(earlier known as Cochin) is the jewel in the crown of Kerala with true
cosmopolitan character. With one of the finest natural harbors of the world,
breath taking blue lagoons and lush green islands It is called the Queen of
the Arabian Sea. It is the biggest and most active port in Kerala and from
here, ships set sail for foreign ports with spices, rubber, coir and fish.
Places of Interest in Kerala :
Bolghatty Island :
Bolghatty Island is the site of the Bolghatty
Palace built in 1744 by the Dutch that was later taken over by the British.
Today Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) runs a hotel here. The
island has a fine golf course making it an attractive picnic spot. The
building was once a Governor's palace for the Dutch and later the home of
the British Governors. The palace is two-storeyed containing well-decorated
bedchambers, a huge lounge wherein historical portraits are displayed. The
ferry ride from the mainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable
Cherain Beach :
This is a lovely beach bordering Vypin
Island about 45 kms from Ernakulam city. This is ideal for swimming where
dolphins are occasionally seen. This beach attracts lots of foreign as well
and domestic tourists. Cherai Beach, a better option, is an isolated one;
enchantingly beautiful and famed for its natural perfection.
Chinese Fishinf Nets :
Chinese fishing nets, called `cheena vala
in Malayalam, flank the entrance to the Kochi harbour. Traders brought these
huge cantilevered fishing nets here from the court of Kublai Khan. Fishermen
in Fort Cochin still use these large nets, hanging from bamboo or teak posts
to catch fish attracted by the lights suspended above the nets. It is a
fascinating sight to see these fishing nets line the sea front and exhibit a
mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. The
Chinese fishing nets found here are the only ones of its kind in India. The
northern shores of Fort Cochin with huge elegant Chinese fishing nets add
grace and charm to an already characteristic waterside view.
Gundu Island :
The magnificent 16th century Pallipuram Fort situated
on Gundu Island is the smallest of the cluster of islands around Kochi.
There is a coir factory run by a co-operative society, and the process of
manufacturing coir from coconut fiber, can be observed here.
Jew Town :
The 2000-year-old Jew Town built in 1568, houses the
oldest functioning synagogue in the Commonwealth. It is an enduring symbol
of the eventful past of the Jews of Malabar.
Mattancherry Palace :
This monument was built by the Portuguese in
1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. The Dutch renovated
it in 1663. The murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, depicting scenes
from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends are the important
features. Puranic legends connect with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and
Durga. This palace is a two-storied quadrangular building with the
coronation hall of the Rajas in the first floor. Built in oriental style,
Mattancherry Palace, situated in Ernakulam district of Kerala was originally
built by the Portuguese. It was gifted to Raja Veera Kerala Varma as a
gesture of goodwill (and probably as a means of securing trading
privileges). It was later taken over by the Dutch who improved it through
extensions and repairs. Since then it came to be called the Dutch Palace,
though at no time did the Portuguese nor the Dutch stayed there. One of the
oldest buildings in Kerala, the Mattancherry Palace is a portrait gallery of
the kings of Cochin. In the centre of the building, is the Coronation Hall
where the Cochin Rajas held their coronations. On display in the palace are
the dresses, turbans, weapons and palanquins from that era. The ladies'
bedchamber downstairs features a cheerful Krishna using his six hands and
two feet to engage in foreplay with eight happy milkmaids.
Santa Cruz Basilica :
This Roman Catholic Church situated
close to St. Francis Church is a historic church built by the Portuguese.
Pope Paul IV elevated the church to a cathedral in 1558 AD. But in 1795 AD,
the British demolished it. About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez
Ferreira commissioned this new building. Pope John Paul II proclaimed Santa
Cruz a Basilica in 1984.
The Hill Palace Museum :
Hill Palace, the official residence of the
Kochi royal family built in 1865 AD, is about 10 kms. from Kochi and today
it is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Numerous species of flora
including rare medicinal plants grow here.
The museum is open all days except Mondays from 9:00 am to
12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.
Vypin Island :
Vypin Island about 21 kms. from the city is a major
centre for commerce and is connected to the main land by a bridge, which is
easily accessible by boat. It boasts of a lighthouse at Ochanthuruth open
from 3 pm to 5 pm on all days.
Willingdon Island :
Beautiful backwaters surround this man-made
island named after Lord Willingdon, a British Viceroy to India. This is the
site of Kochins best hotels, customs and trading centres, the port
trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
Getting in, Around & Away
Cochin International Airport is located at about 20 kms. from
the city center. Kochi is connected by excellent air network to all major
cities in India.
Kochi has three main railway stations, namely, Ernakulam
Junction, Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus on Willingdon Island.