Sightseeing places of Kochi


Queen of Arabian Sea, Cochin, has been a major port for spices since ages. With one of the finest natural harbours of the world, Cochin or Kochi as it is popularly known has always been a tourist’s favourite destination. The commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi boasts of various attractions in and around ranging from temples, mosques and churches to beaches, wild life sanctuaries, museums and parks.
History records Kochi as being occupied by the Portuguese in 1503 thus becoming the first European Colony in Colonial India. Later Dutch and then eventually the British entered the peninsula and Kingdom of Cochin became a princely state. Relics of the past rulers and their influence are still seen around the city. When in 1947 India became independent 1947 Cochin was one of the first princely states that joined the Indian Union.
The Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is in Kochi. State headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard, International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL (Kochi Refineries) and the port of Kochi form the maritime facilities in Kochi. Kochi also boasts of major industries like FACT, HOCL, TCC, TELK, CSEZ, Infopark etc. Kerala High Court is in Kochi and there are many well-regarded academic and professional institutions in Kochi making it one of the well facilitated cities. With a well read and knowledgeable population Kochi has many shopping centers, entertainment hubs and opportunities for an elevated lifestyle.
One can find many fascinating things in and around the city and with its well connected network of roads reaching any point in the city is possible. Some of the well known haunts for a tourist could be the following.

St. Francis Church

Started as a wooden church built by Portuguese and dedicated to St. Bartholomew, it was rebuilt with bricks & mortar, tiled roof in 1516 and it was dedicated to St. Anthony. Later the church changed hands and ended up with Anglicans who changed the patron saint to St. Francis. Vasco da Gama’s body was originally buried in this church but was then moved to Lisbon. Services are conducted on Sundays and commemorative days and other days kept open for visitors.

St Francis Church
Santa Cruz Basilica

Santa Cruz Basilica

It was a church built by the Portuguese missionaries around 1500. The foundation stone was laid on May 3, 1505 on the feast day of the “invention of the Holy Cross’ and so the church was named Santa Cruz. Later Pope Paul IV elevated it to cathedral. When British came they demolished the cathedral and then was later re-built 1887. Santa Cruz was proclaimed Basilica by pope John Paul II.

Fort Kochi

Named after the Fort built by the Portuguese on the land that was gifted to them Fort Kochi was originally a fishing village. With its distinctive Chinese fishing nets, and old-world charm due to the remnants of the Dutch and Portuguese rule Fort Kochi attracts visitors from world over. It is now one of the famous beaches in Kerala. Cochin Carnival on this beach on new year’s eve is a one of its kind and a wonderful celebration.

Jewish Synagogue

Jewish Synagogue

The oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, it was built 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community on the land given to them by the Raja of Kochi. It is in the Jew Town and is adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace temple. The synagogue has many attractions for a visitor. From the glass chandeliers from Belgium, Ceramic floor tiles from China each of which is different from the other, to the copper plates of 4th century with inscriptions in Malayalam, the synagogue has many marvels in it.

Mattancherry Palace

This was a gift by the Portuguese to the then Raja of Kochi in 1555 AD. Though build in the traditional Kerala style with nalukettu and the courtyard in the middle, European influence can be seen in its arches and proportions of its rooms. There is a temple for the family deity ‘Pazhayannur Bhagavathy’ in the courtyard and two on either side of the Palace one for Lord Krishna and the other for Lord Shiva. It is also called the Dutch Palace and one can see Kerala Murals, portraits and exhibits of the erstwhile rulers of Kochi.

Mattancherry Palace

Hill Palace

The administrative office of the erstwhile Kochi Rajas Hill Palace is now the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. The palace complex is spread about 54 acres and has 49 building structures. It is near the town Tripunithura and was built around 1865 in the traditional Kerala architectural style. There is an archeological Museum, a Heritage Museum, a prehistoric park, a children’s park and a Deer park maintained in the Hill Palace.

Bolgatty Palace

Bolgatty is a beautiful island and a ideal picnic spot which has a magnificent Palace. This palace was built in 1744 by the Dutch and is supposed to be the one of the oldest existing Dutch Palaces outside Holland. This beautiful house was built as the Governor’s Palace and was later leased to the British. Now it is a heritage hotel resort.

Bolghatty Palace
Marine Drive Kochi

Marine Drive

The promenade flanking the backwaters in the city is popular among the local people as also of the visitors to the city. With serene sights, boating trips and ample shopping opportunities around the Marine drive is an ideal place to spend an evening. Rainbow bridge and Chinese fishing net bridge are two attractions which provides beautiful photo options.

Backwaters of Kochi

The northern part of Vembanad Lake, one of the longest lake in India and one of the largest in Kerala forms the backwaters in Kochi. This stretches from Kochi Azhi to Munambam Azhi and is called popularly as Veeranpuzha. Many islands dot the coast here and a cruise through these waters is memorable.

Backwaters of Kochi