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Kochi, India (Malayalam: കൊച്ചി, IPA: [koˈt͡ʃːi]( listen)), formerly known as Cochin, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. Kochi or Cochin is popularly known as the Queen of Arabian Sea, also flaunts one of the finest natural harbours of the world. and was the centre of the world spice trade for many centuries. Old Kochi loosely refers to a group of islands which comprise Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, etc. Today Kochi includes Ernakulam city, old parts of Kochi, Kumbalangi, and outlying islands. It is one of the principal tourist destinations of Kerala. The city derives its name from the Malayalam word Kochazhi meaning small lagoon.
A traditional kettuvallam idling in the lake
- Backwaters of Kochi are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. In Cochin, the stretch from Kochi Azhi to Munambam Azhi, the serene backwaters are popularly known as Veeranpuzha. It is the northern extension of Vembanad Lake. Vembanad Lake (Vembanad Kayal or Vembanad Kol) is India's longest lake, and is the largest lake in Kerala. It is also one of the largest lakes in India.
Pedestrians can stroll along the Marine Drive
, a waterfront promenade of Kochi.
- Marine Drive is a picturesque promenade in Kochi. It is built facing the backwaters, and is a popular hangout for the local populace. Marine Drive is also an economically thriving part of the city of Kochi. With several shopping malls it is as an important centre of shopping activity in Kochi. The walkway has two contemporarily constructed bridges, the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge.The view of the setting and rising sun over the sea mouth, and the gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake has made Marine Drive an important tourist destination in Kochi. Hundreds of people (both natives, and tourists) throng the walkway during the evenings.
- Hill Palace : is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, near Tripunithura. It was the administrative office of Kochi Rajas. Built in 1865, the Palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style, spreading across in 54 acres. The complex has an archaeological Museum, a Heritage Museum, a Deer Park, a Pre-historic Park and a Children’s park .
File:Kerala Dutch Palace1.JPG
Mattancherry Palace, front side
- Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry, Kochi, features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.Mattancherry Palace with its medieval charm is situated at Palace Road, Mattancherry, Kochi. It was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537-65), Raja of Kochi, in 1555 AD.The palace is a quadrangular structure built in Nālukettu style, the traditional Kerala style of architecture, with a courtyard in the middle. In the courtyard there stands a small temple dedicated to 'Pazhayannur Bhagavati', the protective goddess of the Kochi royal family. There are two more temples on either side of the Palace, one dedicated to Lord Krishna and the other to Lord Siva. Certain elements of architecture, as for example the nature of its arches and the proportion of its chambers are indicative of European influence in basic Nāluketttu style.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
- Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (locally known as Kaloor International Stadium) is an international stadium in Kochi, Kerala, India. With a capacity to hold 60,000 spectators, the stadium was built in 1996 .Originally constructed as a football stadium, it has played host to a number of international cricket and football matches. The extensive grounds of the stadium serve as venue for important exhibitions, cinema events and political rallies in the city. The stadium is quipped with floodlights for night play. The architecture of the stadium is unique compared to other stadia in India.
The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi
- Jewish Synagogue : or the Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, located in Kochi in South India. It was built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin. It is also referred to as the Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town, and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area still in use. The complex has four buildings. It was built adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace temple on the land gifted to the Malabari Yehuden community by the Raja of Kochi, RamaVarma. The Mattancherry Palace temple and the Mattancherry synagogue share a common wall.
Interior of the Santa Cruz Basilica
- Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica : a church built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558, was spared by the Dutch conquerors who destroyed many Catholic buildings. Later the British demolished the structure and Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira commissioned a new building in 1887. Consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by the Pope John Paul II in 1984. This magnificent church is a must see destination for tourists who come to Kochi.
- Bolgatty Palace : Built by the Dutch in India, it is located in the scenic island popularly known as Bolgatty island in Kochi. One of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland, this quaint mansion, built in 1744, by Dutch traders, was later extended and lush green gardens were landscaped around it. The building was then the Governor's palace for the Dutch and later in 1909 was leased to the British. It served as the home of the British Governors, the seat of the British Resident of Cochin during the British regime. In 1947, when India gained independence, the palace became the property of the state and later converted into a heritage hotel resort.
The Chinese fishing net bridge in Kochi
- Willingdon Island : A manmade island named after Lord Willingdon a former British Viceroy to india. Southern Naval Command, Cochin Harbour, Port Trust head quarters , Best hotels in the city,, major trading centers etc. are situated at Willingdon Island.
- Museum of Kerala History: Important scenes of Kerala history are portrayed through sculptures. Greeting the visitor outside the museum is a statue of Parasurama, the mythological safe who is said to have created Kerala.
- St.Francis Church: originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent.
- Pallipuram Fort It was built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is the oldest existing European fort in India. In 1789 the Dutch captured the fort in 1661 and sold it to the State of Travancore. This fort is situated in the northern extremity of the Vypeen island.
- Parikshit Thampuran Museum :
View of the waterfall from the cliff
- Athirappilly Falls : is around 60 km from Kochi. The Chalakudy River, 145 kilometres (90 mi) long, originates in the Anamudi mountains (Western Ghats) and flows through the Vazhachal Forest toward the Arabian Sea. Forest wildlife includes the Asiatic elephant, tiger, leopard, bison, sambar, and lion-tailed macaque. Plantations in the area contain teak, bamboo, and eucalyptus. The river initially runs smoothly but becomes more turbulent as it nears Athirappilly. At Athirappilly Falls, the water surges around big rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. Below the falls, the river remains turbulent for about 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) until it reaches Kannamkuzhi. Then it calms and flows smoothly until reaching the dam at Imburmuzhi.
- Cherai Beach : is a beach is just 30 km from Kochi. The 15 km of long golden beach is very clean, shallow, and attracts swimming and sunbathing. Cherai village is a part of Vypin Island.
- Kalady : is a popular pilgrim center because it is the birthplace of Sri Adi Sankara, one of India's foremost philosopher-saints who preached the Advaita or monastic philosophy.
- Bhoothathankettu : is a dam and tourist site. It is situated in the village of Pindimana, about 50 km away from the Kochi. Bhoothathankettu is connected to the Salim Ali/Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, where visitors can see different varieties of birds and animals. The Idamalayam reservoir is about 12 km distance from the site.
- Chottanikkara Temple : is a famous temple of the Hindu mother goddess Bhagawati. Bhagawati is one of the most popular deities in the area, and she is worshipped at the temple, along with Lord Vishnu, in three different forms: as Saraswati in the morning, draped in white; as Bhadrakali at noon, draped in crimson; and as Durga in the evening, decked in blue. 'Chottanikara Magam' is the famous religious festival in the temple.
- Paliam Palace,Chendamangalam : It is about 42 km from Kochi. The Paliam Palace, residence of the Paliath Achans, hereditary Prime Ministers to the former Maharajas of Kochi, is one of the architectural splendours of Kerala. The Palace is over 450 years old and houses a collection of historic documents and relics.
- Malayattoor : is one of the most prominent Christian pilgrim centers in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. The Malayatoor Church of Cochin attracts a large number of devotees from not just Kerala, but also all over India.St. Thomas is believed to have landed in Kerala at Kodungallur (Cranganore) in AD 52. Oral tradition says that while travelling through Malayattor, faced with hostile natives, he fled to the hilltop where he is said to have remained in prayer and that he left his foot prints on one of the rocks. According to beliefs, during prayer, he touched a rock, upon which blood poured from it.
- Kadamattom Church : is one of the most famous churches in India. The church is built around 10th Century AD in Indo-Persian architecture. The church is famous from a priest - "Kadamattathu kattanar" who was famous for his supernatural powers. The church also possess an ancient Persian Cross in one of its Madbaha walls. Poyedam Well and chapel is also another tourist attraction.
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