Important tourist places in Ernakulam
Alwaye is 21 km apart from Ernakulam is a perfect place for swimming in the River Periyar. A colorful festival, Shivarathri celebration is held on die banks of the river every year. The centre of attraction is the Shiva Lingam on the sand riverbank. Devotees stay awake die whole night in prayer and back home the next morning
The place is situated 25 kms towards the southeast of Kochi, near Piravom, is the legendary Pazhur. It is said that the Siva temple here is nearly 1800 Years old. The Muvattupuzha River flowing westward from the east changes direction on reaching the temple; otherwise, the temple would have been washed away. The place is famous for astrologers who are believed to have been blessed with divine powers.
St. Francis` Church, Fort Cochin
The Portuguese built this Protestant Church originally in 1510 AD and it is said to be the first church built by the Europeans in India. Vasco-da -Gama was buried here. Fourteen years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal.
The Hill Palace Museum
The museum is located 13 km from Ernakulam displays the erstwhile wealth and prosperity of the royal family of Cochin, including the King`s throne and crown. Also on show are other accessories of royalty like majestic beds, paintings, carvings and samples of epigraphy. Tripunithura is also known for the nearby Chottanikara Temple and the Tripunithura Poornathraessa Temple
This is the spot of the Bolgatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744. Later it became the seat of the British Resident of Cochin. Today it is a hotel run by the KTDC. The grounds have a small golf course and several vantage points for exquisite views of the harbor and the sea.
Chennamangalam presents an unusual geographical grouping of rivers, seven inlets, a hillock and a vast area of green plains. It is located 5 Kms from north Paravur, north-west of Ernakulam. The place is bounded by rivers on all 3 sides, Chennamangalam was the dwelling of the eminent Achans of Paliam who were hereditary prime ministers to the Raja of Cochin Kottayil Kovilakam. The hillock presents a rare view of a Hindu temple, a church and a Jewish Synagogue all closely positioned next to each other, there is a seminary built in 1075 by Jesuit Priests, It was here that printing first started in Kerala in 1577. A further attraction of the spot is the Malanappara made up of holders lying one over the other resembling an elephant from a distance.
Chinese Fishing Nets
The doorway to the Cochin harbor is dotted by die Chinese Fishing Nets called Cheena Vala in Malayalam. There are huge nets which hang from bamboo or teak posts and are still used by local fishermen in Fort Cochin to catch fish attracted by the lights suspended above the net. Silhouetted against the sunset, they present a spectacular sight of Cochin harbor.
Cochin Boat Rides
The best part of Cochin is a boat ride through the backwaters to all the islands. The most stunning of all the islands is Bolgatty built by the Dutch. Today it has been renewed into a hotel run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.
Gundu Island is an Island with an area of 5 acres; it is the smallest island around Cochin.
Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry
Built in 1568 AD, the great scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper dishware in which the grants of freedom made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the beautiful Chinese hand-painted tiles arc of interest. Two hundred years old, no two tiles are similar. There are also several finely shaped gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons.
Kalady (Pilgrim Centre)
Kalady a pilgrim centre situated on the banks of River Periyar, 45 km from Kochi is and the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, the great Indian Philosopher of the 8th century AD. There are two shrines in memory of Adi Sankaracharya, one dedicated to him as Dakshinamurthy and the other to the goddess Sharada maintained by Sringeri Mutt. On the same location there is also a spot (Brindavan) where Adi Sankaracharya`s mother Aryamba was cremated. In addition to it there is an ancient Shri Krishna Temple close by which was the family temple of Adi Sankaracharya. Another temple known as the International Temple devoted to Shri Ramakrishna Deva has been built with the hope that it would eventually become a temple for all religions and an dwelling of peace.
Kodungalloor (Cranganore) 32 km away was formely called Muziris. This was in olden times the premier sea port on India`s West Coast. It was the capital of Cheraman Perumal, King of Kerala whose famous palace Allal Perumkovilakam was located near the great pagoda at Tiruvanchikulam. St. Thomas is believed to have landed at Muziris in 52 AD. The Cheramanparambu where the King`s palace stood, the olden Thiruvanchikulam Temple, the Bhagavathi Temple, the Portuguese Fort and the old mosque – very similar in appearance to a Hindu temple and said to be the first mosque built in India -are all located close by and worth a visit.
Malayattur (Pilgrim Centre)
Malayattur, 47 km from Cochin is prominent for the Catholic Church on the 609 m high Malayattur Hill devoted to St. Thomas. Thousands of devotees undertake a trip to the Shrine to take part in the yearly festival – Malayattur Perunnal (March/April).
Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace)
The palace is built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in 1555 AD; it acquired the present name after 1663, when the Dutch carried out some extensions and repairs in the Palace. In the centre of the building is the coronation Hall where the Cochin Rajas held their coronations. At present, it is a picture gallery of the Cochin Rajas. Neighboring rooms contain 17th century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana.
Mulamkuzhi is a small village 15 km from Malayattoor. It is a confluence of the rivers Periyar and the Perumthode. Transportation to the site is not a problem, many private buses plying on this route. One can also reach here from Perumbavoor via Panankuzhi on a country boat. One can also make a trip to the St. Thomas church a1 malayattoor. The crystal-clear water of the Mulamkuzhi River and the small waterfalls of Venanbaravady near malayattoor is captivating scenery believed to have prayed at this shrine.
Munikkal Guhalayam is located at Chengamanad (30 kms north of Kochi), this is a place masked in mythology. It is believed that sage Jangaman had lived here around 2000 years ago, and the place was at first known as Jangaman, which later changed to chengamanad. A popular Lord Murugan temple is located on the spot where the sage is said to have meditated which was later consecrated by Chattambi Swamikal in 1898. The word “Munikkal Guhalayam” literally means, “Sages rock cave”. One more story tells that Lord Murugan also called as “Guhalayam” had made this place as his residence and hence the word “Guhalavam”
The Museum Of Kerala History and It`s Makers
The Museum is located just 8 km from the heart of Ernakulam is the finest spot for a quick trip down the prehistoric lanes of Kerala`s history. Greeting die tourist outside is a statue of Parasurama, the mythological sage who is said to have created Kerala. Important historical episodes form the Neolithic age to the modern period arc depicted through life-size figures. A one hour recorded commentary (in English and Malayalam) for each scene offers a sound-and -light show.
The Parikshith Thampuran Museum
The Parikshith Thampuran Museum is an archeological museum neighboring to the Shiva Temple on Darbar Hall Road, Ernakulam. This museum features collections of 19th century oil paintings, pre-historic monuments, old coins in a numismatic gallery, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, copies of mural paintings etc and collections from die Cochin royal family.
Another famous island in Cochin is Willingdon Island, named after Lord Willingdon, the British Viceroy of India. It is a man -made island shaped from the material dredged while deepening the Cochin Port. Located between Ernakulam and Mattancherry and separated by the backwaters, Willingdon Island is an imperative part of Cochin. It sites some of the city’s best hotels (Casino Hotel, Taj Malabar) as well as the Government of India Tourist Office, the Southern Naval Command Head-Quarters, the Cochin Port Trust, the airport and the customs house. Also on the island are the offices of several major trading and industrial dwellings as well as the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica, a Roman Catholic Cathedral situated at K.B Jacob road in Fort Kochi, is one of the best and notable churches in Kerala. It is a place of devotion as well as a center of historic significance, gifted with architectural and artistic splendor and colours of the gothic style. It is located close to St. Francis Church it is the ‘capital church’ of the diocese of Cochin. The history of Santa Cruz Basilica starts with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries along with the second Portuguese fleet under Pedro Alavarez Cabral on December 24, 1500.
In 1505, Francesco de Almeida the first Portuguese Viceroy got Approval from the Kochi Raja to built a church building using stones and mortar, which was unheard of at that time as the local prejudices were against such a structure for any purpose other than a royal palace or a temple. The foundation stone of the Santa Cruz church was laid on May 3, 1505, the feast day of the ‘Invention of the Holy Cross’, hence the wonderful edifice when completed was named Santa Cruz. This church was located on the eastern side of the present Children’s Park, Fort Cochin.