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Some of the sightseeing places in and around Ernakulam/Kochi are mentioned below:
The Bolgatty Island, is a historic town, in the commercial capital of Fort Kochi in Ernakulam. The main attraction here is the palace of the same name. This island is easily
accessible from the mainland. India’s one and only international marina, the Kochi International Marina, is another important part of this island.
Other than these there is the Bolgatty Event Centre, the venue which is perfect for conducting various events like conferences, conventions, exhibitions, wedding receptions
Located at a distance of about 6 kilometers. Make sure to take a ferry ride to this beautiful island of Bolgatty.
In the island of Bolgatty lies Kochi’s famous Bolgatty Palace. It is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces in the world. It was built by the Dutch traders in the year 1744 and later was extended and gardens were landscaped around it.
This was at that time the Governor’s palace for the commander of the Dutch Malabar. In the year 1909 it was leased out to the British, hence serving as the home of the British Governors. It was also the seat of the British Resident of Cochin during the British Raj.
Later on in the year 1947, when India attained independence from the British, the palace became the state’s property and then later was converted into a heritage hotel resort. Now this palace has a swimming pool along with a 9 hole golf course and an ayurvedic centre.
There is also daily Kathakali performances making this a perfect place for both Foreign and Indian holidaymakers.
Bordering the Vypeen island off Cochin is the lovely beach of Cherai. It is located about 25 kilometers away from Kochi and about 30 kilometers from Kochi International
Airport at Nedumbassery.
This beach is a popular tourist destination especially among the foreigners. The beach is less busy and cleaner as compared to many other beaches in Ernakulam district. Cherai beach is lined with Chinese fishing nets, coconut groves and paddy fields offering the perfect setting.
With the unique combination of the sea and the backwaters and also the sands filled with seashells of various colours, Cherai Beach is a picturesque destination. If lucky, you could spot a few Dolphins as well.
Home to one of the oldest synagogues in Kerala, Chennamangalam or Chendamangalam is a panchayat in Paravur, Ernakulam, Kerala. Consisting of inlets, plains and hillocks, this place is located at a distance of 23 kilometres from Eranakulam.
Other than the synagogue, there is also the Jesuit church and ruins of a Jesuit college. On the Kottayil Kovilakam hillocks lies a Hindu Temple, a Syrian Christian church, a
mosque and a Jewish Synagogue which was restored, all this at a distance of 1 kilometre. Behind the synagogue, in a courtyard lies the old Jewish graves’ dating back to almost 1264 AD.
Here one can find remains of the Vypeenakotta Seminary, which was built for the Syrians back in the 16 th century. The old Syrian Catholic church built in the year 1201 is the site of India’s first printing press.
Chinese Fishing Nets
A landmark tourist attraction of Kochi, Kerala, the Chinese Fishing nets, can be seen on the shores of the backwaters. Not only a fishing accessory, these nets have, now become an integral part of Kochi tourism.
These Chinese Fishing is believed to have been brought by Zheng, who is a Chinese explorer, from Kubla Khan’s court. It is said to have been set up between 1350 and 1450 AD.
These nets are built using the wood of Teak and also with Bamboo poles, where balance is the key point. Each of these nets go up to a height of 10 meters and has a cantilever of about 20 meters attached to it. The counterweights, which are mainly stones, have a diameter of 30 centimetre. These are tied to different length ropes to help it work. In order to attract fishes, lights are fixed to the teak posts, above the nets.
For the best view of these nets, head out to the Vasco da Gama Square, the narrow and beautiful walkway that goes along the Fort Kochi Beach. This sight has a title of being one of the most photographed sights in Kochi.
Located at about 18 kilometers away from the city of Kochi, the Chottanikara Temple is one of the famous temples in Kerala. The main deity of this temple is Goddess Bhagavathy, who is worshipped in three avatars or forms of Saraswathy (Goddess of Knowledge) in the morning, Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) in the noon and Durga (Goddess of Power) in the evening. Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh and Lord Ayyappa are also worshipped in this temple.
According to the popular beliefs associated with the temple, the main deity of this temple is believed to cure the mental illness of any devotee who comes to pray here. At the temple premises there is a tree that is covered in long nails that is hammered by the devotees, using their foreheads only. It is believed that doing so would help get rid of the evil spirit residing inside the mentally ill person’s body. The Chottanikara Makam Thozhal, held during the month of February/ March is one of the well known festivals here.
The temple opens at 4:00 am till 12 noon and from 4 pm in the evening till 8:45 pm.
Coonan Kurishu Shrine
The Coonan Kurishu Shrine or the Bent Cross church is one of the well known churches of Kochi. The church is located in between a row of shops in one of the busiest streets of Kochi, which is Mattancherry.
This shrine, in the year 1653 was the venue where almost 25,000 Syrian Christians assembled and tied long ropes to the ancient cross at Mattancherry. While pulling the ropes these Christians took a solemn oath of not obeying the Latin Archbishops or be under the Jesuits.
Forming an evidence of Kochi’s connection with the Dutch is the Dutch cemetery at Fort Kochi. It was sanctified in the year 1724 and till date contains almost 104 epitaphs and tombs, containing authentic details of the Dutch and British people buried there. Seeing all this, visitors who come here are reminded of the foreigners who came to Kochi so as to expand their empires.
The St. Francis Church maintains the record of those who were buried here and the Church of South India (CSI) is who manages the cemetery. The tombs at this place are made out of granite and red laterite stones but do not have a cross. The inscriptions in each of the epitaph are in the Old Dutch script. No longer used, the last person to be buried here, according to the author TW Venn, was Captain Joseph Ethelbert Winckler, in the year 1913.
The cemetery is only opened on the request of the visitors.
A place noted for being the former trade centre, Mattancherry is a well known tourist destination near Kochi, Kerala. It is located at about 9 kilometers from Ernakulam town. Mattancherry is surrounded by backwaters of the Arabian Sea. Previously it was known for being the spice hub in Kochi due to the trade of tea and spices like pepper and turmeric. Mattancherry is known for being a place of multi culture with various communities like Jews, Konkanis, Gujaratis, Jains and Marathis living there. Here churches, agraharams, mosques and synagogues coexist with each other.
There are two popular versions on how the place got its name. According to the first, this place was a cheri (street) full of mutton butchers and hence it gradually became muttoncheri/ Mattancherry. The other version of this says that the Ancherry Mattom, a Namboodiri Illam which was pronounced as Matt-Ancherry by the foreign traders which later became Mattancherry.
Get nostalgic and get back to the olden days at Fort Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala. Fort Immanuel Thakur House David Hall Parade Ground, Bastion Bungalow Vasco Da Gama square Pierce Leslie Bungalow, Bishop's house etc are some of the major attractions of this place. Fort Kochi is one of the places in Kerala where you can get to see a diverse range of cultures. From Malayalis to Jews to Dutch, you can find traces of their culture here.
The major highlight of this place is the Chinese Fishing nets, which can be seen, lined in the coastline. In all at Fort Kochi you can get to see modernity mixed with tradition. There is no other better option than to set off exploring on foot, for the true experience of Fort Kochi. To reach there one can take a bus or Ferry from the mainland of Ernakulam.
Hill Palace Museum
Kerala’s first heritage museum and also the largest archaeological museum, the Hill Palace Museum at Tripunithura of Kochi, Kerala, is one of the must visit places at Kochi. Built in the year 1865, this museum houses the royal collections of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kochi.
Showcasing the traditional Kerala architecture, this palace complex has about 49 buildings spanning, over an area of 52 acres. Other than the archaeological and heritage museum, this complex is also house to a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children’s park. Along with this the place also has a large variety of rare medicinal plants grown here.
Earlier this place was the Imperial Administrative offices and also the official residence of the Maharaja of Cochin.
Visiting Time: 9 am to 12 pm and 14:00 pm to 4:30 pm on all days except Mondays and also on national/state holidays
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 (Adults); Rs. 10 (Children of ages 5-12)
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
An ecological sensitive area, located at the centre of Kochi, Kerala, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, is given the title of the ‘Green Lung of Kochi’. This sanctuary is connected to the Kochi backwaters through the shallow tidal lake. This sanctuary has a total area span of 2.74 hectares.
Mangalavanam, being the nesting ground for many exotic migratory birds is a paradise for all bird watchers. One can view birds such as Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Brahminy Kite; White breasted Waterhen and Marsh Sandpiper and many more. Other than this, mammals like Indian flying fox painted Bat, Bandicota, Eurasian Otter, and Dusky Palm Squirrel; amphibians like Limnonectes limnocharis; and fishes like Malabar Swamp Eel, Blackline Rasbora etc. are found here.
The Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is also known for the mangroves present there. The mangroves like Avincannia Officinalis, Acanthus Ilicifolius etc are found here.
Visiting Time: Monday to Sunday - 9 am to 6 pm. Also open during holidays.
Entry Fee: Rs. 20 (Adults); Rs. 10 (Child); Rs. 110 (Foreigners)
The most popular and prominent hangout place at Kochi, Marine Drive is a backwater facing walkway stretching for about 3 kilometers. The mesmerizing sight of the sunset and the cool breeze from the Vembanad Lake makes this place a tourist destination. The lights from the boats and ships anchored at the shore, at night, is a spectacle to watch.
The walkway starts from the High Court Junction and goes on to the Rajendra Maidan. Several boat jetties line the shore. The Rainbow Bridge, the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge and the House Boat Bridge form an important part of this drive.
The place is also an important shopping destination for all those who love to do budget shopping. A lot of corporate offices, restaurants and branded items showrooms are what is found here at the Broadway of Marine Drive. For those wishing to stay in this beautiful place, there are apartments which are much in demand, to be rent out.
The northern extension of the Vembanad Lake from Kochi Azhi to the Munambam Azhi is popularly known as Veeranpuzha. Devoid of human settlements, this area is filled with paddy fields. There were regular ferry services, way back in the early 1980's.
The Pokkali variety of rice is what is cultivated in and around the banks of this river. The cultivation of rice begins by the month of June and the harvesting starts by November. Soon after the cultivation of rice, the salinity levels of the water gets high making it suitable for prawn farming. During the rainy season, many local tourists come here to do angling.
Many water front festivals organized by the tourism department have started gaining prominence in the recent times. This is mainly to attract the foreign tourists.
Earlier known as Veegaland, this popular amusement park at Kochi, Kerala is one of the must visit place if you love taking adventurous rides. The Wonderla Amusement park, is owned and operated by the Wonderla Holidays. This park is the first of the three amusement parks of the group, the others which are in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The one at Kochi was started in the year 2000 and was re-branded in April 2011.
This amusement park is located on top of the Pallikkara hill, which is at a distance of 14 kilometers from Kochi. This park has more than 50 water and dry land rides which is spread over an area of 30 acres.
The Musical Dancing Fountain, the Vintage Castle, the Vintage Tornado, the Wavy and Vertical Fall are few of the must try rides. And as for the children, they offer the rides of Caterpillar Ride, Flying Ammu, Balloon Tower and Jumping Horse. Families can spend some together time in rides like Magic Carpet, Rapid River, Wave Pool and Wonder Splash.
When at Wonderla, eatables from outside is not allowed. To enter the swimming pool, wearing swimming costumes is a must. Pets are not allowed and alcohol also cannot be consumed when here.
Rs. 770 per adult Regular Tickets
Rs. 620 per child Regular Tickets (Child rate is based on height, ranging between 90 – 140 cm)
Rs. 1,540 per adult Fastrack Tickets
Rs. 1,240 per child Fastrack Tickets (Child rate is based on height, ranging between 90 – 140 cm)
Peak Day – (Public Holidays and Special Days)
Rs. 970 per adult Regular Tickets
Rs. 780 per child Regular Tickets (Child rate is based on height, ranging between 90 – 140 cm)
Rs. 1,940 per adult Fastrack Tickets
Rs. 1,560 per child Fastrack Tickets (Child rate is based on height, ranging between 90 – 140 cm)
Weekdays – 11 AM to 6 PM
Weekend and Public Holidays – 11 AM to 7 PM
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