Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city with a bustling commercial port. It is the financial capital of Kerala. Ernakulam (Cochin) is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea with Kumarakom and Allapuzha districts on the South, Idukki on the East and Thrissur on the North. It is also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Some of the attractions includes, Hill Palace Museum – The King Palace now converted to Museum along with a small zoo is 12 Km south-east of Ernakulam at Tripunithura have Painting, Epigraphy, the collections from Travancore & Cochin Royal families, Jew Street and Synagogue – at Mattancherry, it constructed in 1568 and rebuild in 1662, Chinese fishing Nets – 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, Bolghatty – this island is famous for its palace of the same name. The Bolghatty Palace was built in 1744 the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Today it is a hotel run by the Kerala tourism , with a small golf course and special honeymoon cottages, Cherai Beach – near North Paravur is a new generation tourist hot spot with Golden beaches, (sand grains are big and looks like river sand used in construction, probably deposited by Periyar at some point of time) coconut palms corridors, backwaters, historical monuments, 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 and many more.
Cochin Carnival [December 2nd Sunday to the New Year Day] and Aluva Shivarathri festival celebrated here attract tourists from all around the world. The lighthouse and Palliport Fort at the Vypeen Islands; the artificially constructed Willington Island are other attractions. A relatively new attraction that Kochi now boasts of is Veegaland, the grand amusement park set in the gorgeously idyllic environs, at Pallikkara. One of the most amusing and unique experiences that Kochi offers is a visit to the Elephant training centre at Kodanadu.
Mattancherry Palace – (Dutch Palace)
The palace built by the Portuguese as a gift to the king of Cochin, is a wonderful treat for travelers with historic interest. The Portuguese designed oriental style double storied quadrangular monument of 1555 A.D., later the abode of the royal Cochin rulers-this is a perfect place to appreciate cultural influences on architecture.
This elegant palace is situated away from the hustle of the city, on the Bolghatty Island. The palace that was once used by the Dutch is now well furnished and maintained as a hotel. The island also has a park and golf course. The serene atmosphere and the splendid view from there make it a perfect getaway. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland
Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura
The first on the list for those interested in history and archeology, this is now the largest archaeological museum in Kerala and is the official residence of the Kochi royal family. The complex is a reflection of traditional architectural style of Kerala. Full-fledged ethno-archaeological articles and artifacts belonging to the Kochi royal family are all a luxury that the visitors to the place get to relish. In addition there are numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants around the area, a deer park and provisions for horse riding.
St. Francis Church
One of the priciest historical assets, this church built in 1503 by Portuguese friars is also where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s original headstone still remains. One would also get to see giant rattan fans (punkas) being manually worked by punka-wallas pulling on ropes (during Sunday services).
This is at present the well preserved monument that was constructed by the Jews in late 16th century, raided by the Portuguese and later rebuilt by the Dutch. The synagogue still preserves some ancient religious scriptures. It is so famous a tourist attraction that the surrounding area is known as Jew town. Many antiques are available on sale here and it is also a center for spice trade.
The synagogue is open Sunday to Friday, from 10am to noon and from 3 to 5pm.IST
Fort Kochi Beach
This is the cultural center at Kochi,here one can find many monuments that stand out as instances that speak about Kerala’s history and also of foreign influences on the architecture of the land. Along the beach, one can find the famous fishing nets lined up. These nets are replica of those used during the times of Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. Kochi is the only place in India that you can spot these.
Pareekshit Thampuran Museum
A collectors’ heaven, this former Durbar Hall, is a traditional Kerala-style building houses, 19th century oil paintings can be appreciated here along with the fabulous collection of Kochi royal family, ranging from old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings.
Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort
This magnificent monument is a must see on any visitor’s list. It is the oldest European fort built in India.
a picturesque beach, located on the north-end of the Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Lined with luscious green coconut groves and paddy fields, this sandy beach is a unique combination of the sea and the backwaters, studded with seashells of various hues and shapes. Dolphines are occasionally seen here. Thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront are added attractions.