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Home » Most Famous Travel Cities » Kochi Tourism

Kochi Tourism

Kochi Tourism Kochi Tourism
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Brief
One of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian Sea coast, Kochi has been a port of call, for foreign traders from early times. One of the most interesting towns in South India; its cosmopolitan character is reflected, in its low rise, picturesque buildings and structures. A prime tourist destination and commercial hub of Kerala; with its wealth of historical associations and its settings, in a stunning location, between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters, the city of Kochi, perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. A city of peninsulas and islands, it is one of the largest ports of India, a major naval base, and one of the finest natural harbours in the world.

History
Kochi was earlier known as Cochin. From 1795 until the Independence of India; the long outer sand spit, with its narrow beach, leading to the wide bay inland, was under British political control. The inner harbour was in Kochi State, while most of the hinterland was in the separate state of Travancore. The division of political authority, delayed development of the harbour facilities, until 1920-23, when the approach channel, was dredged to allow any ship, that could pass through the Suez Canal to dock safely, opening the harbour to modern shipping. With its wealth of historical associations and its settings on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city.

Culture
The culture is a sort of mix and match, with variety being the spice, of "The Spice Garden of the World". As a combination evolution, the people of Kerala are very definitely nature lovers. Industrial growth is tardy, due to local political upheavals. Towns and villages are intermingled with one another, in one large rural-urban agglomeration. Accessible health care, reduced infant mortality rates and family planning measures ,have met with resounding success. Women are now free, to employ their creative powers elsewhere. Coconuts and cashew; cardamom and cinnamon; as well as the black gold pepper, all made it a treasure trove, in days bygone. The Western efforts to break the Semitic monopoly in trade, were realized when Vasco Da Gama landed here. Then a long line of succession of the Dutch, the French and finally the British Raj followed. The rest is history!

Climate & Geogaphical Location
Kochi has a tropical and humid climate throughout the year. The city of Kochi is located in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters in Kerala.

How to Reach
Kochi is well connected by rail, road and air. By air, Kochi has an airport and is connected by excellent air network to all major cities in India. By rail, Kochi has three main railway stations, namely, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Harbour Terminus on Willington Island and they are well connected to Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Renigunta, Thiruvananthapuram, and other parts of the country. By road, Kochi, an important commercial centre of the South India is very well serviced by a network of national and state highways, connecting it to all major centres of the area. By sea, ferry service is available for travel between the island towns.

Tourist Places

Chottanikkara Temple
Chottanikkara temple, located near Ernakulam, enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, one of the most popular deities in Kerala. Enroute is the Poornatrayesa temple at Tripunitura. The Devi is worshipped, along with Lord Vishnu. Together, they are known as Lakshmi-narayana.

St. Francis Church
Five Portuguese priests, who arrived with Albuquerque, built the St. Francis Church, located in Fort Cochin. Built in 1503 by Portuguese Francisan Friars, this is 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 in Portugal, but his tombstone still remains.

Mattancherry Palace
It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. As the Dutch renovated the palace in 1663, it is also known as the Dutch Palace. On display here, are beautiful Murals, depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and some of the puranic Hindu legends.

Willington Island
Named after Lord Willington, a British viceroy to India, this man-made island, is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the citys best hotels, customs and trading centres, the port trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.

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 of this beach.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Perched amidst rolling hills, tea and cardamom plantations and dense greenery, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, is one of the largest wildlife reserves in India and more popularly, a tiger reserve. A boat ride on the splendid waters of the Periyar Lake, provides the perfect recreation. The Country's sole Tiger reserve, with its bountiful treasures of many an endangered species and a rich tribal culture, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, is a pleasant heaven on earth, for those who love nature in its wild manifestations.

Bolghatty Palace
Once a Governors palace for the Dutch and later the home of the British Governors, Bolghatty Palace is on an island, off Cochin, in the Arabian Sea. Built by the Dutch in 1744 AD, the Bolghatty Palace, is two-storied and contains well-decorated bedchambers and a huge lounge, wherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from mainland Ernakulam, to the island is apleasurable experience. There is a golf course to boot.

Kanjiramattom Mosque
The mosque is situated at Kanjiramattom, 30 km from Kochi. It is believed, that the mosque was erected over the mortal remains of a Muslim saint, Sheikh Parid. Another great Muslim saint, Baver is supposed to have prayed here and attained salvation.

Alappuzha
Often called" The Venice of the East", Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Set in the labyrinth of backwater channels, the town is one of the best gateways ,to explore the unspoilt countryside. A venue for the spectacular snake boat races, there is little else of interest. Surrounded by coconut trees, Alappuzha is the headquarters of Kerala's coir industry and an important centre for cashew nut processing.

Kumarakom
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.

Chinese Fishing Nets
Lined along the sea front, these fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. These nets are also seen, along the backwaters between Cochin and Kottayam, and between Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Quilon (Kollam). They are mainly used at high tide.

Santa Cruz Basilica
This monumental church, dates back to 1558 and has beautiful paintings on the ceiling. A historic church, built by the Portuguese, Pope Paul IV, elevated the Santa Cruz Basilica, to a cathedral in 1558 AD. In 1795 AD, it fell into the hands of the British, when they took over Cochin and was demolished. About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887 AD. Pope John Paul II proclaimed the church a Basilica in 1984.

Others

ALUVA - Just north of Kochi, this town is situated, on the banks of the river Periyar. In February- March, this town celebrates the famous Sivarathri festival, attended by thousands of devotees.

HILL PALACE MUSEUM -
10 km from Kochi, Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi royal family, was built in 1865 AD. Consisting of 49 buildings, built in the Traditional Architectural Style of Kerala, the palace complex, is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land.

JEWISH SYNAGOGUE - 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.

PAREEKSHITH THAMPURAN MUSEUM - This sprawling, traditional Kerala style building, previously called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings. The museum remains open all weekdays except Mondays.

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