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Willingdon Island Kochi - Everything You Need To Know About This Man-Made Island

9 mins. read

Willingdon Island, situated in the picturesque city of Kochi in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is known for being the largest artificial man-made island. This man-made marvel holds a very significant place in Kochi’s history and tourism landscape. The island, created during the British colonial era, has evolved into a bustling hub of commercial activity, housing some of the best hotels and commercial and industrial buildings in the district.

Surrounded by the pristine backwaters of Kerala, the island is the best place to soak in natural beauty while strolling along the walkways and admiring the scenic view of the Arabian Sea. From its intriguing history and scenic views of backwaters to the plethora of activities it offers, Willingdon Island in Kochi has become one of the best things to do in Kochi, offering something to every traveller.

History of Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island, nestled at the heart of Cochin Port, is one of the significant historical landmarks of Kerala. The island was constructed in 1928 by the visionary harbour engineer Sir Robert Bristow, making it the very first man-made island in India. Named after Lord Willingdon, the then British Viceroy of India, the island spans an area of around 775 acres amidst the backwaters.

It is a major hub of international trade, housing port offices, banks, travel agencies, and warehouses. The island is also home to the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Connected to the mainland by road and railway links, the island serves as a link between Kochi and other seaports of the world. The island is a significant part of the city of Kochi, handling millions of tons of freight every year and serving as a major tourist center.

Best Time to Travel

The best time to explore and experience the scenic beauty of Kochi’s Willingdon Island is from October to April. The weather at this time of the year is the most pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 32°C, making it comfortable for tourists to explore. The island also experiences less perception at this time of the year compared to the summer months. Due to its proximity to the equator, the island also experiences heavy rainfall from June till early October.

How to Reach Kochi’s Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island is seamlessly connected to Kochi via a bridge. Situated a mere 3 kilometres from the Ernakulam Railway Station in Kochi, the island is easily accessible by rail. Also, the nearest airport to Willingdon Island is Cochin International Airport, located around 26 kilometres away. You can access the island using public transport or hire cabs from the Kochi mainland.
Inter-island ferry services and city bus routes efficiently connect the Island to Ernakulam Mainland and Mattancherry, ensuring convenient and diverse commuting options for visitors and residents.

Visiting Time and Duration

Willingdon Island is open to visitors from 5 AM to 10 PM daily, and there is no entry fee. The suggested duration for visiting the Island is 2 to 3 hours, but it can vary based on individual interests and activities.

Things to Do in Willingdon Island

With its blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty, Willingdon Island in Cochin offers a range of activities for visitors to explore. Here are some things to do on Willingdon Island:

1. Explore the Historic Maritime Museum

Located on Kochi’s Willingdon Island, the Historic Maritime Museum is one of the best things to do in Willingdon Island for history and maritime enthusiasts. The museum has a rare collection of photographs related to the evolution of Cochin (now Kochi) as a port city, the development of Willingdon Island, and Kochi's maritime heritage. You will learn about the shipbuilding techniques, the challenges faced by sailors, and Kochi’s significance as a major trade center through detailed pictures and interactive elements.

2. Enjoy Willingdon Island Sights

The Willingdon Island in Kochi, Kerala, is itself a beautiful sight, with its modern buildings, palm trees, and lapping blue water. You can take a stroll or simply enjoy the scenery.

3. Indulge in local cuisine

Explore the diverse food scene of Willingdon Island by ordering from local restaurants or trying out the restaurants in the area. Some restaurants near the island include Hotel Malabar, Tharavadu Restaurant by Casino Hotel, and Caper High Energy Lounge Bar - Four Points by Sheraton Kochi Infopark.

4. Go on a backwater cruise

Embark on a scenic backwater cruise from Willingdon Island, offering breathtaking views of the serene Kerala backwaters dotted with lush greenery and traditional houseboats. The island is a starting point for backwater cruises in the picturesque Kerala backwaters.

5. Spent some quality time at Willingdon Island Park Walkway

Willingdon Island Park Walkway is a small walkway offering a calm and quiet place with less crowd and a peaceful atmosphere. You can take a stroll along the walkway and enjoy the scenery. Overall, the Willingdon Island park and walkway are a nice place to relax and hang out on a weekend.

Places To Visit Near Willingdon Island

10 Best Places to Visit in Kochi Cochin with Family scaled

1. Paradesi Synagogue

Located only 3.5 kilometres from Willingdon Island in Cochin, the Parasesi Synagogue is a historically and architecturally significant Synagogue in the Mattencherry neighbourhood of Kochi. It is one of the oldest synagogues in India and the entire British Commonwealth, known for its highly decorative interior, which reflects the tastes and traditions of many European, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian designs. The place is a must-visit for people interested in Jewish culture, local architecture, and history.

2. Hill Palace

Hill Palace is the largest historical and archaeological museum in Thripunithura, a suburb of Kochi, Kerala, India. The palace is located around 16 KM away from the Island and houses Hill Palace Heritage Museum, Deer Park, Prehistoric Park, and Children's Park.

The museum has a collection of ancient artefacts, sculptures, coins, and materials belonging to the Cochin Maharaja and his royal family. The palace is known for its Dutch and Kerala styles of architecture and is a popular tourist attraction.

3. Marine Drive

Marine Drive is another popular tourist spot located near Willingdon Island in Kochi, Kerala. The marine drive is a 3-kilometre-long walkway with a magnificent view of the backwaters and the city skyline. The place is lined with shopping malls and eateries, making it a main hangout spot for tourists and locals alike. The walkway is open 24/7, and there is no entry fee. Visitors can enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience at the shopping complexes and try food items ranging from traditional Kerala cuisine to fast food.

4. Chinese Fishing Net

While visiting Willingdon Island in Kochi, Kerala, make sure to check out the Chinese Fishing Net, also known as Cheenavala. The spot is one of the famous photography spots in Kochi, attracting hordes of tourists and photographers every day. The Chinese Fishing Net is a vast fishing net fixed on teak wood and bamboo poles. The slow, rhythmic working of the nets and their elegant construction make them a picturesque and photogenic sight, especially during the morning and early evening fishing sessions.

5. Cherai Beach

Located about 25 km from Willingdon Island in Cochin, Cherai Beach is a picturesque stretch of sand and sea, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and a relaxing day by the coast. The beach is around 10km long and is known for its white sand and gentle waves. There are many places to visit in and around Cherai Beach, including the green paddy fields, the Cherai Gowreeshwara Temple, and the Cherai Beach Park. The beach is also home to several resorts and eateries, offering a range of food options and accommodation choices.

Willingdon Island offers a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities seamlessly. With its capitative attractions and picturesque beauty, the island promises a memorable visit for travellers, making it a must-add place to your Cochin tour package itinerary.

February 13, 2024


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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