7 Reasons to Explore Kochi on Your Visit to Kerala, India: Ayurveda & More!

7 Reasons to Explore Kochi on Your Visit to Kerala, India: Ayurveda & More!

Nature, culture, shopping and healing – Kochi and Kerala is a one-stop destination in India to experience it all!

From time to time, we yearn to get away from the cacophony of our everyday lives and instead seek peace in faraway towns and places of nature. Have you ever felt this way? If so, take a break and experience the rhythmic happiness and a comfortable solitude in ‘God’s own country’, Kerala.

Located in the southernmost tip of India, Kerala is a strip of fertile land boasting mesmerizing landscapes, including beautiful beaches along the Malabar Coastline. With the best time to visit this region being from October to March, the grandeur of this fertile state not only lies in its awe-inspiring natural beauty but also in its cosmopolitan heritage and the 5000-year-old history of Ayurveda.

chinese fishing nets in kochi kerala

Image credit: Michael Wong

The land may seemingly be a thin strip on the Indian map, but in reality there’s much to explore in the state. Not to worry if you only have a short while to spare from your busy schedule – a trip to Kerala’s megacity Kochi is all you need to experience the best of Kerala!

Although deemed as a megacity, Kochi still harbours an old-world charm and peacefulness that many of us seek while travelling. Often regarded as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’, old Kochi is essentially a group of islands on the famous Kerala backwaters that open into the Arabian Sea. Mainland Kochi, popularly known as Ernakulam, has been an important site of economic and political affairs of the state. Therefore, a trip to this city promises to take you on an eclectic journey across the best of all worlds. Let’s take a look at the top reasons to visit Kerala, while keeping Kochi as the base:

1. To unwind at a yoga and Ayurvedic retreat

ayurveda in kerala

Image credit: India Tourism

What’s a trip to Kerala sans cleansing your mind and body of all toxic negativity with the help of India’s favourite Kerala Ayurveda? Originating in India around 5,000 years ago, the healing system of Ayurveda is especially sought out in Kerala due to its favourable climate, land and the rich history of natural medicine practised by doctors and vaidyas (persons who practise ayurveda).

There are plenty of beautiful resorts in and around Kochi that offer exclusive yoga and Ayurveda services – the shirodhara helps in calming your senses, while a full-body Ayurvedic oil massage would rejuvenate you and make you all ready to take on the world once more. If you are interested, you can also enrol for the specialised yoga workshops, where the trainers shall help you understand your mind and body, making them in tune with one another to help you live your best life.

2. To explore its unique streets along Fort Kochi and Mattancherry

 Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica located in Fort Kochi

Inside the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica located in Fort Kochi | Image credit: Eigenes Werk

The best way to experience the rhythm of a new place is to get out on the streets and soak in all of its vibes. This philosophy stands true for Kochi, where we recommend you to walk from Fort Kochi to Jew Street in Mattancherry to make the best of your trip. While around Fort Kochi you can explore its grand churches and go cafe-hopping at its art cafes, Jew Street is undoubtedly a shopper’s paradise – from the countless curio shops to casual markets celebrating the uniqueness of Kochi.

jew street antique store

Antique store on Jew Street | Image credit: Kerala Tourism

Located between the Mattancherry Palace and the Synagogue, Jew Street is a paradise for antique collectors and lovers of all things vintage and unique.

Jew Town Spice Market

Image credit: Marco Verch

Coming to Kerala and not replenishing your stock of spices to last you at least a few months is pretty much unheard of. The best place to get quality spices at bargain prices is the Jew Town Spice Market, which also happens to be one of the oldest spice markets in India! Since there’s so much to explore in the area, put on your comfiest shoes and get walking!

3. To experience the Kochi-Muziris Biennale

India’s largest and Asia’s biggest contemporary art festival, Kochi gets a quirky new makeover every two years for this eclectic art festival. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale takes place across Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, and is the prime setting to meet fellow art enthusiasts, artists and travellers.

street art in kochi

Image credit: Kandukuru Nagarjun

The best part about this festival is that how the streets get all decked up, including the grand old houses that date back to the Portuguese and Dutch colonial era. During the period of these three months when the festival is on is the best time to catch a break in one of the eccentric art cafes that dot the island. 

Even if you are not an art enthusiast, we would recommend you to not miss this festival for the enchanting vibe of this place can be best experienced then.

4. To try authentic Malabar cuisine at a backwater-facing restaurant

Malabar cuisine in kerala

Image credit: Y’amal

Malabar cuisine is unique in being a concoction of European and Indian flavours. When the Dutch and Portuguese arrived on the shores of Kerala in search of spices, they also brought with them their own cuisine, which over the time fused with typical South Indian preference for spicy food to become what is known today as the Malabar cuisine. And what better way to experience the aromatic Malabar cuisine than doing so in a romantic restaurant decked with backwater views! We recommend the Malabar Café at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, and The Rice Boat at Taj Malabar Resort & Spa.

5. To experience a surreal night on a Kerala houseboat

Alleppey

Image credit: Silver Blu3

Just 50 kilometres south of Kochi is Alleppey, a tourist hub comprising of numerous tiny islands dotted across the backwaters that open up into the Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest lake. Alleppey is best experienced when you get on a traditional Kerala houseboat that’ll take you on a journey across the islands and back to Kochi.

To get from Kochi to Alleppey, it’s easily reachable by public transport or hire a private car to experience driving through rural Kerala for approximately an hour and 30 minutes.

6. To feel the cool mountain breeze and sip on aromatic brews in Munnar

tea estates in munnar

Image credit: Sakeeb Sabakka

Experience gorgeous tea estates in Munnar – around 120 kilometres from Kochi – on a day trip! With the Anamudi Hills and pretty tea plantations all around you, Munnar is definitely one of India’s well-kept secrets you must see for yourself.

If you are seeking more solitude from the cacophony of the city, you may also want to stay at the tea estate resorts that dot this little hill station. Trust us, sipping on the most aromatic of brews from the tea estates while watching the sunrise is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

7. To experience the magnificent Athirapally Falls

Athirapally Falls

Image credit: Souradeep Ghosh

Standing high at 80 metres tall, the Athirapally Falls is the tallest waterfall in Kerala. Its sheer size is sure to enthral every nature enthusiast and adventure seeker. While you’ll get a rough idea of the waterfall’s charm from atop the mountains, the best way to experience its magic is to trek down to its base. It’s a pretty steep way down, but the gorgeous sight you’ll encounter is definitely one to behold.

It’s worth dedicating a day trip from Kochi to fully enjoy this natural attraction – you can even go river-rafting and swimming after the monsoon season has passed, the best time to go being September to October.

From nature and healing to culture and shopping, Kochi truly has it all! With all these reasons to explore Kochi and Kerala, you have no excuse to exclude Kerala from your India itinerary! For more information on places to explore in India, visit India Tourism’s official website and Facebook page.


Brought to you by India Tourism Singapore.

About Author

Priyanka Shah
Priyanka Shah

A part-time writer/blogger and a full-time dreamer, Priyanka believes that travelling is the therapy that has answers to all the worldly woes. She finds solace in meeting new people, getting acquainted with new cultures and exploring unknown terrains. She is also a self-professed foodie, and loves to spend her time cuddling her furry brothers

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