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Cochin / Kochi

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Also known as: Ernakulam - Commercial Capital of Kerala
Shopping: -
History of: more than 500 years
Population: 31.05 Lac

Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala, served by an international airport, fine communication facilities, excellent accommodation, modern amenities and a lot of attractive tourist places gives a breathtaking experience for its visitors and settlers. The district took its form on 1st April 1958, by carving out the areas of erstwhile Travancore, Kochi & Malabar kingdoms. The word Ernakulam was derived from a Tamil word 'Erayanarkulam' which means Lord Shiva's abode.

The commercial capital of Kerala and the most cosmopolitan of Kerala’s cities, Cochin is a fascinating blend of cultures. From time immemorial, it has been the favorite destination of globe-trotters and explorers. Blessed by one of the finest natural harbors in the world, Cochin has been eulogised as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.

In and around Cochin are several cities of monumental value, but step into Fort Cochin, and you are in a totally different world. The Chinese fishing nets, the Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch palace, the Portuguese and British Architecture, all finely blend with the rich heritage of the land, intricately woven folklore and fact. With an international airport, an international sea port and a busy network of road and rail transport, the city is well connected to the rest of the world. You can either board a bus or hire a three-wheeled auto rickshaw. If you prefer the ferry, the trip begins either from the Main Boat Jetty or the Terminus Jetty near Willington Island.

Major Attractions

 

Santa Cruz Basalica
The Portuguese built basalica’s 500th anniversary was very recently. With gracious interiors, Gothic façade with soaring and glaring spires, the basalica is charming. The Dutch catch of Koch in 1663 resulted in booming of warehouses in places of worships. The irresistible beauty might have persuaded the Dutch to spare it. The stained-glass and the life-like caryatids watching over the quaint confessional boxes will ever-green the mind once seen.

St Francis Church
Built in timber by Portugues in 1503, it was overlaid with stone masonry later. Vasco da Gama was cremated here in 1524. His remains were later removed to Lisbon. His tomb still exists.Now taken care by Church of South India.

The gravestones were tossed into the walls of the church in 1886. The ‘Doop Book’, that is, old baptism and the marriage register, from 1751 to 1804 kept in the vestry are the delights of history-seekers.

Dutch Cemetry
Parallel to the beach, the Dutch Cemetry is the peace-home of soldiers and trade adventurists who died between 17th and 18th century.Now it is getting renowated(the real face is changing)

Princess Street
Flowerpot-laden window sills, bronze stucco walls and peeling pastel – these all are the symbols of colonial style buildings. See them in Princess street – a back street.Now filled with antique shops,homestays and hotels,with out disturbing the orginality. Fort Kochi really revels in moody pastimes.

Waterfront
A little walkway is Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenode running along the beach. Huge cantilevered Chinese Fishing Nets, just before the beach, call the visitors. The system works this way – a bamboo-and-teak contraption with net-spread hanging get pulled down to the water and hauled with the catch. This catching process is usually in the morning and early evening.Watch sunset from the edge of the pathways.

The Fort Kochi beach is clean and small.But not for sunbath. At one-end there is a pretty light-house. Recline on the white sands with the local crowd when the eyes will sharp on Lakhadweep-bound ships.

Ferry to little away sporadic Cherai beach. The receptive white sand there will force to recline, sleep, dance or to football. And swim and sniff. If lucky, dolphins will greet.

Mattanchery Palace (Dutch Palace)
The Portuguese built, in 1557, Palace was presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. In 1663 the Palace was renovated by the Dutch. On display are Dutch maps of Kochi, royal planquins, coronation robes of erstwhile Maharajas of Kochi, beautiful murals and period-furniture.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race
Conducted in August-September during Onam. Scores of sleek snake-boats with over 100 oarsmen in each vie with to touch the finishing point first. The furious and sporadic paddling will turn the Marine Drive water front into frothing melee in tune with the Onam revelry. Thousands of spectators standing ashore encourage the oarsmen with cheers.

Bolgatty Island
The outside world knows this island for its famed Bolgatty Palace. This, built by Dutch in 1744, was later taken over by British. Today it is a prestigious hotel managed by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. It has honeymoon cottages.

Willingdon Island
This Island was artificially created with dredged silts. It has uninhabited satellite small Islands carpeted by variety grasses. Willingdon Island is an ideal spot to view the sea and mainland across and to imbibe fresh sea-breeze.

Kumbalangi
Kumbalangi is a fishing tiny island with Chinese Fishing Nets around, near Palluruthy Island, close to Kochi. Kumbalangi has been declared as an Integrated Tourism Village. It has many attractive features.

The Bishop’s House
Built in 1506, stands on small hillock, was the residence of Portuguese Governor. The façade with big Gothic arches, it has a circular garden path stretching to main entrance. The house was later taken over by the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Kochi, Dom Jos Gromes Ferreira. He had a vast jurisdiction over India, Malaya, Burmah and Ceylon.

Cochin Carnival
Impromptu competitions and the white paper buntings adorned everywhere – streets, homes, shopts etc. – in the last 10 days of the year.

St George’s Forane Church at Edapally
One of the oldest Churches in India, built in 595 AD. The mother tongue of Jesus: - soft syllables of Aramaic – is heard here during Holly Mass even today in the form of a single elision of sacred song. As evidence of non-European origin of its iconography, the church has four-armed pectoral cross, the pediment and slatted louvers. Here the main Feast lasting 10 days starts from April 25.

Kerala History Museum at Edapally
The human evolution from the Neolithic period to the modern era is neatly showcased. The display is enriched with replicas, sound and light. Visiting time is 10 am to 5 pm. Monday closed.

 

Nearby Excursions

 

Kalady
Kalady is a spiritual sanctuary. On the banks of Periyar, the 2nd largest river in Kerala. The distance from Ernakulam is 47 km. The founder of Advaita school of philosophy, Adi Sankara, was born here in 8th century. The hill where St Thomas the Apostle paused to pray on his way to Mylapore is in the sacred circuit of Kalady. There is a eight-storeyed tower, called Keerthimandapam, at the shrine. A huge image of the Sankaracharya is located at the end of a winding staircase inside. This modern mural is a feature itself.

Elephant Kraal at Kodanadu
The Kraal means training camp. The word is in Afrikaans. The training is a long and tedious process. It may take one to two years. The mahouts too get training here. Every year half a million put their feet in Kodanadu to see the intricacies of elephant training. Kodanadu is 30 km from Kalady.

St Thomas Mount, Malayattoor
Just 10 km from Kalady. A sacred Shrine since 52 AD when St Thomas the Apostle made his presence here. The shrine is on a hilltop and the hilltop is called Kurissumudi. Several thousands of devotees climb the hill with a big Cross on the back during Puthunjaya Festival on the 1st Sunday after Easter as a custom. The Vatican has designated this Church an International Shrine in par with the churches like Lady of Lourdes in France.

Hill Palace
12 km away at Thripunithura. The palace is now a museum, the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Different types of sculptures, collection of rare coins, old weapons, manuscripts in ancient lipis and collections from the Kochi Royal family exhibited here.

Distance from major cities
Thiruananthapuram 216 Kms
Alleppey 62 Kms
Calicut 231 Kms

 

How to reach there

by Air Ernakulam Airport is well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Madras, Goa, Bangalore & Trivandrum.
by Rail Ernakulam Railway Station is well connected with all major destinations of India.
by Road Ernakulam is well connected by road to all major cities of Kerala.

Recommended Restaurants

  • Abad Plaza, Ernakulam

  • Chariot, Ernakulam

  • Chef Master, Ernakulam

Hotels in Cochin

Luxury

Medium

Budget

Taj Residency

Le Meridien

The Brunton Boatyard

The Renaissance

Gokulam Park Inn

Avenue Regent

Abad Plaza

Abad Atrium

Wyte Fort

Hotel Grand

hh - heritage hotel ; ph - palace hotel ; bh - boutique hotel ; gh - guest house ; hs - home stay

 
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