Kochi (earlier known as Cochin) is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is known as the financial capital of Kerala and it is the biggest urban agglomeration in Kerala.
The city of Kochi is separated into numerous distinct areas particularly close to each other. These include the mainland areas of Ernakulam City (where the train stations to the rest of India leave and arrive), Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi (the primary tourist enclave), Mattancherry, Kumbalangi and outlying islands. These distinct neighbourhoods arose as the result of a mixed past.
Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Arabs, the Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese, Chinese more than 600 years ago.
Kochi has a lot of remnants from the past still clinging on. The famous landmark of Kochi is a row of Chinese fishing nets at the mouth of the harbor leading to the Arabian sea in Fort Kochi, the oldest part of the city. In Ernakulam, the latest in skyscrapers and modern shopping can be found, while the old quarter -- the Fort Kochi area and Mattancherry area -- maintains a colonial air. This makes Kochi one of the best places to travel.
Kochi is comparatively cleaner and quieter than many other Indian tourist places. Having said that, Kochi is still a health and sanitation problem. Trash and rubbish litter most public areas. The infrastructure of proper sidewalks and grey water control remains a problem. Be careful walking especially at night as poorly lit areas and multi-level sidewalks are common. Often gaping holes could land you in a puddle.
This area boasts of hundreds of islands, some even uninhabited, and is part of the Backwaters of Kerala. A famous island is that of Bolghatty (local name Mulavukad) where the Dutch built a palace. This palace was later used as house of the British Resident administrator. Right now the Dutch Palace is a tourist hotel, and you are welcome to live there as guest.
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