operative Hospital : 2319334,2318872
Lakshmi Hospital : 2382111. 2382114
Sudheendra Hospital : 2354139
Dhanwanthari Service Society (C/o General Hospital): 2364815
Medical Trust Hospital : 2371852
Rotary Club of Cochin : 98470 60077
Well Care Hospital : 2302904