Chottanikara Bhagavathy Temple:
Situated near Ernakulam, the Chottanikkara Temple is one of the most important temples of the state due to its religious and architectural significance.
It is believed to be among the finest works of the Vishwakarma Sthapathis, who have also sculpted the Sabarimala temple.
This revered place is among the best places to visit in Cochin. It is dedicated to Bhagavathy, who is worshipped here in three different forms – Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.
The goddess, when worshipped as Saraswati is draped in white. In the afternoon, she is worshipped as Lakshmi and is draped in red and in the evenings, the deity is worshipped as Durga and is draped in blue.
Kerala Kathakali Centre:
The Kerala Kathakali Centre was founded in 1990 and was established with the objective of encouraging and popularising the classical arts forms of this region.
Several traditional arts and rituals are performed at the Centre, making it an important place to visit in Cochin. The dance forms taught and performed here include Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam. Furthermore, Carnatic and Hindustani music performances are also held at the centre.
The traditional martial arts form of Kerala called the Kalaripayattu is also shown here. The centre also holds short and long term courses in Kathakali music, Kathakali make-up, chenda, madalam, mrudangam, tabla and gingira, violin, veena, sitar and flute.
The Folklore Theatre and Museum is one of the most popular places to visit in Cochin. The exteriors of the museum looks like a temple and the interiors are aesthetically appealing.
It houses some of the most valuable artefacts and items of ancient Kerala providing an educational insight into the history of Kerala. One of the most remarkable items on display is the collection of mural paintings by Unnis M Mani Achary.
The building itself is a splendid example of the traditional style of architecture of Kerala. Presenting a unique blend of Malabar, Cochin and Travancore design, the museum is built of wood, laterite stone and roofing tiles.
One of the most remarkable features of the museum is that the interiors and exteriors are made of unique and ancient items; some of them date back to the 15th and 20th centuries or are more than 2000 years old.
Chinese Fishing Nets:
The Chinese Fishing Nets have now emerged as a symbolic representation of the coast of Cochin. These incredible fishing nets have become one of the favoured places to see in Kochi.
They are different from other fishing nets due to their elegant design and construction. Furthermore, they are very popular among photographers who try to capture the sunset at here amidst these beautiful nets.
These nets are horizontal and are held out by huge mechanical contrivances. Each structure measures at least 10 metres in height and is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.
The system is balanced and strong enough to carry the weight of a man. It is descended into the waters for a very short time and raised by pulling on the ropes.
Santa Cruz Basilica :
The Santa Cruz Basilica in Fort Kochi is one of the finest and most impressive churches in India.
It is among the eight basilicas in the country and one of the best places to visit in Kochi. This revered structure is counted as one of the heritage edifices in the country and attracts tourists from all over the world.
The church is not only important because of its religious significance, but also its architectural and historical importance.
It was originally built by the Portuguese during their occupation of Fort Kochi. It was spared by the Dutch, who had otherwise destroyed most of the Catholic institutions built by the Portuguese.
Hill Palace of Tripunithara:
The Hill Palace Museum in Tripunithara in Kochi is also one of the largest archaeological museums in Kerala that was earlier used as the administrative office by the Kochi kings.
The palace was built in 1865 and spreads across 54 acres. There are about 49 buildings that present the traditional architectural style of Kerala.
The complex has a children’s park, a pre-historic park, a deer park and an archaeological museum. Throughout the campus, several medicinal plants have been planted. The structure is situated at a distance of 12 km from the Ernakulam town and the museum is open to public on all days, except Mondays.
In here are about 14 categories of exhibits which include the paintings, stone sculptures, marble sculptures, weapons, inscriptions, coins and even the Crown and ornaments belonging to the erstwhile Royal family of Cochin.
Matancherry Palace (Dutch Palace):
The Mattancherry Palace is also known as the Dutch Palace and was built by the Portuguese. It was constructed and gifted to the Raja of Cochin in 1555 by them.
Some renovations and extensions were made to the palace by the Dutch and it came to be known as the Dutch Palace. The structure today houses some very beautiful murals depicting Hindu temple art, exhibits of the Kochi kings and their portraits, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Kochi.
The palace has a portrait gallery. It is believed that the Portuguese built the place to appease the king after they looted a nearby temple.
The Cherai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala and also among the popular places to visit in Cochin . Situated on the northern end of the Vypin Island, it stretches to a length of 10 km.
The beach is particularly famous with photographers who take great interest in catching different frames of the golden sands and the beautifully translucent waters.
Tourists from all around the globe come to this seashore to enjoy its beauty, particularly of the sun set and sun rise. There are several other tourist places in and around the Cherai Beach. Of them, the Tranquil Lake is the nearest.
This pristine water body is separated from the backwaters by a very narrow strip of land.
Fort Kochi, also known as Old Kochi or West Kochi, is situated to the south west of Cochin. It is a part of a few water bound regions and is located close to Mattancherry. This place was a small fishing village in pre-colonial Kerala and a belonged to the Kingdom of Kochi.
The part which later gained the name of Fort Kochi was granted to the Portuguese by the Rajah of Kochi. The Portuguese had supported him during an attack by the Saamoothiri of Kozhikode and as a token of gratitude; the king gave a part of his kingdom to them.
They built a fort called the Fort Emmanuel near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests.
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The city of Fort Kochi derives its name from this fort. It remained under the Portuguese influence for 160 years till the Dutch established their rule in 1683.
Marine Drive is a beautiful promenade in Kochi which faces the backwaters and is a popular hangout among the local people of Kochi.
However, no vehicles are allowed in the driveway. It is also an important shopping centre in Kochi and a number of shopping malls are situated in this area. The Marine Drive is an important tourist place in Kerala and attracts visitors from all across.
The highlight is the beauty of the sunrise and sunset over the Vembanad Lake. The walkway starts from the High Court Junction and continues till the Rajendra Maidan. It also has two bridges called the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge.
Jew Synagogue and Jew Town:
While in Cochin, do not miss an opportunity to visit the Jew Town and Jew Synogogue. These two fascinating places are crowd pleasers.
It is situated in a quarter of the Old Cochin and is also known as the Pardesi Synagogue. This revered structure is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area that is still in use.
It belongs to the Malabar Yehudan or Cochin Jewish Community and is also called the Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue, as it is situated very close to the Mattancherry Palace.
The Bolgatty Palace was built by the Dutch and is located on the Bolgatty Island near Kochi. Built in 1744, the palace is one of the oldest existing ones built by the Dutch outside Holland.
The building was used as the then Governor’s palace for the commander of the Dutch Malabar. However, in 1909 it was leased out to the British.
In 1947 post independence, the palace became the property of the state and was converted into a heritage hotel resort. It was then used by the British Governors as residence and served as the seat of the British Resident of Cochin during the British Raj.
Today, it has a swimming pool, a 9-hole golf course, Ayurvedic centre and daily Kathakali performances, which makes it one of the most important places to see in Cochin. It attracts a large number of tourists from all over the country and the world.