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Ten things to do in Kochi

By Siddharth Premkumar   1 Dec, 2016

Ten things do in Kochi

Of Kochi, it was said by an Italian visitor in the Middle Ages: If China is where you make your money; then Kochi surely is the place to spend it.

Situated on the coast facing the Arabian Sea, Kochi is one of the world’s best natural harbour hubs. Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city and commercial capital, Kochi has always been a major centre of trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British all leaving their mark here. The huge ‘Chinese fishing nets’ brought here by traders from Kublai Khan’s empire are just one reminder of this history.

Fort Kochi

There is no better way to explore the historic town of Fort Kochi than on foot. It is a time-capsule, wearing with pride the traces of bygone eras. If you enjoy trips to the past, there is little better than walking through these streets with the cool sea breeze at your back.

From colonial structures to centuries old churches – including the St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. Built in 1503, Vasco da Gama was buried here and his tombstone can still be seen. The Portuguese explorer also has a town square to his name nearby – dotted with stalls serving up delicious seafood and tender coconuts

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin. The reproduction of the Last Supper is a visual feast.


Jew Synagogue and Jew Town

The Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568 when Kochi had a thriving migrant Jewish population, is one of the oldest active synagogues.  Located in the old part of Mattenchery Town close to Fort Kochi known as Jew Town, it remains a popular stop and pilgrimage point for observant Jews.

Near Jew Town is the Dutch Palace or Mattenchery Palace. It was built in 1555 A.D by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma, Raja of Kochi. It has a huge collection of Kerala Temple murals, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.


Museum of Kerala History

This museum in the bustling Edappally area is a must visit destination for those who want to know about the history of Kerala. There is a lovely reproduction of Parasurama, the mythic founder of Kerala and an avatar of Vishnu as well as depictions of historical episodes, including commentaries and life-size tableaux. The museum also houses over 200 original works by famous Indian artists.

 

Backwaters

Just as alluring as its history, Kochi’s network of inland waterways – popularly known as backwaters – take visitors on a slow cruise in the city’s cultural history in one of the many ‘Kettuvalloms’ or houseboats that ply on these waters.

 

Hill Palace, Thripunithura

The Hill Palace was the official residence of Maharaja of Kochi. Built in 1865, the palace is today a museum harbouring 18 main galleries. The crown worn by the erstwhile kings of the Kochi dynasty is displayed in the Cabinet Hall. There is also a gallery displaying contemporary art and it showcases works by the artist king Raja Ravi Varma among others.

Megalithic remains, 14th century wood carvings, porcelain, manuscripts and epigraphs, all kinds of horse carts from the 10th to 18th century in the museum, ancient weapons, musical instruments, bronze and silver items are also displayed here.

 

Marine drive

A popular meeting haunt for locals, this scenic pathway is built facing the Vembanad lake and offers panoramic views of the sunset and is a great spot for runners to work up a sweat

The Broadway stretch of road that lines up next to Marine Drive is the spot to buy souvenirs and other trinkets with great deals to be made with the hawkers and small stalls on the walkway.

 

Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island is a man-made island created in 1933. There are beautiful walkways and boat ferry points on this island.  A great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll or take in the sunset

 

Vypeen Island

This is where Arabian Sea merges with Vembanad Lake. It is believed that the island zone was formed as a result of a heavy flood during 1341. Vypeen is connected by boat and jetty services offered to Fort Kochi island and to Kochi through the other-worldly Goshree bridge. This makes it perfect for a day trip.

 

Wonderla Amusement Park

The leading amusement park in Kochi, Wonderla Amusement Park is a must visit for people travelling with kids. Plenty of the rides here are water based to help get out from under the sun.

 

Kodanad Elephant Training Center

Kodanad, a rural village near Kochi, is famous for an elephant training centre established in 1950.  Kodanad is today a rescue training centre for wounded elephants and lost calves.

 


Jyotsna Sharma is the Editor of The Wall. The Wall has been India's most well read art magazine for the last five years, subscribe and get access to premium content for free. Subscribe or read the magazine at thewallartmag.com

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