It is interesting to note that the Willingdon Island is not a natural, but a man-made island. The island at Kochi, named after Lord Willingdon, the Indian Viceroy during the British rule, brilliantly showcases the human intellect.
The beautiful island is well connected to various national and also international ports, apart from the Kochi port. Besides, there are quite a few sophisticated hotels and industries in the district, apart from commercial complexes.
The island is highly important as far as Defence is concerned. The the headquarter for the southern naval command of India is located here. The island lies in between the charmingly beautiful backwaters.
The island is known to be a masterpiece of a harbour engineer, Sir Robert Bristow, the island is highly important from various perspectives. Apart from the Port of Kochi, and the Kochi Naval Base of the Indian Navy, there is the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology.
Besides, the island is also highly important for all those who feel like picnicking at the weekends. Far from the noise of the metropolitans, people come here looking for the solace and the peace. The island, now 82, offers serene, calm and tranquil atmosphere to people of all ages, who come here.
More on Willingdon Island
Construction of Willingdon Island
The new Kochi Port was built in the year 1936. While the Vembanad Lake was being deepened, there were huge leftovers specifically in the form of soil that was used to construct the Willingdon Island. The island was named after the then Indian Viceroy, and the First Earl of Willingdon who had commissioned the mega project highly successfully.
Robert Bristow owned the very first building that now belongs to the Cochin Port Trust and Indian Navy. The first liner, belonging to the Bibby Line reached here on 9th March, 1935. Those who desired to relax used to stay at Malabar Hotel.
The period of the World War II (1939-1945) witnessed the Completion of the island’s basic structure. Very soon, there were road bridge, rail bridge, naval works, wharf, and various kinds of infrastructures. Passenger jetty and custom houses were built by the side of the hotel in the 1940s. There was a passenger platform as well.
Willingdon Island as a British Military Base
Due to the flat expanse, the Royal Air Force used the location to build an aerodrome. Soon, the island was converted into a military base. The Malabar Hotel was also used as the wartime quarters. There also appeared an administrative block, an open-air swimming pool, a bank branch, and a new post office.
Willingdon Island as a Transport Hub
1947 witnessed the island from being transferred from the British to the Indian rule as India acquired independence. There was almost double of the traffic by 1960. The modern techniques transformed the airdrome into the airport. Currently, the airstrip is used as the air station for INS Garuda. The remaining of the space is used for the commercial activities at Cochin.
The island is a major link in between India and various sea ports across the world. Venduruthy Bridge connects it to the town. The Bridge has railway and roadway links. Apart from the Indian Army’s Southern Naval Command, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industries is also located here. Yet due to the calm, and various resorts, it attracts visitors from near and far.
How to Reach Willingdon Island?
Ernakulam South (3 km) is the closest Railway Station. Cochin International Airport (26 km) is the nearest airport. Venduruthy Bridge makes it well connected. The ferries are always there to take you to the island.