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Kochi , also known as Cochin (KO-chin), is a major port city on the south-west coast of India by the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea and is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. It is often called Ernakulam, which refers to the specific district. With a corporation limit population of 612,343,and metropolitan population of 2.1 million, Kochi city is also a part of the Greater Cochin region and is classified as a Tier-II city by the Government of India.
Kochi also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward, and maintained a trade network with Arab merchants from the pre-Islamic era. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Kochi has been ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey. Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities found to be among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025. Kochi is the home to Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747.Commercial maritime facilities of the city include the Port of Kochi, an International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL Kochi Refinery, and the Kochi Marina.
Kochi is also home for the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Exchange, industries like HMT, Cyber City, Kinfra Hi-Tech Park major chemical industries like the FACT, TCC, IREL, Petronet LNG, Merchem, HOCL and Kochi Refineries, electrical industries like TELK and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Smart City and Infopark. Kochi is home for the High Court of Kerala and Lakshadweep, Naval physical and oceanographic laboratory (NPOL), Indian Maritime University, Sree sankara Sanskrit University and the Cochin University of Science and Technology. Kochi is also home for Kerala's National Law School, The National University of Advanced Legal Studies. An international art exhibition called Kochi-Muziris Biennale is conducted every two years across Kochi. Name-ology Ancient travellers and tradesmen referred to Kochi in their writings, variously alluding to it as Cocym, Cochym, Cochin, and Kochi. The Cochin Jewish community called Cochin as Kogin ? which is seen in the seal of the synagogue which is still owned by the community. The origin of the name "Kochi" is thought to be from the Malayalam word kochu azhi, meaning 'small lagoon'. Yet another theory is that Kochi is derived from the word Kaci, meaning "harbour".The name Cochin implies "co-chin", meaning "like-China". It looked like China when the Chinese came to the region during the 14th century and installed Chinese nets.
Accounts by Italian explorers Nicolo Conti (15th century), and Fra Paoline in the 17th century say that it was called Kochchi, named after the river connecting the backwaters to the sea.After the arrival of the Portuguese, and later the British, the name Cochin stuck as the official appellation. The city reverted to a closer Anglicization of its original Malayalam name, Kochi, in 1996. History Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Syrians, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times. Kochi rose to significance as a trading centre after the port Muziris around Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding of Periyar in 1341. The earliest documented references to Kochi occur in books written by Chinese voyager Ma Huan during his visit to Kochi in the 15th century as part of Admiral Zheng He's treasure fleet.
There are also references to Kochi in accounts written by Italian traveller Niccolò Da Conti, who visited Kochi in 1440. 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 reign of the Kingdom was hereditary, and the family that ruled over the region was known as the Perumpadappu Swaroopam. Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral founded the first European settlement in India at Kochi in 1500.From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) was ruled by Portugal. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Saint Thomas Christians and the 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 renamed Fort Immanuel as Fort Stormsburg. In meantime, the Royal Family of Kochi relocated the capital of Kochi Kingdom to Thrissur, leaving nominal authority over Islands of Kochi. The remaining part of Kochi were governed by governors of Kochi Kingdom. 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 Paliathachans 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 seating contest was conducted in 1883. In 1896, H.H. Rama Varma XV, The Maharaja of Cochin, initiated local administration by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1907, the Governor of the Madras Presidency, Sir Arthur Lawley and his brother, Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock, Governor of Madras, 1891 to 1896, left for an official tour of Cochin and Travancore, which lasted from 25 January to 14 February. On 26 January, they were met by His Highness the Rajah of Cochin who gave a State Dinner in their honour at Ernakulam.
By 1870s, the capital of Kochi Kingdom was relocated again to Kochi Suburb of Tripunithura. In 1910, Ernakulam became the administrative capital of Kochi Kingdom with establishment of Royal Secretariat and State Durbar. Kochi is widely referred to as the commercial capital of Kerala.] Kochi is home to Cochin Stock Exchange, the only stock exchange in Kerala. Federal Bank, the fourth-largest Private-sector bank in India is located in Aluva which is a suburb of Kochi. Being a major online trading centre in the country, Kochi has a newly opened SEBI office. Availability of electricity, fresh water, long coastline, backwaters, good banking facilities, presence of a major port, container trans-shipment terminal, harbour terminal and an international air terminal are some of the factors which accelerated the industrial growth in the city and its adjoining district. In recent years the city has witnessed heavy investment, thus making it one of the fastest-growing second-tier metro cities in India.Sales tax income generated in the Kochi metropolitan area contributes heavily to state revenue. The district contributes the highest portion, 14.47%, of the state's GDP.Construction and manufacturing combined contributes 37%, and trade, tourism and hospitality together provides another 20%. Major business sectors include construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding, transportation/shipping, seafood and spices exports, chemical industries, information technology (IT), tourism, health services, and banking.
As in most of Kerala, remittances from non-resident Indians (NRI)s is a major source of income. Eloor, situated 17 kilometres (11 miles) north of the city-centre, is the largest industrial belt in Kerala, with more than 250 factories manufacturing a range of products including chemical and petrochemical products, pesticides, rare earth elements, rubber processing chemicals, fertilisers, zinc and chromium compounds, and leather products. Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), one of the oldest fertilizers and chemical industry in Kerala is located in Kochi. Kochi Refineries of (BPCL) at Ambalamugal is one of the largest oil refining facilities in South India. Petronet India has now almost completed Kochi LNG Terminal, for importing and storing natural gas, for energy and fuelling needs.
Central Government establishments like the Coconut Development Board, the Coir Board and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) have head offices located in the city. Kalamassery which is situated around 16.5 km from the City Center is one of the major Industrial areas. Leading factories like FACT, HMT and IT/Biotechnology park like KINFRA Hi-Tech Park are located here. The headquarters of Neera Development Center is located at Kalamassery . The Cochin University of Science and Technology is located at Kalamassery. Irimpanam is another major industrial area in Kochi. The Seaport-Airport Road (SPAP Road) passes through this place and oil giants like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have plants here. tourism is one of the strongest drivers of the local economy. Ernakulam district, in which Kochi is situated, ranks first in the total number of domestic tourists visiting Kerala,] and thus contributes to the economy of the city. The tourist enclave at Fort Kochi and presence of several historical monuments, museums etc. as well as natural attractions like the Vembanad lake and the backwaters attract large number of tourists to the city.
Presence of several leading hospitality brands have been a major source of employment for locals. The Kochi Port is one of the leading ports where international cruisers call on regularly.The city has the first marina facility in the country Kochi Marina which attracts large number of yacht-totters. Real Estate industry is also one industry which is contributing a lot to the economy of Kochi. Many players have entered the market and have developed residential properties. Kochi is the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command, the primary training centre of the Indian Navy.The Cochin Shipyard, contributes to the economy of the city.The fishing harbour at Thoppumpady is a minor fishing port in the state and supplies fish to local and export markets. The Cochin Port currently handles export and import of container cargo at its terminal at Willingdon Island. The International Container Transshipment Terminal operating out of Vallarpadam, is India's largest transshipment terminal. Cochin Port Trust also planning to build an Outer Harbour near Puthuvype. Kochi's historical reliance on trade continues into modern times, as the city is a major exporter of spices and is home to the International Pepper Exchange, where black pepper is globally traded. The Spices Board of India and World Spice Organisation are headquartered in Kochi. The IT and ITES related industries are growing up in Kochi. Availability of cheap bandwidth through undersea cables and lower operational costs compared to other major cities in India, has been to its advantage. Various technology and industrial campuses including the government promoted InfoPark, Cochin Special Economic Zone and KINFRA Export Promotion Industrial Park operate in the outskirts of the city. Several new industrial campuses are under construction in the suburbs of the city. SmartCity at Kakkanad is the prominent project under proposal.
Cyber City at Kalamassery is another integrated IT township SEZ being planned in the private sector Geography Kochi is located on the southwest coast of India at 9°58'N 76°13'E, spanning an area of 94.88 square kilometres (36.63 square miles). The city straddles the backwaters, encompassing the northern end of a peninsula, several islands and a portion of the mainland. To the west lies the Laccadive Sea, and to the east is the urbanised region in the rest of the mainland area. Much of Kochi lies at sea level, with a coastline of 48 km. Soil consists of sediments such as alluvium, teris, brown sands, etc. Hydromorphic saline soils are also found in the areas surrounding the backwaters. Predominant rock types found here are Archaean-basic dykes, Charnockites and Gneisses. An ecologically sensitive area, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is located in the central part of the city. It has a wide range of mangrove species and is a nesting ground for a vast variety of migratory birds.
Kochi's water needs are entirely dependent on ground water and the two rivers flowing through the district viz., Periyar and Muvattupuzha. Kochi features a tropical monsoon climate (Am).
Kochi's proximity to the equator along with its coastal location results in little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 23 and 31 °C (73 and 88 °F) with the record high being 36.5 °C (97.7 °F), and record low 16.3 °C (61.3 °F). From June to September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains as Kochi lies on the windward side of the Western Ghats. From October to December, Kochi receives lighter (yet significant) rain from the northeast monsoon, as it lies on the leeward side. Average annual rainfall is 2,978.0 mm (117.24 in), with an annual average of 125 rainy days.