Kochi

A Chinese Fishing Net small are that was once bequeathed to a member of the royal family,Kochi later expanded to form a kingdom and then the State of Cochin. It gradually developed into a centre of trade and colonial rule, and eventually, shrank in size, but not in stature, as it evolved into the modern town of Kochi as we know it today.Most of the tourists are landing in Kochi for explore Kerala tourism.

The great flood of the Periyar River in 1341 created a natural harbour in Kochi.The Chinese and the Arabs are believed to the the first traders to visit this port, heralding a wave of subsequent visitors – the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. The later made it their administrative headquarters and changed the town’s name to Cochin.Kochi offered, in abundance, the finest spices – pepper,ginger,cardamom,cloves and turmeric – to the world, a reputation that continues even to this day. Voyagers also coveted the fine ivory, sandalwood, perfumes and gold that was brought into this market town. 

Boasting the largest port in the State, present – day Kochi is also one of the premier industrial, trading and commercial centers of southern India, where a diverse pool of cultures and histories blend to enhance its eclectic spirit.Ernakulam, the up market part of town, is where the buss is. Alive with shopping centres,movie houses,offices,hotels,plush buildings, roadside eateries and exotic restaurants, it is an amalgamation of the old and the new – surely the face of the modern Kerala. 

For details of Ernakulam District , see the web page http://halokerala.com/picnic-spots/ernakulam/

Ernakulam 

ErnakulamMarine Drive : This scenic strip offers a spectacular view of the backwaters and the harbor and is packed with buildings ranging from corporate offices and banks to luxury hotels,cinemahalls,restaurants,cafes and supermarkets, The drive is the most popular hangout for the locals. The musical hangout zone (Queens Walkway) near Marian drive is a wonderful place in Kochi to spend evenings with your dear onces.

MG Road: Mahatma Gandhi Road is the lifeline of the city. Lined with every type of commercial enterprise from garment showrooms and jewellery shops to a host of restaurants, it remains the most expensive piece of real estate in the city. 

Broadway : located in the heart of the city, Broadway is bound by a mase of alleys and crossraods.Selling everything under the sun from shoes,clothes,medicine,furniture,curios and kitchenware to spieces,gold,hardware,electric and books. 

Shiva Temple: Popularly known as ‘Ernakulathappan’,the god of this temple is associated with the name of city.Another famous Siva temple in Ernakulam district is Thiruvairanikulam Mahadeva Temple near Aluva.

Cruises in Kochi

Cruise Boat in KochiFor those looking to just dip toes instead of diving headlong into the backwaters experience, the city also offers shorter trips across the backwaters as well as to the sea.Sagara Rani,of KSINC (Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation),is one such boat that offers multiple cruises in a day. The twp cruise boats,Sagara Rani I and II, Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation ply as two lunch cruises (11 am to 1 p, and 1pm to 3 pm),a  special cruise (5 30 pm to 7 30 pm) and a dinner cruise (8 pm to 10pm).The sunset cruise  can be taken by independent individuals as well. The other trips booked as a group.The rates are Rs.25, 000/- per group of 50 and Rs.250 for every additional person. They offer amenities like an air conditioned lower deck, which can seat around 40 and an open air upper deck space, a DJ and dance troupe for the sunset cruise and food and beverages. The capacity of each vessel used to be 75.Right now Sagara Rani is the only ones offering cruises to the sea. All other cruises are limited to the backwaters.

Classic paradise offers two hours cruises in the vessel which has an air conditioned lower deck dance floor, a conference room with sofa seating, an LED TV and DJs.The rates are Rs.25,000/- for a group of 50,Rs.300 per person and Rs.200 per child. The capacity of vessel is 150.They will provide breakfast, lunch and evening cruises. The vessel can also be availed for one hour cruises at Rs.9, 000/- per 50 people and Rs.100 per extra person.

Hill Palace Museum : Hill Palace , one time residence of the Raja of Cochin at Thripunithura has been converted into the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. The hill top palace, built in 1865, and consisting of 49 buildings, stretches across 52 acres of lush greenery. Exhibits displayed in its 18 galleries include the royal throne and chairs, pictures of the rulers of Cochin, Thanjavur paintings, 14th century wood carvings, inscriptions, megalithic remains, crown, ornaments and mural paintings.

Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy : The two acre property in the heart of the city where the Maharaja of Cochin one held his durbars is now known as the Durbar Hall grounds. The onetime Parikshit Thampuran Museum situated here has been converted into a academy that showcase contemporary arts.  

Museum of Kerala History : Museum of Kerala History ,the brainchild of industrialist and philanthropist R Madhavan Nair,this museum at Edapally is 10 km from the city and showcases the history of the State from Neolithic age to the modern period through pieces of sculpture. St.George Church, known better as Mar Geevarghese Church,is situated near the Museum of Kerala History.

Chottanikkara Temple : This temple enshrines the Goddess Bhagavathi in three forms – Saraswati,Bgadakaali and Durga. 

Pearl Island : Pearl Island (formerly known as Gundu Island) is the smallest of all the islands that constitute together the city of Kochi. The area of this island in the back waters of Kochi is only 5 acres and the land is mostly covered with coconut trees. Pearl Island of Kochi is accessible through boat only from the Vypeen Island which is situated nearby. Apart from this, the Pearl Island can be visited for a picnic with family and friends. The calm and cool nature of the island is something that will leave an everlasting impression on one's mind. MuddyBoots formally launched activities on Pearl Island, Cochin in collaboration with Taj Malabar in the first week of April, 2014.

Folklore Museum :The word ‘folklore’ is enough to pique anyone’s curiosity and the Kerala Folklore Museum feeds that curiosity with a well-stocked buffet of artifacts, relics, art and culture. This museum is a stunning example of architecture meeting tradition, set in the middle of the bustling city of Kochi in Kerala.

Fort Kochi

Santa Cruz Basolica : A monumental structure with a brilliant blue dome, the basilica wa built by the Portuguese in 1506 ad recognized as a cathedral by Pop Paiul IV in 1558.Demolished in 1795 by the British, a new building was commissioned at the same site in 1887 by Bishop Dome Gomes Ferreira and late proclaimed a basilica by Pop John Paul II in 1984. 

St Francis Church : This is India’s first European church built in 1503 by a group of Portuguese Franciscan friars. The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, was buried here in 1524.Although his remains were taken back to Lisbon 14 years later, the tombstone remains intact. 

Dutch Cemetery : The derelict granite and red laterite stone tombs of Dutch traders and soldiers lie serenely in a bed of heather bush and thistle under a green canopy. 

Bishop House / Indo – Protuguese Museum: Resting atop a small hillock close to the Parade Ground, this quaint structure with its grand drivewsy was built by the Portuguese in 1506 for their governor.Today,it is the residency of the Bishop of Kochi. 

Fort Kochi Beach : Overlook the Arabian Sea, with its legendary Chinese Fishing nets dotting the foreground, Fort Kochi beach offers views of fiery sunsets. 

Bastian BungalowBastion Bungalow, situated in Fort Kochi,is one of the most searched tourist attractions in Kochi.The building, said to have been built in 1667 mainly following the Dutch style, is an example of Indo European style architecture. The bungalow has got its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the Old Dutch Fort.

The bungalow is a circular structure with tiled roof, and it has a typical verandah in wood along its front portion. Though it is said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath the bungalow, none of them has been found out so far. In 1999, the building was handed over to the Kerala Archeological Department and is a protected monument now. It is also one of the favorite locations.

Now, visitors cannot access the bungalow as it is closed for renovation works. The place is getting ready to e opened as a heritage museum that will showcase different aspects of Ernakulam district. The restoration works are going on now and soon it will be open to visitors.

Mattancherry 

Paradesi SynagogueParadesi Synagogue : Constructed in 1568,this synagogue was destroyed in 1662 by cannon fire during a Portuguese raid and was rebuilt two years later when Kochi came under the Dutch yoke. 

Antique Shops in Jew Street : With the return of the Jews to Israel, their dwelling fell into disrepair and amny were torn down to make way for newer structure.Incresing demand, spurred on by tourism, rough traditional and contemporary bric – a brac from all over the country into these shops. 

Around Kochi

Cherai BeachCherai Beach: Located on the northern end of Vypeen island,about 25 km from the city,this is an idyllic beach without the crowds. 

Athirapally Waterfalls: Amid lush green foliage at the entrance of the sholayar forest, the chalakudy River tumbles down to the dark granite below a charming sight. 

Bhooththankettu : Located 50 km from Ernakulam town,Bhoothathankettu is a scenic dam site with boating facilities and is surrounded by a vast virgin forest. 

Kumbalangi : A tiny village facing the Kochi backwaters in the western part of city, it is the first eco friendly tourist village in India. Kalagraamam,the artist's village is a major attraction.

Kodanad: (40 km from Ernakulam & 80 km from Kottayam Town) Situated in the ranges of the South bank of Periyar,Kodanad is one of the largest elephant training centers in South India. Elephants specially trained for Safari are provided with saddles for riding. There is also a mini zoo for wild animals here.

Malayattoor : (50 Km north east from KochI) The St.Thomas Shrine in Malayattoor is one of the oldest Catholic churches in India where the Apostle himself lived for years.

Poothotta :This tourist spot is situated near Vembanad Lake at Kattikkunnu in Chempu Panchayath along Thrippunithura - Vaikom road. The gateway stands at Panakkal Devi temple bus stop and the place is 20 Kms from Ernakulam and just 9 Kms from Vaikom.Poothotta is weekend getaway for residents of Ernakulam city.

Jewish Synagogue at Paravur is another tourist attraction around Kochi.One can see intriguing wooden carvings in Paravur Jewish Synagogue. Gothuruth , a small,sleepy island located near Paravur is a part of Muziris Heritage Tourism Project .

Rustic Charm of Kochi

A fishing scene from PizhalaBoth domestic and foreign tourists will get a new package to get to see the rustic scenery of Kochi to different interior scenic locale of Kochi.These places are Njarakkal, Palaikari, Pizhala and Poothotta.

Poothotta located on the Ernakulam – Vaikom road is where River Muvattupuzha merges into the Vembanad Lake. The place has many small canals, farms and a thriving rural lifestyle. The best way to enjoy the charm of this world is to go on a boat cruise.Palaikari is nearby .Palaikari has a 125 hectare wide brackish water fish farm with four culture ponds and three nurseries. The farm lies inside the Vembanad Lake at Kattikunnu in Chempu panchayat, just 25 km from Ernakulam Junction. The tour includes four hour boating, fishing, swimming, kite flying etc while lunch too is served.

The tourists to Njarackal and Pizhala are taken either by boat or road as preferred by the tourists.The tourists will be able to experience prawn and pokkali cultivation there.Country canoe or yacht row are also part of the tour package. Fish and crab hunting and lunch are includes. Pizhala was formed in the great flood of Periyar in 1341.

Vembanad Rail Bridge

Vallarpadam Railway BridgeRail bridge always fascinate travelers by offering scenic views of the surrounding water bodies and landscape.Kochi’s own Vembanad Rail Bridge ,the lengthiest one in Kerala, too offers such views.

The single track 4062 km Rail Bridge built across the charming backwaters of Vembanad and a series of small islands off Kochi coast rail bridge links Edappally with the international Container Trans-shipment terminal in Vallarpadam Island. The rail line passes through three small islands – Idyakkara, Mulavukad and Vallarpadam – and 80 percent of the bridge is constructed over water. The uneven shape of the bridge itself is a delightful sight. The container transshipment terminal being the country’s largest marine cargo hub, the bridge is currently used by only goods trains – 12 to 15 each day.

The beauty of the backwaters can be seen in close quarters from the bridge. The backwaters, which provide a tranquil background to the bridge, also have the Kollam – Kottappuram National Waterway passing through it.

As the frequency of trains is vey less, one can trek along the pathways of the bridge, equipped with sage hand railings and balconies. People visit the bridge curing evenings to enjoy the panoramic Vembanad backwates, breeze and sunset.The bridge was beautifully displayed in the song ‘Neeyam thanalinu thazha’ from the movie Cocktail.

The bridge can be easily accessed by foot from Edappally railway station.

Munambam Beach

The travel diary of every wanderlust soul will have few pages on sea, frothy waves and salty breeze.Muziris’s own golden beach of Munambam in Kochi is one such place that leaves every traveler elated. With the Periyar ending on one side and Muziris opening on the other, the beach makes your visit worthwhile with all its glittering sand and musical waves.

The beach is not known to many because of the more popular Cherai Beach along the same line. From a renovated walkway towards the shore to accessibility of live fishing with China nets and a children’s park within, the beach is less crowded, calm and a good stop for leisure and activities. The beach is also a podium for stage shows, bands performances and cookery shows.Adding on to these,it also facilitates kite running and motor parachutes.

Getaways

Thrissur: Thrissur is considered the cultural capital of the state. Home to several prominent art institutions, this is where the extravagant Pooram festival is held annually. Main sightseeing places are Sakthan Thampuran Palace, The State Museum and Zoo,Vadakkumnathan Temple, Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, Martha Mariyam Chaldean Church and Lourdes Cathedral. Sholayar Dam is a main tourist attraction in Thrissur district.Beautiful and serene,Marotiichal is a stunning place located about 22 km away from the Thrissur town.Athirapally and Vazhachal waterfalls are situated in Thrissur district.If you like to visit a picturesque sacred grove  and its colourful pooram,proceed to Uthralikavu . Puzhakkal Padam was a vast paddy field situated in the two sides of State Highway 69 (Kerala) going to Guruvayur.This river tourism project is known for boating and has a restaurant offering sumptuous Kerala cuisine on the banks

Kodungallur : The ancient port town of Kodungallur,once called ‘Cranganore’,echoes with the tales of an illustrious past in which legends and history becomes one.A busy port town once,it is a quiet,picturesque place today,with a bustling fishing centre at nearby Azhikode. Main sightseeing places are Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid,Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine,Kurumba Bhagavathi Temple,Shiva Temple and Koodalmanikyam Temple at Irinjalakuda.Abdul Rahman Sahib's House in Kodungallur is conserved by the government under the Muziris Heritage project.

Guruvayur


Guruvayur : Guruvayur is a noted pilgrim centre.Even its local name ‘Bhulika Vaikuntha’ means ‘the place where the spiritual world meets the earth’,referring to its status as a holy town.Main sight seeing places are Sree Krishna Temple.Punnathoor Kotta and Palayur Church.The nearest airport is Kochi International Airport ,90 km.Thrissur is the nearest major station.  If you are driving from Kochi to Gruvuvayur,you can see the emerging eco tourism spot Chettuva Backwaters,known for its mangroves and ambience.

 

Aluva : Aluva on the banks of the Periyar is not only an industrial hub,but a popular tourist spot for its scenic location and historical past.

Getting There

By Air : Kochi (Cochin) International Airport at Nedumbasserry,34 km.

By Rail : Ernakulam Twin and Ernakulam Junction both serve as rail heads and are well connected to the whole of Kerala and to toerh major cities in India.

By Road : The KSRTC bus stand in Ernakulam offers daily services to all major cities in the state.NH 47 runs through Ernakulam.

Where to stay

For details of hotels and resorts in Kochi,see accommodation listing on http://halokerala.com/hotels/kochi/

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Published on 09/06/2015

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