Willingdon Island, Kochi ,Kerala – Tourist Attractions in Cochi

Willingdon Island is an island, which forms part of the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala, India. Much of the present Willingdon Island was claimed from the Lake of Kochi, filling in dredged soil around a previously existing, but tiny, natural island. Willingdon Island is significant as the home for the Port of Kochi, as well as the Kochi Naval Base (the Southern Naval Command) of the Indian Navy and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, a constituent unit of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The island is also home for other establishments associated with the port, namely, the Office of the Cochin Port Trust (that controls the Port of Kochi), the Customs Office, and more than two dozen export-import offices, warehouses, a few hotels and business centers.

The Island was created during construction of modern Kochi Port in 1936 with the soil dredged out while deepening the Vembanad Lake to accommodate the new Kochi Port. It was named after Lord Willingdon, the erstwhile governor of Madras, who commissioned the project. Robert Bristow, the chief protagonist and engineer for the project, owned the first building on the island. Today the entire land belongs to Cochin Port Trust and Indian Navy.

Willingdon Island contains the modern port, serving Cochin city, Kerala. The island is an artificial man-made island created from the sand dug out while deepening Kochi port. It has been named after Lord Willingdon, the former Madras governor, who was instrumental in implementing this island project. The main engineer spearheading this project, however, was Robert Bristow. A port hostel was built to accommodate passengers who wished to halt for a short while and it was named the Malabar Hotel.

As per the project’s draft, a basic port structure was completed by 1939, just prior the Second World War. A deep wharf, a rail bridge and a road bridge connecting to the mainland were made to provide valuable infrastructure for the local war effort. A naval works was also built on the adjacent Venduruthy Island. When the war ended, those working on island projects were employed to construct landing craft for the expected invasion of Japan. In 1940, a passenger jetty and customs house were constructed adjoining the hotel.

The other buildings constructed nearby include a passenger platform and rail siding. A huge expanse of virgin territory was soon procured by the Royal Air Force, which constructed a large aerodrome there. This man-made isle near Cochin City, thus, became a thriving military base. The Malabar Hotel served to provide quarters to all wartime staff, and soon this building was joined by a new administrative block next door. A new post office, a swanky open-air swimming pool and an adjoining bank completed the facilities.

When the British withdrew from India after independence, in 1947, they left behind an indispensable and significant transport hub. During its short colonial tenure, the Willingdon Island in Cochin handled almost one million tons of freight. By the year 1960, the traffic had almost doubled. It is a major artificial port in India and a landmark in the Kochi city of Kerala. Willingdon Island also serves as a link between the city and some other seaports of the world.

Wllingdon Island is close to Ravipuram, Many buses running to island
Cochin International Airport, about 26 km
Railway Station:
Ernakulam South, about 3 km

Tourist Place to Visit in Ernakulam District, Kerala