A vacation trip to Kochi, the Gateway of Kerala

I would share the experience we had during our recent 2 weeks tour to Kochi. I along with my friends had a great holiday getaway at Kochi. We stayed at Bastian homestay at K.B.Jacob road, Kochi. We had a fabulous and comfortable stay there. At budget price you can stay in homely holiday homes at Kochi. Music, culture, sport, history, cuisine, wildlife, beaches, and thrills whatever we wanted, Kochi had it. [caption id="attachment_1091" align="alignnone" width="300"]Kochi_climate Kochi[/caption] Kochi is also known by the name Cochin. The city is a major port of Ernakulam district of Kerala. The city is known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. This small town can also be referred as the ‘Gateway of Kerala’. The city is in the first position in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala. Kochi is also in the 6th position of the list of beautiful and best tourist destinations of India. The India's largest transshipment terminal, the International Container Transshipment Terminal is operating out of Vallarpadam, Kochi. The famous tourist attractions of Kochi include; Fort Kochi beach, St. Francis Church, Vasco House, Santa Cruz Basilica, Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town, Mattancherry, Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Bolghatty Palace, Bolghatty Island, Hill Palace, Tripunithura, Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, Kerala History Museum (Kalamassery), Parikshith Thampuran Museum, Cherai Beach, Marine Drive, Willingdon Island, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor, etc. We hired a guide there and with his help we could explore Kochi at its best. [caption id="attachment_1090" align="alignnone" width="300"]chinesefishingnetskochi Chinese Fishing Nets[/caption] The unique thing that we could see in Kochi was the Chinese fishing nets.  Outside China, Kochi is the only place where we can see the Chinese fishing nets. The Chinese fishing nets here are believed to be introduced by the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan.  These are seen in a whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen. On the north end of Vypeen island is the beautiful Cherai Beach. Then we had a visit to St. Francis Church. This is the oldest church in India built by Europeans. Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese traveler who reached Kerala for the first time from Europe by sea was buried in this Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. We could see inside the church his burial spot clearly marked. Near to the St. Francis Church on the Rose Street was the Vasco house. This is one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco da Gama was believed to have lived here and also could see there, unique European glass paned windows and verandahs. According to me, the main place you shouldn’t miss in your trip to Kochi is the Jewish Synagogue which was built in 1568. The synagogue was decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. You all know that this is the first Jewish Church in Kerala. Most of Cochin's Jews have immigrated to Israel, intermarried, or converted, and now there are believed to be only 13 elderly Indian-born Jews, from seven families, still living in Kochi. Now there are 53 practicing Cochin Jews in Kerala, with three synagogues. This Pardesi Synagogue in Kochi is the only one still open and is a protected heritage site. Our next destination was the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese. We had a short boat ride to Bolghatty Island, Mattancherry to see the palace. There we could see a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Now the palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). From there we were able to get beautiful views of the port and the harbor. Then we visited the Hill Palace built by Kochi Raja which was later on converted to a museum.  There we could see a large collection of archaeological findings. These are the main places that we visited at Kochi. There were many good restaurants in Kochi serving superb varieties of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies, with distinct taste and flavor. The international airport here links it to many major cities worldwide. The best time to visit Kochi is from October to April.

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