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Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is a port city of South India. At the junction of the Arabian Sea and backwater, Kochi, comprises of 10 neighboring Islands. It is said that the name of Cochin was derived from the Kochu River.
Kochi, is the second important port city of India after Mumbai. The blue waves of the sea welcome countless foreign ships. The renowned Vembanad Lake of Kerala meets with the Sea in Kochi. The city is famous as the “beauty spot” of Kerala and is also renowned as the queen of the Arabian Sea. It is one of the most astonishing cities of Kerala. The coastal Island of the Arabian Sea, Kochi, showcases various excellent architectural sculptures of Portuguese, Holland and Britain.
Primarily the city of Kochi is divided in three different sectors. The splendid Willingdon Island was formed by Lord Willingdon in 1920. The island was an after effect of the huge excavation which took place long back in 1920. The whole process had taken place to increase the depth of the port. Now, the profundity of the port city is 11 meters. Willingdon Island houses the South Indian branch of Indian navy, airport, railway station, and tourist office of Indian Government.
Go beyond the Island to hit one of the well known business hubs, Ernakulum which is connected to Kochi and other Indian cities by railways and by bus. Shopping complexes, office of state tourism and plenty of hotels are there in the province of Ernakulum.
The port city, also known as museum city, is spread around Willingdon, Bolgatty and Gundu Island.
The fort Kochi or Mattancherry is located at the western side of Kochi. The Bolgatty Island is situated at the opposite side of the Mattancherry.
The Vypin Island, in the northern coast of Kochi, houses an ancient fort which was built by Portuguese long back in 1503. Even though the fort is old but the spectacle of the fort attracts innumerable holiday makers to the place. Hire an auto. It will take you to Vypin Island from Kochi in half an hour.
About 18 km from the Vypin Island, Cherai beach, is an isolated and serene Island. This is the destination for the holiday makers who search for some entertainments. It’s a perfect beach for surfing and swimming. The dancing and animated dolphins jump in the Sea to welcome you. This sight is marvelous.
Hire a boat for you and your family members to move from one beach to the other. Vypin Island, fort Kochi, Mattancherry and many more adjoining Islands are easily accessible from Kochi. Kochi is a perfect destination for the beach lovers.
A well decorated viaduct connects Ernakulum to Mattancherry and Kochi. The vehicle which travels to Kochi from Ernakulum through this road touches Willingdon on its way. The road looks pretty as it enjoys the shade of the swaying coconut trees.
The Fort city looks lovely during night when the whole city wears the garlands of various shiny lights. Tourists are attracted every now and then to the imported items which are scattered in the shops, located at the roadside of Kochi and Ernakulum. Nevertheless, if you want to purchase something from Kochi then it is always recommended to visit the market of M.G Road. Kairali, the showroom of the Kerala State Handicrafts Development Corporation and Saurabhi Emporium of Handicraft Society are the places where from you can purchase Handicrafts. Both of these shops are located in Pallimukhu, at the roadside of M.G Road. Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan is another option for the tourists.
The fort of Kochi is located in the sector of Kochi. The fort Kochi was built by British. However, the fort, built by the Portuguese in 1503, is in ruins now. The striking houses of the wealthy and affluent British businessmen, at the roadside, enthrall many. The history of Kochi as a business city dates back to the ancient centuries. It was a famous business corridor of India previously as well.
Christopher Columbus started his journey to discover Kochi and he landed in America. Since then we know Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of America. Coconut coir, spices, sandals, sea fishes were the prime items which were exported to the foreign countries during that period. The fishing nets which are used now by the fishermen of Kochi were invented by the people of China. It was invented back in the 14th century by the Chinese. A good and strong business link was established between China and Kochi (India) at that point of time. These interested fishing nets and fishing techniques are seen in the northern coastal area of the Kochi bus stand. A special kinds of hats which resembles the structure of cones, have originated in China. The temples of Kochi showcase the style and flair of Chinese temples and most of the temples depict impressive pagoda like structures.
Gundu Island, located adjacent to the Vypin Island, is famous in the vicinity for its coconut coir industries. Even though it’s a an enticing experience to witness the entire processes that take place in coconut coir industries but the doorway of the Island is now closed for the tourists. But, interested tourists can ride on the boat of KTDC to quickly visit the Island and Hotel Resort.
The port city houses some of the noteworthy and popular tourist attractions of India like the ancient Indian church, Dutch architectural sculptures, mosque and Hindu temple. This is the reason why plenty of Indians and even outsiders know the port city as the museum city. The largest High Court of Kerala is another notable allurement of Kochi. Kochi is the district Head Quarter of Ernakulum.
The holy church, placed within the fortifications of the Kochi fort, built due to the initiative taken by the Portuguese Governor Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1510, is one of the prime attractions of the fort. The Church looks astonishing for its astounding Portuguese architectures. In 1546 the structure of the Church was recreated with stones. The name of the Church was changed to St Francis Church after the reconstruction. This is the only epitome of the Portuguese architecture which is still standing tall for the pleasure and contentment of the holiday makers. The mausoleum of the merchant, Vasco Da Gama is there in the courtyard of the Church St Francis. However, his dead body was relocated by his son to Lisbon, Portugal in 1538. But, the commemorative of Vasco Da Gama is still there for the tourists. The St Francis Church silently recalls the old history of colonialism. The famous Church was revamped once again in 1779. It became an Anglican Church in 1804. The Roman Catholic Santa Cruze Basilica, located at the southern side of the St Francis Church, was built in 1557. Pop Paul 4th made it a cathedral in 1558. After the striking Cathedral was destroyed by the British, a new Church was reconstructed long back in 1887.
The Mattancherry palace, encircled by the long walls, amidst the enthralling mango groves, depicts Nalukettus architectural grandeur and excellence. The stylish wooden palace was constructed using the wood of the tree Tectona Grandis. This particular palace is popularly known as the Dutch palace as well. A museum is located in the coronation hall (Palliyara) of the primeval kings. The captivating museum showcases various kingly attires and utensils. The ceiling of the palace entices many for its imposing and inspiring Daru architectures. The ceiling and walls of the palace showcases innumerable pictures and stories of the Hindu epic, Ramayana and Mahabharata of 17th century. The royal bedroom in the palace has a bed which is a marvelous example of the beauty of the architectures and fine arts. Teeth of elephants were used to decorate the bed. The coronation shows of 18th century are portrayed in the mural pictures which are showcased on the Kovinithilam.
Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa is engraved on the murals. Bhagavathi temple is the central attraction of the astounding palace. The Hindu deities, Vishnu and Shiva reside in the throne of the temple complex, located at the southern side of the palace. The 1st floor of the striking quadrilateral palace was revamped many times after its construction. Holiday makers who look forward to witness the impressiveness of the Dutch architectures should stare at the ceiling of the dining hall of the palace. Tourists and holiday makers can gaze at the stunning architectures and the riveting palace from 10 am to 5 pm. However, the palace is closed on every Friday and on all national holidays.
Black (Myuchasim), Brown (Meshuchrarim) and White (Pardesi) are the existing social classes of the Jews. They are the major city dwellers. Jewish Synagogue, the sacred place for the worship, was constructed in 1568 and is a nearby destination for the wandering tourists. The inauguration of the praying hall was done by the Black Jews in 587 BD. The renowned and holy Kochangadi was constructed long back in 1344 but Portuguese had destructed that in 1662. However, it was reconstructed in 1664 by the Dutch. The ancient structure of the prayer hall was demolished long back but the entire story of the Synagogue in Hebrew language can still be seen on the fine-looking stone plates. The merchant, Ezekial Rahabi, had bought 1100 well designed tiles from the canton, China in 1762 and all those tiles embellish the floor of the Synagogue. The astonishing and very old clock of Synagogue looks awe-inspiring. The beguiling lights (Jhara Lanthana) were brought long way from Belgium. Spiritual people who flock to the palace can witness the grandeur of the great scroll or the scripture of Old Testament in a huge paper and the documents of the plot of the King Bhaskara Ravi Varma on a bronze plate as well. Jews celebrate holidays on every Saturday and Sunday. So, make sure that you don’t visit the palace on those two days of the week.
The Ju- town, an old residential place for the Jews, was built around the Synagogue at its southern side. Many shops of the tailors and spices are located at the roadsides of the slender and small lanes inside the town. Holiday makers who want to collect some atypical and rare items can purchase those from the Curio shops in the close proximity.
Another ancient and hallowed Synagogue is located at the roadside of Jew St in Ernakulum. Nevertheless, the Synagogue is now locked and closed.
Many of us now search for a destination where we can spend some days in the middle of the calmness and serenity. The Bolgatty Island, situated towards the north-west side of Ernakulum, is a wonderful place for them. The excellent natural surrounds of the Island entice innumerable tourists from various corners of the world. The riveting Island was discovered by the Dutch long back in 1744. To attract tourists to the Island Kerala Tourism has taken a lot of initiatives. Bolgatty palace Hotel and tourist office are the part of their impressive initiatives. Splendid fine arts of Kerala and Dutch architectures decorate the entire palace hotel. The drawn pictures on the Lintels are treats to the eyes. Even though the palace is now well equipped with modern amenities and services but these modern decorations of the palace have diminished the primeval charm.
Interested tourists can avail a conducted tour to visit the Bolgatty Island. Regular boat services are available from Ernakulum to the Island.
The Vallarpadam Island, situated at the western side of the Bolgatty Island, is a famous attraction for the spiritual Christians for its sacred Catholic St Marry Church.
Interested holy crowd flock to the Tripunithura temple, located at a distance of 10 km away from the Vallarpadam Island. A number of sprinkled palaces are also there in the adjoining areas of the temple.
700 years old church in Mulanthuruthy (7 km from Vallarpadam Island) and Bhagavathi temple in Chottanikkara (8 km from Vallarpadam Island) are the neighboring tourists’ destinations. The fresco architectures of the church pull huge number of Christians. The Vallarpadam Island is well connected to Ernakulum by boats.
The swaging coconut trees, spread across the terrain of Ernakulum, sway their heads to welcome the holiday makers to Ernakulum, the city of numerous temples and churches. Ernakulum was the capital of the state of Kochi previously. Large group of Hindu devotees assemble on the sanctified premise of the Shiva and Krishna temple of Ernakulum on a regular basis. The holy Shiva temple celebrates a weeklong festival every year with plenty of followers and inestimable tourists during the month of January. It’s a premise where you can witness the true cultures of Kerala. Different kinds of cultural programs of various parts of Kerala are organized with zeal and passion in this festival.
Parishath Thampuram Museum or the Kochi museum, adjacent to the Durbar hall, is located at the roadside of the Durbar hall road. The walls of the museum are bejeweled with oil paintings, primeval coins, engraved artistic sculptures and many more attractive and valuable items of the kings. The well maintained museum is only closed on Monday and on all national holidays.
Man-galavana, located right at the heart of the city, at the roadside of Dr. Selim Ali road, attracts all the tourists who visit Kochi. If you are interested and a bird watcher then this is a must visit place for you. Plethora of colorful and animated migratory birds flies in from the other parts of the world.
The very old Hill palace, about 13 km towards the south-east of the city of Kochi, depicts the colonial fine arts of the Thripunithura kings. The palace can be accessed from different places of Kochi by an auto. Later on, after the independence of India, the Indian Government had taken the control of the palace and henceforth the palace is known as Hill Palace Museum. Various important memorials of the ancient kings are kept and maintained in the museum.
“Museum of Kerala History”, situated in Edappally, about 8 km from Ernakulum, organizes a light and Sound show for the tourists. Interested tourists can watch the show which tells the history starting from the Neolithic era to the modern epoch. This museum is also closed on every Monday and on national holidays.
Innumerable dancing stars assemble in Ernakulum for the wonderful event of Kathakali dance. This dance form resembles the traditional Chhau dance. Dancers dance and celebrate the festival wearing masks on their faces. The dance is performed on the mythological subjects, taken from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. This is a very tough form of dancing and it needs a lot of practice. Dancers use shades of various colors on their body parts and dance in front of the audience. This fascinating festival entices many holiday makers and dance lovers. These expert dancers express their feelings with their eyes when they dance for the huge audience. Men dancers are the major performers of this dance form. Different authentic authorities organize this dance festival during September- April. People assemble in “See India Foundation” to experience the mind blowing dance performances between 6:45 pm to 8:30 pm during September- April. Thursdays are off days. Apart from that, Kochi Cultural Centre, Art Kerala, Menon & Krishna Annexe and the house of Mr Devan are the other notable places where the dance performances take place.
Thrissur, Palakkad, Coimbatore and Ooty are the other places which are easily accessible from Kochi. Many start their Kerala trip from Kochi and end it at Thruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari.
Tourists who are high on energy can visit St Gorge’s Church of 480 in Angamaly, St Gorge’s Foren Church of 593 in Edappally and St Joseph Church in Vaikom on the banks of the beautiful and big lake. These are the other interesting and riveting destinations which are not very far away from Kochi.
How to reach: Kochi is connected to Ernakulam by a bridge. Plenty of buses and vehicles regularly go to Ernakulum from Kochi. Ernakulum railway station is well connected to all the major Indian cities. Trains regularly travel to Ernakulum from Howrah, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Ahmadabad and Thiruvananthapuram. Ernakulum can be accessed from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore by bus as well. Hire a vehicle for visiting all these nearby destinations. Destinations of Kochi and Ernakulum can be very easily accessed if you hire a vehicle.
Where to stay: Hotel K K International, Annapurneswari Tourist Home, Hotel Midland, Hotel Abad Plaza, Cochin Tourist Home, Star Homes Hotel and Hotel Airlines are few noteworthy hotels in Ernakulum for the tourists. Book in advance.
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