Ernakulam is a deceptively small town of Cochin (pronounced Kochin). It's layout is neat, with a gridlike structure of almost straight-line streets. You are not likely to get lost.
Though small in area, Ernakulam is a hub of many things. The port of Cochin is just across the sea inlet off the town. (To the right is a view of the sea from Ernakulam and to left is a view of Ernakulam from the sea.) The town is a terminal for bus services not only from mainland but also from islands across the waters. It is the most important rail junction in the state. And on the sea-front, you could see different kinds of boats ready to take you on a pleasure trip along the inland waterways stretching across the whole of western Kerala.
The airport also used to be quite nearby. However, lack of space for expansion resulted in a spanking new airport coming up 30 kilometers away.
Ernakulam was the capital of erstwhile kings of Cochin state. It is the building where the king held his durbar (court) that you see on the right. A palace of the kings now houses the High Court of Kerala. Cochin state became a part of Kerala state as a result of reorganization of states, and the king is no more a ruler.
Ernakulam now is now a trading and residential area. Shopping malls, smaller shops, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, hospitals,colleges, performing centers for arts, a seaside walkway and other facilities are what you would see.
The town needs all these facilities for the expanding workforce of the many large industrial units in the suburbs, like a fertilizer plant, oil refinery, ship-building yard, machine-tool factory and others. Major new facilities like a large container transhipment terminal, software and computer services clusters, and a marina for pleasure boats are coming up.
People are keenly aware of the need for greenery among all the concrete and smoke and fumes. Big protests take place whenever a tree is felled. And the mini forest in the city pictured left, called the mangala vanam (auspicious forest) is preserved carefully. It had become a sanctuary for birds. People are now worrying that birds are abandoning their piece of forest and coming up with various theories for this phenomenon.
Ernakulam is indeed a charming place, a quaint place with all urban conveniences.
All the photographs and content of this Web site are Copyright © T. Gopinathan.