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Home >> Destinations>> Cochin

Mattancherry Jain Temple Cochin is the most charming city in Kerala but long before tourism it became the first port of call for Arabs, Chinese and, finally, European sea merchants, who sailed for barter into what came to be known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea." Lured by the promise of pepper, the Portuguese under Vasco da Gama arrived in 1500, and the Franciscan friars who accompanied the explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral established a church and set about converting the locals. In 1663, Cochin fell to the Dutch, and then to the British in 1795. Each of these foreign influences left their mark, resulting in a distinctly Indo-European culture, most evident in the architecture.

Today, Cochin comprises distinct areas - the historic districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin, and modern Ernakulam, between which are the islands, well connected to the mainland by bridges.

Fort Cochin, the oldest European settlement in India, retains an old-world charm. Its battlements no longer stand, but the combination of Portuguese, Dutch, Jewish, British, and local influences is evident in the tiled, steep-roofed bungalows that line its quaint streets, and it's home to the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth.

Mantancherry Church Mantancherry church
It has been rated as the oldest synagogue in all the 53 member-countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Jewish Synagogue in the port city of Kochi is the oldest synagogue in all the Commonwealth of Nations. Thus, it comprises the topmost slot in the itinerary of the tourists visiting the city. Malabar Yehudan People, or Cochin Jewish community, constructed this synagogue in 1568. It is also known by the name of Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Synagogue. Paradesi is Hindi meaning "foreigners". In this case, the term was applied to a synagogue because it was once used by the "White Jews", a mixture of Jews from Cranganore, from the Middle East as well as the European exiles.
Santa Cruz - KochiSanta Cruz
Santa Cruz Basilica, a Roman Catholic Cathedral located at K.B Jacob road in Fort Kochi, is one of the finest and impressive churches in Kerala. It is a place of devotion as well as a center of historic significance, endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur and colours of the gothic style. Located close to St. Francis Church it is the 'capital church' of the diocese of Cochin.
Backwaters - Cochin Backwaters
With coconut trees lining the pellucid lake waters for kilometers at a stretch the backwaters of Cochin proffer one of the most enchanting sights to tourists. Apart from the numerous ancient monuments, like the Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi and the Mattancherry Palace, built during the pre-British times, the backwaters in Kochi city of Kerala is just another reason why hundreds of tourists flock to this beautiful port city the whole year round.
Chinese Fishing Net Chinese fishing net
The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, located in the Kochi city of Kerala A very unusual method of fishing, operated from the shore, make up a very popular tourist attraction. They are fixed land installations, which are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. Operated from the shore, these nets are set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms, which lower them into the sea. They look somewhat like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.
Dutch Palace - Cochin Dutch Palace
The Dutch palace at Mattancherry, though actually built by the Portuguese was presented to the ruler of Cochin in AD 1555. In 1663 the Dutch carried out some rebuilding and repairs in it. The main attractions of the palace are its wall murals depicting the scenes from the Ramayana.
Fort Kochi - Cochin Fort Kochin
Founded in 1503, this Portuguese fort is in ruins now. With its European legacy, stubborn self-absorption and its air of genteel decay, it is a place where history still stalks the lonely streets. One of the fascinating sights of the coast in Kochi is the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets brought here by traders belonging to Kublai Khan's court.
St. Francis Church - Cochin St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, was built in the early 16th century. It was here that Vasco da Gama was first buried in 1562. It was only in 1578 that his remains were taken back by his son to Portugal.
Hill Palace Museum - Cochin Hill Palace Museum
12 km south east of Ernakulam, towards Kottayam, lies the Hill Palace museum at Tripunithura. The museum showcases a rich collections of the Cochin and Travancore royal families.
Willingdon Island - Cochin Willingdon Island
Headquarters of Southern Naval Command of India, Willingdon is manmade island having a seaport, railway terminus, airport, and a customs house. The regular ferry services on the lake around the island offers inexpensive backwater cruise. The island gets its name from Lord Willingdon, a British Viceroy to India. Some of the city's best customs and trading centres and hotels are located here.

General Information

By Air : Cochin (42 km)
By Rail : Cochin (15 km)
By Road : Wayanad (241 km), Idukki (138 km), Kumarakom (82 km), Vazhoor (130 km), Kovalam (239 km), Alleppey (63 km), Periyar (185 km)
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