Cochin & Ernakulam

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Cochin & Ernakulam Attractions

Periyar Tiger Reserve
Mattancherry Palace
Chinese Fishing Nets

India >> Kerala >> Cochin & Ernakulam >> Sightseeing in Cochin & Ernakulam

Sightseeing in Cochin & Ernakulam

Ernakulam is the mainland hub of commercial and cultural activity. It has the buzz of everybody going about his or her everyday business. Yet, it retains an old-world calm that most other developing cities manage to lose. The Parishath Thampuram Museum is housed in the old durbar hall where the king would meet his courtiers and his subjects. It has a collection of Mughal paintings, 19th century oils, coins, models of ancient temples and sculptures. The Hill Palace Museum has royal artifacts and the Museum of Kerala History traces the rich and colourful past from Neolithic man to present times in an audio-visual show.

There are many sightseeing options in Fort Cochin. This sepia-tinted part of the city is on the peninsular land bit that juts out of Ernakulam. Narrow winding streets, old weather beaten cottages and a tiny Jewish community characterize old Cochin. Tranquil and picturesque, facing the sea on one side, backed up against a maze of lagoons on the other, Fort Kochi oozes charm. The Anglo-Indians who settled here have given the city a culture of its own: art galleries, music programmes, Dutch and British architecture make this town beautifully unique.

The St. Francis Church may be the oldest European church on Indian soil. The Portuguese Franciscans built it in wood in 1503, but it now stands in stone after having been rebuilt some years later. Depending on who was the temporal lord, this church has been through a gamut of associations from Franciscan to (Dutch) Protestant to Anglican. It now belongs to the Church of South India. EM Forster’s ‘Punkahwallah’ still pulls the fan in this church.

The pastel interiors of the Santa Cruz Basilica are lovely and the grand exterior is impressive. Along the waters, huge Chinese fishing nets rest on their cantilevered stands. The technique came from Kubla Khan’s court and till date serves the purpose, any wonder the Chinese are going great guns?

The Portuguese gifted the Mattancherry Palace to the raja in 1556. The double-storied building stands around a quadrangular courtyard that has a temple. Inside the rooms are stunning. Detailed and fine murals cover the walls depicting stories from the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata and other legends.

The Mattancherry Synagogue is a must see. The synagogue dates back to the 17th century and has pretty patterned floor tiles that were brought in from China. The thick aroma of spices hangs in the air and the street is dotted with tiny stalls selling curios.

Vypeen has an interesting seafront. The beaches are beautiful; there is an old lighthouse and a 16th century fort. Get there by ferry from Fort Kochi. Willingdon Island is a man-made construct that has the old airport and the port here is among the busiest in the country.


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