Ernakulum district, and its major city – Kochi, is regarded as the commercial capital of Kerala. Formerly part of the Kochi princely state, Ernakulum has been historically a melting pot of cultures with Dutch, Arab, British, Chinese, Portuguese and Jewish traders vying for control of the lucrative spice trade. The district is littered with signs of these historic trading relations in the form of ports, churches, mosques, colonial bungalows, quaint fishing nets and the oldest of all active synagogues in the Commonwealth.
Always buzzing with activity, Kochi is our very own “city that never sleeps.”

Destinations in Ernakulam

Bolgatty Island

Bolgatty island, near the Kochi harbour mouth, is the home of the 18th century Dutch palace that shares the name of the island. The palace is now a luxurious heritage hotel where you catch the regular performances of classical artforms of Kerala or indulge in a spot of golf. A marina for Kochi’s burgeoning fleet of private yachts is something new you can forward to on this island.

Bolgatty Palace

A 10 minute boat-ride from Kochi will take you one of the most graceful colonial palaces of Kerala, the Bolgatty Palace. Constructed by the Dutch in 18th century, this beautiful palace and its serene surroundings – overlooking the Vembanad lake – was used as lodging for British governors.

Cherai Beach

The beautiful Cherai beach in Vypin island near Kochi offers a pristine 15 kilometres of sandy beach a literal stone’s throw away from a backwater. This palm-fringed beach is an excellent place to catch the quaint “chinese” fishing nets in action while soaking up the sun. This quite beach is among the venues of the tourism festival held in December every year.

Fort kochi

Fort Kochi area of Ernakulam was the focal point of Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialism in th 16th, 17th and 18th century respectively. This quaint destination has many charming, must-visit colonial era buildings. An old-stomping ground of Vasco da Gama himself, Fort Kochi, with its historic buildings like the Santa Cruz Basilica, the Dutch Cemetry, Vasco House, Old Harbour House, Bastion Bungalow etc., are  the best place for you to understand Kerala’s colonial.

Hill Palace

The Hill Palace at Thripunithara, Ernakulam, used to be the official residence of the Kochi royal family. This large complex includes 49 buildings constructed in the latr half of the 19th century. The palace, while firmly rooted in Kerala’s architectural traditions, has co-opted the best of Dutch architecture in its design. The oldest of the buildings here, an “ettukettu”, houses a museum with an impressive collection of royal artifacts

Jew Town

Jew Town is a bustling bazaar near the synagogue in Mattancherry, Ernakulam. The bazaar is especially known for spices and shops dealing in antiques and souvenirs.

Kodanad elephant training centre

Kodanad, situated on the southern bank of the river Periyar in Ernakulam, has a unique school for…elephants. Visitors to this elephant rescue and training centre can interact with the jumbo wards in a variety of activities – you can go for an elephant safari in the scenic surroundings or even help feed and bathe the impossibly cute baby elephants. Nearby village of Kaprikkad oozes bucolic charm and is part of the government’s eco-tourism project.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Mattancherry, a borough in the western part of Kochi Corporation, was once a bustling centre of trade. Enriched by trade and coveted by invaders, Mattancherry soon became a melting pot of cultures. Even now many Jews, Konkanis, Gujaratis, Jains and Marathis call this home.
Mattancherry is home to the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth, the Paradesi (Diaspora) Synagogue. The architecturally resplendent synagogue is a melange of different influences.

Paradesi Synagogue

Situated in the historic Fort area of Kochi, Mattancherry’s Pardesi (diaspora) Synagogue stands as testament to Kerala’s cosmopolitanism. Constructed in 1568, this synagogue is the oldest in nominal British Commonwealth. Suspended in time, with its mid-18th century hand-painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China; a quaint clock tower; Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs; great scrolls of the Old Testament; ancient copper plate edicts of Kochi rulers granted to the Jewish community.The locality around the synagogue is a thriving market for spices, antiques and curios.

Pareekshit Tampuran Museum

Located in the Ernakulam district, the Parikshit Thampuran Museum housed in a palace formally used by the Kochi kings to entertain guests. Named after the last ruler of the Kochi dynasty, the museum has an impressive collection of 18th and 19th century artifacts including paintings, coins, copper edicts, inscribed stone tablets etc. The great hall or Durbar of the building is of particular interest.

Santha cruz Basalica

Located in the historic Fort quarters of Kochi, Santa Cruz is one of the only seven basilicas in the country. This impressive church was built by the Portuguese, by the leave of the Maharaja of Kochi, in the early 16th century and has had an eventful history. The church was witness to many colonial adventures in Kochi including those by the Dutch and the English. A mix of Indo-European and Gothic styles, the church has two lofty spires and the interiors are embellished with colourful murals. Particularly notable are the works of the Italian painter Brother Antonio Moscheni, and his disciple De Gama, who did a series of Passion murals and an arresting version of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.

St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi

The ancient St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi was originally constructed of timber and rebuilt in stone in 1779. On his death Vasco da Gama was buried in the adjoining cemetery. Though his mortal remains were later taken to Lisbon, the tombstone can still be seen in the premises.

Tattekkad Bird Sanctuary

The dense evergreen and deciduous forests and the grasslands of Thattekkad is home to about 300 species of birds, both native and migratory. The number of rare species found here and the sheer beauty of the sanctuary, nestled betweeen the tributaries of Periyar, have been a magnet for ornithologists from all over the world.

Willington Island.

Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. A prestige location in the city, the island is home to some of Kochi’s finest hotels and business venues. The headquarters of the Southern command of the Indian Navy is located on the island