Attractions In kochi
The city of Kochi, also called Cochin, has been a major port in the Indian subcontinent for long. Its significance as a spice trade centre earned it the nickname, the Queen of the Arabian Sea. However, the real magnificence of Kochi lies not in its economic aspect, but in its historical value. The city houses numerous quaint palaces and shrines that take you back in time. That is not all as nature has also bestowed bounties on this region. Here are a few places that have made Kochi a popular name in India tourism.
Shrines are a must-visit for people, who want to learn about the culture of Kochi. Among the most sought-after ones in the city is the opulent Paradesi Synagogue – famed as the oldest such site in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is adorned with hand-painted ceramic tiles, imported from China in the 18th century, and many other rare antique objects. Hanging from the ceiling of the building are glass chandeliers that were brought from Belgium in the 19th century.
St Francis Church is where the body of the great Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, was buried before it was taken back to Portugal. It has been renovated and reconstructed several times, but still holds its old world charm.
While the Fort Kochi area is replete with monuments, its one structure that stands out from the list is Santa Cruz Basilica, which showcases a blend of Indo-European and Gothic styles of architecture. The frescoes and murals that enrich the walls of the shrine are its highlights. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ernakulam Mahadev Temple also draws tourists by the loads. The temple festival, which falls in the month of January, is celebrated for 8 days, with complete zeal and enthusiasm. These various places to worship are a testament to the religious harmony with which the people of Kochi live together.
Besides cultural attractions, the city amazes with its scenic beaches. The name which tops the list of the best seafronts in Kochi is Fort Kochi Beach. The combination of silky sands washed by the milky white waters of the Indian Ocean and crisp air refreshes the soul. When, or if, you get tired of the stunning view of the ocean, you can turn to Chinese fishing nets and watch fishers hunt. Not too far from here is another well-known seafront, called Mahatma Gandhi Beach, a popular picnic spot. People come here with their friends and family to spend some joyful moments together. Another popular place to hang out in between sightseeing is the buzzing Marine Drive, which commands magnificent vistas of the backwaters and harbour.
When the Portuguese, had the control of Kochi, they built several amazing structures here, and one of them is Mattancherry Dutch Palace. In order to establish trading relations with the royal family of Kerala, they presented this palace to them, and later when the Dutch arrived here, they renovated the building. Another such place, the Hill Palace complex, having 49 establishments, is famed today as the largest archaeological museum in the state. It holds a fascinating collection of the erstwhile rulers of the region. A visit to the museum sheds light on the history of Kochi and the lavish lifestyle of the royals.
Besides the popular Hill Palace Museum, Kochi has numerous other such sites that give a glimpse into its rich past. One of the most visited of these is the Indo-Portuguese Museum. It is a storehouse of artefacts, showcasing the influence of Portuguese culture on the local lifestyle. The next one on the list is the Kerala Folklore Museum, the sole purpose of which is to preserve the culture of South India. Several art and dance shows are organised here from time to time. The entrance of this ornate structure is built using the remains of a 16th-century temple in Tamil Nadu and wooden carvings gathered from different parts of Kerala. Its comprehensive collection includes sculptures, costumes, musical instruments, jewellery items, and medicinal and astrological manuscripts.
All the aforementioned places along with many others grace the map of Kochi and make it a heaven for culture aficionado.