Tourist Spots in Kochi
Kochi has some exotic locations that have turned out to be one of the best tourist destinations in India. Even though it’s a small city you have numerous places to visit and the lush green atmosphere is a sight to see. Some monuments have historical importance and had been built centuries ago. To move around and see all destinations the city can be divided into four sections.
The Fort Kochi Zone
Monuments and heritage buildings can be spotted in this zone. It is located on the Mattancherry Peninsula and you can spot the rich colonial heritage as you visit the places.
Santa Cruz Basilica
This is one of the most elegant churches. Pope John IV gave it the status of Cathedral in 1558. Later it was revived and transformed to the position of Basilica in 1984. It’s very big and on either side the church you can spot two magnificent towers. It has some very famous paintings like the Last Supper as well canvas paintings on the passion of Christ. The carvings on the wall are done in perfect detail and the stained glass windows add to its charm.
Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi Beach is located on the south west region of the mainland Kochi. As you walk along this beach you can spot the remains of the Fort Immanuel which was built by Portuguese. The highlight of this place is the Chinese Fishing nets also known as Cheenavela that was brought to Kochi by Chinese traders during ancient times. One interesting fact is that these nets cannot be spotted in India
other than in Kerala.
St Francis Church
St Francis Church is one of the oldest European Churches in India and it is very near to the Santa Cruz Basilica. It was built in 1503 A.D by the Portuguese and was later renovated by the Dutch in 1779 AD. It’s currently run by the Church of South India which is a group of Protestant Churches.
This is a two-storied Palace that has a traditional Kerala architecture. A temple dedicated to 'Pazhayannur Bhagavati' stands in the courtyard. You also have temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva on the either side of the palace. Inside it you can see various exhibits of Maharajas and also mural paintings from Mahabharata and Ramayana.
This Synagogue was built by the Jewish merchants in 1568 A.D. The Jews has come to Kerala in search for spices and ivory that was available here. It is located in Jew Town and it is only one among seven synagogues to be functioning in this city. It has a painting gallery showing the history of the Jews in Kerala. You can also see the Torah scrolls and various golden crowns gifted by the Kings.
The Vypeen Island Zone
Vypeen is an island and you have boat and ferry services from Fort Kochi to Vypeen. You also have bridges connecting Vypeen with the Ernakulam mainland.
The Bolgatty Palace is in the Bolgatty Island which is located between Vypeen and Ernakulam. This was built by the Dutch in 1774 and it was kept as the Governor’s palace until it was leased to the British in 1909.After Independence this property was handed over to the government and it was restored as heritage hotel.
Cherai Beach is a part of the Vypeen Island and it is located 30 km from Kochi .While walking along the shore you can enjoy the sunset and the serene backwaters. The green scenery looks beautiful and it’s an ideal spot for swimming or playing any water sports.
This Church was built by the Portuguese missionaries and it is one of the main pilgrim centres of South India. It is situated on the second island in between Ernakulum and Vypeen.
Ochanthuruth Light house
This Light house is located near Cherai Beach and it is open to all visitor on all days from 3pm to 5pm.
Our Lady of Hope Church
This Church is located on Vypeen Island and is also known as “Nossa Senhora Da Esperana". It was built by the Portuguese missionaries in 1605. In 1663 when Dutch had conquered this place many churches were destroyed. Only St Francis and the Santa Cruz Basilica were spared. So when the Dutch took over St Francis the original wooden frame and alter was transferred here.
Chennamangalam Synagogue is located in Paravur and it is seen to have the traditional architecture of Kerala. It has been restored and managed by the Kerala State Archeology Department. The woodwork is fabulous and you can spot a tombstone on the courtyard dated 1269 AD.
Ernakulum is basically the shopping destination of Kochi. It is sprawling with shopping venues and malls.
Marine Drive is the one of most popular hangout destination of the natives of Kochi. The pathway is built facing the backwaters and the view from here is beautiful. You can enjoy the sunrise as well as the sunset as you stroll along the walkway. Along the pathway you can spot the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge. This place also has many cafes and food joints catering to the large crowds that come here.
Durbar Hall Art Gallery
Durbar Hall Art Gallery has art exhibitions conducted regularly and this has become a favorite place for art connoisseurs. It is located next to the Ernakulum Shiva Temple and it was once a place where the Kochi Maharajas organized their Durbar. The interiors look elegant and painting of Ravi Varma, Manu Parekh can be seen inside. The outside grounds is also regularly used for conducting cultural programs and exhibitions.
Park Avenue has a green lined road that starts from the Gandhi Round to Broadway. It is 1 km in length and it looks beautiful with the flowering trees all lined along the road. At the entry point you have a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and at its exit you have the entrance of the Broadway market. You can spot historical monuments as well as some educational institutions as you move along this path.
Museum of Kerala History
This Museum is located at Edapally and it showcases the rich heritage of Kerala. It has the MNF gallery which has a huge set of collections of paintings as well as sculptures. Over 200 original and reproduction of renowned mural work can also be spotted here. Light and sound shows are also conducted in this place.
Ernakulum Siva Temple
This temple is located near the Durban Hall Art Gallery and it is seen to have the Kerala Architectural Style. This place is considered to be the city’s temple and the deity Lord Shiva as the protector of the city. This temple was one among the seven temples of the Kochi Maharajas and currently it is managed by the Cochin Devasom Board.
Wellington Island is a manmade island which is located between Ernakulum and Fort Kochi. This place was built in 1936 with the dredged out soil that was brought out during the construction of Kochi Port. It is named after Lord Wellington who actually commenced this project. The main highlights of the place is the Cochin Harbor, head office of Cochin Port and Southern Naval Command Headquarters.
Kalady is a pilgrimage centre and it is the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya who is one of the famous philosophers of India. This place is located 45 km away from Ernakulum.
Kodanad is a small village adjacent to the river which has the famous elephant training centre. This has turned out to be tourist destination and visitors can go for elephant rides plus see how they are tamed.
Here you can spot many famous palaces, historical monuments and temples.
This is a very famous temple which worships Goddess Bhagavati. Here at Chottanikkara the deities are worshiped in three forms as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga. The annual festival held here is for seven days and you have people flocking in from different parts of the state.
Sri Poornathraeesha Temple
This is one of the biggest temples in Ernakulum district and here Lord Vishnu is worshipped. The most important attraction of this place is the ulsavam or festival that happens in the month of November-December. During this event you can see some the traditional art forms of Kerala like Kathakali, Chenda melam and Kacheri.
Hill Palace Museum
The Hill Palace Museum was once the home of the Cochin Royal Family. It is currently an archeological museum showing the artifacts of Kings in the ancient times. Here the galleries are categorized and given names like portrait gallery, weapon, heritage gallery and many more. The Palace is very big and has architectural beauty of both Kerala as well the Western Style.Apart from the palace it also has around 52 acres of land with gardens and parks.