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Cochin is generally called queen of Arabia sea Cochin, the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city.

One of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian Sea coast, Cochin, earlier known as Cochin has been a port of call for foreign traders from early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings and structures representing different regions of the world. A city of peninsulas and islands, today it is Kerala's commercial hub.

Kerala's prime tourist destination, it spreads across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters. Its main sections: modern Ernakulam in the east and the old districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin on a peninsula in the west are linked by a complex system of ferries.

Places to See :

Bolgatty Palace : A Scenic island near the city of Ernakulam, Bolgatty is famous for the Bolgatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 AD.

Dutch Palace : Originally built by the Portuguese i n the mid-16th century, the Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace is located at Mattancherry. It was presented to the Cochin Maharaja in 1555 AD and later taken over by the Dutch who carried out repairs and extended it further.

Jewish Synagogue : The oldest synagogue in India, it was built in 1586 AD by the prosperous Jewish community whose links with Kerala began in Kodungalloor in northern Kerala.

Aattachamayam : The festival of Attachamayam is held on the Atham day of the Malayalam month of Chingam (August/ September), at the historical town of Tripunithura, near Cochin.

Cheeyappara Waterfalls : The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Cochin - Madurai highway. The Cheeyappara Falls cascades down in seven steps.

Chottanikkara Temple : Chottanikkara temple, located near Ernakulam enshrines Bhagawati - the mother Goddess, one of the most popular deities in Kerala. Devi is worshipped along with Lord Vishnu...

Cochin Carnival : Cochin Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every year in Fort Cochin in Kerala. The carnival dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry held here during the colonial days.

Edapalli Perunal : The feast at the ancient Roman Catholic Church of Edapalli Perunnal is situated on the National Highway (NH 47) between Ernakulam and Aluva.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race : Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a grand fest on the rolling backwaters of Cochin. Conducted in the last week of December, it is a fitting finale to the Tourism Fair.

Jewish Festival : The Jews of Kerala are believed to have migrated to this place in the first century following the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem in 72 AD.

Kanjiramattom Festival : The festival of 'Kodikuthu' is celebrated on the 14th of January each year, in Kanjiramattom Mosque, 25 kms from Ernakulam.

Kodungaloor Bharani : Kodungalloor, 50 kms north of Cochin, was the ancient port town of Muziris or Crangannore. Goddess Bhagavathi is the presiding deity of the ancient temple here. The Bharani Festival, which falls in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March/ April) attracts the largest congregation of 'Velichappadu' (Oracles), including women from different parts of the State.

Malayatoor Perunal : The feast or the 'Perunnal' at the famous Catholic Church at Malayatoor is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, in the months of March/April.

Santa Cruz Basillica Chruch : Close to the St. Francis church, it is Roman Catholic Church, which was also built by Portuguese. It has a beautiful collection of paintings and a decorative ceiling, despite having suffered severe damage when the British fought with the Dutch to take control of Cochin.

St. Francis Church : Built in 1503 by Portuguese Francisan Friars, this is the India's oldest European church.

Thalassery Fort : Thalaserry fort, located at a distance of 22 kms from Kannur constructed in 1708 AD was the military centre of the British.

Bhoothathankettu : 63 kms from Cochin, it's a beautiful spot replete with a dam and boating facilities. Trekking through the forests here is an exhilarating experience.

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 of this beach.

Fort Cochin : The St. Francis Church is located in Fort Cochin, which was built in 1510 AD, by five Portuguese priests who arrived with Albuquerque. The church, the burial site for Vasco da Gama in 1524 AD is said to be the oldest European church built in India.

Gundu Island : Here is the magnificent 16th century Pallipuram Fort that is open only on Thursdays.

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

Kodanad : 45 kms from Cochin, it is one of the largest elephant capturing camps and training centres in India. It is on the southern banks of Periyar River amidst the beautiful high ranges near Perumbadoor. Even though elephant capture was banned in 1977, the training centre continues to function.

Kodungalloor : Formerly called Muziris, it was a famed sea-port on the west coast in ancient times, where St. Thomas is supposed to have landed in 52 AD. It was also the capital of Cheraman Perumal, a King of Kerala, whose famous palace Allal Perumkovilakam was situated near the great pagoda at Thiruvanchikulam.

Pareekshith Thampuran Museum : This sprawling, traditional Kerala style building previously called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings. The museum remains open from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. all weekdays except Mondays.

Vypeen Island : There is a magnificent lighthouse at Ochanthuruth, which remains open from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.

How to Reach :

Air : International flights are operated from and to the Cochin International Airport (Tel: 2610087/2610115), located 25 kms northeast of the city at Nedumbassery.

Rail : Cochin is connected to various parts of the country by the Indian Railways, the largest railway system in Asia.



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