Category Archives: Cochin

Modern City of Cochin

Cochin is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’. Rightly called as The Queen of the Arabian Sea, it is the biggest  city in Kerala by volume of trade. It revels in being a choice destination for a wide range of industries from Tourism, Shipping and Information Technology to International trade and Bio-technology.This metropolitan in the recent years has been witnessing heavy investments, making it one of the fastest growing second-tier metro cities in India.

A combination of various factors works to the advantage of the city. The strategic location of the city with a long coastline, backwaters, presence of a major port, container trans-shipment terminal, harbor terminal, an international air terminal and special rules for facilitating foreign investments, has accelerated the industrial growth in the city.

Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India. The city has many developments in her lap.

  • Vallarpadam Terminal : India’s first International Container Transshipment terminal (ICTT) in the Special Economic Zone at nearby Vallarpadam Island, Cochin designed to handle the largest container ships. Vallarpadam ICTT- Photo 1The country’s first global hub terminal, the ICTT is in strategic proximity to international sea routes. Vallarpadam Terminal is the largest single operator container terminal in India and the first in the country to operate in a special economic zone.The terminal makes Cochin a key center in the shipping world reducing India’s dependence on foreign ports to handle transshipment.

  • Cruise Terminal : Now Cochin has another feather on her cap — a cruise-passenger facilitation centre. While the marina hosts yachts, the cruise facilitation centre will help tourists who travel across the oceans in cruise ships. The cruise-passenger facilitation centre covers an area of 1,500 sq m and has dedicated Customs and Immigration counters.CRUISE_THDVR_1238115g It has x-ray scanning machines for baggage, metal detectors, rest rooms, prayer room, and feeding room. The disabled-friendly terminal also has an acre of parking space for luxury coaches, tourist taxis and auto rickshaws. Cochin is the most-preferred cruise destination in India because of her proximity to the international shipping route.

 

  • Metro Rail : The Kochi Metro Rail Project is the long cherished dream of citizens of Cochin city. The project is envisaged to increase citizens’ mobility that will in turn boost the economic growth as well as increase quality of life for thekochi metro2 citizens by providing them an alternate mode of public transport to access jobs, business, education, livelihood, entertainment and other social activities. The project is planned keeping in view the cultural heritage and commercial significance of the city. The Metro Rail is safe, eco-friendly, and economical. Apart from providing connectivity, the project will bring about a more equitable allocation of road space by encouraging greater use of public transport.
  •  Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory : Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi is one of the major Research & Development laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). It was setup in 1952 as an in-house laboratory of the Indian Navy, then called as Indian Naval Physical Laboratory (INPL), for providing scientific support to the armed services. npol_mainLater it got re-christened as NPOL after the formation of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) under Ministry of Defence in 1958. Today NPOL stands out with great pride for its outstanding achievements and contributions in the areas of SONAR research and development for Navy.

  • Vytilla Mobility Hub : Vyttila Mobility Hub is a state of the art transportation system planned to decongest Cochin, the fast growing commercial capital of Kerala. The primary aim is to set up a state-of-the-art mobility hub at Vytilla so as to avoid the entry of long distance buses to Cochin city, the commercial and trade hub, the roads of which are even otherwise teeming with vehicles. Vytilla-Mobility-Hub-Kochi1Vyttila mobility hub project has evolved as a natural remedy and is envisioned as a long-term solution to Cochin’s transporting problems, by providing connectivity with the western and eastern parts of the city and also regional hubs. By basing operations in Vytilla bus terminal, the KSRTC and private buses would be able to save huge amounts on fuel, apart from the time saved in not entering the city.
  • Infopark – Smart Space in Cochin : Infopark located at Cochin, is the new IT Park being developed by the Government of Kerala. It is a home for many IT/ITES companies and all the majors in the industry like Wipro, TCS etc have set up their own campus here. kochi1_imageInfopark has ambitious plans to become one of the major IT Parks in the country. With this vision, it has been growing fast ever since its inception in 2004, and within a short period of time, has attracted investments from IT majors like Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Affiliated Computer Services, OPI Global, IBS Software Services and US Technology.
  • Cochin Port : Cochin Port is a major port on the Arabian Sea – Indian Ocean sea-route and is one of the largest ports in India. VBK-KOCHI_108588fThe port lies on two islands in the Lake of Cochin –  Willingdon  Island and Vallarpadam, towards the Fort Cochin river mouth opening onto the Arabian Sea. The International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), part of the Cochin Port, is the largest container transshipment facility in India. The Cochin Port is one of a line of maritime-related facilities based in the port-city of Cochin.
  • Cochin as IT Hub : Cochin enjoys a special place in the global IT map for being the landing point of two submarine telecom cables that forms the gatewaytuncha2 to international connectivity. Now Kakkanad has become the million dollar answer to the IT aspirations of countless professionals who bask under the glory of the most prestigious addresses in the city of Cochin. Easy accessibility of national highways, international airport and seaport has made this erstwhile tranquil locale into a hot seat of activities.
  • LNG Terminal : Construction of LNG Receiving, Storage and Regasification Terminal at Cochin is in full swing.  lngThe terminal at Cochin will help in meeting enormous demand of natural gas for Power, Fertilizers, Petrochemicals and various other industries in the Southern States. The Company will also supply LNG through road tankers to consumers.

 

 

  • International Bunkering Terminal : An international bunkering terminal to supply fuel for vessels is planned by Cochin Port Trust. Bunkering industry point out that major transshipment trade is going to shift to Cochin from Colombo. bunkering-terminal2This will in turn attract a higher volume of vessel traffic including a greater number of coastal feeder vessels. Besides, the port’s strategic location given its close proximity to international sea route will attract mother vessels to Cochin.

 

  • Shopping Malls : Cochin has opened her doors to the Mall concept. The Mall brings to the city of Cochin, leading national and The Deira City Center mall is one of Dubai's oldest, but still one of the largest.international brands in retail, food and entertainment, all under one roof with ample car and two wheeler parking. Cochin city now have many Malls in her lap such as : Oberon Mall, Gold Souk, Lulu Mall, Abad Nucleus Mall, Bay Pride Mall etc.

 

  • Cochin International Airport : Cochin International Airport is one of the country’s youngest Airports with modern facilities and conveniences. Cochin_International_AirportLocated at Nedumbassery, which is about 30 kms off Cochin city. It is the busiest and largest airport in the state of Kerala. Cochin International Airport is the first airport in India developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

 

  • Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium : With a capacity to hold 75,000 spectators, the stadium was built in 1996. The stadium in Cochin is considered to be the fifth largest in India and the third largest cricket stadium in India. 235966-jawaharlal-nehru-international-stadiumThe extensive grounds of the stadium serve as venue for important exhibitions, cinema events and political rallies in the city.The stadium is quipped with floodlights for night play.

 

  • Goshri Bridge : A system of bridges that link the mainland side of the city of Cochin to the islands lying to the north of the backwaters. It provides the vital road connectivity to the islands of Bolgatty and Vallarpadam and also links Goshree_bridge_kochithe western island of Vypin to the mainland. It also provides direct road connectivity to the city for the Vypin island and the suburbs to the northwest, which was relying upon ferry services earlier.

 

 

  • CSEZ : Cochin SEZ is a Special Economic Zone in Cochin, set up for export- oriented ventures.imagesCAJJYBSZThe Special Economic Zone is a foreign territory within India with special rules for facilitating foreign direct investment. Cochin SEZ is a multi-product Zone.

 

 

  • Cochin Refineries : Company which operates an oil refinery located at Cochin. Cochin Refinery is engaged in refining and marketing of petroleum products. It supplies specialty niche petroleum products to the global market. These products include any grade fuel oil (both 180 cst and 380 cst) and low aromatic Naphtha (High Paraffinic). TH24_KOCHI_REFINERY_872766fThe fuel oil has been widely accepted and bench-marked in the Singapore and Dubai Fuel Oil Markets. Cochin Refineries Limited (KRL) has earned an enviable reputation as a reliable player in the International petro trade by virtue of superior product quality and client service.

 

 

  • High Court of Kerala : The High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian State of Kerala, headquartered at Cochin. Kerala-High-Court-2The High Court has the power to issue directions, orders and writs including the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for ensuring the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution to citizens or for other specified purposes.
  • Cochin Marina : The Kochi Marina is the only marina in India. The marina provides berthing facility for yachts and also offers services like fuel, water, Kochi marina (6)electricity and sewage pump-outs for boats. The marina is close to the international maritime route at the south west coast of the Indian Peninsula, with favorable conditions and minimum tidal variations throughout the year.

 

 

  • Cochin Stock Exchange : One of the premier Stock Exchanges in India, located in Cochin.The exchange had a humble beginning with just 5 companies listed in 1978 -79, and had only 14 members. IMG_2012Today the Exchange has more than 508 members and 240 listed companies. With the enforcement of efficient margin system and surveillance, CSE has successfully prevented defaults.

 

 

  • Vembanad Rail Bridge : Rail connecting Edapally and Vallarpadam in Cochin. It is the longest rail bridge in India. The line is dedicated only for goods traffic. 40761The link from Edapally to Vallarpadam start from Edapally running 3 km parallel to an existing track until it reaches Vaduthala. The rail line then passes through the Vembanad Bridge through 3 small islands, including the Idyakkara and Mulavukadu islands,Vembanad Lake to reach Vallarpadam. 80% of the bridge is constructed over water.

Cochin – The City of Heritage

Cochin symbolizes the hopes and aspirations of the people of Kerala in the context of development. In the annals of history the name of Cochin is imprinted with golden letters: its spices making the most and deepest impact. aspin wallEtymologically, Cochin is the latest name given to this beautiful land in its various manifestations.

Muziris, one of the oldest urban centers in the western coast of India is believed to be the earliest manifestation of the place Cochin. The city also is dynamically linked to the Cochin Royal Dynasty and they played an important role in the growth of this city. The Portuguese, who emphasized their presence very strong in the city starting from 15th century inwards. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch, French and English. The relies of their presence are seen even today here in the form of architecture, language and other cultural nuances. jewishThere are also people from the sub-continent who came here at intervals and made Cochin their home. Gujrathis, Jains, Konkanis, Punjabis, Tamils, Marathis, Bengalis, Pathans, Kutchis, Saits, to name a few. This vibrant cultural landscape, wherein almost sixteen different linguistic and cultural groups co-exist even today, is marked by its rich customs, traditions and art forms. The modern Cochin city can be envisaged as a classical example of creating an urban area in which diversity becomes a source of strength rather than of conflict.

It is not yet known when exactly man started inhabiting this beautiful piece of land known now as Cochin. However the material evidences, though sporadic in nature, do suggest that this place witnessed the inhabitation of man at least from the Neolithic period onwards. The megalithic-Iron Age, a period mattanchery palacesubsequent to the Neolithic in Kerala, also witnessed intense human occupational activities in this area as the evidences envisage. Further research has to be carried out in order to ascertain the exact nature of the man-environment interaction of those distant past.

However, a well-documented history of last two millenniums will tell us tales about life on this beautiful landscape. We do have literature from the west; Pliny, Strabo, Periplus of the Erithrian Sea etc., and also from the East, mainly classical Tamil, to authenticate this history. st francis chruchMaterial evidences in the forms of Monuments, Ceramics, Coins, Inscription, Icons and Architecture do substantiate what is in the written form. In the context of history and culture, the geographic extent of Cochin would cover, besides the city of Cochin, adjoining areas like Kodungallor, Paravur, Chendamangalam and Tripunithura.

Time has bought is many changes to this land. Its natural landscape has been eroded quite a bit over the years owing to the intervention of many natural and human factors. Its cultural landscape has been subjected to ‘changes’ and the land has become a living repository of divergent culture and traditions. Every nook and corner of this great land has tales to tell of eventful history and the said history is reflected in its rich cultural heritage and traditions.

Records and monuments speak volumes about people who came to this land from various parts of the land and had trading and cultural relationships with people of this land. People from Greeko-Roman world, Arabs, Jews, Chinese and other East Asians, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English, to name the most important among the lot; migrated to Cochin and almost all of them left their mark on this land, irrespective of the duration of their stay there. They are in the forms of structural monuments, coins, inscriptions, icons, texts, language and art forms.

Fort-kochi-beach

It is believed that the Greeko-Romans came as early as in the first century of the Christian era itself and had very close relationships with this land for almost four centuries. The discovery of the Roman gold coins hoards from the various parts of this region stand testimony to this. Further investigations into this aspect unearthing diagnostic evidences for this relation in the form of Terra-Sigilate, Amphora and Roulette ceramics may throw more light to this period. It is believed that the Arabs and Jews also had the close tie-up with the land during these periods. In Kodungalloor, you find the first mosque in India, said to have been built by Malik-I-Dinar in the 6th century A.D. 250px-Kerala_jain_templeIn Chendmangalam, Paravoor, Ernakulam, Mattanchery and elsewhere you see Synagogues standing as dynamic link between the past and the time they were built. The Chinese and the others from East Asia had also started their interaction with the land sooner or later. From the Medieval period onwards a strong presence of Chinese was visible in this area. Digging into occupational layers belonging to Medieval period, whether it is in Kodungalloor, Tripunithura or at Mattanchery would certainly yield a sizable number of Chinese made celadon ceramic ware. And for that matter, the Chinese fishing net, considered as a unique feature of Cochin, is believed to have its origin in Our Chinese connection.

Kochi2-bolgatty1

Then the scene was occupied by the Portuguese, from the 15th century on. They built an empire here and in the process built buildings, forts, churches, houses, etc., with an element of Portuguese architecture in all of them. After sometime the Dutch wrested the ’empire’ from the Portuguese and improved it considerably by giving a Dutch touch to all those structures and also by laying out streets and gardens. The English turn took it out of the hands of the Dutch, and pulled down everything their predecessors had taken so much labour and expense to rear up, and all but succeeded in putting back the city to its old position of comparative obscurity.

Cochin City has always been special for its Heritage and Pluralistic Culture through out its history, which is primarily based on trade and shipping activity. Being an Island City, Cochin has unique environmental features and a cultural heritage, which is intertwined with the environment. cochinThe city’s ever-growing demand and potential for growth opportunities constantly interact and depend on it valuable natural and cultural heritage.

Major Heritage Zones in Cochin

Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Fort Vypeen Integrated Heritage Zone

During 1440 AD, Cochin City grew around Mattanchery settlement as a city of 5 miles of circumference and Chinese and Arabs used to trade with the natives of the town. Cochin was ruled by the Cochin Rajas in the period from 12th century onwards.

In 16th century AD, Portuguese came to Cochin and subsequently built their Fort and thus the formation of Fort Cochin. 16ki-Fort-Kochi__H_1333068eThe trade activities flourished after Kodungalloor port and Jews, Konkinis and many other ethnic groups moved to Cochin and settled here. In 17th century AD, the Dutch and subsequently British in 18th century invaded Cochin. The Fort Cochin, Mattanchery and Fort Vypeen placed right at the sea mouth has experienced immense trade related activities and has developed a rich pluralistic culture and tradition unique to this heritage zone. This is reflected in the heritage of this area, which exhibits great monuments, structures and settlements of outstanding heritage value. Fort Cochin and Mattanchery can proudly claim the uniqueness in the entire heritage zone which is not seen anywhere else in the region, and this makes it a major attraction for the tourists as well.

Willingdon Island Heritage Zone

During the period of the British Rule, in early 20th century, dredging of port and formation of Willingdon Island was executed under the design and direction of Sir Robert Bristow. Subsequently Cochin and emerged as the major port in the entire region. Willingdon_Island_Cochin_Kerala3_large

Willingdon Island grew as the port and seat of power of British. The entire port town was designed by Sir Robert Bristow and left an outstanding heritage settlement built during the British period. The heritage structures including that of the Port Trust, Bungalows and godowns and Public spaces in the Navy area etc. become part if this heritage zone.

Ernakulam Central Area Heritage Zone

In 19th century during the British rule, Cochin rulers shift to Ernakulam, Market and associated settlements flourished. The Ernakulam Heritage Zone is in fact the heart of today’s City of Cochin. Most work places, Administrative and institutional centers and market places are located here. Moreover the city’s widely used parks and public open spaces are located defining the landward edge of this zone, which connects the city to its natural heritage of backwaters. Institutions such as the Cochin University on foreshore road, Maharajas College, Law College, St.Theresa’s College and St.Albert’s College etc. returnimagephotoAs many cultural and religious institutions with some of the oldest temples churches, mosques and synagogues also become part of this heritage zone. Heritage structures, which represent many cultural and ethnic groups who have come and settled here during its history, are spread all over. City level institutions such as the Cochin Municipal Corporation, GIDA etc culminate at the northern part with the High Court complex of the state. Most of all, the city’s breathing spaces such as the Subhash Park, the walkway at Marine Drive and the Durbar Hall round etc are the most used and celebrated public spaces of the city.

Canal & Backwater Network Heritage Zone

Kerala-backwatersCanal Networks is part of our regional heritage planning. These canal systems can be commonly experienced throughout in Kerala in the low-lying coastal areas. They, once upon a time, used to be the drainage system, transportation corridor and irrigation system of traditional development. The entire development in the low-lying coastal areas has been dependent on such canal systems integrated by backwaters, lagoons and Estuary and was instrumental for trade and commercial activities. The Canals Network in Cochin is very much intertwined with rivers and backwaters. Most of the traditional areas and heritage zones are connected by such canal system. Most public spaces, settlements and institutions are also grown along them.

Mangalavanam Natural Heritage

Known for its small bird sanctuary, Mangalavanam mangroves is situated in the Ernakulam District of Kerala State. This small mangrove area comprising of a shallow tidal lake in the center with its edges covered with thick manger vegetation, the lake here is connected with backwaters by a canal. panorama450_pixMangalavanam gained importance because of the mangrove vegetation, and also due to the congregation of commonly breeding birds. Apart from these, it is considered a ‘green lung’ of Ernakulam City, which is polluted by many industries and motor vehicles.

Cochin Estuary Natural Heritage Zone

380490970_c7f7799b75_zCochin Estuary is and important Natural Ecological feature in the entire Vembanad Lake Region. The Vembanad Lake Region, which extends about 70 kms to the South of the Cochin Sea mouth and 35 kms to the North, flushes out 7 major rivers through Cochin Estuary. A major transactional point for most of the marine species and habitat for many of them, Cochin Estuary becomes a major zone of great environmental significance.This zone also becomes Cochin City’s most happening place with the placement of Port and proposed container transshipment, navy etc. right the harbour.

Tripunithura Heritage Zone

This living fossil of Royal glory has an important place in the history of Kerala. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Cochin from 1755 onwards.

terraced-garden-tripunithura-hill-palaceThe main area covers the following major heritage features like the Fort area, Hill Palace, Temples, Palaces, Malikas, Churches, Christian settlement, Tamil Brahmin settlement and Konkini settlement.

Some important points about city planning in Tripunithura

The temple forms the focal point of the city. The growth of the city started from around the temple. The main spine, the heart of the Fort, passes through the temple in the east west direction starting from the east arch and ending at the west arch. The main spine runs from the west Irumpanam iron bridge to the east Statue junction through the temple. The east is guarded by the arch. The spine forms the main element of the city. The fort is surrounded by water on 3 sides. The west arch has an iron bridge in front over the river. The east-west axis road is the Kings way. The city has come up with such a way that the commercial units are all around the temple.