Kochi ([ko?t??i ] ( listen)), also known as Cochin ( KOH-chin), is a major port city on the south-west coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea. It is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala and is often referred to as Ernakulam. The city has a corporation limit population of 612,343, and a metropolitan population of 2.1 million, making it the largest urban agglomeration in Kerala. Kochi city is also part of the Greater Cochin region and is classified as a Tier-II city by the Government of India. The civic body that governs the city is the Kochi Municipal Corporation, which was constituted in the year 1967, and the statutory bodies that oversee its development are the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and the Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA). Called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward, and maintained a trade network with Arab merchants from the pre-Islamic era. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India. It remained the main seat of Portuguese India until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead. The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Kochi has been ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company on behalf of the Outlook Traveller magazine. Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025, in a 2011 study done by the McKinsey Global Institute. Kochi is known as the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. It is the home to Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747. Commercial maritime facilities of the city include the Port of Kochi, an International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL Kochi Refinery and the Kochi Marina. Kochi is also home for the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Exchange, companies like HMT, Cyber City, Kinfra Hi-Tech Park, chemical companies like the FACT, TCC, IREL, Petronet LNG, Merchem, HOCL and Kochi Refineries, electrical companies like TELK, and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Smart City and Infopark. Kochi is home for the High Court of Kerala and Lakshadweep, Naval physical and oceanographic laboratory (NPOL), Indian Maritime University, Sree sankara Sanskrit University and the Cochin University of Science and Technology. Kochi is also home to Kerala's National Law School, The National University of Advanced Legal Studies. Kochi has been hosting India's first art biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, since 2012, which attracts international artists and tourists.
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