Ernakulam is one of the most developed districts of Kerala Ernakulam/Cochin is one of the most developed districts of Kerala and is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea with Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in the south, Idukki in the east and Thrissur in the north, Ernakulam is a booming business metropolis. A fascinating mixture of the old and the new, the district comprises many interesting cities including Kochi (Cochin), the commercial capital of Kerala.
The district is blessed with a wonderful culture and grandeur. Being the commercial hub of Kerala, all the major developments in the fields of industry, transportation and IT happen here. The District is formed by the two princely states of Travancore and Cochin and the British Malabar. Ernakulam is the first district in the whole country to have cent percent literacy is a direct indicator of the enviable educational standards of its inhabitants. The tourist places and pilgrim centers here completes its uniqueness. Even today, Ernakulam continues the tradition of welcoming visitors with its customary warmth and hospitality.
Ernakulam sightseeing Places
Bolgatty Island: This narrow palm-fringed island, easily accessible from the mainland, is where the Bolgatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. This Palace was built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident later. In the year 1976 the palace was converted into a hotel under the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The Cochin Golf Club's course is on the palace grounds.
Art Complex - Madhavan Nayar Foundation, Edappally: Art Complex is 10 kms north of Ernakulam en route to Alwaye. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. The complex consists of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century.
Museum Of Kerala History, Edappally: This Museum is located just closer to the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala.
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Cochin: These cantilevered fishing nets are fixed and is at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. The best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.
Cherai Beach: This beach is located 25 kms from Ernakulam and is in a typical village ambience. This beach has the lovely unspoilt stretch of sand, ideal for swimming. But if the sea and sand still do not wet your appetite, there are many numbers of food outlets and ice-cream parlours to do so. At Cherai, life guards are always on the look out for the over adventurous. Dolphins are also commonly seen in the waters.
Ernakulam Siva Temple, Ernakulam: This temple is facing the historical Rajendra maidan is this famous temple and is considered to be amongst the most ancient in central Kerala. Though no historical records exist to indicate a precise date, an inscription found above the main entrance in Vattezhuthu, an antiquated script, suggests that the sanctum was built in the year 1614. The deity is popularly referred to as Ernakulathappan. The temple's 8-day annual festival is celebrated in the month of Jan-Feb with colourful rituals and exciting cultural events. The bathing of the idol, on the eighth day, is particularly significant here. The ceremony of Ashta Bandham Kalasam, where the deity is anointed in a herbal paste, is performed once in 12 years.
Dutch Palace, Mattancherry: This Palace is originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin raja Veera Kerala Varma in 1555, acquired its present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out some extensive repairs. The Cochin rajas held their coronation ceremonies in the Central Hall of this double-storey quadrangular building. Rooms adjacent contain breathtaking 17th-century murals depicting scenes from the Puranas and the great epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Dutch Cemetery, Fort Cochin: This cemetery is consecrated in 1724, here is an authentic reminder of the many men and women from Europe who came down all the way to play out their roles in the colonial 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Fort Cochin Beach: This Beach is an ideal place for an evening stroll and to watch a spectacular sunset. Bathing and swimming are not recommended here. The colourful carnival at New Year's Eve is a feature of this beach.
Hill Palace Museum, Tripunithura: The Museum is set on top of a hillock, these prodigious palace-turned-museum display 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The Heritage Museum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. The museum premises have been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from Central America to Australia.
Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry: An oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth which was built in 1568. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue's elaborate lighting are of interest.
Kalli Kota, Tripunithura: This beautiful, imposing building - a legacy of the Dutch rule - served as an entertainment auditorium to the erstwhile royalty featuring dance, drama, and plays. Today this functions largely as a marriage hall. Kalli Kota is situated near Poornathreyesa temple.
Sree Poornathreyesa Temple, Tripunithura: According to the legend says that Arjuna, the great archer and warrior and had established this sanctum. This Temple was formerly belonging to the Cochin royalty, this temple has Maha Vishnu as its presiding deity. This annual temple festival is held in Nov-Dec, while the colourful Athachamayam, a cultural extravaganza, is celebrated every year during the festival of Onam.
Indo-Portuguese Museum, Fort Cochin: This museum is established in separate building showcases artifacts like statues and coins left back by the Portuguese. The museum is located within the compound of the beautiful 1506 Bishop's House, Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy Art Centre, Ernakulam: The Art Centre is located on DH Road, this hall, now opened up as an art centre, had been the durbar of the raja of Cochin.
Mangalavanam (Mangrove Forest), Ernakulam: This place is a haven for birds, is located on Dr. Salim Ali Road, adjacent to the High Court of Kerala. Best time to visit is in the mid of January to early March.
Marine Drive: One side of this Marine Drive is backwater while the opposite side is 70-ft Road, city’s widest road. At the place of ruined old jetty there is Marine Drive Promenade. One can sit here and watch the backwaters and the Fort Kochi beyond. The world’s highly densely populated Vypeen Island is in clear view from here.
Pallipuram Fort, Vypin: This fort is situated at the far end of Vypin Island. The structure's walls have around 20 cannon emplacements. This Small and hexagonal fort was built in 1503, claiming to be the oldest European fort in India.
Mount Carmel Church, Varapuzha: This Church is famous for the most interesting things the church bells of Portuguese. This 1642 church is the second Indian vicariath established by Holy See after Goa.
Parade Ground, Fort Cochin: This ground is covering more than four acres, a large open ground was used by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British for conducting military drills and parades during the colonial years. The defense establishments of these powers were housed in some of the elegant buildings surrounding the ground. Located adjacent to St Francis' church, the ground today serves largely as a recreation and sporting turf.
Voc Gate, Fort Cochin: The Voc Gate is facing the parade ground and is large wooden gate with the initials 'VOC' carved onto it representing the monogram of the once mighty Dutch East India Company. The inscription also indicates that it was built in the year 1740.
Sree Rajarajeswari Temple, Chottanikara: This Temple is located just 15 kms from Ernakulam, this 10th century temple, one of the most renowned in Kerala and is an important pilgrim centre. The goddess here is worshipped in her three forms, one after another, as the day progresses - as Saraswathy in the morning, as Bhadrakali at noon, and as Durga in the evening. The temple's annual festival is held in Feb-Mar for nine days with 'Makam Thozal' considered the most important day. The Navaratri celebrations are also worth seeing.
St. Francis church, fort Cochin: This Church was originally named as Santo Antonio and is the first church to have been built in the new European influenced style and tradition. The original wooden building of 1510 was soon replaced by the present building around 1546. Vasco da Gama died here in 1524 and was originally buried in the church, fourteen years later his body was removed back to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The church has an impressive facade. The church, originally a Catholic Church was taken over by the Dutch after they captured Kochi in 1663 and converted into a Protestant Dutch. The British converted it into an Anglican Church after they took power in 1795, and in 1949 the congregation joined the Church of South India.
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin: This church of Fort Cochin was totally demolished by the British who took over Cochin in 1795. This church is originally built by the Portuguese; and was elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. Later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building in 1887. Santa Cruz was finally proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The basilica, situated close to the St. Francis Church, has some beautiful paintings.
St. George forane church, Edappally: This church is an important pilgrim centre; this Roman Catholic Church was built way back in AD 593 in a plot of land and is donated by the Raja of Edappally. After the seven churches were founded by St. Thomas, the Edappally church is considered to be one of the oldest in Kerala. The new church beside this church was built in 1080. Historical records have it that a session of the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor), 1599, was held here. The church is well known for its annually held nine-day feast in April/May.
Subhash Bose Park, Ernakulam: This Park adjoins the Vembanad Lake offering fantastic views of the Cochin harbour. A small aquarium is an added attraction here. This sprawling park is an ideal place for an evening stroll, a family outing, or to take your children out for some fun and frolic.
Vamanamoorthy Temple, Thrikkakara: This Temple is set in a land of great mythological significance, this ancient temple is dedicated to Vamana - the fifth avatara of Lord Vishnu and is venerated by the Vaishnavaites as one among the 108 holy places in India. The temple holds a large number of lithic records, some of great historical significance. The annual festival is held in the month of Chingam (Aug-Sept).
Best Time to Visit: October to April Location: Ernakulam district, located on the coast of the Arabian Sea , is a cluster of islands networked by lagoons and backwaters. Shopping: One can get an amazing collection of readymade items on the Marine Drive road. There are many duty-free shops on this road that sell items like cell phones and other electronic items at reasonable prices. There are many fast food joints and cafes on the roadside and one can always stop there to munch on some eatables while on your shopping spree. Another popular area for shopping is the Broadway road. The area is characterized by narrow roads, quite ironical to its name! One can buy varieties of clothes and spices here. So get set and indulge in the guiltiest pleasure of all!
How to Reach Ernakulum?
By Air: Ernakulam is connected by excellent air network to all major cities in India. The nearest Airport is Cochin International Airport.
By Rail: Ernakulam has three main railway stations, namely, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Harbour Terminus on Willingdon Island.
By Road: Ernakulam is well serviced by a network of national and state highways, connecting it to all major centres of the area.
Local Transport: Taxis, city buses and auto rickshaws.
Ferries: Ferry service is available for travel between the island towns.