Ernakulam which is the fastest growing place in Kerala has lots in store to attract a large number of tourists. Ernakulam has one of the finest natural harbors. There are cast stretches of backwaters, beaches, rivers and lakes in Ernakulam. The main beaches here are Cherai beach and Fort Kochi beach. Ernakulam is famous for the several monuments here including palaces, museums, forts etc. The main monuments and museums in Ernakulam are Chendamangalam fort, Pallipuram fort, Bastion bungalow, Mattancherry palace, Bolgatty palace, Hill palace, Mattancherry synagogue, History museum, Indo Portuguese museum etc. Taking a walk through the Marine Drive in Kochi is an interesting one. Another attraction in Kochi that can be seen in the beaches and harbors are the Chinese Fishing nets. Tourists are attracted to this place and are visited by many. Some of the main places of interest in Ernakulam are given below
Fort Kochi Backwaters
Kochi has a very good harbour right from the ancient times. Traders from various parts of the world was attracted towards Kochi. The lake that surrounds Fort Kochi is the Vembanad Lake and the people can use ferry boats to travel through this lake. The best place to start one’s backwater tour is from Cochin. On this journey one can enjoy the scenery of beautiful islands, lagoon and trees.
Kumbalangi is a village that is situated in Ernakulam. This is a fishing village which has a total area of 16 sq kms. It is surrounded by backwaters and fishing is done here using Chinese fishing nets and ordinary nets. There are more than 100 Chinese fishing nets in these backwaters. Kumbalangi has a very vast backwater stretch which is interconnected by waterways.
Cherai beach is situated in Vypin Island in Ernakulam district. This beach which is popularly called as the golden beach of Kerala is very beautiful with clean and shallow sea waters. This makes this beach an ideal one for swimming and sun bathing. The beach is of length 15 kms.
Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi beach has historical importance. The rule of the British, Dutch and the Portuguese has largely influenced the life and culture of this place. Almost all are designed in the European style. It was a fishing village and is the first European township in India. One of the main attractions in this beach is the fort which is an example for the European architecture.
Chendamangalam fort is in Ernakulam district and is one of the oldest forts of India. It is believed to be around 450 years old. There are many valuable historical documents, relics etc which are kept for display. The surroundings of the fort are very beautiful and are covered by green trees, small hills and also 3 rivers.
Pallipuram fort is situated in Vypeen Island in Ernakulam district. The outpost of this building is a hexagonal shaped structure and is also called as Ayakkotta or Alikkotta. This fort was built in the year 1503 by the Portuguese and is the oldest European fort that exists in India.
Bastion Bungalow is a tourist centre situated at the end of the Church road in Fort Kochi. It was built by the Portuguese in the year 1667. This building is a pure representation of Indo European style that follows the Dutch style. Currently it is the official residence of the Sub collector. It has the name Bastion because it is located on the Stromsburg Bastion of the Dutch fort.
The Jewish community who stayed in India long ago had built many buildings that made their presence felt. One of the landmarks of the Jews is the Synagogue which is a place to worship. The Jews who had settled in Kerala had constructed various such Synagogues. Chennamangalam synagogue located in Chennamangalam village was built by the Portuguese in the year 1614.
Mattancherry palace which is situated in Kochi is also called as Dutch palace. This palace was constructed by the Portuguese in the year 1555 and was presented to the Raja of Kochi, Kerala Varma. Later in the year 1663, the Dutch made some renovations to this palace and so came to be called as the Dutch Palace. This palace was used as the Royal home and also to conduct coronation ceremony.
Mattancherry synagogue which is also known as the Paradesi Synagogue was constructed in the year 1568 by the Jewish community in Cochin. Hence, it is also referred to as the Cochin Jewish Synagogue. It was built on the land that was gifted to the Jews by the Cochin King.
Bolgatty Palace is located on the Bolgatty Island in Kochi. This palace was built by the Dutch in the year 1744 and is the oldest Dutch palace outside Holland. Later it was given as lease to the British in 1909 who made it their residence until 1949. This palace faces the estuary of Vembanad Lake.
Hill palace which is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala is situated in Tripunithura in Ernakulam district. This palace was built in the year 1865, by the Raja of Kochi and was made his office. He constructed this palace using their personal wealth. This palace was given to the state government by the Royal family and in 1980 it came under the control of the Archaeological department who then converted it into a museum.
Kerala history museum is located in Kochi and is an interesting museum for those who like to know about the culture and tradition of our state. This museum is run by a charitable trust and is also called as the Madhavan Nayar Foundation. This museum was founded in 1987.
Indo Portuguese Museum
The Indo Portuguese museum is located in Fort Kochi. This museum is an example of the influence of Portuguese in this area. It was set up with the efforts of late Dr. Joseph Kureethra who was the Bishop of Kochi with the aim of preserving the valuable collections.
Maritime Museum is situated in INS Dronacharya in Kochi. This museum is meant for the maritime heritage of the Indian Navy. This museum acts as a source for making the civilians understand the ability and need of naval force in our country. This museum helps us to know about the evolution of Indian navy in the year 1612 and also the achievements made by the Indian Navy.
Mulamkuzhi waterfall is situated in Mulamkuzhi village in Malayattoor in Ernakulam district. This waterfall originates from Mulamkuzhi River and flows through the hill ranges.
Mangalavanam is located in Kochi in Ernakulam district. It lies behind the High Court building. This sanctuary is famous for its mangrove trees and also for the communally breeding birds. It is popularly called as the ‘Green Lung of Kerala’ due to the presence of the green vegetation which includes the mangrove trees.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary is located in Ernakulam district on the banks of the River Periyar. It lies at a height of 525 m above sea level and covers an area of 25 sq kms. This sanctuary established in the year 1983 is the first recognized bird sanctuary in Kerala. It was set up by Dr. Salim Ali who was an ornithologist. So this sanctuary is also called as Salim Ali bird sanctuary.
Bhoothathankettu dam is situated in Pindimana village in Ernakulam district. A myth about this place is that the hills and the forest here were built by a Bhootham in an overnight. Hence it came to be called as the Bhoothathankettu which means the fort of the Bhootham which means spirit or ghost. The dam is constructed using irregular shaped large stones and is built on the Periyar river.
Chinese Fishing Nets
Chinese fishing nets are seen in Kochi in Ernakulam district. The Chinese finishing nets which has its origin in China was introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He. It was set up between 1350 and 1450. These Chinese nets are seen mostly in the Cochin beaches and harbor.
Willingdon Island is a manmade island in Ernakulam district. This island is named after the former British Viceroy in India, Lord Willingdon. This island was created with the soil that was removed from the Vembanad lake during the construction of the Kochi port.
Veega land is India’s first water theme park. It is located in Pallikkara in Ernakulam district and covers an area of 30 acres. It is at a height of 77 m above sea level. There are a wide varieties of trees and plants inside the park that increases the beauty of the park.
Marine Drive is one of the most beautiful part of Kochy city. There is a very long pathway and this marine walk is the main hangout for the local people here. It gives a beautiful view of the backwaters and the harbour.
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum is an archeological museum situated on the Durbar Hall Road in Ernakulam. It is also called as Durbar Hall Art Gallery. This museum has wide collection of articles such as paintings of the 19th century, old monuments and coins, stone sculptures and items that belong to the Kochi Royal family.
Indira Gandhi Boat Race
Indira Gandhi Boat Race is an annual boat race which is conducted in Kochi. It is held at the yearend during the last week of December. It is organized by the Kerala state Tourism Department. It is a very popular boat race and denotes the finale of the tourism fair. The trophy is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.