Kochi has always been the traveler’s capital in Kerala. A vibrant city, it hosts a mixed pot of international cultures, old and new. It has a rich history of trade with the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews and Chinese, who have all left a deep and lasting imprint on the city. It was the gateway to Ancient India, and still remains one of the best ports in the country.
1: Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi actually takes you back in time. Here, you can see the vestiges of the Dutch English and Portuguese colonial rule. The sleepy streets, the European architecture, shady avenues, all tell the tales of the past. The St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica is also located here. Here, you can see small shop selling all kinds of arts and artifacts. You will even find antique shops selling all kinds of things of the past. You will also find Ayurvedic outlets where you can have a massage to rejuvenate yourself. There are many restaurants and cafe to taste authentic Kerala seafood, such as Fare. It is a very popular touristy place and can meet people from all over the world while walking through the promenade, feeling the fresh sea breeze.
Mattancherry is a Heritage zone, with many attractions for you to visit. It is located on the Eastern side of the peninsula. The place is very different from the cosmopolitan city that Kochi is. It takes you to another world! This is an old Jewish township with its churches, old buildings, etc. Here is located the Jewish Synagogue (Open 10 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 5 PM), decorated with Belgian chandeliers and Chinese tiles. Just near the Synagogue, is the Dutch Palace. Also known as the Mattancherry Palace, it was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma Raja of Kochi in 1555 AD. You can see even old murals here. The palace was later renovated by the Dutch in 1663. Here, you can also visit the 100 year old Dharmanath Jain temple.
3: Bolgatty Islands
Located at the mouth of the Cochin Harbor, is the Bolgatty Islands. This long, narrow, palm fringed island between Ernakulam and Vypeen houses the beautiful Bolgatty Palace. The palace was built buy the Dutch in 1744. The Island is accessed by boat. From here, you can get a panoramic view of the harbor and port. There is also a small golf course here. The Palace has restored to its original grandeur and has been converted into a heritage hotel.
One of the largest amusement parks in South India. It is a place where not just your children, but you would love to spend your day. This well-maintained park has wide range of rides, for both children as well as adults. There is water park too! It is very popular with the local residents who come here to unwind.
Visit Timings : 10:30 am to 6:30pm.
Amusement Park Fee : Upto Rs 500 per person (Adults).
5: Cherai Beach
Cherai beach is located on the northern end of Vypeen Island. It is about 25 km from Kochi. The combination of white sand, blue water and greenery make it a place well worth visiting. Popularly known as “Princess of the queen of the Arabian sea”, dolphins are also often seen in the waters. Although there are numerous beaches in Kerala, do give this place a shot.
For the kids and the family in general, check out the water-scooter and speed boat rides. Also, there’s a park for the children.
Broadway is the shopping hub of Kochi. The lanes just opposite the Bay Pride Mall- the first mall in Kochi leads you to Broadway at Menaka. Overlooking the Marine drive and the Arabian Sea, Broadway is an easy to shop place. From safety pins to clothes to antique collection, you’ll get almost everything here. After your shopping, you can take a walk along the Marine Drive and enjoy the beauty of the deep blue sea. So here’s a place where you’ll get everything, mall, places to eat, place to see and most of all a good time.
7: The Synagogue
The Jewish Synagogue at Mattanchery, about half an hour from Kaloor, is one of the oldest structures in Kochi. It is not only beautiful with chandeliers and lights but it also has a magnificent history, If you look at the flooring you can see that the tiles are each delicately patterned individually, if you take a closer look, you’ll agree that no two tiles are similar. It is said that these tiles were gifted by the Chinese to the King of Cochin, who was indeed very happy to accept them. However when he found out that the tiles were made of cow fat, he refused to use them and instead gave it to the Jews who were at that time building the Synagogue. You can either take a bus ride to Mattanchery or take a boat ride from Boat Jetty at Menaka.
8: Hill Palace Museum
Hill Palace Museum was the former ruler of Kochi’s palace, now converted into a museum along with a small zoo. The museum houses several art and artifacts, photographs etc., belonging to the Travancore & Kochi royal families. The main attraction here is the multi-billion worth Cochin Royal Crown and Crown Jewels. A must-see for every visitor to Kochi to understand the heritage and culture of the bygone era.
Address: Hill Palace Rd, Thripunithura (12 km southeast of Ernakulam)
Tele: +91 484 2781113
Open Hours: Tues-Sun 10AM-12.30PM; 2PM-4:30PM (Crown Gallery closes at 4PM).
9: Greenix Village
If you want to take an insight into Kerala’s varied culture and art forms, Greenix Village is perhaps the best place to do so. Situated in the Fort Kochi, Greenix Village holds everyday shows depicting the dance form of Kerala; Kathakali and its martial art form Kalaripayattu. It also has numerous arrangements for exhibitions of arts and artifacts, yogic meditations, and ayurvedic massage.