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KOCHI BACKWATERS

From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Kochi. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. It is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is also proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.


MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

St. Francis Church

In Kochi St Francis Church was originally built by Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. it is believed to be the oldest existing European church in India. Also the original structure made of wood, but was rebuilt in stone around the mid-16th century. The church was Roman Catholic during the Portuguese period from 1503 to 1663. It was Dutch Reform from 1664 to 1804. It was Anglican from 1804 to 1947. Church of South India governs this Church. Above all after his death, Vasco da Gama buried here in 1524 before his remains transferred to Lisbon, 14 years later. Of interest are the rope-operated punkahs, or manual fans.

Santa Cruz Basilica

Originally built by the Portuguese, this church was elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The church was totally demolished by the British who took over Cochin in 1795. Later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building in 1887. Santa Cruz was finally proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984. The basilica, situated close to the St. Francis Church, has some beautiful paintings

Museum of Kerala History, Edappally

Located along with the Art Complex at Edappally, it is a Sound and Light show presenting thirty five scenes from the political, social, and cultural history of Kerala. Commentaries in English and Malayalam. Open 10 AM to 4 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.

Jewish synagogue, Mattancherry

Jewish synagogue in Kochi built in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates on which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers recorded, gold and silver crowns gifted by various patrons to the synagogue, exquisite Chinese hand-painted willow patterned floor tiles, and the synagogue's elaborate lighting are of interest. Open 10 AM to 12 Noon and 3 PM to 5 PM. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Indo-Portuguese Museum

Indo-portuguese museum in Kochi is located within the compound of the beautiful 1506 Bishop's House, the museum established in a seperate building showcases artefacts like statues and coins left back by the Portuguese.

Hill palace museum, Tripunithura

Set on top of a hillock, this prodigious palace-turned-museum displays 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The Heritage Museum, located on the rear side of the palace buildings, familiarizes you with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. As part of the establishment of a mini zoo, a deer park is run by the Society for the Preservation of Hill Palace Premises. Also the museum premises converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from central America to Australia. Above all it is located 11 kms east of Ernakulam, en route to Chottanikara. Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Fort Cochin Beach

An ideal place for an evening strolling in Kochi and also to watch a spectacular sunset. Bathing and swimming are not recommended here. The colourful carnival at New Year's Eve is a feature of this beach.

Dutch palace, Mattancherry

Dutch palace of Kochi is also famous. The Palace, originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin raja Veera Kerala Varma in 1555, acquired its present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out some extensive repairs. The Cochin rajas held their coronation ceremoniesin the Central Hall of this double-storey quadrangular building. Rooms adjacent contain breathtaking 17th-century murals depicting scenes from the Puranas and the great epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.Open 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Fridays.

Dutch cemetery

Kochi has Dutch cemetery. Consecrated in 1724, here's an authentic reminder of the many men and women from Europe who came down all the way to play out their roles in the colonial 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Chinese fishing nets

Kochi is also famous for Chinese fishing net. These fixed, cantilevered fishing nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters, introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. However the best place to watch these nets is from Vasco da Gama square, a narrow promenade that lies parallel to the beach.

Art complex

Madhavan Nayar Foundation, Edappally - Located at Edappally, 10 kms north of Ernakulam en route to Alwaye. The complex consists of two units: the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures which presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian artists, some of them internationally acclaimed, and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The other unit, the Centre for Visual Arts is for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.

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