Sights to See
Bolgatty Island: From the High Court Junction it is 2 Km via Goshree Bridge. Ferry services are available from the High Court Jetty. The Bolgatty Palace was built by an anonymous Dutch trader in 1744. It was the British Residency from 1909 to 1947. In 1976 it was converted to a heritage resort by KTDC.
Vypeen Island: An isolated island between the sea and tha backwaters, this was originally home to a small indigenous fishing community since 1341 until the advent of the Portuguese. Previously only accessible by ferry, the Goshree bridge has made the picturesque island just a short drive from the city. Its attractions include the renowned Church of Our Lady of Good Hope, a lighthouse at Ochanthuruth open to visitors (1500-1700 hrs) & the Cherai Beach. Also situated here is the Pallipuram fort built by Portuguese in 1503. Ferries are available from Fort Kochi & Ernakulam.
Gundu Island: It is the smallest of all islands that make up Kochi & is off the coast of Vypeen. It was famous for its coir factory. It is now privately owned.
Fort Kochi: Santa Cruz Basilica: Rampart Road, South of Fosse Street, Fort Kochi, Timings: 0900-1300 hrs & 1500-1700 hrs. Saturdays: 1500-1800 hrs. Built by the Portuguese in 1506, it was deemed a cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795, when British took over Fort Kochi the cathedral was demolished. A new building was commissioned at the same site in 1887 by Bishop Ferreira and was proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
St. Francis Church, Church Road, Fort Kochi: Built in 1503, by a group of Portuguese Fransiscan friars this is India’s first European Church. The church was initially a wood and mud structure dedicated to St Bartholomew. The history of the church depicts the European struggle for power in India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524. Although his remains were taken back to Lisbon 14 years later, his tombstone remains intact. Timings: 1000-1700 hrs. Closed on Sundays.
Dutch Cemetry: Consecrated in 1724, it is mostly in ruins. It is located on the way to the Fort Kochi Beach.
Parade Ground: The ceremonial military parades and drill practice was conducted here.
Bishops House/Indo-Portuguese Museum: Built by the Portuguese in 1506 as a residence for their Governor. It is the residence of the Bishop of Kochi. Entry to the Bishops house is restricted. Adjacent to it is the Indo-Portuguese Museum which is housed in a modern structure. Although small, it is well laid out and maintained. Timings: 0900-1300 hrs & 1400-1800 hrs. Closed on Monday & public holidays. Entry fees: Rs. 10/- (Indians), Rs. 25/- (Foreigners), Rs. 5/- (Child), Tel: 2215400.
Fort Kochi Beach: A popular destination is the granite walkway sandwiched between the beach and Vasco da Gama square.
Chinese Fishing Nets: Along the beachfront. A legacy of the earliest visitors to ths coast, they are said to have been brought by traders from the court of Kubla Khan between 1350 & 145 AD. Employed mainly during high tides, you can see fishermen haul up the nets at 6 am, once again at 11 am and then finally around 4 pm.
Fort Immanuel: Very close to the Dutch cemetery. The forts confines housed the entire township where the Portuguese used to reside but much of it was destroyed by the Dutch & British. Only bits and pieces remain along the waterfront. Its remnants can also be seen in the basement of the Indo-Portuguese Museum.
Princess Street: The oldest street in Kochi. IT is lined with picturesque houses, mostly colonial in architecture. Some of these have been converted to homestays.
Mattancherry: Mattancherry is home to a tiny Jewish community, whose origin goes back to 2000 years. It attracted invaders and traders from far off and was the epicenter of trade, especially that of spices. It has the oldest synagogue in the country, temples and churches.
Pardesi Synagogue: It was constructed in 1568, but destroyed by cannon fire during a Portuguese raid and was rebuilt 2 years later. Its interiors are captivating. The attractions include 19th century glass oil-burning chandeliers from Belgium, gallery for women suspended by slender gilt coloumns, 18th century hand painted floor tiles from China, elaborately carved ark that bears four scrolls of the Torah, 4th century copper plates with writing decipherable only with the aid of a mirror. Timings: 1000-1200 hrs & 1500-1700 hrs. Closed on Saturdays & Jewish holidays. Entry Fee: Rs. 2/-. Dress code: Sleeveless dress & shorts not allowed.
Clock Tower: Built in 1760, it stands next to the synagogue. Its face that faced the Maharaja’s Palace is etched in Malayalam, one etched in Roman numerals for the traders, one that faced the synagogue in Hebrew, the fourth one kept blank.
Dutch Palace: Built and presented by the Portuguese to the Kochi Maharaja Veera Kerala Varma around the year 1555, as a token of appeasement for plundering a Hindu Temple nearby. Ironically it is commonly known as the Dutch Palace, despite the fact that they only renovated it. The double storeyed structure is built in the traditional Kerala ‘Nalukettu’ style and has a temple dedicated to the presiding deity of the royal family, Pazhayannur Bhagawati, at the centre. There are intricate murals on the walls and Ramayana is depicted in 45 murals dating from 1600-1700 AD on the walls of the royal bedchamber. Timings: 1000-1700 hrs. Closed on Fridays. Entry Fee: Rs. 2/-.Tel: 2226085.
Thirumala Devaswom Temple, Gosripuram: Following the fall of the Vijayanagar Empire, Gowda Saraswat Brahmins brought the Sri Venkatachalapati Thirumala Devar idol which was worshipped by them to Kochi. The temple was built in 1599 to house this idol. It was plundered and restored time and again.
Pepper Exchange: The only pepper exchange in India, it is also the only online commodity exchange in Kerala. It was established in 1957 & is located near the spice market in Jew Town. Trading: 1000-1700 hrs on weekdays & 1000-1400 hrs on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays. India Pepper & Spice Trade Association, Tel: 2224263/5173, Fax: 2227434, Email:[email protected],
Vallarpadam: The Church of Our Lady of Ransom was was established here. Initially built in 1524, it has been given the status of a national pilgrim centre upon the church.
Willingdon Island. Shiva Temple: Located on Government Cross Road in South Pallimukku. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Ernakulathappan and is associated with the birth of the name of the city.
Marine Drive: The scenic strip has a spectacular view of the backwaters and the harbour and is a favourite hangout. At night the lights from ships anchored in the harbour make it breathtakingly beautiful.
Our Lady’s Convent, Palluruthy, Thoppumpady: Tel: 2230508. It specializes in high quality needlework, lace & embroidery. One can take a tour of the place with prior appointment.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES:
Hill Palace Archaeological Museum, Thripunithura: The hill top palace built in 1865, consists of 49 buildings and sprawls across 52 acres of lush greenery. It is a blend of Dutch and traditional architectural styles. There are 18 main galleries displaying the royal throne, pictures of former rulers, tanjore paintings, 14th century wood carvings, inscriptions, megalithic remains, crowns, ornaments, mural paintings, sculptures, porcelain, epigraphy, musical instruments etc. Medicinal plants are grown in the museum’s herbal garden. Tel: 2781113. Timings: 1000-1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays & National holidays. Entry Fee: Adult: Rs. 20/-, Child: Rs.10/-.
Museum of Kerala History, Edapally: Timings: 1000-1700 hrs. Last entry at 1600 hrs. Closed on Monday & National Holidays. Entry Fee: Rs. 50/- (Adult), Rs. 20/- (Child), Tel: 2541768;
Cherai Beach: Bordering Vypeen Island, it is about 26 Km from Ernakulam city via Goshree Bridge an dis a great place for dolphin spotting and swimming. Chinese Fishing Nets; Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church & Santacruz Church;
SNC Maritime Museum: In the Southern Naval Command, Naval Base. Set up in 1989 to display the various maritime activities of the Indian Naval forces. Star attraction is a 300 years old boat belonging to the Raja of Ambalapuzha. Timings: 0900-1230 hrs & 1330-1730 hrs. Closed on Monday & National Holidays. Entry: Rs. 20/-. Tel: 2214103. Permission required from naval base for visits.
Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy: The Maharaja of Cochin once held his durbar here. Once known as the Parikshith Thampuran Museum, it has now been coverted into the Gallery of Contemporary Art at the Durbar Hall Art Centre. Timings: 1100-1800 hrs. Closed on Public holidays or occasions of exhibitions in the gallery. Entry Free.