Prime Attractions of
Ernakulam » The Cochin Clubm
with its impressive library and collection of sporting trophies, is housed
in a beautifully landscaped park. In the early 1900s, when the club had just
become operational, admission was restricted to the British and to men only.
Today, though the club retains its traditional English ambience, its rules
are more liberal and the membership of 250 includes women as well. Strangely
enough, alcohol is not served on the premises.
» Mattancherry Palacey
(Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Fridays): Built by the Portuguese in 1557
and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, 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. The palace also houses Dutch maps of old Kochi,
royal palanquins, coronation robes of former maharajas of Kochi as well as
» Cherai Beach
This lovely beach
bordering Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally
seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves
nearby is an added attraction.
This island is famous
for its palace of the same name. The Bolghatty Palace was built in 1744 by
the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Today it is a hotel run by
the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, with a small golf course and
special honeymoon cottages.
» 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.
» Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco da Gama Square
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. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the
sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow
promenade that runs along the beach. The Square is an ideal place to idle,
with stalls serving fresh
delicious seafood, tender coconut etc.
» St. Francis Church
Built in 1503 by
Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India's oldest European church. This
was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It
was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican
church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of
South India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were
moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.
» Santa Cruz Basilica
church was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope
Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of the British when they
took over Kochi, and was demolished. About a hundred years later Bishop
Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887.
The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
» Loafer's Corner/Princess Street
the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with
its European style residences still retains its old world charm. The best
view of this quaint street can be had from Loafer's Corner, the
traditional meeting place and hangout of the jovial funloving people of
» Vasco House
Believed to have been the
residence of Vasco da Gama, this is one of the oldest Portuguese
residences in Fort Kochi. Built in the early sixteenth century, Vasco
House sports the typical European glass paned windows and balcony cum
verandahs characteristic of the times.
» Parade Ground
The four acre Parade
Ground was where once the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonists
conducted their military parades and drills. The buildings around the
ground housed their defence establishments. Today, the largest open ground
in Fort Kochi, the Parade Ground is a sports arena.
» Fort Immanuel
This bastion of the
Portuguese in Kochi was a symbol of the strategic alliance between the
Maharajah of Kochi and the Monarch of Portugal, after whom it was named.
Built in 1503, the fort was reinforced in 1538. By 1806 the Dutch, and
later the British, had destroyed most of the fort walls and its bastions.
Today, remains of this once imposing structure can be seen along the
(32 km north of
Thrissur): Cheruthuruthy is the seat of the Kerala Kalamandalam, renowned
the world over for its Kathakali training centre. The music and dance
academy was founded by the famous poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon. Training
in Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Thullal and other art forms of Kerala is
» Ariyannoor temple, Kandanisserry
temple has a carved entrance gable which has been compared to the wooden
sculptures of American artist Louise Nevelson. The Siva temple at
Thiruvanchikulam as well as the Sri Krishna temple at
Thirukulashekharapuram are believed to be monuments from the 9th century.
(63 km from Thrissur): At
the entrance to the Sholayar ranges, this 80 foot high waterfall is a
popular picnic spot.
(68 km from Thrissur): Just a
short drive from Athirapally, this picturesque waterfall is close to dense
green forests and is a part of the Chalakudy river. Athirapally and
Vazhachal are the most famous waterfalls of Kerala and favourite
destinations of tourists.
» Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Also known as
Palace Thoppu, the campus covers an area of 6 acres. Here you can see 3
shavakudeerams (tombs) including that of the renowned Shakthan Thampuran.
» Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungalloor
Located 2 km from Kodungalloor town, this mosque resembles a Hindu temple
in appearance. Built in 629 AD, this is the first mosque in India and the
second in the world where Juma prayers were started. Other places of
interest nearby include Cheramanparambu, the ancient Thiruvanchikulam
Temple, the Bhagavathi Temple and the Portuguese fort.
» Saint Thomas Memorial, Kodungalloor
Thomas is believed to have landed in Kodungalloor (formerly called
Muziris) in 52 AD. The St. Thomas Church established by the apostle houses
holy relics from the olden days.
How to get there
Cochin/ Kochi (Airport Code: COK)
has a domestic airport with flights to Agatti, Bangalore, Mumbai,
Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Madras and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum - the
capital of Kerala). The Cochin International Airport is under construction
and is in the finishing stages. Currently, there are regular international
flights to the Gulf. Flights to other destinations will start soon. Other
international airports nearby includes Mumbai, Madras, Bangalore and
Kochi and Ernakulam are connected
to the rest of India by an extensive network of rails.There are three
important railway stations here namely Cochin Harbour Terminus, Ernakulam
Junction and Ernakulam Town . Many important trains start from here and
many others pass through these stations.
Three important National
Highways(NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads.
NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of Kochi
while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai(in Tamil Nadu) starts from
Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all
major cities of South India from here.
» By Sea
Kochi has a magnificent all
weather natural port. Regular boat service to places like Kottayam and
Alleppey are available through the scenic backwaters of Kerala