The serenity of Kochi has been attracting explorers and traders for more than 600 years. It was once the most important port in not only Kerala but of India also. Its nickname of Queen of the Arabian Sea is apt due to the sheer variety of people that it has been calling out to since the 14th century. The fascinating blend of cultures that can be experienced here can never be found elsewhere in India. You can get giant fishing nets sourced from China, mosques from an ancient era, Portuguese houses, a synagogue that dates back to nearly 400 years and the ruins of the former British Raj. Imagine a rare mixture of stunning Holland, medieval Portugal and the soothing atmosphere of an English village, the tropical beauty of the Malabar Coast and you will get Kochi. This delightful city is perfect for a long relaxing nap in some of the most incredible areas. Kochi will stun you with the many facades that it presents to the tourist. If you are looking for a bustling cosmopolitan city, Kochi will satisfy you with its skyscrapers and shopping malls. Dig a little deeper and the rich history and culture will intrigue you. Its streets are mired in an old world charm that is hard to find elsewhere. Its marvelous monuments and the inconceivable blend of ethnic and linguistic communities which includes Konkinis, Jews and others provide a rich background to the already incredible place. In short, Kochi is like a cocktail of diverse attractions and charms.
How to Get There
By Air :
Nedumbassery International airport is an international airport which is situated at a distance of about 25 km from Kochi with regular flights to major cities in India. Kochi is also connected to Singapore, Colombo, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah, Muscat by direct international flights.
By Rail :
Trains running from the 3 railway stations in Kochi, namely Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbor Terminus, connect it to all small and big towns and cities of Kerala and other parts of India.
By Road :
Deluxe Volvo buses, AC sleeper as well as AC normal buses are also available right from the cities to across the major destination. Distance from other places; Thiruvananthapuram: 206 km, Alleppey: 58 km, Thekkady: 175 km, Munnar: 125 km
St. Francis Church
The magnificent St. Francis Church is considered to the oldest church built by Europeans in India. Originally constructed by Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503, this historical monument has overseen the history of the region. The current edifice of the church was constructed in the middle of the 16th century as a replacement for the original wooden structure. The legendary Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama was buried in the grounds for 14 years after he had died in 1524. Although his remains were moved to Lisbon, his tombstone still stands as a testament to the man who opened up India to Europe.
A visit to this immensely historical building will leave you speechless in amazement. You will be wondering about the stories it could tell about the power struggles of the colonialists in India. Intricate sepulchers carved from stone line the sides of the church. A gigantic fan which was operated by rope is still in its best condition. A somber memorial honors those who fell in the First World War. When you leave the church, you will leave as an enriched person, both in spirit and in knowledge.
This ancient palace was built in 1555 by the Portuguese. The Raja of Cochin was presented with this palace as a gesture of goodwill. Later, the Dutch renovated the palace in 1663 which gives it its present name of Dutch Palace. It is also called the Mattancherry Palace. This charming structure follows the traditional style in Kerala. An open courtyard is ensconced by a two storied building. Its simplicity of facade looks stunning against the background. The simple facade also masks the incredible beauty that lies inside palace. As you walk inside, a medieval aura will sweep over you. Enchanting frescoes painted with natural colors cover the walls along with exquisite woodwork. Walk into the Ramayana gallery. You will be instantly transported into its mythical world with riveting murals that depict scenes from the epic book. The rest of the palace is filled with some exotic and historical artifacts. Romantic palanquins, royal costumes and colonial era maps and weapons are seemingly strewn across the length and breadth of the palace.
Get ready to be lost within the earliest memories of the European colonies as you behold before you the ruins of the Pallipuram Fort. In the middle of giant trees that touch the skies, lies the oldest European construction in India, unharmed by the commotion of a town. It has endured some of the harshest periods in Indian history. Although time has not been kind to this fort, it still stands proudly, a former shadow of its heydays. The massive hexagonal fort beckons you to explore its layout and the magazine cellar.
In Ernakulam, as you walk through a verdant landscape and hillocks, you will chance upon a scene that seems to have been taken out straight from a fairy tale. Three tiny rivers flowing by a picturesque fort is a sight indeed. The Chendamangalam Fort stands proudly, seemingly unaffected by the passage of 450 years. Inside, the fort houses a rich collection of relics, historical documents and artifacts waiting for you to discover and enjoy.
Maritime Museum, Kochi
Excitement starts from the first time you lay lies on the Maritime Museum in Kochi. You be aware that you are actually entering what was originally a pair of bomb shelters when visiting this Museum. The awe-inspiring museum is the perfect place to honor one of the best navies in the world. The museum reveres the valor and patriotism of these selfless heroes of the Indian Navy. Trace back the history of the mighty Indian Navy as you walk through its halls. Relive the memories of maritime trade of Kochi that dates back to the era of the Portuguese and the Dutch. Afterwards enjoy the model battleships located outside the museum.