Flowing alongside the Vemnad lake Ernakulam or Cochin is the commercial capital of Kerala. It is the land of back waters. Ernakulam has derived its name from the name of a very famous temple of lord Shiva, called the Ernakulathappan Temple. Ernakulam has also been said to derive its name from the word ‘Ere Naal Kulam’, which means “pond for a long time”. A booming business metropolis, a fascinating mixture of the old and the new, Cochiin is having the finest natural harbours in the world. Cochin nick named as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, was once a major centre for commerce and trade. At Cochin, the blue water of the Arabian Sea merges with Kerala’s Emerald Backwaters. Even today, Cochin continues the tradition of welcoming visitors with its customary warmth and hospitality.
Places to see at Cochin: Cochin is dotted by a number of tourist places.
This is a long narrow palm-fringed island which is easily accessible from the mainland and it is here where the Bolgatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. Built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident later. In 1976 the palace was converted into a hotel under the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The Cochin Golf Club’s course is on the palace grounds.
Art Complex – Madhavan Nayar Foundation
This Art Complex is 10 kms north of Ernakulam on the way to Alwaye. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. The complex consists of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century.
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort
These fixed, cantilevered fishing nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. As the records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. The best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.
The beach is located 25 kms from Ernakulam in a typical village ambience this lovely unspoilt stretch of sand, ideal for swimming. But if the sea and sand still do not whet your appetite, there are many numbers of food outlets and ice-cream parlours to do so. At Cherai, life guards are always on the look out for the over adventurous. Dolphins are also commonly seen in the waters.
Ernakulam Siva Temple
The temple is facing the historical Rajendra maidan and is a famous temple, considered to be amongst the most ancient in central Kerala. Though no historical records exist to indicate a precise date, an inscription found above the main entrance in Vattezhuthu, an antiquated script, suggests that the sanctum was built in the year 1614. The deity is popularly referred to as Ernakulathappan. The temple’s 8-day annual festival is celebrated in the month of Jan-Feb with colourful rituals and exciting cultural events. The bathing of the idol, on the eighth day, is particularly significant here. The ceremony of Ashta Bandham Kalasam, where the deity is anointed in a herbal paste, is performed once in 12 years.
St. George Forane Church
The church is an important pilgrim centre, this Roman Catholic church was built way back in AD 593 in a plot of land donated by the Raja of Edappally. After the seven churches were founded by St. Thomas, the Edappally church is considered to be one of the oldest in Kerala. The new church beside it was built in 1080. Historical records have it that a session of the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor), 1599, was held here. The church is also well known for its annually held nine-day feast in April/May.
Voc Gate, Fort
Facing parade ground is this large wooden gate with the initials ‘VOC’ carved onto it representing the monogram of the once mighty Dutch East India Company. The inscription also indicates that it was built in the year 1740.
Museum Of Kerala History
This Museum is located along with the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala.
One side of the Marine Drive is backwater while the opposite side is 70-ft Road, city’s widest road. At the place of ruined old jetty there is Marine Drive Promenade. Sit here and watch the backwaters and the FortKochi beyond. The world’s highly densely populated VypeenIsland is in clear view from here.
Mount Carmel Church
The most interesting things are the Portuguese church bells. This 1642 church is the second Indian vicariath established by Holy See after Goa.
This is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth which was built in 1568. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue’s elaborate lighting are of interest.
Hill Palace Museum
The Museum is set on top of a hillock, these prodigious palace-turned-museum display 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The HeritageMuseum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. The museum premises have also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from Central America to Australia.
Sree Poornathreyesa Temple
The legend says that Arjuna, the great archer and warrior, had established this sanctum. Formerly belonging to the Cochin royalty, this temple has Maha Vishnu as its presiding deity. The annual temple festival is held in Nov-Dec, while the colourful Athachamayam, a cultural extravaganza, is celebrated every year during the festival of Onam.
Nearby attractions around Cochin: From Cochin you can make a trip to
Excursions from Cochin can be made to Thripunithura, 12 km southwest of Cochin. The Hill Palace Museum at Tripunithara houses the collections of the Cochin and Travancore royal families.
35 km north of Cochin, here you will find a synagogue, a Syrian Orthodox Church, a Krishna Temple, and a temple of goddess Mookambica.
Chennamangalam is 4 kilometers away from Cochin and houses the oldest synagogue in Kerala. There is also a Jesuit Church and ruins of a Jesuit College.
Things to do in Cochin: There are varied options available to travelers in Cochin. Cochin, with abundant widening and narrowing canals and lakes is best experienced with a houseboat cruise. Houseboat is the best way to enjoy the labyrinthine of Kerala backwaters these backwaters have always supported a unique waterfront lifestyle for the people of Cochin. Tourists can experience this unique lifestyle by renting one of the large thatched-roofed house boats known as “Kettuvallams”. They usually come with a captain, a cook and a steward. Cochin is also acclaimed as the birthplace of Ayurveda, a trip to this fabulous land is never complete without a visit to one of those refreshing Ayurvedic spas. Another famous characteristic of Cochin is the exotic Kathakali dance forms, in one of the various centers located in and around the heritage areas of Fort Cochin- Mattanchery or Ernakulam.
Best time to visit Cochin: The peak season to travel Kochi is between October and April, when hot and dry climate prevails.
How to go ?
The Cochin International Airport is well connected to major cities all across India and the world. From the airport, the main city centre is about 29 kilometres away.
Cochin is well connected to all the major railway stations in India.
Cochin has a strong network of Kerala State Run Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services that connects it to all the major cities in Kerala and with some of the major cities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Where to stay ?
There are many accommodation options in Cochin.
Bolgatty Palace and Island Resort (KTDC): +91-0484-2750500, 2750600 Website: www.bolgattypalacekochi.com
Hotel Piazza Residency: +91-0484-2750456
Hotel Paulson Park: +91-0484 237 8240 Website: www.hotelpaulsonpark.chobs.in
Hotel Excellency: +91-0 484- 2378251, 2378258 Website: www.hotelexcellency.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.