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Explore Kochi, one of the most popular destination in Kerala, India. The “Queen of the Arabian Sea” is steeped in history and has an endless array of things to do…
Marine Drive is a picturesque promenade in Kochi. It is built facing the backwaters, and a popular hangout for the local populace. Marine Drive is also an economically thriving part of the city of Kochi. With several shopping malls it is as an important centre of shopping activity in Kochi. The view of the setting and rising sun over the sea mouth, and the gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake has made Marine Drive an important tourist destination in Kochi.
There are also several boat jetties along the walkway. No vehicles are allowed on the walkway. The walkway has two contemporarily constructed bridges, the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge.
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata – as well as some of the Puranic Hindu legends. The palace also houses Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former Maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture. The three-dimensional portraits of the Maharajas are also noteworthy.
Mattancherry, the western part of the corporation of Cochin, was once a bustling centre of trade, particularly in spices. Invaders left indelible marks on the landscape, culture, art and social history of the place. Mattancherry welcomed every migrant community that came to her with warmth and provided them with ample opportunities to flourish. Many communities like Jews, Konkanis, Gujaratis, Jains and Marathis made the place their home. Even today, Mattancherry has people of different tongues and ethnic identities. Churches, agraharams, mosques and a synagogue co-exist in the area, along with the buildings of the colonial era, pointing to a vibrant past and a harmonious present.
Vallarpadam is one among the group of islands. That form part of the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala. It is situated in the Vembanad Lake known here as Lake of Kochi . Vallarpadam is one of the two islands (the other being Willington Island) around which the Port of Kochi is situated, of which the International Container Transshipment Terminal of the port is situated entirely on Vallarpadam. Vallarpadam is connected by the Goshree bridges with the city of Ernakulam(high court junction) and Vypin island.
Vypin or Vypeen is one among a group of islands, that form part of the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala, India. The island is about 27 km long. Vypin is connected to mainland Kochi by a series of bridges known as the Goshree Bridges, which take off from Kalamukku inVypin, touches other two island and lands in Marine Drive, Kochi.
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. The area around the Synagogue is a centre of spice trade and curio shops.
Right in the middle of Ernakulam City is the grand Durbar Hall grounds. At one time known as the Parikshit Thampuran Museum, it has now been converted into the Durbar Hall Art Gallery. The museum also houses a collection of coins, bronzes, copies of murals and megalithic relics of Kerala.
Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the city’s best hotels and trading centres, the Port Trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Kochi has an eventful and colourful history. Its reputation as a seafaring commercial town was such that Nicolas Conti, an Italian traveller of the Middle Ages remarked: If China is where you make your money, then Kochi surely is the place to spend it. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo-European architecture that still exist here. Some of the important monuments here are:
The huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the backwater and the catch being brought in, is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The Square is also an ideal place to idle, with stalls serving fresh delicious seafood, tender coconut etc.
This charming mansion was the office of Pierce Leslie & Co., coffee merchants, founded in 1862. A representative of the Fort Kochi colonial bungalow, this building reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences. Characteristic features are wood panels that form the roof of the ground floor, arched doorways, carved doors and sprawling rooms. Waterfront verandahs are an added attraction.
This elegant old bungalow built in 1808 is in the possession of Carrit Moran & Co., renowned tea brokers, who now use it as their residence. The house was once a boat club.
This magnificent building constructed by Samuel S. Koder of The Cochin Electric Company in 1808 is a supreme example of the transition from colonial to Indo-European architecture. Features like verandah seats at the entrance, floor tiles set in a chess board pattern, red-coloured brick-like facade, carved wood furniture and a wooden bridge connecting to a separate structure across the street are all unique to this bungalow.
This historic church was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Kochi, and was demolished. About a hundred years later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam-Ernakulam is a famous centre of pilgrimage. People from all parts of Kerala and outside, irrespective of caste or creed go to the church to seek the blessings of Mary, the mother of Jesus, popularly known as “Vallarpadathamma”.
This is an ancient Christian Church built in 1524. Portuguese merchants headed by Vasco da Gama enthroned this miraculous picture of this shrine. The church was dedicated to the Holy Spirit, which was the first of its kind in Asia. The beautiful church was however destroyed by a heavy flood in 1676. The church was re-established in 1676 and the famous picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected by Portuguese who brought it from their native land. The picture is believed to have miraculous powers
One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with its European style residences still retains its old world charm. The best view of this quaint street can be had from Loafer’s Corner, the traditional meeting place and hangout of the jovial, fun-loving people of the area.
Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gama, this is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Kochi. Built in the early sixteenth century, Vasco House sports the typical European glass-paned windows and balcony-cum-verandahs characteristic of the times.
The large wooden gate facing the Parade Ground, with the monogram (VOC) of the once mighty Dutch East India Company carved on it, was built in 1740. The Dutch Mint was located here.
The four-acre Parade Ground was once where the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonists conducted their military parades and drills. The buildings around the ground housed their defence establishments. Today, the largest open ground in Fort Kochi, the Parade Ground is a sports arena.
One of the four elite clubs of the British in Kochi, the United Club today serves two purposes – as class room for the nearby St. Francis Primary School by day and a card room for the current members by evening. Until 1907, the building housed the offices of the Fort Kochi Municipality.
Built in 1506 as the residence of the Portuguese Governor, the Bishop’s House stands on a little hillock near the Parade Ground. The facade of the House is characterised by large Gothic arches and has a circular garden path winding up to the main entrance. The building was acquired by Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Kochi whose jurisdiction extended over Burma, Malaya and Ceylon, in addition to India. Adjacent to the Bishop’s House is the Indo-Portuguese Museum which houses precious artefacts collected from various churches under the Cochin diocese.
This bastion of the Portuguese in Kochi was a symbol of the strategic alliance between the Maharajah of Kochi and the Monarch of Portugal, after whom it was named. Built in 1503, the fort was reinforced in 1538. By 1806, the Dutch, and later the British, had destroyed most of the fort walls and its bastions. Today, remains of this once imposing structure can be seen along the beach.
The tombstones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland on a mission to expand their colonial empires and changed the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.
This graceful building holds within itself a reflection of the colonial era. The bungalow was built on the site of the Gelderland Bastion, one of the seven bastions of the old Dutch Fort. Earlier known as Kunal or Hill Bungalow, it was home to the managers of the National Bank of India during the British reign.
David Hall: Though built around 1695 by the Dutch East India Company, David Hall gets its name from one of its later occupants, David Koder, a Jewish businessman. The Hall was originally associated with Hendrik Adriaan Van Reed Tot Drakestein, renowned Dutch commander better known for his Hortus Malabaricus, a pioneering compilation of the flora of the Malabar Coast.
The club, with its impressive library and collection of sporting trophies, is housed in a beautifully landscaped park. In the early 1900s, when the club had just become operational, admission was restricted to the British and to men only. The club still retains its traditional English ambience.
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India’s oldest European church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667, the bungalow gets its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the old Dutch Fort. The building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion. Though it has been said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath the bungalow, none have been found.
The Museum of Kerala History at Edappally, showcases historical episodes from the Neolithic to the modern era through life-size figures. Light ‘n’ sound shows are regularly organized with commentaries in English and Malayalam. There is also a gallery of paintings and sculptures, displaying over 200 original works by contemporary Indian artists. The Centre for Visual Arts has a collection of the authentic reproduction of selected world masters and larger-than-life mural reproductions of Indian art.
Essentially a fishing hamlet, this tiny village facing the Kochi backwaters in the western part of the city is the first ecotourism village in India. Kalagramam, an artist’s village, displays handicrafts and fishing equipment. Mangroves are nurtured here as also fish farming. Bait fishing is extremely popular among tourists here.
Hill Palace, the official residence of the erstwhile Kochi Royal Family, was built in 1865. The palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a deer park and facilities for horse riding. A full-fledged ethno-archaeological museum and Kerala’s first-ever heritage museum are the main attractions.
Displayed inside the thirteen galleries are oil paintings, 19th century paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions and coins belonging to the royal family. Ancient musical instruments, clay models, bronze and silver items from the 14th, 15th and 16th century are some of the other exhibits here.
Popularly known as Ernakulathappan, this temple is associated with the birth of the name of the city. The idols of Shiva and Parvati are claimed to be swayambhoo or self- created.
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. Cherai beach is the best golden beach of Kerala. This long golden Beach is very clean, shallow and pacific and evokes irresistible temptation for swimming and sunbathing.
The sea on the Western side and the backwaters on the East give this upcoming tourist destination a uniqueness which can be found only in Kerala. Thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront are added attractions. Cherai beach is well known for the mouth lingering fresh sea food.
The largest shopping mall in India, located in Edapally area of Kochi, Kerala. It is built on an area of 3,900,000 sq ft, with total area for mall alone at 230,000 square meters (3,900,000 sq ft) and the remaining portion for a premium five-star hotel managed by JW Marriott Hotels. Opened on 10 March 2013, the mall consist of more than 360 outlets including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones and a nine-screen multiplex, ice skating ring and bowling alley.
The mall is run, managed and set up by the EMKE group, a business group with interests in Middle East, Africa and Asia. The EMKE group Managing Director is M. A. Yousuf Ali, who is yet another NRI hailing from Kerala, based in the UAE
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