Kerala is known as, Gods Own Country, for its breath-taking beauty and the city of Kochi lies on the South West Coast overlooking the Arabian Sea. For centuries Kochi has been a gathering place for merchants and tourists from various nations and people who have been here from Arabs to the Portuguese and British have all left their legacy and cultural imprints behind. Today Kochi has emerged as one of the must destinations places to visit in Kerala and the cultural and historical significance of Kochi offers variety of experiences in and around the Tourist Places to visit in Kochi.
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Here are must visit tourist places in Kochi that you should not miss on a visit to Kerala if you are planning to enjoy Kochi Tourism.
The Chinese fishing nets which symbolises Kochi can be seen only in Fort Kochi which may be the only place in the world where the Chinese fishing nets are unique outside China for which the credit goes to the traders from the court of Chinese emperor Kubla Khan. Presently, there are 11 Chinese fishing nets dotting the Fort Kochi shoreline while it was 20 about ten years agoSt Francis Church which is one of the oldest built by Europeans in India and another landmark in this area is Vasco House where Vasco Da Gama is believed to have lived. Visitors can also enjoy walking along Fort Kochi Beach which may be the only beach in the state which has the presence of the Chinese fishing nets and which is also famous for Cochin carnival that is conducted on New Years eve.
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Mattancherry is another fascinating area in Kochi. The name mattancherry originated from the house name “Ancherry Mattam”, a Brahmin house which was pronounced by foreign traders as Matt-Ancherry. Mattancherry is tourist spot in Kochi where Portuguese influence can be seen and in particular the Dutch Palace. Jew Town is another tourist attraction of Mattancherry with the synagogue dating from 1568 which is India’s oldest functioning synagogue along with other tourist spots like Mattancherry Palace Museum which hosts different weapons such as swords, spears etc , Mattacherry Pazhayannur Royal temple and Palliarakkavvu temple, Ram Mandir, Gowd Saraswat Brahmin temples etc.
Bolghatty & Vypeen Islands
Bolghatty Island is a short boat ride away from mainland Kochi and has Bolghatty Palace which is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland .Bolghatty Palace is now converted into a hotel and there is even a small golf course , a swimming pool, 9-hole golf course, ayurvedic centre and daily Kathakali performances and is a popular resort to stay for Indian and overseas tourists.
Lulu Shopping Mall, Edappally
Kochi also has India’s largest shopping mall in Edappally – Lulu Shopping Mall owned and operated by EMKE Group. For a shopping experience in Kochi there are lots of markets but a visit to Lulu Mall is a treat with air conditioning and 300+ food outlets, stores and restaurants. There are both international brands as well as local specialties to see in this modern complex and there is also a premium five-star, 20-storey, 300 room hotel managed by JW Marriott Hotels is located adjacent to it, within the mall compound.
Don’t forget to explore the tourist places outside Kochi too. There are tourist sports around Ernakulam which are very interesting such as the Church at Malayattoor. he name `Malayattoor’ is an amalgamation of three small words. Mala (Mountain) Arr (River) Oore (Place). This is to say, Malayattoor is a meeting place of mountain, river, and land.The most famous tourist attraction in Malayattoor is the Malayatoor Church is situated atop the 609 m high Malayatoor Hill. The church on top of hill which is dedicated to St. Thomas, who is believed to have prayed at this shrine when he came to India. This church is one of the most important Christian pilgrim centres in India.
Cherai & Vypeen beach
Vypeen Island is another island that is really popular among visitors to Kochi & Kerala . Vypeen is also the location of Pallipuram Fort which is the oldest surviving fort in India built by European settlers and was constructed in 1503. Just off the Coast of Vypeen Island is Cherai beach which is among the famous beaches in kerala and which is a beach that is shallow, calm and is ideal for swimming & sunbathing and is also known as Princess of Arabian Sea.
Kodanand Elephant Training Centre
Kodanad Elephant Training Center which is a rural riverside village located near Periyar river is another must visit place if you are travelling to Kerala with children as kids may enjoy bathing elephants in the river . Watching elephants at an arms length is a wonderful experience and all part of coming to a beautiful place like Kerala. Kodanad is among the Ecotourism destination projects of Govt of India and currently is an Elephant rescue center for captured Elephants from the forests in the adjoining mountains.
Andhakaranazhi is still a virgin & lovely beach which is located at a distance of 30 km from Kochi towards Alleppey located near Ezhupunna. You can see many fishing boats in the beach from the neighbouring fishing village & fishing is the main activity of the village folks here. The sight of local fishermen launching out every day morning in their country boats attacking the the turbulent waves of the Andhakaranazhi beach is a must see especially if you are planning for a houseboat trip from Kochi to alleppey as the beach will fall on the way to Nehru trophy finishing point or to Kumarakom from which Kerala houseboat packages start.
Marine Drive as its name suggests in not a drive way through which vehicles can be driven , but a scenic promenade in Ernakulam which has the rainbow bridge that has become a symbol of Ernakulam. The Marine Drive was built on the land reclaimed from backwaters and the initial plan was to build a beautiful road along the coast line but the coastline rules prohibited it because of which the road was converted to a walkway which also has a Chinese Fishing net bridge as well. Private Boat operators offers hourly cruises starting from Marine Drive that goes through Cochin Harbour , Bolgatty and other places around. The GCDA Shopping Complex near Marine drive is the first mall in Kochi and is a major shopping arcade in Ernakulam city.
Hill Palace Museum
Hill Palace was the abode of erstwhile Maharaja of Kochi and was coverted to a Museum in 1986. The museum complex exhibits crown and ornaments of erst while Cochin royal family, paintings, sculptures in stone and marble, weapons, inscriptions, coins etc and has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children’s park . The weapon gallery & horse cart gallery are really amazing.The Hill Palace Museum is opened to public everyday except Mondays and national /state holidays from 10am to 12.30 noon and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm and this is a must visit for tourists who are interested in culture and history of Kerala
Museum of Kerala history, Edappally
When you visit the Museum of Kerala history in Edappally, you will be greeted by a statue of Parasurama, the sage who is said to have created Kerala. The museum is a is a quiet ethnic building hidden in the shades of huge trees and has an unassuming gallery houses immortal creations that will give you glimpses of the glorious history and rich cultural legacy of Kerala. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays and public holidays and the MNF Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures and the Centre for Visual Arts has paintings from Raja Ravi Varma, M F Hussain, folk painter Jamini Roy, abstract painter Manu Parekh and mural maestro Mammiyoor Krishhan Kutty Nair.
Also published on Medium.