Cochin or Kochi is one of the most important cities of Kerala for centuries. Cochin also has finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea coast of India. Cochin has been a port of call for foreign traders from very early times. Ancient mariners from Arabia, Holland, Britain, China and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city of Cochin. The cosmopolitan character of Cochin is reflected in the buildings and structures representing styles. Cochin City is one of the most important commercial centers of Kerala.
Santa Cruz Basilica :
This monumental church dates back to 1558 and has beautiful paintings on the ceiling.
St. Francis Church :
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Friars, it is the India's oldest European church. It was restored in 1779 by the protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795, and is presently used by the church of South India. Vasco da Gama's remains were buried here in 1524, and later moved to Lisbon, Portugal but his tombstone still remains.
Mattancherry Palace :
It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Cochin. The Dutch renovated the palace in 1663. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and some of the Puranic legends.
Bolghatty Palace :
A beautiful island near the Ernakulam, Bolghatty is famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch. The Bolghatty palace, once the residence of the British resident of Cochin, is now a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.
Cherai Beach :
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction of this beach.
Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithra :
The Hill Palace, the official residence of the Cochin royal family was built in 1865. The palace complex consists of 49 buildings and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a Deer Park and facilities for horse riding. Displayed inside the thirteen galleries in the museum are oil paintings, murals, 19th century paintings, manuscripts, sculpture in stone and plaster of Paris, inscriptions and coins belonging to the Cochin royal family.
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum :
This extensive and traditional Kerala style building earlier called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings. The Pareekshith Thampuran Museum remains open from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.
Willingdon Island :
Named after Lord Willingdon, the British viceroy to India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The Willingdon Island is the site of the city's best hotels, customs and trading centers, the port trust and also the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
Jewish Synagogue :
Built in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth countries. Known for mid 18th century hand printed, willow pattern floor tiles from Canton in China, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, a dock tower, ancient scripts on copper plates etc, the Synagogue is a place worth seeing in Cochin.
Vypeen Island :
There is a magnificent lighthouse at Ochanthuruth, which remains open from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.