The urban agglomeration is the largest UA in the Indian state of Kerala. It includes the city of Kochi, one of the principal seaports of the country, the municipalities of North Paravur, Kalamassery, Aluva, Fort Kochi, Angamali and the adjoining villages including Kumbalangi and Maradu.
Kochi UA is in the district of Ernakulam, about 220 km north of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. As of 2005, the UA has an estimated population of around 1.5 million, making it the largest urban agglomeration in Kerala.
Theories regarding the etymology of the name "Kochi" are disputed. One of the
theories suggests that the modern name of the city is derived
from the Malayalam word koch azhi, meaning 'small lagoon'.
Another version mentions that the city derives its name
from the Sanskrit word Go shree which means 'prosperous
with cows'. Certain ancient texts refer to the city as Balapuri
(Sanskrit for 'small town'), which became Cochin in course
According to some accounts, traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Khubilai Khan gave Cochin the name of their homeland. Yet another theory is that Kochi is derived from the word Kaci meaning 'harbour'. Certain scholars claim that Cochin is derived from the term Cocha, which is a transfiguration of the Biblical term Cohen. 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 anglicisation of its original Malayalam name, Kochi, in 1996. However, it is still widely referred to as Cochin.
Main article: Economy of Kochi
Kochi UA is referred to as the economic capital of Kerala. Due to the proximity of the sea port at Kochi city, the economy of the area is booming.
Kochi witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence at 1947. The economic recovery gathered momentum after economic reforms in India introduced by the central government in the mid-1990s. Since 2000, the service sector has revitalised the stagnant economy. Over the years, the city has witnessed rapid commercialisation, and has today grown into the commercial capital of Kerala.