Kerala, God’s Own Country is one of the most sought after destination in the country. Every place in Kerala has a special charm and beauty. Ernakulam also known as Kochi is no exception for this. Ernakulam is the commercial capital and the most developed city of Kerala. This place has great significance in the history.
Major portion of the district is from the kingdom of Kochi also called as the Queen of Arabian Sea. The district consists of the mainland Ernakulam, the man made Willington Island, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Vypeen Island, Bolgatty Palace etc.
Ernakulam is a must-visit place during your Kerala trip. This charming city with a glorious past have so much to offer. You can enjoy the beauty of this city by walking through the streets.
Ernakulam has an exotic combination of natural beauty and man-made architecture. Stunningly beautiful places, colonial buildings and historical monuments of the place are a true delight. Ernakulam is the place which was under different rulers so it holds a mixture of culture.
Places to Visit in Ernakulam
Apart from Kochi there are so many interesting places in Ernakulam. Some of the must visit places in here include:
1. Mattancherry Palace
This historically important palace built by Portuguese is one of the marvellous attractions in Ernakulam. Mattancherry Palace also called as the Dutch palace draws thousands of tourists with its elegant charm. The architectural beauty of this palace is beyond words.
The fine collection of mural paintings depicting Hindu epics from Mahabharata and Ramayana decorates the interior of the palace. This wonderful palace displays royal costumes and palanquins.
2. Bolgatty Palace
Bolgatty Palace situated on the Bolgatty Islands is one among the oldest existing palaces built by the Dutch in India. With the spectacular backwaters of Kochi in the background, the scenery around the palace is astounding.
There is a fabulous garden surrounding the palace. Today the palace is converted into an esteemed heritage hotel run by KTDC. This palace really worth a visit.
3. Hill Palace Museum
Hill Palace Museum situated 12 km away from Ernakulam holds a marvellous collection of sculptures, rare coins, old weapons, manuscripts in ancient scripts. This museum also houses collections from Kochi royal family.
The deer park situated near to the museum is a nice place to visit. For those who are seeking for fun excitement this is the perfect place. You can go for horse riding and experience the thrilling moments.
4. Vasco House
Vasco house, built in the first half of sixteenth century is one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco house is beautiful with beautiful European glass paned windows and verandas. It is believed to be the residence of Vasco da Gama. From here you can see the historic St Francis church. Now Vasco house is serving as a home stay. Enjoy stay at this marvellous house.
5. St Francis Church
St.Francis church located at Fort Kochi is the oldest European church in India. This Portuguese church is built in 1510 AD and is the first European church in India. This church have great historical significance. It is in there the great traveller Vasco Da Gama was buried. His Tombstone still stands to tell about his glorious life. This is a Protestant church.
6. Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi is one of the unique and popular tourist attraction. It is believed that these nets were introduced by traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan.
Other than Kochi these nets are only found in China. This 10 meter long fishing net that lines the sea front looks like hammocks. Local fisherman used this for a mechanical method of catching fish. These are usually used for a unique and unusual method of fishing.
7. Fort Kochi Beach
If you want to take a stroll in a peaceful ambiance with the mesmerising sight of sea in the background there is no other place in whole Ernakulam than Fort Kochi beach. A sight of the beach specially at sunset with Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background will be an unforgettable experience for all.
Not only that you can enjoy local delicacies in the stalls. The sea food in these stalls are just amazing. Beautiful European style bungalows along the shores add special charm to this place. This is the best place in Kochi to relax.
8. Santa Cruz Basilica
The Roman Catholic Church situated in Fort Kochi close to St. Francis Church. This is one among the most beautiful church in India. The Gothic style and architectural beauty of this church draws thousands of tourists to this place every year. You can also see some of the beautiful paintings here. This is a place of devotion and beauty.
9. Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town
Jewish Synagogue situated at the Jew Town is the oldest Synagogue in all commonwealth nations. This synagogue is also called as Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Synagogue. This magnificently decorated Synagogue contains giant scrolls of old testament.This historically important place reminds us about its past glory.
10. Marine Drive
Marine Drive, is a beautiful hangout in Kochi. This walkway in Kochi is built facing the serene backwaters. It is a popular hang out in the city. There are so many shopping malls and food joints in the Marine Drive. Marine Drive offers the spectacular view of backwaters.
This is an important economic centre in Kochi. In the evening time so many people stroll across this walkaway enjoying the mesmerising sight of Sunset and the cool breeze coming from the Vembanad lake. Do not miss this wonderful hangout in Kochi.
11. Parikshith Thampuran Museum
This is a wonderful Archaeological museum located on the Durbar Hall road at Ernakulam. It is one amongst the best museums of the Indian subcontinent. This museum holds an attractive collection of nineteenth century paintings, ancient monuments, coins, scriptures made in stone and Plaster of Paris, murals, memorabilia belonging to the royal family in Kochi.
The most attractive part in here is the former guest room or darbar hall. Now this museum is under the administration of the State Archaeological Department, which named it after Rama Varma Parikshith Thampuran the last ruler from royal family.
12. Cherai Beach
This clean and shallow beach is situated on Cherai village of Ernakulam district. Cherai beach has a coastline of 15 km. This lovely beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The sandy shores of Cherai beach is surrounded by tall coconut trees and green paddy fields.
This golden beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala. Occasionally you can see dolphins in here. There is a wonderful children’s park in this beach. This is the one place where you can see the exotic combination of sea and backwaters in the background of green paddy fields and tall coconut trees.
13. Pallipuram Fort
Pallipuram Fort, located in Vypeen island in the village of Pallipuram is a European fort, built by the Portuguese in 1503. This is an important heritage site in Kerala. This oldest surviving fort is popularly known as Ayikkotta or Alikotta. This hexagonal shaped fort structure is constructed using laterite, chunam and wood. This wonderful fort is protected by Kerala State Department of Archaeology.
14. Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Mangalavanam bird sanctuary is popular among tourists, Ornithologists and bird lovers. This sanctuary is situated at the heart of Ernakulam. Mangalavanam is a mangrove area with a lake in the middle and mangrove vegetation in the edges. There is a lot variety of exotic and resident birds.
Mangalavanam is also famous for this mangrove vegetation. This wonderful place will be a pleasant experience for one and all.There is a guest house in here for the tourists to stay.
15. Museum of Kerala History
This museum is entirely different from others in so many aspects. Here the history of the land is described through magnificent and informative light and sound shows. This wonderful audio-visual exhibits depicting the history of Kerala and culture of Kerala is really good.
This museum is a popular haunt for tourists, locals, students and intellectuals, the Museum of Kerala History highlights everything, from the old age to the modern age. There is a special gallery for paintings and sculptures depicting Indian Contemporary Art.
16. Veega land
Veegaland, one of the South India's largest amusement park is situated in Ernakulam. The fun and activities here are so amazing that not only children but adults also come here to enjoy various fun rides and activities. Be a child once more and play with your kids. Visiting this park will be an unforgettable experience for one and all.
17. Willingdon island
Willingdon Island is a beautiful man made island created from the sand dug out while deepening Kochi port. This island has been named after Lord Willingdon.
The island is Situated between the main land Ernakulam and the old town Mattancherry separated by the backwaters. This island is an important part of the city. So many government offices are situated in Willingdon island.
Things to do in Ernakulam
Ernakulam is blessed with many serene backwaters. The backwaters separating Ernakulam from Fort Kochi and Mattancherry dotted with many small and big islands is a wonderful sight to see. A boat ride through this backwaters will be an amazing experience. This is the best way to explore the beauty of colourful nature.
You can also watch Kathakali performance in Ernakulam. Kathakali, the traditional dance form of Kerala is impressive with with facial expressions, hand gestures and body movements. You can approach Cochin Cultural Centre, India Foundation and Art Kerala for organising Kathakali performances.
Places to Shop around Ernakulam
Ernakulam / Kochi is a big shopping centre in Kerala. There are plenty of opportunities to shop. You can shop for crafts, spices, gold and textiles. To relish the flavour of Kochi’s ancient spice trade go to the wholesale markets in Mattancherry.
Apart from spices you can also pick up antique items, tea and coffee and souvenir bric-a-brac. Malabar Spice Shop and RK Spices in Mattancherry is famous for black pepper, dry ginger, red chilli and galangal root.
There are so many furniture shops producing many variety of rose wood reclining chairs, tables and ship. MG road in Ernakulam is famous for buying gold. There are so many jewelleries in this lane. Also there are textile shops for buying clothes like Kerala Saree and Mundu.
Where to Stay in Ernakulam
Being the commercial and industrial capital of the state as well as the major tourist centre there are so many hotels, resorts and homestay in Ernakulam / Kochi ranging from heritage homes to luxury suites.
The hotels in Ernakulam maintain high standard and has come up with all the facilities. There are good number of hotels and resorts near the most attractive places in Ernakulam. These hotels offers warm hospitality.
Some of the best staying options in Kochi are Malabar House, Trinity, Koder House, Brunton Boatyard, The old Courtyard, Ballard Bungalow, Fort Heritage, Fort House, The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive, Rossitta Wood Castle, Casino Hotel, The Renaissance Cochin, Le Meridien, Vivanta By Taj-Malabar, Grande Residencia, Dream Cochin etc.
Where to Eat in Ernakulam
Ernakulam is a city of different South Indian amalgamation. The food habit of Ernakulam follows the south Indian style. Rice is the staple diet of locals. Sea food is also common here. Its prepared in different style. This city being under the rule of so many foreigners all of them influenced the cuisine of here.
There are many five star hotels as well as some cheap hotels and dhabas in Kochi. The History Restaurant of Brunton Boatyards offers all local delicacies in its real taste. There are ‘You Buy, I Cook ‘ stalls which are popular for fish items.
The restaurant in the Old Courtyard Hotel serves some of the best Portuguese dishes as well as Kerala regional specialities. Euro-Mallu fusion seafood is the speciality of restaurant in Malabar House. Rahmathullah Hotel, Kashi Art Cafe, Pai Brothers and The Teapot are some of the best place to enjoy food in Kochi / Ernakulam.
Ernakulam is a nice place to spend some time and stay in Kerala. Have a great time in this beautiful place.