Queen of the Arabian Sea
Kochi (Cochin), 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
(Cochin), 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.
Unique Attractions of Kochi (Cochin)
Mattancherry Palace ( Dutch Palace)
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of
Kochi (Cochin), 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 week days except Fridays.
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 (Cochin), is now a KTDC (Kerala
Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.
St. Francis Church
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Francisan 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.
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.
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
Named after Lord Willingdon, 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 centres, 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.
Travel Attractions of Kochi (Cochin)
Alappuzha Beach (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 level.
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
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 favourite haunt of migratory
birds from across the world, which makes it a renowned bird watching centre.
Kumarakom is also a centre 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 is 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
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 centre, lies in the periphery of the sanctuary.
Shopping in Kochi (Cochin)
Kerala State Handicrafts Development showroom- Kairali, M.G. Road.
State Handicraft Society Emporium - Surabhi, M.G. Road.
Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, the showroom of Khadi Village Industries at
Pallimukku, M.G. Road.
Fairs & Festivals of Kochi
- Cochin Carnival
- Indira Gandhi Boat Race
- Jewish Festival
- Malayatoor Perunal