Serene Kochi (colonial name Cohin) has been drawing traders and explorers to its shores for over 600 years. The Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have all left their distinctive mark on the history and development of Kochi. Over the years, Kochi has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai).

Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj. The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. Kochi is also a center for Keralan arts and one of the best places to see Kathakali and kalarippayattu.

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