If you listen closely, you can hear the collective sigh breathed by travellers upon setting foot in laid-back Fort Cochin. Kochi has been luring wanderers and traders for over 600 years and remains a living homage to its varied colonial past: giant fishing nets influenced by Chinese merchants, a 16th century synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses built half a millennia ago and the crumbling residuum of the British Raj. The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. It's a delightful place to spend some time, soak in the history, peruse art galleries and nap in some of the finest heritage accommodation in India.
Mainland Ernakulam is the hectic transport hub and cosmopolitan heart of Kerala, where neon lights and upmarket chainstores rule the roost. The historical towns of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, however, are wonderfully serene, thick with the smell of the past and with more goats than rickshaws patrolling the streets.
Apart from this, the city is a yogis paradise too and is home to some of the best yoga retreats in India. One of the prime centres for yoga is the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Kerala located in the foothills of Kerala's Western Ghats, which is also one of the best places for yoga in India. Here you can completely immerse yourself into yogic practices like alcohol free vegetarian diet and silent mediation. You will also be given lectures on yoga and will have to take part in karma yoga which involves an hour a day of helping with tasks around the facility. Isn't that interesting.
Not only this, there is near Cochin there is also Ayurveda Yoda Meditation Resort in Coonoor with lush green and pictursque Nilgri mountains in the backdrop. Isha Yoga centre, Tamil Nadu and Kalari Kovailakom in Kerala are other retreats near Cochin to look for and indulge in. So come and visit India and get closer to your soul.