Cochin Sights and Landmarks Guide, India
Cochin sights or places of interest are as varied as is its prolonged history. The Kochi harbor has played an undoubted role in shaping its history by making it a busy trading center. It was trade that brought the Jew community to Kochi around 700 B.C. and today the nearby Jew Town with its 1568-built synagogue are among its popular attractions.
Cochin Sights – Forts & Palatial Structures
There are the many forts and palaces built at various points of time by people at the helm of Kochi-affairs. One such structure is the Mattancherry Palace (better known as the Dutch Palace). Built by the Portuguese in the mid-16th century for the Raja of Kochi, it was taken over by the Dutch, who again gifted it to the Raja after making some modifications. The beautiful murals on the walls depicting scenes from the famous Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata leave the onlookers spell-bound.
The Bolgatty Palace is an attractive Dutch palace situated on Bolgatty Island. Today, it serves as a hotel under the KTDC. On the other hand, Fort Kochi is a perfect quaint village with its picturesque beaches. The relaxed life-style of the place will definitely fascinate you, as will the many old-fashioned European bungalows and Chinese fishing nets.
Cochin Sights – Religious Sites of Interest
Prominent religions of the world like Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Islam have connections with Kochi. The Kochi-area is home to the famous Christian pilgrim center, Malayattoor Mount. The Malayattoor Mount is believed to have been visited by St Thomas in AD 52.
Kochi also has two very old churches – St Francis Church (built in 1503) and Santa Cruz Basilica (original built in 1505). Both churches were constructed by the Portuguese and St Francis Church was the first church built in India. Vasco da Gama’s body was buried in this church after his death in 1524. Later his remains were transported to Portugal but his tombstone still marks the burial spot. Santa Cruz Basilica was destroyed by the British colonists in 1795 and was re-built more than a century later in 1905.
Coming to temples, the Santhanagopala-Krishnaswamy Temple in Kochi is one of the oldest temples in India; its foundation was laid around 950 AD. Another important temple in the proximity of Kochi is the Vamanamoorthy Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vamana, the temple has inscriptions dating back to the 10th and 13th centuries.
Besides the Jewish synagogue, the Mattancherry area has a beautiful Jain temple. Feeding pigeons is a practice that the temple-authorities have been following religiously for the last 17 years. Thirumala Devaswom Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara is also located in Mattancherry.
The historical city of Kaladi, birthplace of the great Hindu philosopher and consolidator of the doctrine of monotheism (or Advaita philosophy) Adi Shankaracharya, is 48 km north of the city. Tourists from all over the world flock to the Adi Shankara shrine to pay homage.
Cochin Sights – Other Tourist Attractions
Willingdon Island, the man-made Island created by the British in 1933, attracts hordes of tourists because of its unique location. Surrounded by backwaters, this Cochin sight has some of the best hotels in the city.
Kochi museums are worth visiting, too. The Pareekshith Thampuran Museum displays archaeological findings as well as other relics like old coins, sculptures, etc. A gallery of contemporary art has been added after the museum was taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy. The Parishath Thampuran Museum building was once used by the Rajas of Cochin as the Durbar Hall. The museum mainly houses exhibits belonging to the Kochi royal family.
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