St. Francis` Church Ernakulam- Kerala
Ernakulam Tourist Attractions
Alwaye, 21 km away from Ernakulam is an ideal place for swimming in the River Periyar. The annual Shivarathri festival is held on die banks of the river and is a colourful celebration. The centre of attraction is the Shiva Lingam on the sand river bank. Devotees stay awake die whole night in prayer returning home the next morning
This Protestant Church was built originally by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and it is believed to be the first church built by the Europeans in India. Vasco-da -Gama was buried here. Fourteen years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal.
Situated 25 kms towards the southeast of Kochi, near Piravom, is the legendary Pazhur. It is believed that the Siva temple here is nearly 1800 Years old. The Muvattupuzha river flowing west ward from the east changes direction on reaching the temple, otherwise the temple would have been washed away. The place is famous for astrologers who are believed to have been blessed with divine powers.
13 km from Ernakulam this museum displays the erstwhile wealth and prosperity of the royal family of Cochin, including the King`s throne and crown. Also on show are other trappings of royalty like majestic beds, paintings, carvings and samples of epigraphy. Tripunithura is also known for the nearby Chottanikara Temple and the Tripunithura Poornathraessa Temple
This is the site of the Bolgatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744. Later it became the seat of the British Resident of Cochin. Today it is a hotel run by the KTDC. The grounds have a small golf course and several vantage points for lovely views of the harbour and the sea.
Chennamangalam presents a rare geographical combination of rivers, seven inlets, a hillock and a vast expanse of green plains. It is located 5 Kms from north Paravur, north-west of Ernakulam. The place is surrounded by rivers on all 3 sides, Chennamangalam was the abode of the famous Achans of Paliam who were hereditary prime ministers to the Raja of Cochin Kottayil Kovilakam. The hillock presents an unusual sight of a Hindu temple, a church and a Jewish Synagogue all closely located next to each other, There is a seminary built in 1075 by Jesuit Priests, It was here that printing first began in Kerala in 1577. Another attraction of the place is the Malanappara made up of holders lying one over the other resembling an elephant from a distance.
The entrance to the Cochin harbour is dotted by die Chinese Fishing Nets called Cheena Vala in Malayalam . There are large nets which hang from bamboo or teak posts and are still used by local fishermen in Fort Cochin to catch fish attracted by the lights suspended above the net. Silhouetted against the sunset, they present a spectacular sight of Cochin`s waterfront.
The highlight of Cochin is a boat ride through the backwaters to all the islands. The most beautiful of all the islands is Bolgatty built by the Dutch. Today it has been converted into a hotel run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.
With an area of 5 acres, Gundu Island is the smallest island around Cochin.
Built in 1568 AD, the great scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles arc of interest. Two hundred years old, no two tiles are alike. There are also several finely wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons.
Situated on the banks of River Periyar, 45 km from Kochi is Kalady a pilgrim centre and the birth place of Adi Sankaracharya, the great Indian Philosopher of the 8th century AD. There are two shrines in memory of Adi Sankaracharya, one dedicated to him as Dakshinamurthy and the other to the goddess Sharada maintained by Sringeri Mutt. On the same premises there is also a spot (Brindavan) where Adi Sankaracharya`s mother Aryamba was cremated. In addition to it there is an ancient Shri Krishna Temple close by which was me family temple of Adi Sankaracharya. Another temple known as the International Temple dedicated to Shri Ramakrishna Deva has been built with the hope that it would ultimately become a temple for all religions and an abode of peace.
Kodungalloor (Cranganore) 32 km away was formely called Muziris. This was in olden times the premier sea port on India`s West Coast. It was the capital of Cheraman Perumal, King of Kerala whose famous palace Allal Perumkovilakam was situated near the great pagoda at Tiruvanchikulam. St. Thomas is believed to have landed at Muziris in 52 AD. The Cheramanparambu where the King`s palace stood, the ancient Thiruvanchikulam Temple, the Bhagavathi Temple, the Portuguese Fort and the old mosque - very similar in appearannce to a Hindu temple and believed to be the first mosque built in India -are all situated nearby and worth a visit.
Malayattur, 47 km from Cochin is famous for the Catholic Church on the 609 m high Malayattur Hill dedicated to St. Thomas. Thousands of devotees undertake a trip to the Shrine to participate in the annual festival - Malayattur Perunnal (March/April).
Built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in 1555 AD, it acquired the present name after 1663, when the Dutch carried out some extensions and repairs in the Palace. In the centre of the building is the coronation Hall where the Cochin Rajas held their coronations. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Cochin Rajas. Adjacent rooms contain 17th century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana.
Mulamkuzhi is a tiny hamlet nearly 15 km from Malayattoor. It is a confluence of the rivers Periyar and the Perumthode. Transportation to the spot is not a problem with a lot of private buses plying on this route. One can also reach here from Perumbavoor via Panankuzhi on a country boat. One can also make a trip to the St. Thomas church a1 malayattoor. The crystal clear medicated water of the Mulamkuzhi river and the tiny waterfalls of Venanbaravady near malayattoor is an enchanting scenery believed to have prayed at this shrine.
Located atop a hill at Chengamanad (30 kms north of Kochi), this is a place shrouded in mythology. It is believed that sage Jangaman had lived here around 2000 years ago, and me place was initially known as Jangaman, which later changed to chengamanad. A famous Lord Murugan temple is located on the spot where the sage is said to have meditated which was later consecrated by Chattambi Swamikal in 1898. The word "Munikkal Guhalayam" literally means "sages rock cave". Another story goes that Lord Murugan also called as "Guhalayam" had made this place as his abode and hence the word "Guhalavam"
Just 8 km from the heart of Ernakulam is the best place for a quick trip down the ancient lanes of Kerala`s history. Greeting die visitor outside is a statue of Parasurama, the mythological sage who is said to have created Kerala. Important historical episodes form the neolithic age to the modern era arc depicted through life-size figures. A one hour recorded commentary ( in English and Malayalam) for each scene offers a sound-and -light show.
The Parikshith Thampuran Museum is an archeological museum adjacent to the Shiva Temple on Darbar Hall Road, Ernakulam. This museum features collections of 19th century oil paintings, pre-historic monuments, old coins in a numismatic gallery, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, copies of mural paintings etc and collections from die Cochin royal family.
Another of Cochin`s famous islands is Willingdon Island, named after Lord Willingdon, the British Viceroy of India. It is a man-made island created from the material dredged while deepening the Cochin Port. Situated between Ernakulam and Mattancherry and separated by the backwaters, Willingdon Island is an important part of Cochin. It sites some of the city`s best hotels (Casino Hotel, Taj Malabar) as well as the Government of India Tourist Office, the Southern Naval Command Head-Quarters, the Cochin Port Trust, the airport and the customs house. Also on the island are the offices of several major trading and industrial houses as well as the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry