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Kerala - Cochin

The commercial capital of Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of its cities, Cochin has long been eulogized as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. This simple term does not do full justice to the city's myriad charms which go beyond its stunning natural beauty and long maritime history. Centuries ago, seafarers and merchants from around the world called at Cochin to trade in spices, seafood, rubber and coir. Kochi has been invaded by various foreign countries ranging from Portuguese to British at various times in the last millennium. Most of the invaders left behind their cultural marks on the land giving it a multi cultural facet.

The unmistakable imprints of-these influences are seen in many landmarks such as - The ubiquitous Chinese fishing nets dotting the shoreline and backwaters, The elegant Jewish synagogue at Mattancherry built in 1568 by the prosperous Jewish community, The St. Francis Church, constructed by the Portuguese in 1503, The Santa Cruz Basilica, originally built by the Portuguese, near the church. The Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin in 1557, and later modified by the Dutch. The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1 744, by the Dutch and now converted into a heritage hotel, Willingdon Island, created by Sir Robert Bristow out of the material dredged for building the modern Cochin Port, and The Hill Palace Museum, once the traditional seat of the Cochin Rajas, now converted into a museum complex.

Various religious entities including Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jews harmoniously inhabit the city making it a cultural potpourri. Among the religious festivals celebrated here are Onam, Vishu, Christmas, Easter, Eid ul-Fitr and Milad-e-sherif. North Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali are also celebrated.

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