Cochin

Cochin, now renamed Kochi, is one of the finest natural harbors created by the famed underwater Malabar mud-banks whose quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside, the calmer the waters are within the Harbor. Vasco-da-Gama placed it on the world map. Cochin has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the many buildings and structures representing different regions of the world. A city of peninsulas and islands, today Cochin is the commercial hub of Kerala.

Sightseeing

Dutch Palace: This was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555. The Dutch renovated the Palace during their short-lived regime in Cochin.

Gundu Island: This is the smallest island around Kochi. It has a coir factory where coir is manually made into rope and carpets are manufactured by hand-operated looms. This island can be reached from Vypeen only by boat.

Jewish Synagogue: This was built in 1568. It was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in the Hebrew scripture are preserved here.

Koonan Kurishu Shrine: This is a small chapel, situated in the heart of the commercial center of Mattancherry. The Koonal Cross stands in this shrine.

Fort Cochin: This is 12 km from Ernakulam. Frequent bus and ferry services from Ernakulam are available.

St. Francis Church: The Portuguese originally built this Protestant church in 1510. This is the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Vasco-da-Gama, who died in 1524, was buried here.

Santa Cruz Basilica: This Roman Catholic church has some beautiful paintings on the ceiling.

Dutch Cemetery: This cemetery is a short distance from St. Francis Church, near the entrance to the beach.

Chinese Fishing Nets: At the entrance of Cochin Harbour, these nets are a fascinating sight. They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala.

Willingdon Island: This is a man-made island created from the materials drudged while deepening the Cochin Port. The harbor, airport and railway terminus is located on this island. There are frequent ferry and bus services from Ernakulam.

Bolgatty Island: This is a beautiful island, close to Ernakulam, built by the Dutch in 1774. The Bolgatty Palace, which was the former residence of the British Resident of Kochi, is situated on this island. Frequent ferry services connect the island with mainland Ernakulam. Boats can also be hired near the jetty.

Shiva Temple: It is situated in the center of the Ernakulam city, close to the Kochi Cultural Center, near the Durbar Hall Ground. The annual festival in the temple is conducted for eight days during the month of January. As part of the celebrations, a cultural festival is also held with a variety of concerts, music, Kathakali, etc.

Parikshith Thampuran Museum: Collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, stone sculptures are found here.

Museum of Kerala History: Located at Edappally, 10 km from Ernakulam city, it is the only one of its kind in Kerala. The history of Kerala is exhibited and narrated with the help of light and sound. There are frequent private buses passing through Edappally (Pathadipalam bus stop) where the museum is located.

Hill Palace Museum: On the Ernakulam-Chottanikkara route, this is the largest archaeological museum of Kerala. Sculpture, rare coins, old weapons, manuscripts, and memorabilia from the Kochi royal family are exhibited here. There are frequent private buses from Ernakulam.

Excursions

Chennamangalam: The seat of Paliath Achan, the hereditary prime minister of the erstwhile state of Cochin from 1632 to 1809 and one of the chief centers of the Jewish Colony. In the vicinity of the Jewish Colony once stood the famous Vaipinkotta Seminary built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. There is an old Syrian Catholic Church near the ruins of the seminary established in 1201.

Chennamangalam is an important center of handloom weaving and coir manufacturing. The annual fair called Mattachanda (barter system) is held here on the eve of "Vishnu" in April.

Pallipuram Fort: This is one of the oldest existing European monuments in India. The Portuguese built it in 1503. The Dutch captured the Fort in 1661 and sold it in 1789. There are frequent buses from Vypeen to Pallipuram. Ferry connects Vypeen with Fort Kochi and Ernakulam.

Kanjiramattom Mosque: The mosque is situated at Kanjiramattom, 30 km from Cochin. It is believed that the mosque was erected over the mortal remains of Sheikh Parid. The great Muslim saint, Bavar is supposed to have prayed here and attained eternal bliss. The Kodikuthu festival which falls in December-January attracts thousands of devotees.

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple: An important pilgrim center, the Navarathri festival is celebrated here during October and many prominent classical performances held.

Ambalamugal: A fresh water lake, it has become an abode of migrant birds. There is a FACT Guest House.

Cherai Beach: 18 km from Vypeen, on Vypeen Island, this is a very beautiful and calm beach.

Kalady: The birth place of Shankaracharya, the great 8th century philosopher, is situated on the banks of river Periyar and there are two shrines dedicated to his memory. The nearest airport is Cochin, 48 km from Kalady; and the nearest railway stations are Angamaly (10 km) and Alwaye (23 km). Limited trains stop at Angamaly. Kalady is connected by road with important cities in South India.

The traditional system of Indian medicine, Ayurveda, is once again becoming popular among those who understand and appreciate the value of traditional-alternate medicines. Kerala is well known for its 'Vaidyasalas' the Aurvedic hospitals. For the well known Kerala oil massage try 'Coconut Lagoon' at Kumarakom. For complete Ayurvedic treatments contact Kottakkal Arya Vydya sala, Kottakkal, Malappuram Dist.

Cochin Tours

Athiraopally-Vazhachal Tours: This is a one-day tour on Sunday. It starts at 8.00 a.m. and returns at 6.00 p.m. It covers the Athirampally and Vazhachal waterfalls.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: This is two-day trip, starts every Saturday at 7.30 a.m. and returns at 8.00 p.m. on Sunday. Accommodation is provided at KTDC hotels on request. Boat rides also available.

The District Tourism Promotion Council, Ernakulam, arranges a day's trip on Sunday to Bhoothathankettu. The office of the Council is situated at the Old Collectorate Building.

Mermaid Boat Club: Vytilla hires boats for a cruise through the backwaters, which gives an opportunity to behold the great charm that nature has endowed on this city. Water sports facilities are also provided. Reservations at Silver Sand Island, Satgamaya, M.G. Road.

Access Accomodation
Kerala Cochin