State : Kerala
In Cochin or Kochi, dawn is not often a thing of breathtaking beauty,
but just a careless smear of tinted light where sea and sky unite.
Daybreak is full of indeterminate promise. A slow lividness at the
mist-obscured harbor mouth meets the swelling untamed surge of the
ocean. Cargo-laden barges and vallams or country boats move, ponderously
slow, over the sprawling vastness of the Vembanad Kayal, Kerala’s
largest lake that spreads full bosomed and silver gray in the sultry
Place to See
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen
island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here.
A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby
is an added attraction of this beach. Vypeen island (21 km from
the city) is a major centre for commerce. The island which is connected
to the main land by a bridge is more easily accessible by boat.
The ferry ride over the backwaters takes just 30 minutes.
Koder House, this magnificent building is a supreme example of the
transition from colonial to Indo-European architecture. Features
like verandah seats at the entrance, floor tiles set in a chess
board pattern, red coloured brick like facade, carved wood furniture
and a wooden bridge connecting to a separate structure across the
street are all unique to this bungalow.
The Dutch palace at Mattancherry was actually built by the Portuguese
and presented to the Cochin Raja in AD 1555. The palace acquired
its present name in 1663 when the Dutch carried out some extensions
and repairs in it. The main attractions of the palace lie in its
wall murals that depict the scenes from the Ramayana.
Backwaters of Cochin
More popular as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is a cluster
of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake. Some of these
picturesque islands are Bolgatty, Vypeen, Gundu and Vallarpadam.
The lake opens out into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the
finest natural harbours in the world. It is this natural advantage
that has made Lochi a fascinating blend of the cultures and influences
of explorers and traders who visited this wealthy land. Boat cruises
from Kochi harbor to Willingdon Island, Mattancherry Place, the
Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi and Bolgatty Island. Sunset cruise.
3 hour backwater village cruises which include visits to coir villages
and coconut plantations.
St Francis Church
It is the oldest church built by European in India. On his 3rd visit
to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portugese trader who reached India
from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in
the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal.
In spite of that the exact place where he was buried has been marked
out inside the church.
The Jewish Synagogue
At the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town lies the synagogue
of the white Jews near Mattancherry palace. The synagogue is now
a fascinating mixture of shops, warehouses and spice auction rooms.
The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament and the Copper Plates recording
the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers to the Jewish
community are displayed here.
Santa Cruz Basilica
The Santa Cruz Basilica was built by the Portuguese and was later
elevated to a Cathedral by the Pope Paul IV in 1558. It escaped
the destruction by the Dutch conqueror in 1663 but was later demolished
by the British when they took over Cochin in 1795. There was no
church on the site for almost 100 years until Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira
commissioned a new building in 1887. It was consecrated in 1905,
Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by the Pope John Paul II in
How to Reach
: Cochin Airport is linked by direct services
of Indian airlines and East-West Airlines to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai,
Goa, Bangalore and Trivandrum.
: Cochin is well connected to several important
destinations. Bus services-both government and private-are available
to Alleppey, Quilon, Trivandrum, Thekkady, Munnar, Palaghat, Calicut,
: Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town Station
are connected to most important cities.