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Places of interest which can be accessed within a short time:

Kodanad

Kodanad is located in the higher ranges on the southern bank of the Periyar river. Kodanad is one of the largest elephant training centers in South India. Here Elephants specially trained for safari are provided with saddles for riding. There is also a mini zoo for wild animals.

Malayatoor

Malayatoor Catholic church situated on top of the 609m high Malayatoor Hill is dedicated to St. Thomas. Thousands of devotees undertake the pilgrimage in the annual festival, the Malayatoor Perunnal conducted during the months of March and April. St. Thomas is believed to have prayed at this shrine.

Fort Kochi

A leisurely walk through the city is the ideal way to discover the historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Fort Kochi has an eventful and colorful history. It has a reputation as a seafaring commercial town. The Chinese, the Italians, the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British have played integral roles in shaping the history and the architecture of this town. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo-European architecture that still exist here.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics- Ramayana and Mahabharatha, as well as some of the ancient Hindu legends. The palace also houses Dutch maps of the old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former Maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture. The three dimensional portraits of the Maharajas are also noteworthy.

Mattancherry Synagogue

Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Located at Mattancherry, it is noted for its mid-18th century, hand-painted, willow-patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates etc.

Jew Town

The area around the Synagogue is a centre for the spice trade and curio shops.

The Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura

Hill Palace, the official residence of the erstwhile Kochi Royal Family, was built in 1865. The palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a deer park and facilities for horse riding. A full-fledged ethno-archeological museum and Kerala’s first-ever heritage museum are the main attractions. Displayed inside the thirteen galleries are oil paintings, murals, sculptures in stone plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions and coins belonging to the Royal Family. Ancient musical instruments, clay models, bronze and silver items from the 14th, 15th and 16th century are some of the other exhibits here.

Thattekkadu bird sanctuary

This sanctuary, nestled in evergreen forests, was discovered by the renowned ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali and is named after him. The sanctuary is noted for indigenous birds like the Malabar grey-hornbill, the woodpecker, the rose-ringed and blue-winged Parakeet etc. Rare birds like the Ceylon frog-moth and the rose-billed roller are also seen here. Diverse migrant birds make this place their home during different seasons.

Cherai Beach

This picturesque beach, located on the North end of the Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Lined with luscious green coconut groves and paddy fields, this sandy beach is a unique combination of the sea and the backwaters, studded with seashells of various hues and shapes. Dolphins are occasionally seen here.

Amusement Parks

There are 2 water theme amusement parks, one close to Kakkanad called Wonderla and the other close to Chalakudy called the Black Thunder. They both have excellent water theme facilities. Ideally a full day should be spent here to enjoy the full range of activities.

Chottanikkara Temple

This temple enshrines the Goddess Bhagavathy in three d revered forms- as Saraswati, Bhadrakali an Durga. Devotees flock to this 10th century temple seeking liberation from mental illness as the goddess is believed to cure such ailments.

Ernakulam Siva Temple

Popularly known as Ernakulathappan, this temple is associated with the birth of the name of the city. The idols of Siva and Parvathy are claimed to be swayambhoo or self-created.

Manappuram Siva Temple, Aluva

Famous for the Sivaratri Festival held annually, this temple at first glance, looks unfinished. But a closer look shows that the angels are brilliantly conceived and the pillars are positioned in such a way to give the illusion of being incomplete.

Kanjiramattom Mosque

This popular mosque retains the antique beauty of mazhars and dargahs. Honoring the Saint Sheikh Fariduddin, at the Chandranakudan Festival, pilgrims carry pots covered with sandalwood paste in a procession to the mosque.

Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungalloor.

Located 2 km from Kodungalloor town in Methala, this mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance. Built in 629 AD, this is the first Mosque to be built in India and the second in the world where Juma prayers were started. The mosque is open to people of all faiths.

Santa Cruz Basilica

This historic church was built by theof Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Kochi, and was demolished. About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

St. Francis Church

Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India’s oldest European church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.

Athirapally and Vazhachal waterfalls

The most famous waterfalls of Kerala, Athirapally and Vazhachal are situated on the Chalakudy River, which originates from the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges is the largest waterfall in Kerala, Athirapally, which stands tall at 80 feet. Just a short drive from Athirapally, the Vazhachal waterfall is close to dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. This is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered Hornbill species are seen.