Kochi – Known as the queen of the Arabian sea – is the biggest city and the most culturally diverse and cosmopolitan city in Kerala. There is plenty to do and see for heritage enthusiasts, nature lovers, and even those who want to experience Indian city life!. Especially South India, there is a list of tourist places in Kerala, that has attracted a large number of tourists over. Among them, Kochi is the best notes places. So let’s take a peek at the best places to visit in Kochi which you can also include in your Kerala tour packages from Chennai.
- Marine Drive
- Mattancherry palace
- Fort Kochi
- Jew town
- Santa cruz basilica
- Cherai beach
- Mangalavanam bird sanctuary
- Hill palace
- Princess street
- M G road
- Kerala folklore museum
- Veeranpuzha backwaters
- Ernakulathappan temple
- Kodanadu elephant center
A charming promenade in the heart of the city, it faces the backwaters and is a great place to chill, and one of the most popular tourist spots in Cochin. The promenade is off-limits to vehicles and is dotted with cafes, restaurants, and shops that sell curios, clothes and so on. walking on the promenade you can enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic Arabian sea, and beautiful sunsets. there are many boat jetties along the promenade, and you can go on a round of the backwaters, or take a water taxi to some of the islands of Kochi. there are three bridges here – the rainbow bridge, the houseboat bridge, and the Chinese fishing net bridge – all marvels of contemporary architecture.
Also known as the Dutch palace, this two-story palace has the famed Kerala backwaters as its backdrop. It also houses many artifacts that belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Kochi. Built by the Portuguese, it was gifted to the Kochi king in 1555 and was later taken over by the Dutch, who added their own extensions. One can learn a lot about Kerala's history, culture and architecture by visiting this heritage building. It is built in typical Kerala nobility style, with four separate wings around a central courtyard (called Nalukettu). There are three temples in the courtyard, and the palace walls are replete with murals depicting portraits of the maharajas, and scenes from the Indian epics, as well as gods and goddesses. The dining hall features an exquisite wooden ceiling, decorated with brass, and the flooring is made of natural materials but looks like black marble.
No discussion about Kochi tourism is complete without talking about fort Kochi. It is a seaside town in the south-western part of Kochi and oozes with old-world charm. Here one can truly experience the various cultural changes that the place was subject to over the years. It’s one of the most culturally diverse towns one can hope to find in India. Dotted with colonial structures, this picturesque town is home to architectural delights and age-old places of worship that will take you to a different era. In fact, walking the streets here, one could be forgiven for thinking they are in a toy-town! the Chinese were among the first traders to come here – and gifted the city the Chinese fishing nets – shore operated lift nets, which still attract visitors. Then there were the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English, and the Jewish European settlers who made their homes here – and all of them left their indelible marks on the city. fort Kochi beach, St. Francis church, the Kathakali center, old temples, the ancient Kalvathy mosque, Vasco-da-Gama’s house, Jain temple, Santa Cruz Basilica, Indo-Portuguese museum, and the maritime museum are places you should not miss when you visit Fort Kochi.
This is part of Fort Kochi but deserves a special mention because it’s a large area and a very interesting and quaint part of the town. Once the safe haven of Jews who fled persecution in their home countries, it is today a bustling town with several shops selling Jewish items like prayer shawls, caps, and so on, as well as carved furniture, old carved bronze vessels, antique clocks, curios, art, spices, and more. The homes are all locked up, but the beautiful Paradesi synagogue still stands, a silent reminder of its proud heritage; It features resplendent chandeliers, a gold pulpit, and exotic blue and white imported floor tiles. a handful of Jewish families still live here, but most have migrated to Israel; you can see the beautiful old-time grills on the windows of their homes.
Constructed by the Portuguese in 1505, this impressive church is one of the 8 basilicas in India and is a fine example of Portuguese architecture. It features gothic style paintings and murals, beautiful stained glass work, frescoed columns, and exquisite paintings on the ceilings. It is visited by people of all faiths who admire the splendor of the building and its spacious, tranquil interiors, replete with carved wood, and beautiful Italian art, and a splendid altar. This church is included in most Kochi sightseeing tours.
Close to Vypeen island, this is a sun-kissed beach where the backwaters meet the sea. You can laze on the golden sands watching the Chinese nets and fishing boats or wade in the shallow part. You’ll find many exotic shells here, and if you’re really lucky, you may catch sight of a few dolphins. The many shacks on the beach whip up delectable seafood and snacks – just perfect after a swim in the sea. The shore is dotted with coconut trees peeping out – great if you want to have a snooze in the shade.
Surprisingly located in the heart of the city, this sanctuary spreads over 2.74 hectares, with 18 acres of mangroves. It is home to several species of birds, including migratory birds, endangered and rare species. This wetland is also crucial for the city as it supplies pure air, and is a protected area. A free nature camp is conducted here by the Kerala forest and wildlife department – open to domestic and international visitors. An ideal getaway from the madding bustle of the city, this is a must on your list of places to visit in Kochi.
Built in 1865, this is the largest archeological museum of Kerala. Located on a hill, this massive palace is flanked by a beautiful garden. 49 buildings, spread over 54 acres make up the palace complex. A deer park, heritage museum, archaeological museum, children’s park, and a prehistoric park are open for visitors. it is also a popular filming location for the Malayalam movie industry. The huge and ornate rooms in the palace served as a reminder of the lavish lifestyle of the nobility. Various artifacts that belonged to the erstwhile royal family, like manuscripts, paintings, murals, swords, coins, and sculptures are on display here. you can also see antique ceramics imported from the far east, laterite memorials, ancient tombstones and some artifacts from the Indus valley civilization. the star of the show is the crown – made of pure gold and embellished with precious stones.
When you’re visiting places in Kochi, make sure to make a stop at Princess street – a quaint, colorful street that showcases the integration of heritage and modernity. Colonial remnants like old bungalows, villas, and stores coexist with modern cafes and stores. beautiful architecture of British, Dutch an Portuguese styles make this street worth a visit – and while you’re there, don’t forget to do some bargain curio shopping, or relax over a coffee or juice at one of the many cafes – or tuck into a full meal. does walking tire you? princess street is also home to ayurvedic spa centers – just walk in for a relaxing massage or detoxifying treatment. Enjoy your trip along with the best ecotourism destinations in Kerala.
Famed as the birthplace of Adi Shankara, an ancient Hindu philosopher who propounded the ‘advaita’ or monistic philosophy. This important pilgrimage place has the Sringeri math on the banks of the river Periyar that contains temples, the Ramakrishna Advaita ashram with a prayer hall and beautiful shrine, and the Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi samba, a tall bright pink memorial, guarded by two stone elephants at the entrance. It houses the Paduka mandapam, with two silver knobs representing the slippers of the saint. People of all faiths visit this beautiful shrine.
If you’re a shopaholic, then you must go to mg road; this is the main shopping center of the city, and you will find plenty of stores selling everything from branded clothing to cheap knock-offs; exquisite handicrafts to spices; jewelry to sculptures and figurines, and indigenous curios made of coconut shells and sandalwood. it’s a bustling place that‘s full of life, and you can shop to your heart’s content.
It’s a museum with a difference! not only can you get to see antiques, sculptures, and tribal artifacts, you can also enjoy performances of the local folk arts like Kathakali, a demonstration of the martial arts – Kalaripayattu, and so on. The museum also houses musical instruments, masks, and costumes used in traditional performances, and stone-age utensils. You can also buy and sell antiques here.
The brackish lagoons and the Veeranpuzha lake lie parallel to the sea and create the backwaters. There is also a beach here, where life goes on at an unhurried pace. If it’s peace and quiet you’re looking for, this is one of the best places to visit in Kochi. It’s a fishing village – and the ideal place to observe their way of life. The topography is typical of the Malabar coast – sandy beaches, palm trees, and lush vegetation – with the added attraction of the attractive Chinese fishing nets.
The name of the city Ernakulam is taken from the name of the deity of this temple – Ernakulathappan (Shiva); as the idol faces the west, it is considered a rare temple, as usually the deity always faces the east. this ancient temple has been mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature – putting it in the era of the great Chera dynasty. It features typical Kerala temple architecture, and is a magnificent sight, with its gracefully sloping tiled roofs, massive pillars, and lavish use of stone and wood in exquisite sculptures. In the Malayalam month of Makarem (Jan-Feb), the temple festival or ‘Utsavam’ of Lord Shiva is celebrated with great fanfare. Colorful processions with bedecked elephants, fireworks, performances of classical dances and temple art forms and so on, are enjoyed by thousands of devotees.
No Kerala tour packages can be complete without a visit to the state animal – the elephant. This is also one of the biggest elephant training centers in the country. They are trained and groomed with great care and devotion, as elephants are revered creatures in the state. Get up close and personal with the pachyderms, and spend time watching them in training, feeding, and even bathing. situated on the banks of the Periyar river, the center also has a small wildlife park which is a haven for deer and other fauna. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of places to visit in Kochi – the city has a whole lot more to offer to visitors. here we have tried to include some popular, and some off-beat destinations, and also covering all categories of places. Happy travels!