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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Kochi?

Kirat S DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Enigmatic and surreal Kochi has something to it, which you will realise the moment you set foot on this land. Kochi, the Queen of Arabian Sea, is a prominent port city in the Southern part of India. It is the most densely populated city in the state of Kerala. The city has a rich history dating back to circa 12th Century AD. The name Kochi is thought to be derived from Malayalam word kochu azhi, meaning small lagoon. Let’s take a quick tour of Kochi’s history:

  • During 12th and 13th Century AD, merchants from Kochi started spice trade with Arabs, Portuguese, Chinese and Jews. The bustling spice trade helped Kochi emerge as a significant place in the world trading routes.
  • The famous Chinese fishing nets that can be seen in Kochi, were introduced by the great Chinese ruler Kublai Khan.
  • Many great travellers like Fa Hien, Vasco Da Gama and Sir Robert Bristow visited the city and helped the city become more famous and thus more prosperous.

  • The city came under Portuguese control in around 1500 AD. Fort Emmanuel was built by the Portuguese during their rule of Kochi.
  • In around 1653, the Dutch invaded the city with the help of Zamorin of Calicut and seized its control.
  • The Great Indian rulers, Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali defeated the Dutch in 1773. This forced Kochi to become a part of Kingdom of Mysore.
  • During 1814, the Dutch signed a treaty with the British and ceded Kochi to the United Kingdom. Hence, like rest of India, Kochi too became a part of the British Empire.

  • During the British rule, Kochi’s name was anglicised to Cochin
  • Post Indian independence, Cochin became the first princely state to join the Indian union.

Kochi is a truly cosmopolitan city, with
Dutch, Portuguese and Jewish influence still present. The population Kochi is a mix of Konkanis, Malayalis, Bengalis, Gujaratis, Marathis, Punjabis, Biharis, Tamilians and a few families of Jews. There are a number of Churches, temples and even a Jewish Synagogue in Kochi.

Almost all major festivals are celebrated with fervour in Kochi. Onam, Holi, Christmas and Id-ul-Fitr are few important festivals celebrated in this city. Importantly, during the last 10 days of December Cochin Carnival is celebrated in Fort Kochi. This merry making festival is enjoyed by people from all parts and communities.

The major language spoken among the locals in the city is Malayalam, like the other cities in the state of Kerala. Other than that you can also converse

in Hindi and English, which is commonly understood by the people in the city.  

Kochi is also home to ancient art and martial arts like Kathakali and Kalaripayattu (martial art). Many of the prominent figures of Malayalam literature were from Kochi like Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, Changampuzha Krishna Pillai, G. Sankara Kurup, etc.

Kochi is a place that has everything to offer. From stupendous beaches to magnificent forts to rich culture, Kochi has it all. So pack your bags and be ready for an experience of a lifetime.

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