Ernakulam is located on the coast of the Arabian sea with Kottayam and Alappuzha districts on the south, Idukki on the east and Thrissur on the north. The commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Kochi, in Ernakulam, is also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
The word Ernakulam was derived from a Tamil word ‘Erayanarkulam‘ which means ‘Lord Shiva’s abode’. With one of the finest natural harbours in the world, this was once a major centre of commerce and trde with the British, Arabs, Chinese, Portguese, Dutch etc.
Welcome to a 60-90 minute walking tour of the old streets of Fort Kochi. This is the ideal way to discover a historic town brimming with tales of myriad seafaring visitors who came here to trade and then stayed on to cease their work on this impressionable land. ‘Walking through Fort Cochin’ is a tour organised as part of the conservation and development initiatives taken up by the Corporation of Kochi.
|Temperature||:||(deg C) – Summer Max 35 Min 22 Winter Max 32 Min 20|
|Best Season||:||October to March|
Places of Interest
Access: Backwater ferry / bus / autorickshaw) A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Kochi has an eventful and colourful history. Its reputation as a seafaring commercial town was such that Nicolas Conti, an Italian traveller of the Middle Ages remarked: “If China is where you make your money, then Kochi surely Is the place to spend it”. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural influences are seen in the many examples of Indo European architecture that still exist here.
A scenic island near the city of Ernakulam, Bolghatty is famous for theBolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 AD. This palace was once aGovernor’s palace for the Dutch and later the home of the BritishGovernors that has now been converted into a hotel. The palace istwo-storeyed and contains well-decorated bedchambers and a huge loungewherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from themainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable experience. There is agolf course to boot.
Chinese Fishing Nets / Vasco-da-Gama Square
These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan.
These nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco-da-Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The Square is an ideal place to idle, with stalls serving fresh delicious seafood, tender coconut etc.
Hill Palace Museum
Hill Palace Museum is situated 12 km away from Eranakulam on the Eranakulam Chottanikkara route.Different types of sculptures, collection of rare coins,old weapons, manuscripts in ancient scripts and collection from Kochi Royal Family are exhibited here.
Also exhibited are over 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from Japan and China, Kudakkallu (tomb stone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock cut weapons from the stone ages, wooden temple models, plaster cast models of objects from Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilisation. The museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.
Once a warehouse, this heritage Bungalow built in 1808 is presently a high school with the same name.
It is also known as Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Kochi in 1555 A.D. It acquired the present name after 1663 when the Dutchcarried out extensions and repairs in the palace. It is interesting to note that at no time did the Portuguese or Dutch actually stay here. Its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins.
Situated in Mattancherry, the Synagogue was built in 1568 AD. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Kochi rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest.
Santa Cruz Basilica
This historic Church was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Cochin, and was demolished.
In 1887 Bishop Dom Gomes Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site. The Church has since been proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
Loafer’s Corner/ Princess Street
One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Cochin, Princess Street with its European style residences still retain its world charm. The best view of this quaint street can be had from loafer’s corner. The traditional meeting place and hangout of the jovial locals of this area.
Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gamma, this is one of the oldest Portuguese residence of Fort Cochin. Built in the early 16th century Vasco House sports the typical European glass paned windows and Balcony cum Verandas characteristic of the times.
The large wooden gate facing the parade ground with monogram (VOC) of the once mighty Dutch East India Company carved on it was built in 1740.
Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the city’s best hotels and trading centres, the Port Trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
The colonists conducted their military parades and drills. The building around the ground housed their defense establishments. Today, the largest open ground in Fort Cochin, the parade ground is a sports arena.
Though built around 1695 by the Dutch East India Company, David Hall gets its name from one of its later occupants, David Koder, a Jewish business man. The Hall was originally associated with Hendrik Adriaan van Reed tot Drake stein, renowned Dutch commander better known for his ‘Hortus Malavaricus’, a pioneering compilation of the flora of the Malabar coast.
This bastion of the Portuguese in Kochi was a symbol of the strategic alliance between the Maharajah of Kochi and the Monarch of Portugal, after whom it was named. Built in 1503, the fort was reinforced in 1538. By 1806 the Dutch, and later the British, had destroyed most of the fort walls and its bastions. Today, remains of this once imposing structure can be seen along the beach.
The Dutch Cemetery
The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland on a mission to expand their colonial empires and changed the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.
The Cochin Club
The club, with its impressive library and a collection of sporting trophies, is housed in a beautifully landscaped park. In the early 1900s when the club had just become operational admission was restricted to the British.
St. Francis Church
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars, this is India’s oldest European Church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India.
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667, the Bungalow gets its name from its location on the site of the Stromsburg Bastion of the old Dutch fort. The building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion.
How to reach Ernakulam?
|Air||:||Indian Airlines have direct services to Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Goa, Bangalore and Trivandrum.|
Ernakulam junction and Ernakulam town stations are important stations in South India. Many services start from Eranakuam.
|Road||:||City bus service, connecting various parts of the city and its adjacent areas. Private buses ply within the district. KSRTC bus station operates services to district headquarters in the state and all major c|