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History and Culture of Cochin

History and Culture of Cochin

The city of Kochi has a very long history. It is widely believed that Kochi is a modified form of the word 'Cochazhi' which in Malayalam means 'small sea'. The unique Chinese fishing nets found here can be attributed to the heavy Chinese influence that the city has had in the past.

Kochi earned a significant position on the world trading routes after the famous port at Cranganore was destroyed by massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1340 A.D. After this, forces of nature created a natural harbour at the city of Kochi which soon became an important trading port dealing in spices.


The Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portugese contributed a lot to the emergence of Cochin as a major port on the world trade route. The English called it 'Mini England'. Under the historical influence of Portugese, Kochi grew into a prosperous town and the ruler of Kochi gave them permission to build a fort at Kochi, Fort Emmanuel which is the first European fort in Kochi.

The culture of Kochi is predominantly south Indian. It has a diverse, multicultural community consisting of Hindus, Christians, Muslims, jains, Sikhs and Buddhists owing to the diverse historical influences it went through over the centuries. Keeping up with its multi ethnic image, Kochi celebrates all Hindu festivals like Onam, Holi, Christmas and Eid with great fervour. A merry making feast called the Cochin Carnival is celebrated at Fort Kochi every year in December.