Central Kerala covers 3 districts located middle of Kerala state. Central Kerala was part of erstwhile Kingdom of Kochi. Today its one of the most leading economic powerhouse of Kerala with several industries and trading firms located. The 3 districts that form Central Kerala are Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad. The most important city in this region is Kochi (commercial capital of Kerala) which is a major gateway to Kerala.
Central Kerala was once cradle of Imperial Chera civilization established in 300 BC with the Great Cheras establishing their capital at Muziris (today's Kodungallur- 40 kms from Kochi). At height of Chera glory, they established an empire reaching till Ganges in North India. Chera's capital city- Muziris (as known in Greek literature) was one of the largest seaports in Ancient world with regular trading with Greeks, Roman, Mesopotamian and Chinese civilizations. With the decline of Chera powers by mid 11th century, choking of Muziris port due to Great floods of Periyar, the Central Kerala turned into boiling pot of various social and political turmoils. The Chera Dynasty was replaced by Kochi Kingdom with its capital at newly formed Kochi City which has covers the entire Central Kerala. The trading relations with West and Arabs helped Europeans to come into Kochi and formed a major political power in Kerala. By 18th century, British dominated the political power, as elsewhere in India.
British influence over Kochi Kingdom brought several strong British institutions to this area. When Kochi Kingdom merged with India in 1949, this area came under new state of Thiru-Kochi (Travancore-Kochi). The area was renamed as a zone when Kerala State was formed in 1957.
Today its a major economic center with several industries located here. Along with this, Central Kerala is famous for its varied cultural potpourri, several famed festivals, tourists places and agricultural areas.
As elsewhere, Malayalam is the native language. 3 dialects of Malayalam language is spoken here. While in Kochi one can feel the strong influence of Portuguese and Dutch language in local dialects, its more of Sanskritic Malayalam spoken in Thrissur area with lot of poetic expressions. Whereas being bordering with Tamil Nadu, the Malayalam spoken in Palakkad has lot of Tamil influence.
Tamil is widely understood and spoken in Palakkad, whereas English and Hindi is popular in Kochi and Thrissur. Arabic also understood in few pockets of Thrissur where Muslims are in majority like Chavakkad etc.
Cochin International Airport (COK), located in Nedumbasserry is a major Indian Airport with regular international connections by leading international airlines and well connected with various national destinations. The Airport is located 30 Kms from Kochi City, 60 Kms from Thrissur city.
Calicut International Airport (CCJ), located in Karipur is also an important international airport with regular connections from Middle East cities. The airport is located 100 Kms from Thrissur city, 85 Kms from Palakkad town and 200 Kms from Kochi.
Coimbatore Airport (CJB), located in Coimbatore in neighboring Tamil Nadu State has regular connections from many major Indian cities and few international connections from Singapore and Middle East cities. The airport is located just 45 kms from Palakkad city, 110 Kms from Thrissur town and 170 Kms from Kochi.
Most of the trains bound to Kerala have various stops in many places in Central Kerala. Major stations are
Ernakulam South, located in Ernakulam (Kochi City) is a major Indian Railways station with regular connections to all over India
Thrissur Town- a leading station for all Non-Konkan railway train services
Palakkad Town- a major rail station
National Highway 47, 17 passes through this stretch
Due to its strong trade relations, central Kerala's cuisine is a blend of many influences, particularly English, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Seafood is very popular, as well as freshwater fish from Kerala's rivers and backwaters. Prawn and squid are considered essential for most celebrations and festive occasions. Vegetarian entrees are also widely available, though the emphasis remains on seafood.