The wonder that is India needs no retelling. Most of its cities, towns and villages have been discovered and detailed by major travel magazines. Cochin or Kochi, however, is one that has not fully found its way onto the list of 10,000 places to see before you die. So what makes Kochi so important?
History worth repeating
First of all, it has a history with European twists and turns involving the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and British, in addition to most Middle Eastern and Asian peoples. Dutch mansions, the Jewish quarter, Portuguese cathedrals and Chinese fishing nets, all find their place among local palaces, temples and colonial structures. The resulting effect is that visitors, wherever they come from, soon find something familiar and quickly feel at home.
Views from a houseboat
Kochi is a harbour town located securely from the strong currents in the Arabian Sea. Its extensive backwaters, lagoons, peninsulas and islands form an enchanting vista that makes time stand still. Traditional houseboats, fitted with modern amenities, including air-conditioning, are available for private tours with local guides whose fetching enthusiasm certainly adds to the experience.
Arts, culture, food
The local arts and cultural scene takes fascinating forms that often defy description. Dance schools offer short-term coaching in many of these art forms and are eagerly lapped up by visitors. The same goes for local food and drink. This is mainly freshly caught seafood cooked in scintillating curries, along with a range of vegetarian dishes cooked with local vegetables rarely seen outside the state.