HISTORY OF KOCHI AND MAP OF HISTORICAL PLACES
If you make a dip into the history you will come to know that Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times. With the passage of time, Kochi rose to significance as a trading centre after the port around Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding of Periyar in 1341. Furthermore, the earliest documented references to Kochi occur in books written by Chinese voyager Ma Huan during his august visit to Kochi in the 15th century as part of Admiral Zheng He’s treasure fleet. Apart from above mentioned, there are also references to Kochi in accounts written by Italian traveller Niccolò Da Conti, who visited Kochi in 1440, and gave a good account of culture and traditions of people of kochi as well as ensuing trade and commerce for which Kochi was widely reputed in the world.
ORIGIN OF KOCHI
Contradictions do make a place when there come a number of historians with different thinking. According to many historians, the precursor state to Kingdom of Kochi came into existence in early 12th century, after the fall of the Chera Kingdom. The history also incorporates certain facts which gave new dimension to it. The reign of the Kingdom was hereditary, and the family that ruled over the region was known as the Perumpadappu rulers in the local vernacular. The mainland Kochi remained the capital of the princely state since the 18th century. The King of Kochi only had authority over the region encompassing the present city of Kochi and adjoining areas. However, during much of this time, the kingdom was under foreign suzerainty, and the King often only had titular privileges.
ADVENT OF PORTUGUESE
Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral founded the first European settlement in India at Kochi in 1500. From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi was ruled by Portugal. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Cochin Jews, as the Inquisition was active in Portuguese India. Kochi hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, the first European explorer to set sail for India, who was buried at St. Francis Church until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. The Portuguese rule was followed by that of the Dutch, who had allied with the Zamorin of Calicut to conquer Kochi. By 1773, the Mysore ruler Hyder Ali extended his conquest in the Malabar region to Kochi forcing it to become a tributary of Mysore. The hereditary Prime Ministership of Kochi held by the Paliath Achans ended during this period.
Meanwhile, the Dutch, fearing an outbreak of war on the United Provinces, signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 with the United Kingdom, under which Kochi was ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Bangka. However, there are evidences of English habitation in the region even before the signing of the treaty. In 1866, Fort Kochi became a municipality, and its first Municipal Council election was conducted in 1883. The Maharaja of Cochin, in 1896 initiated local administration by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1925, Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state.
THE SAFEST HARBOUR-KOCHI
Later, towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased substantially, and the need to develop the port was greatly felt. Harbour engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Kochi in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then the Governor of Madras. In a span of 21 years, he transformed Kochi as one of the safest harbours in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbour equipped with a long array of steam cranes.
KERALA, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
Scintillating sensation serves the nature where lies beneath it a little semi water-locked
oasis- later known as Kerala”-Vasco-de-gama(quoted these lines while descended at
tutikorin beach).With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700
ms in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate.
A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill
stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic
health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments.
An exotic cuisine… All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, each of
these charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage
no other destination offers. Kerala, India’s most advanced society: With hundred percent
literacy, World-class health care systems, India’s lowest infant mortality and highest life
expectancy rates. The highest physical quality of life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India’s cleanest state.
For administrative purpose, the state of Kerala is divided into fourteen districts. Most of
these districts offer all the tourism products typical of the State.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, with most tourism
circuits concentrated around the north of the country. Aggressive marketing campaigns
launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation—the government agency that
oversees tourism prospects of the state—laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism
industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala Tourism was able to transform itself into
one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tag line Kerala- God’s Own Country was
adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global superbrand. Kerala is regarded as
one of the destinations with the highest brand recall. In 2010, Kerala attracted 0.66 million
foreign tourist arrivals.
THE BACK WATER- AN ATTRACTION
Kerala is an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike. Kerala
is popular for her beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourists in Kerala. Other popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom and Alapuzha; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park.The “backwaters” region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada—also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace are alsovisited. To further promote tourism in Kerala Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was started
by the Government of Kerala in 2007. Since then it has been held every year during the
December-January period. The city of Kochi ranks first in the total number of international
and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala.
The state’s tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on
the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local
population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the
natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people