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Red Carpet of Kerala


District of Kerala :: Ernakulam (Cochin)

Air: Cochin International Airport is linked by direct services by all airline companies. (Link to airline page)

Sea: “Queen of the Arabian sea”; Periodical Ship services ply to Lakshadweep Islands and to all countries.

Rail: Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town Station are connected to most important cities in India.

Road: Cochin is well connected to several important destinations. Bus services-both government and private-are available to Alleppey, Quilon, Trivandrum, Thekkady, Munnar, Palaghat, Calicut, Bangalore, Mysore, Madurai, Chennai, Pondicherry, Kanniyakumari, Erode, Tuticorin and Velankanni.

Local Transport: There are plenty of private bus services, which service Cochin, and nearby towns. Yellow-To Taxis and auto rickshaws are available.

set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city of Cochin (Kochi) (Queen of Arabia) reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region from the very early days after Alleppey (Alappuzha).

Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all was linked by ferry but now some islands have bridges. The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident in Cochin and its people. The oldest church in India, 500-year-old Portugese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, the famous Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora, synagogues and mosques all tell the fascinating story of this harbour town. The harbour is still at the heart of the city and pepper, sea food, rubber and coir mats and matting are exported from here. Despite this, Cochin is an attractive city with serene creak  & lagoons overhung with feathery coconut palms and picturesque islands. The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattanchery are an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village grafted onto the troppical Malabar coast. Cochin is one of India's largest ports and a major naval base.

What to See:
Bolghatty Palace - Once a mansion of the British Resident and now a hotel, is in palm fringed Bolghatty Island.
Mattancherry Palace - The palace (Dutch Palace) was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Varma. The Dutch renovated it after 1663, and hence the palace has another name, 'Dutch Palace'. The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. These murals are some of the most beautiful and extensive, and are one of the wonders of India.

Jewish Synagogue - Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. A stone slab from Kochangadi synagogue (built in 1344, and has then disappeared), inscribed in Hebrew, can be found on the inner surface of the wall.The synagogue has hand-painted, willow pattern floor tiles brought from China.

St. Francis Church - Built in 1503 by Portugese Franciscan friars, this is India's oldest European-built church. The original structure was wood, but was rebuilt in stone in mid-16th century. Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India, died in Cochin in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Portugal. The tombstone still stands.

Chinese Fishing Nets - Lined along the sea-front, these fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. These nets are also seen along the backwaters between Cochin and Kottayam, and between Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Quilon (Kollam). They are mainly used at high tide.

Parishath Thampuran Museum - Housed in what was previously Durbar Hall, constructed in traditional Kerala style, the museum contains collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures and Mughul paintings and exhibits from the Cochin Royal family.

Kerala Tourist Development Corporation's daily conducted boat cruises around Cochin harbour visit Willingdon Island, Gundu Island, Mattanchery Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church, Chinese fishing nets and Bolgatty Island. Tourists can also watch Kathakali performances, as well as displays of Kalaripayattu.

In Fort Cochin, there were many buildings to see and also two large Churches, the Santa Cruz Cathedral ( Roman Catholic Photographs on separate page) and St. Francis Church (Protestant CSI - Church of South India , Photographs on separate page)

St. Francis Church was originally named as Santo Antonio. It is the first church to have been built in the new European influenced style and tradition. The original wooden building of 1510 was soon replaced by the present building around 1546. Vasco da Gama died here in 1524 and was originally buried in the Cemetery of the Church, which became part of the Church. 14 years later his body was removed back to Portugal. The church has an impressive facade. Inside the chancel is separated from the nave by a plain arch. The use of the arch is in sharp contrast to traditional Indian use of flat overlapping slabs or corbelling, a bit like Trinity Church, Bangalore. The church, originally a Catholic Church was taken over by the Dutch after they captured Cochin (Kochi) in 1663 and converted into a Protestant Church after they captured Cochin (Kochi) in 1663. The British converted it into an Anglican Church after they took power in 1795, and in 1949 the congregation joined the Church of South India.

The Dutch Cemetery that is supposedly to be maintained by the CSI, but is very badly kept. It reminded me very much of the Agram Cemetery of Bangalore with the same grave styling, and which Admiral OS Dawson. Santa Cruz Cathedral has some splendid paintings on the ceiling which reminds one of St. Aloysious College, Mangalore.

The Mattancheri Palace and Museum. No photographs are allowed inside the Palace, which has, items of the Raja’s wear swords, spears and palanquins. There are also a few wall paintings that depict the history of the Ramayana and other Indian mythology.

The Palace adjoins a temple and shares the same wall as the Jewish Synagogue. The Portuguese built the palace in 1557 as a gift to the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. In 1663, the Dutch rebuilt part of the palace. There are some beautiful murals and paintings of the Rajas very photographic like. Just behind the Mattancheri Palace is the Jewish Synagogue.

The Jewish Synagogue is on a separate page because of the number of photographs. There were two main Synagogues in Cochin, but only one remains standing. A short history of the Jews is also on that page.

Quilon ( Kollam ), Tangasseri ( Tangy ), Alleppey ( Alappuzha ), Cochin ( Kochi ) and places like Chavara and Ashtamudi Lake

Cochin Bolgatty Palace
Dutch merchants built a villa on an Island called 'Ponnikkara' in the year 1744. The villa was subsequently extended lush green gardens were landscaped around it and the villa, or palace as it now was became identified with the island itself. It was then called the Bolghatty Palace and became an important picnic resort for the Dutch. During the British time, it was converted into Residency. After India's independence Bolghatty Palace became the property of the State and was converted into a hotel. It has 5 large rooms in the main palace and 6 newly built cottages. All rooms have attached bath.

Kumbalangi - Model Tourist Village in Kerala

Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village project is a unique initiative to transform the tiny island as a model fishing village and tourism spot in Kerala. Here at the Kumbalangi Tourism Village one can fully savour a variety of natural splendors, and paramount to a model tourist village the outstanding ecological balance of the location. The village, the first of its kind in the country is located near the port city of Kochi in Ernakulam District in Kerala. The model village is a veritable treat to its visitors with the famous Chinese fishing nets and many other sights to savour.

As art of the model village project at Kumbalangi, a nearby island near Palluruthy would also have plenty of interesting vistas and activities in the near future. This coastal hamlet without doubt provides a fascinating glimpse of the simple and prosperous livelihood of the villagers, and also unravels the age-old, magnificent culture and heritage of the place.

Getting there
Nearest railway station: Ernakulam Junction, about 25 km away
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 40 km away.

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