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Cochin (also called as Kochi) in Ernakulam is referred to as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ and has in store for visitors some heritage sites as well as historic ones with a landscape criss-crossed by backwaters, which meet the Arabian Sea at various points.

Ernakulam is the commercial hub of Kerala.  This centrally located district of Kerala is considered as the gateway to Kerala for travelers and tourists coming to Kerala. A cosmopolitan city in comparison to other cities of Kerala, Ernakulam has a well-developed port and an international airport.

Tourist Attractions in Cochin

Loafer’s Corner / Princess Street:
One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with its European style residences still retains its old world charm. The best view of this quaint street can be had from Loafer’s Corner, the traditional meeting place and hangout of the jovial fun loving people of the area.

Parade Ground:
The four acre Parade Ground was where once the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonists conducted their military parades and drills. The buildings around the ground housed their defence establishments. Today, the largest open ground in Fort Kochi, the Parade Ground is a sports arena.

St. Francis Church:
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India’s oldest European church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.

Bastion Bungalow:
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667, the Bungalow gets its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the old Dutch Fort. The building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion. Though it has been said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath the bungalow, none have been found. Today, the Bungalow is the official residence of the Sub Collector.

Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace):
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, and some of the Puranic Hindu legends. The palace also houses Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture. The three dimensional portraits of the Maharajas are also noteworthy.

Synagogue:
Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Known for mid 18th century hand painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates etc.

Jew Town:
The area around the Synagogue is a centre of spice trade and curio shops.

The Hill Palace Museum:
The Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi royal family, is today the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Built in 1865, the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the tr tional architectural style of Kerala, sprawled over 52 acres of beautifully landscaped terraced land which houses a deer park and facilities for horse riding. Numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants grow here. On display in the full-fledged Ethno-archaeological museum are oil-paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family and royal furniture including the simhasana (throne). Also exhibited are over 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from Japan and China, Kudakkallu (tomb stone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock cut weapons from the stone ages, wooden temple models, plaster cast models of objects from Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilisation. The museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.

Cherai Beach:
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction.

Bolgatty Island:
This island is famous for its palace of the same name. The Bolgatty Palace was built in 1744 by the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Today it is a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, with a small golf course and special honeymoon cottages.

Willingdon Island:
Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the city's best hotels and trading centres, the Port Trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.

Kodanad Elephant Training Camp:
Kodanad, set on the southern banks of the Periyar river amid the beautiful high ranges near Perumbavoor, is one of the largest elephant training centres of Kerala. Earlier elephants captured from the Malayatoor forests (the forests in the east and north of Kodanad) were trained here. Since the introduction of a ban to elephant capture Kodanad has been reduced to a training centre. The famous Malayatoor Church is near Kodanad.

Kumbalanghi:
Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village project is a unique initiative to transform the tiny island as a model fishing village and tourism spot. Here at the Kumbalangi Tourism Village one can fully savour a variety of natural splendours, 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. The model village is a veritable treat to its visitors with the famous Chinese fishing nets and many other sights to savour.

How to Reach Cochin

Telephone Access Code: +91 - 484

Air:
International airport at Nedumbassery (32 km from the town)

Rail:
Ernakulam is a major railhead of the Southern Railway. Main station is Ernakulam Junction

Road:
The KSRTC Central Bus Station is near the Junction Railway Station

Ferry Services:
There are two ferry stations in Ernakulam. The main Boat Jetty is 1 km from the Junction Railway Station and the other is near the High Court.