is set in the midst of an island-studded harbour, which has
a modern bustling town on the main land, Ernakulam. It is located on the
coast of the Arabian sea with Kottayam and Alappuzha districts on the south,
Idukki on the east and Thrissur on the north.
The commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Cochin, in
Ernakulam, is also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. There is a
commercial hub for merchants dealing in cashew nuts, coir, seafood, timber,
tea, coffee, rubber and spices. This is what gives Kerela its name as "The
Spice Coast". A Jewish community with roots going back to 1000 AD and a
16th century synagogue are testimony to the land's diversity. Ernakulam
District can well emerge as the greatest tourist destination for both Indian
and international travelers.
has a moderate climate as it is situated very close to the
sea. It gets heavy rains during June-August. Winter starts from December and
continues till February. In summer, the temperature rises to a maximum of 35°C
and 25°C in the winters.
Air : Kochi
is connected by excellent air network to all
major cities in India.
Kochi (Cochin) has three main railway stations,
namely, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Harbour Terminus on
Kochi is connected by road with several tourist
centers in India.
Places of interest
The Fort Cochin is township in itself. Cochin was a
flourishing in trade as one of the most desirable destinations approachable
by sea. With its European heritage, its air of genteel decay, and stubborn
self-absorption is a place where history, like a friendly phantom, still
stalks the lonely streets. The European have left random imprints in Fort
Cochin. The massive buttresses, which are so conspicuous a feature of the
place, were put up by the British to protect the houses that had been shaken
by the force of an explosion that blew up the cathedral of Santa Cruz. In
fact, they themselves had bombarded the church fearing a possible
restoration of Dutch supremacy in Cochin. In spite of it all, the Santa Cruz
Basilica still stands in a spirit of sturdy resistance.
Bolghatty Palace :
Built by the Dutch in
1744, this palace is on an island, off Cochin in the Arabian Sea. The
building was once a Governor's palace for the Dutch and later the home of
the British Governors. Today, this is one of the prestigious hotels of the
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.
The palace is two-storied and contains well-decorated bed chambers, a huge
lounge wherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from the
mainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable experience. There is a
golf course to boot.
Cochin Beach :
Cochin (Kochi), is called as the 'Queen of
the Arabian Sea'. Believed to be the finest natural harbour in the world.
With ferry rides commanding its breathtaking view. Cruise around man-made
islands with lush green lawns sloping down to the water's edge. Cochin is
the oldest European settlement in India. Recording a history of visitors who
came, saw and stayed for hundreds of years. Layered impressions - Chinese,
Arab, Jewish, British, French and Portuguese, are contained within its
environment. Giant Chinese fishing nets that billow from massive teak and
bamboo poles dot the entrance to the harbour.
Hill Palace Museum :
Situated at a distance of 10 km from
Cochin, Hill Palace, the official residence of the royal family of Cochin.
The palace 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 museum also display's trapping of royalty like majestic beds, paintings,
carving and samples of epigraphy. Belongings of the Kochi Royal Family,
Paliathachan's gallery and royal furniture including the 'Simhasana' (the
throne or the king's chair). Tripunithura is also known for the nearby
Chottanikkara Temple and the Tripunithura Temple. There are on display 200
antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from China and Japan, Kudalkall,
tomb stone 'thoppikkallu', hood stone 'menhirs' in granite and Literate
memorials, rock cut caves belonging to the early iron, age wooden temple
St. Francis Church :
St. Francis Church is a granite
church set on quiet lawns amidst the bustle of Fort Kochi, 10 kms from
Ernakulam. Originally named as Santo Antonio, this protestant church was
originally built by the Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in
1524 AD. Though 14 years later his mortal remains were taken to Portugal,
the carved gravestone can still be seen in the church.
St. Francis Church was the first church to have been built in
the new European influenced style and tradition. Under the Dutch, the church
was renovated and became protestant in 1663 AD. Inside the church, various
tombstone inscriptions have been placed in the walls, the earliest of which
dates back to 1562 AD.
Willingdon Island :
Named after Lord Willingdon, a former
British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful
backwaters. The island is the site of the city's best hotels and trading
centres, the Port Trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
Jewish Synagogue :
Built in 1568 AD, the great scrolls of
the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made
by the Cochin rulers were recorded, and the exquisite Chinese hand painted
tiles are of interest. No two tiles are alike and are two hundred years old.
There are also several finely wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the
synagogue by various patrons. Known for mid 18th century hand printed,
willow pattern floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew
inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates etc.
Mattancherry Palace ( Dutch Palace) :
at Mattancherry was actually built by the Portuguese and
presented to the Cochin ruler Vira Kerala Varma in 1555 as an act of
expiation for the plunder and desecration of a temple near the Rajas
palace by a hot-headed young Portuguese officer. The extensions of the east
and south and the wooden ceilings of the Coronation Hall were incorporated
by the Dutch and hence the name. The real glory of the palace however lies
in its wall murals, all done using the tempera process of painting.
Forty-five scenes from the Ramayana adorn the long walls of the bedchamber.
They are known for their brilliant execution. Of the paintings elsewhere in
the palace, one is a large unfinished portrait of Lord Vishnu. The palace is
open all days for the public between 10 am and 5 pm except on Fridays and
National Holidays. Photography is not permitted.
Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco da Gama Square :
These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first
visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by
traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on teak wood
and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the
sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square
Santa Cruz Basilica :
The Santa Cruz Basilica is a
historic church that was built by the Portuguese. The church was elevated to
a cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558 AD. In 1795 AD, it fell into the hands
of the British when they took over Cochin and was demolished. About a
hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building
at the same site in 1887 AD. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by
Pope John Paul II.
Gundu Island :
Here is the magnificent 16th century
Pallipuram Fort that is open only on Thursdays.
Cherai Beach :
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.
The Bungalow was built on the site of the Gelderland Bastion,
one of the seven bastions of the old Dutch fort. This graceful building
holds within itself a reflection of the colonial era. Earlier known as Kunal
or Hill Bungalow, it was home to the managers of the National Bank of India
during the British reign. Today, the Bungalow belongs to Ram Bahadur Thakur
and Company, the renowned tea trading firm.
David Hall :
David Hall gets its name from one of its
later occupants, David Koder, a Jewish businessman. The Hall was originally
associated with Hendrik Adriaan van Reed tot Drakestein, renowned Dutch
commander better known for his Hortus Malabaricus, a pioneering compilation
of the flora of the Malabar Coast.
The Cochin Club :
Housed in a beautifully landscaped park,
the club, has an impressive library and collection of sporting trophies. In
the early 1900s, when the club had just become operational, admission was
restricted to the British and to men only. Today, though the club retains
its traditional English ambience, its rules are more liberal and the
membership of 250 includes women as well. Surprisingly enough, alcohol is
not served on the premises.