Kochi
An all time tourist favourite, kochi is the commercial capital of Kerala. It has to offer Palaces, Forts, Beaches, old Churches, Snake boat races, Kathakali, Museums and the convenience of a big city. Kochi is just about the center of Kerala. It is basically a collection of islands and narrow peninsulas. Ernakulam is the commercial center and forms the main land.

From time immemorial Arabs, Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese and British followed the sea route to Kochi and left their impression on the town. Kochi's maritime history goes back to the ancient days when India carried out trade with far and Middle East countries.

Shopping

The Traditional shopping favorites of Kerala are handicrafts and antiques. Kairali is a Govt. Owned chain of handicraft stores. Jew town in Cochin is a popular haunt of antique collectors. Coir carpets are another interesting item. Various assortments of spices can be bought in Mattancherry. Good quality cotton ready to wear garments and footwear (even international brands) are quite cheap in India Since India is a major sourcing point for many of the International brands.

Kathakali Centers

"See India Foundation" is Located at Kalathiparambu road, Near the Ernakulam Junction railway station. The daily show begins at 6.45 p.m. "The Cochin Culture Centre" is Situated on the Manikath road, behind medical trust Hospital. The daily show begins at 7 p.m. "Art Kerala", the third one is situated at Kannanthodathu lane, Valanjambalam. Kerala Kathakali Centre functions at Fort Cochin near the Chinese Fishing Nets.

Conducted tours

Tourist Desk operates half day Kochi backwaters-village tour on a country boat at 9 a.m and 2 p.m. The cruise takes 3 hrs and starts from the main boat jetty Ernakulam, Fare Rs. 250. Alappuzha- Kollam back waters tours tickets are also available at the Tourist Desk Information Counter. Main boat jetty.

The KTDC conducts a boat cruise daily at 9 a.m and at 2 p.m. The trips starts from Sea lord boat jetty, one furlong away from KTDC Reception Centre. The trip covers the Dutch Palace, Synagogue, Chinese Fishing Nets, St. Francies Church and the Bolgatty Palace. This cruise takes 3 1/2 hrs. and the charges is Rs. 50 per person. KTDC also operates 3 hrs Cochin village canal tour every day morning 8.30 a.m and afternoon 2.30 p.m on a country boat. Fare Rs.300

Periyar wild life tour

KTDC operates a two day trip by coach on every Saturday. The Tour starts at 7.30 a.m and returns at 8 p.m on Sunday. It covers Kadamattom church, Idukki dam and the Periyar wild life sanctuary. The fare is Rs. 250 for transportation. Accommodation will be provides at the KTDC Hotels on request.

Special Events

There is a Power Boat Rally by Kochi Aquatic Club in October, from Kochi to Kollam. It is of international standards.

Places of interest

Mattancherry
It is situated 10 km. away from Ernakulam and there are frequent buses and ferry services.

Dutch Palace:
This palace was built by the Portuguese and presented to Raj of Cochin in 1555 A.D. Though build by the Portuguese, it is popularly know as the 'Dutch Palace' as the Dutch renovated it during their short lived reign here. The Palace is well know for its mural paintings representing scenes from the epics "Ramayana" and "Mahabharatha". The paintings cover a wide range of themes from the 'Puthra Kameshtiyagam' to Ram's return to Ayodya after vanquishing king Ravana of Lanka. They cover nearly 300 sq. feet of wall surface. In the central courtyard of the palace is the temple dedicated to Pazzhayannur Bhagavathi. In the Coronation hall, there is a display of dresses and palanquins used by the rulers of Kochi. The Palace is open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m on all days except Fridays and national holidays.

Koonan Kurishu Shrine:
This small chapel is in the heart of the busy commercial centre of mattancherry in which the Holy Cross stands. It was on this cross the famous "Oath of Koonan Kurishu" had taken place on 3rd January, 1653.

Jewish Synagogue:
This synagogue built in 1568 A. D, was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years after. Scrolls of Old Testament and a number of Copper Plates inscribed in the Hebrew scripts are preserved in this synagogue. The synagogue is open from 10 am to 12 noon and from 3 p.m to 5 p.m except on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi is situated 10 km. away from Ernakulam. There are frequent buses and ferry services to this place from Ernakulam.

St. Francis Church:
This is the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. This protestant church was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 A.D Vasco da Gama who died in 1524 was buried here. Fourteen years later his mortal remains were taken to Portugal.

Santa Cruz Basilica:
This Roman Catholic Church is situated close to St.Francis Church and has some very beautiful paintings on its ceiling.

Dutch Cemetery:
It is situated near entrance to the beach, a short distance away from St. Franics Church.



Chinese Fishing Nets:
At the entrance of the Kochi harbor, these nets are a fascinating sight. They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala. They were first brought to Kerala by the Chinese traders from Kublai Khan's court.





Willingdon Island

This is a man made island created from the materials dredged while deeping the Kochi Port. Lord Bristow was the architect of this island. There are frequent ferry and bus services to this place from Ernakulam. The Harbour, Naval Air base and Harbour Railway Terminus are in this island.

Bolgatty Island
This is a beautiful island lying close to Ernakulam. The Bolgatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 is situated here. The palace was formerly the residence of the British Resident of Kochi. Now KTDC has converted it into a hotel. This island is connected by frequent ferry services with the mainland Ernakulam. Boats to this island start from High Court Jetty. Country boats (Machuvas) can also be hired near the Jetty.

Ernakulam Siva Temple:
This temple is situated in the centre of the town, near the Durbar hall Ground. The presenting deity is lord Siva and the annual festival of the temple is celebrated for 8 days during January-February every year. The festival is rounded up with the Arattu procession when the image of the deity is taken for a sacred bath in the temple pool. A cultural festival is also held with a variety of programmes like music concert, Kathakali, etc., as part of the celebrations.

Museums and Art Galleries

Parishith Thampuran museum:
This is situated on the Durbar Hall Grounds on D.H Road, Ernakulam. Collection of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures in stone and plaster of paris and copies of mural paintings are exhibited here. It is open from 9.30 am to 12 noon and from 3 p.m to 5 p.m on all days except Mondays and national holidays. An Art Gallery is also functioning at the museum building.

Museum of kerala history:
Located at Edappally, 10Km. away from Ernakulam on the Ernakulam-Aluva route, this museum is the only one of its kind in Kerala. The speciality of this museum is that the History of Kerala for the last 2000 years is exhibited and narrated with the help of light and sound. There are frequent private buses passing through Edappally (Pathadipalam bus stop) where the museum is located.

Hill Palace Museum:
This is situated 12 Km. away from Ernakulam on the Ernakulam-Chottanikara route. It is an archeological museum. Different types of sculptures, Collection of rare coins, Old weapons, manuscripts in ancient lipis and collections from the Kochi Royal family are exhibited here. The museum is open from 10am to 4p.m on all days except Mondays and National holidays. There are frequent private buses from Ernakulam to this place.

Chaitram Art Gallery is located opposite Air India office on M.G Road. Kerala Kalapeedom is located at Chavra Cultural centre road.