Kochi, the commercial and
industrial capital of Kerala, has one of the finest
natural harbours in the world. Ancient mariners from
Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all
left their mark on this beautiful island city. One of
the finest natural harbours on the Arabian Sea coast,
Kochi, earlier known, as Cochin has been a port of call
for foreign traders from early times. Its cosmopolitan
character is reflected in the buildings and structures
representing different regions of the world. A city of
peninsulas and islands, today it is Kerala's commercial
hub. Kerala's prime tourist destination, it spreads
across islands and promontories in a stunning location
between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters. Its main
sections: modern Ernakulam in the east and the old
districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin on a peninsula
in the west are linked by a complex system of ferries.
PRIME ATTRACTIONS OF COCHIN / KOCHI
Santa Cruz Basilica:
This monumental church dates back to 1558 and has
beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
St. Francis Church:
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars, this is
the India's oldest European church. It was restored in
1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican
Church by the British in 1795, and is presently used by
the church of South India. Vasco da Gama's remains were
buried here in 1524 and later moved to Lisbon, Portugal
but his tombstone still remains.
Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace):
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja
Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in
1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful Murals
depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and
Mahabharata and some of the puranic Hindu legends. Them
palace is open for public viewing from 10:00 am to 6:00
PM. all weekdays except Fridays.
The area around the Synagogue is a center of spice trade
and curio shops.
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for
swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical
Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves
nearby is an added attraction of this beach.
Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithra:
10 km from Kochi, Hill Palace, the official residence of
the Kochi royal family, was built in 1865 AD. The palace
complex consists of 49 buildings built in the
Traditional Architectural Style of Kerala and is
surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a Deer Park
and facilities for horse riding. The palace museum is
open all days except Mondays from 9:00 am to 12:30 PM
and 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. A full-fledged
ethno-archaeological museum and Kerala's first every
heritage museum are the main attractions. Displayed
inside the thirteen galleries are oil paintings, 19th
century paintings, Murals, sculpture in stone and
plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions and coins
belonging to the Kochi royal family.
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum:
This sprawling, traditional Kerala style building
previously called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century
oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and
Mughal paintings. The museum remains open from 10:00 am
to 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. all weekdays except
Here is the magnificent 16th century Pallipuram Fort
that is open only on Thursdays.
A Scenic island near the city of Ernakulam, Bolghatty is
famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in
1744 AD. This palace, once the residence of the British
resident of Kochi, is now a KTDC (Kerala Tourism
Development Corporation) hotel.
Chinese Fishing Nets:
Traders brought these huge cantilevered fishing nets
here from the court of Kublai Khan.
Named after Lord Wellington, a British viceroy to India,
this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful
backwaters. The island is the site of the city's best
hotels, customs and trading centers, the port trust and
the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the
commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the
Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later
by the Dutch. Known for mid 18th century hand printed,
willow pattern floor tiles from Canton in China, a dock
tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient
scripts on copper plates etc., the Synagogue is open
from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. It
is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
There is a magnificent lighthouse at Ochanthuruth, which
remains open from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM daily.
Alappuzha (70 km):
Also known as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha is
famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches,
marine products and Coir industry. A singular
characteristic of this land is the region called
Kuttanad. The granary of Kerala, Kuttanad is one of the
few places in the world where farming is done below sea
Located on the banks of the river Periyar, this is the
birthplace of the 8th century Advaita philosopher, Sri
Shankaracharya. The town is famous for its many temples.
Aluva (20 km):
Just north of Kochi, this town is situated on the banks
of the river Periyar. In February- March, this town
celebrates the famous Sivarathri festival, attended by
thousands of devotees.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady (190 km):
Rolling hills, tea and cardamom plantations welcome you
to Thekkady. One of the largest wildlife reserves in
India, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is more popular as
a tiger reserve. A boat ride on the splendid waters of
the Periyar Lake provides the perfect recreation.
Kumarakom (88 km):
This unique backwater destination situated on the banks
of the Vembanad Lake is considered the gateway to the
backwaters of Kuttanad. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is
a favorite haunt of migratory birds from across the
world, which makes it a renowned bird watching center.
Kumarakom is also a center for houseboat cruises.
Munnar (130 km):
1600 m above sea level, Munnar is a nature lover's
paradise and was the summer resort of the British
government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations,
picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities
make this a popular hill station.Among the exotic flora
found in the forests and grasslands are the 'Neelakurinji'.
This flower, which bathes the hills in blue once every
twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also
has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which
towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for
trekking. Tiger, Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Leopard,
Malabar Flying Squirrel, Stripe-necked Mongoose and so
on can also be spotted in the forest. Kumily, an
important spice trade center, lies in the periphery of
A famous Christian pilgrim center, this 9th century
Catholic Church is situated on the 609 m high Malayatoor
Hill. St. Thomas, the apostle, is believed to have
prayed in this shrine.
The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located
between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai
highway. The Cheeyappara Falls cascades down in seven
Located 20 kms from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is a small
and beautiful, wild waterfall. Thommankuthu attracts
thousands of tourists every year. The wild beauty of the
scenic waterfall will steal the heart of any traveler.
Kanjiramattom Mosque: The mosque is situated at
Kanjiramattom, 30 km from Kochi. It is believed that the
mosque was erected over the mortal remains of a Muslim
saint, Sheikh Parid. Another great Muslim saint, Baver
is supposed to have prayed here and attained salvation.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Kochi is connected by excellent air network to all
major cities in India.
Rail: Kochi has three main railway stations, namely,
Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Harbour Terminus
on Wellington Island.
Road: a network of national and state highways very well
services Kochi, an important commercial center of the
South India, connecting it to all major centers of the
Ferry: Ferry service is available for travel between the
Local Transport: Taxis, city buses and autorickshaws.