Ernakulam and Kochi are the almost inseparable twins, brandish ancient movements, palaces of historical significance and a number of ancient temples. The entire region is gifted with natural landscapes of enormous beauty. The bird sanctuary at Thottakadu is also home to certain wildlife creatures. The ancient Portugal and Dutch monuments and the early British structures are reminiscent of a glorious sequence of historical events. The colossal places of the Maharajas (Kings) of the region speak volumes of the rich architecture of the part. ‘Kaladi’, the birth place of the great Hindu philosopher Adi Sankarar, who promulgated the doctrine of ‘Advaitha’ which means ‘Not Two But One’, is situated in this district. Unique legends and conventions are associated with temples and churches of the region.
Kochi is one of the important port cities in Kerala. This palm-green commercial town of Kerala is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Though Kochi is one of the busiest ports on the western coast, it has its own share of sparkling blue lagoons, scenic islands and backwater, which make the land beautiful and exciting.
Kochi is famous for the Chinese fishing nets. It is introduced during the medieval ages by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. It is located near the entrance to the harbour; these nets along the backwaters are a fascinating sight.
The St. Francis Church here is the oldest church built by a European power in India. This protestant church was built by the British, and Vasco da Gama was initially buried here. The church is located at Kamalakada, near Fort Kochi beach. The Santa Cruz Basilica nearby has some very beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
The best part of Kochi city is Fort Kochi a peaceful residential area. A walk along the shoreline by the beach is pleasurable. Fort Kochi has many places worth visiting.
Lalit Kala Academy Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lalit Kala Academy gallery is located in the Durbar Hall of the Kochi Rajas at D.H. Road, the Gallery is open from 10.00 hrs to 17.00hrs.
Mangalavana Bird Sanctuary
Mangalavana Bird Sanctuary is located in the heart of the city on Dr. Salim Ali Road near the High Court; this bird sanctuary is a quiet, peaceful forest. Many migratory birds seek sanctuary here throughout the year.
Ernakulam Foreshore area is also famous for shopping. Facing the backwaters, the view from this breeze swept stretch is enchanting.
Parishnath Thampuran Museum
Parishnath Thampuran Museum is on D.H.Road has a valuable collection of 19th Century oil Paintings, old coins, sculpture and copies of mural paintings.
Aluva is about 21km from Ernakulam. It is an important pilgrim centre and summer resort. The Periyar River widens here and is therefore ideal for bathing and picnicking. The annual Sivarathri festival is celebrated on the bank of the Periyar during March to April. Aluva is also an important industrial centre.
Kerala’s centuries old backwaters stretch over 1900km long, snaking their way across the land, into the sea. They pass through busy markets and quiet paddy fields. The backwaters also act as vital waterways for the transport of goods, people and produce. Tourists can take time to float in these waters in a country craft, observing Kerala at a leisurely pace. KTDC offers boats for hire.
Kaladi is an important pilgrim centre is on the banks of the River Periyar. The Bhakti Saint Sri Sankaracharya was born here and so, the Sri Ramakrishna Adwaitha Ashram is located here.
Kolencherry is 24km from Ernakulam. The ancient orthodox Syrian church here is believed to have been built in 7thcentury AD. The St. Peters Church rebuilt in 1963, contains beautiful paintings. The annual feast commemorating the consecration of the church attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year.
Kotamangalam is one of the important ancient cities in Kerala. It is important centre of trade during ancient times. Kotamangalam is also famous for its ancient churches the St. Thomas Church and St. Mary’s Church - This are believed to have been designed by the architects of West Asia.
Mattancherry is the commercial centre of Kochi. It has many historic monuments. Notable among these is the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568 AD. The synagogue contains many articles of interest including giant scrolls of the old testaments, copper plates, painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers.
Adjoining the synagogue is the Dutch Palace of the Kochi Rajas. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, the palace was modified by the Dutch and presented to the Raja of Kochi in the 17th Century. The palace is built in the Kerala style with a large central courtyard and temple. 17th Century murals, turbans, costumes, palanquins and other royal trappings are exhibited in the coronation hall.
Located in the heart of busy Mattancherry, is the Coonan Kurishu Shrine, where about 25,000 Syrian or Thoman Christians assembled in 1653 and tied long ropes to the ancient cross here. Pulling the ropes, they took a solemn oath that they would never obey the Latin archbishops or be under the Jesuits. The cross was bent while being pulled askew by the oathtakers and hence the shrine got its name.
Museum of Kerala History Edapally
Edapally is 8km from Ernakulam. The museum has on view several paintings depicting Kerala history and life size statues of famous persons. A sound and light spectacle is also conducted here.
Piravam is an important centre of the orthodox Syrian Christians. The St. Mary’s Church here is one of their ancient churches in Kerala. Sculptures and mural paintings, which were brought from Persia or Syria, can also be seen here.
Thattakad Bird Sanctuary
Thattakad bird Sanctuary is the first bird Sanctuary in Kerala. Thattakad is made up of moist deciduous forest on 25 sq km of peninsular land formed between the branches of Periyar River in Malayattu Forest Division. Many water and forest birds including rarities like the Ceylon Frogmouth and the Rose billed Roller can be seen here.
Hill Palace Museum (Tripunittura)
Articles of archaeological importance like royal beds, paintings, carvings and arms are on display here.
Wipin Island is one of the most densely populated islands in the country. Wipin can be reached from Kochi only by boat. The Wipin Lighthouse is at Ochanthuruthi. One can get a breathtaking view of Kochi city and Aluva from atop lighthouse.
This manmade island, created while developing Kochi port, is named after Lord Willingdon, the then viceroy of India. Ships entering Kochi port berth here in this island, which resembles a quiet English village. The island also has a park and a short Marine Drive with a promenade. Regular ferry services on the lake surrounding the island afford an inexpensive backwater cruise.