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Tourist Places To Visit In Kochi (Cochin)
Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is one of the most famous cities in Kerala. Situated on the Western Coast of India, the city is bordered by the Western Ghats in the East and the vast Arabian Sea in the west. The most significant activity in any tourist itinerary of a Kochi traveller would be a ferry ride across the cosmic spans of Kochi backwaters. Edged with incredible coconut palms and popular Chinese nets silhouetted against the milieu of the setting sun, the backwaters make way for a magnificent spectacle.
Kochi architecture is influenced by the Arabs, the Chinese, the British, the Dutch, and the Portuguese. History has it that the city was the first European colonial settlement in India. With the passage of time, Kochi has emerged as the trade and commercial capital of Kerala and it can be chosen as the 2nd most vital city on the western coast of India. Today, Kochi boasts a world-class international port and a well-networked railway and road system. Here are the top tourist places to visit in the marvellous city, including the famous Fort Kochi, the Dutch Palace, Cherai Beach and Vasco Da Gama Square.
Catch a glimpse of a spectacular sunset and indulge in a perfect sunset stroll at Fort Kochi. Bathing and swimming activities are not permitted on the beach. Fort Kochi witnesses a bright carnival during the New Year’s Eve. You can enjoy gourmet seafood, shopping (shawls, handicrafts, carpets, and striking trinkets) and Kathakali performances, the traditional and vivid dance form of Kerala.
The palace built by the Portuguese and offered to the Kochi former King Veera Kerala Varma in the year 1555, got its name after the year 1663 when the Dutch carried out rigorous refurbishing. The former Kochi kings performed their coronation rituals in the Central Hall of this double-storey structure. The palace rooms feature 17th-century paintings portraying scenes from the Puranas and the other great Indian epics like, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.The Dutch Palace is open from 10 AM to 5 PM and is closed on Fridays.
Created in the year 1568, this is one of the most ancient synagogues in the Commonwealth. Attractions to look out for in the synagogue are - the Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, two copper plates with intricate details of rights given to the Jews during the reign of Bhaskara Ravi Varman (10th century), gold crowns studded with gems, delicate Cantonese hand-painted decorative floor tiles, as well as the the synagogue’s elegant lighting with Belgian crystal chandeliers. The synagogue is open from 10 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 5 PM.
Situated 25 kms off Ernakulum in a classic village setting is this unspoilt stretch of sand, best for swimming and all your water activities. If the sea and sand does not satisfy your cravings, there are plenty of food and ice-creams places for you to savour. All your adventure is keenly supervised by the life guards who are always available at your service. Dolphins can also be easily spotted. So it is important for the photographers to be ready with their shutter bugs! Situated near Cherai beach is a traditional Kerala village with lush paddy fields and coconut orchards which serves as icing on the cake.
Chinese Fishing Nets
Located in Vasco da Gama Square, these enormous Chinese fishing nets are the relic of some of the first visitors that came to the Malabar Coast. Set up here between 1350 and 1450 AD by the traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these fishing nets are erected on teak wood and bamboo poles.
Encircled by spectacular backwaters, Willingdon Island is a treat for the visitors. The Island was named after a former British Viceroy of India called Lord Wellingdon. Today, this manmade island features best of hotels, trading centres, the Port Trust and the HQs of the southern sailing command.
Featuring the palace by same name, the Bolghatty Palace was created in the year 1744 by the Dutch and was later captured by the British. At present it is owned by Kerala Tourism, wherein KTDC is successfully running a hotel featuring exclusive honeymoon cottages and golf courses. It is important to make advance bookings in case you wish to spend a couple of days at the Island.
Pierce Leslie Bungalow
This delightful bungalow was the once the official workplaces of Pierce Leslie & Co.
They were the coffee merchants who founded the company in the year 1862. An archetypal of the colonial bungalow of Fort Kochi, this edifice clearly echoes Portuguese, Dutch and local influences.
Old Harbour House
This sophisticated ancient bungalow constructed in the year 1808 is now in the custody of Carrit Moran & Co., a renowned chain of tea brokers, who have now started using it as their residence. The mansion was once popular as a boat club which was frequented by both locals and international tourists.
Loafer’s Corner / Princess Street
One of the very initial streets to be built in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with European elegance exhibits an old world charm. The finest view of this picturesque street can be seen from Loafer’s Corner, the typical gathering place and retreat of the jovial people of the area who were more interested in organizing small meetings and having fun.
One of the ancient Portuguese dwellings in Fort Kochi, Vasco House is popular as the residence of Vasco da Gama. Constructed in early 16th century, Vasco House boasts the classic European glass- paned windows and stylish balcony which was the characteristic of that era.
Hill Palace of Tripunithara
Kochi would look like a city of palaces to you, with another on the list — the Hill Palace of Tripunithara. It is an archaeological museum, the largest around, featuring around 50 buildings sprawled over 54 acres of prime land. There is a children’s park, a prehistoric park, a medicinal herb garden, deer park and of course a museum of armoury, ornaments, manuscripts and other memorabilia of the royal family of Kochi.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is a sensitive ecological spot, with a tidal lake and migratory birds and mangrove jungles. The migratory season is a favourite time to visit here, as the trees are in full lush bloom and birds come flying from all over the world. The richness of this sanctuary purifies your lungs and you get to escape the city heat for a few hours, now isn’t that something worth looking forward to?
Chottanikara Bhagavathy Temple
Chottanikara Bhagavathy Temple is one of the most revered temples in the region. It records high footfalls all through the year. This temple is home to goddess Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Amman and is as old as 1500 years. Keezhu Kaavu Bhadrakali Amman is also worshipped in its sanctum as a goddess of healing. Devotees believe this temple cures you of even life-threatening illnesses and mental disorders, so much so that when they are cured, they come back and hammer nails into the Pala tree nearby as a mark of gratitude. You must wear Indian attire when going for a visit to this temple.
Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica is a heritage shrine, one of the eight basilicas in Kerala. The architecture is gothic, grand and has a decided Portuguese touch as those were the people who built it. The shrine was elevated to cathedral by the Pope. The altar was painted by the famous Italian painter Fr. Antonio Moscheni S.J. Whitewashed spires and stained glass paintings adorn the place, attracting you for its beauty, making for a marvellous afternoon sightseeing.
The Folklore Museum is Kochi’s hub of folk, traditional and tribal art. It also educates people on Kerala’s culture, history, heritage and anthropology. Artefacts from rare collections are displayed here, like the Sri Guruvayurappan paintings of Lord Brahma and Saraswati’s wedding. Treasures also include pitchers and old utensils, woodwork and other wares.
Falling from 80 m high up, Athirapally Falls is many a times called the Niagara Falls of India. The cascade is milky white, frothing at the base and charming the onlookers. It emerges from Anamudi mountains and roars across the Vazhachal forest. A nearby fun place to visit is the Dreamland park where you can enjoy nature as well as rides. Silver Storm is also a good resort to spend the night.
Marine Drive of Kochi is very different from the Marine Drive in Mumbai, and yet in spirit they both are the same — a waterside promenade and driveway that refreshes your mind like nothing else. This promenade in Kochi runs along the backwaters instead of the sea and provides you a kaleidoscope of activities. The sight is out of the world, birds a plenty. The rainbow bridge is a little walk away, while many a shopping arcades and malls dot the drive. Send a cool evening strolling here with your friends or loved one.
Indo - Portuguese Museum
The Indo - Portuguese Museum, as the name suggests, is an amalgamation of both Indian as well as Portuguese culture and history. The Late Bishop of Kochi — Dr Joseph Kureethra built this museum to showcase the heritage of the Portuguese who settled in India. There is a cathedral here, along with other sections like the Processions, Civil Like, the Altar and the Treasure. Guided tours of the museum are provided, but the museum is closed every Monday.