ERNAKULAM – The land of Queen of the Arabian Sea
The ancient temples, churches, mosques, synagogue and palaces and above all the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya provided a great deal of interest for the archaeologists and historians in particular and all tourists in general. The city of Kochi known as the “Queen of Arbian Sea” has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. From time immemorial, Arabas, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese sea forces followed the sea route to Kochi and left their indelible impressions on the town.
Hill PALACE MUSEUM
This is situated 12 Kms. away from Eranakulam on the Eranakulam-Chottanikkara route. It is the largest archaeological museum of Kerala. Different types of sculptures, collection of rare coins, old weapons and collections from the Cochin Royal Family are exhibited here.
This palace in Mattancherry was built by the Portuguese, and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555. Though built by the Portugese, it is popularly known as the “Dutch Palace”, as the Dutch renovated it during their brief reign here. The glory of the Palace lies in the murals which are in the best traditions of Hindu Temple Art. In the central courtyard of the palace is the temple dedicated to Pazhayannur Bhagavathi. In the coronation hall, there is a display of dresses and Palanquins used by the rulers of Cochin.
The synagogue was built in 1568 A.D. Scrolls of Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in the Hebrew Script are preserved in this Synagogue. The Jewish Synagogue in Kochi stands out as a testimony for the communal harmony in the state for centuries.
St. FRANCIS CHURCH
This church was built by the Portuguese in 1510 A.D. It is believed to be the oldest European Church built in India. Vasco-dA-Gama was burried here. Fourteen years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal
CHINESE FISHING NETS
At the entrance to the harbour these nets are a fascinating sight. They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala. They were first bought to Kerala by the Chinese traders from Kubla Khan’s court
This is a manmade island created from earth dredged, while deepening the Kochi Port. Lord Bristow was the architect of this island. There are frequent ferry and bus services from Ernakulam. The Harbour, Air Port and Harbour Railway Terminus are in this island.
Bolgatty palace on a narrow stretch of land built by the Dutch in 1744 is situated here. The building was once a Governor’s Palace for the Dutch and later a home for British Governors. Now it has been converted into a hotel by the K T D C. The Bolgatty Palace Hotel has a commanding view facing the outlet into the open sea
This mangrove forest is a small bird sanctuary, located in the heart of the town behind the High Court of Kerala, attracts a large number of tourists.
PARIKSHITH THAMPURAN MUSEUM
This is situated on the Durbar Hall Ground on DH Road, Eranakulam. Collection of 19th Century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures in stone and plaster of paris and copies of mural paintings are exhibited here.
CHERAMAN JUMA MASJID
The first mosque in India situated 52 Kms. away from Kochi. It was built in 629 A.D. and resembles a Hindu Temple in appearance. There are bus services from Eranakulam.
MUSEUM OF KERALA HISTORY
Eight Kms. from Eranakulam, this museum is a treasure house of important scenes of Kerala History from Neolithic age to modern period portrayed through life-size statues. Recorded commentary of each scene with sound and light shows is staged here.
Pallipuram Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is one of the oldest existing European monoments in India. The Catholic church at Pallipuram is an important pilgrim centre.
The beach at Cherai on Vypeen island is 18 Kms. away from Vypeen. This is a beautiful and clam beach.
Kalady is the birth place of Adi Sankara the great Indian philosopher who lived in the 8th century. It is situated on the banks of river Periyar and there are two shrines in memory of Sree Sankaracharya. One dedicated to him as Dakshinamoorthy and the other to the Goddess Sharada. Adi Sankara’s shrines in Kalady are open to all pilgrims irrespective of religion or caste.
On the slopes of the picturesque Western Ghats, 52 Kms. from Kochi and 8 Kms. from Kalady is the Malayattoor Church. This is a Christian pilgrim centre and is believed to have been blessed by the Apostle of Christ, St. Thomas and the Church atop the hill was established in A.D. 900. Malayattoor is accessible by road up to the foot hills of Kurishumudy. The church at the top of the hill, about 2 Kms. can be reached only by foot. Situated beside the Periyar river and a small lake called Manappattuchira, Malayatoor is also a place of scenic beauty.
22 Kms. away from Kalady, there is a ninth century Jain temple. This temple is cut from a huge rock and a climb of 120 steps leads to the temple.
Kodanad lies on the southern bank of Periyar river amongst the scenic beauty of the High Ranges. It is 45 Kms. from Kochi city and 12 Kms. to the east of Perumbavoor town. There is an elephant taming centre here. Facilities for elephant ride are provided here. There is also a mini zoo at Kodanadu.
Situated 63 Kms. away from Kochi. There is a dam here and in the reservoir boating facilities are provided. The Forest Department provides elephant rides thorugh the forest to old Bhoothankettu, which is very interesting.