Welcome to Kerala, God"s Own Country. With the Arabian Sea on the west, the western ghats towering 500 - 2700m on the east and Kerala is networked by forty-four rivers. Kerala is a very easy place to simply sit back and enjoy. The name means "land of coconuts" and the palms shade nearly the entire state from the tropical sun; many call the beach at Kovalam the best in India, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, lush green hill stations and exotic wildlife, ayurvedic health resorts, enchanting art forms, magical festivals, historic and cultural monuments, an exotic cuisine… all of which offers a unique experience.
Kerala is one of the ten "Paradises Found" declared by the National Geographic Traveler, for its diverse geography and overwhelming greenery. It is a land much acclaimed for the contemporary nature of its cultural ethos, and much appreciated for the soothing, rejuvenating paradise that it is.
Area:38,863 sq km, which is 1.27% of India"s total land area and is located at the Southwest tip of the India"s main land
Summer: April-June [24 - 33 degree Celsius]
Monsoon: July-September [22 - 27 degree Celsius
Winter: October-March [22 - 32 degree Celsius]
High Season: December-May
Capital: Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Language: Malayalam; however English is widely spoken and understood by the fully literate populace of Kerala.
Number of Districts: 14
Major Cities: Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi (Ernakulam district) & Kozhikode (Calicut)
By Air: The International airports at Thiruvananthapuram , Kochi (Cochin) & Kozhikode facilitate easy access by air. Direct flights operate from Singapore, Colombo, Maldives, Kuwait, Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha and Bahrain.
By Rail: All major tourist destinations and important cities of India are well-connected by rail to Kerala.
Food: Most restaurants, coffee shops, eateries or cafes offer a Cosmopolitan fare for Chinese, Continental, Indian or American. You can find many who specialize in Kerala Delicacies.
Clothing: Ideally light cottons. However the cooler hill stations may warrant woolens
Communication: Kerala has a well-knit communications network. With telephone, fax and Internet centers in almost every corner. Enabling you to get in touch with any part of the world easily.
Religion: 58 % Hindu, 21 % Muslim and 21 % Christians.
Places of Interest
ART COMPLEX - MADHAVAN NAYAR FOUNDATION - This museum is the only one of its kind in Kerala. The complex consists of the Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures that presents over 200 original paintings by contemporary Indian Artists, some of them internationally acclaimed and works of reputed Indian sculptors. The Centre for Visual Arts is reserved for authentic reproductions of selected world masters from Leonardo da Vinci to those of the present century. The centre also exhibits certain larger-than-life mural reproductions of ancient Indian Art. It is located at Edappally, 10 Kms. north of Ernakulam, on the Ernakulam-Aluva road. It is open from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except on Mondays and public Holidays.
CHENAMANGALAM - It was the seat of Paliath Achan,the hereditary Prime Minister of the erstwhile state Cochin from 1632 to 1809. It was one of the chief center s of the Jew in Kerala and there is an Oriental Jewish synagogue in the old Jews colony. In the vicinity of the Jewish Colony, the famous Vaipinkotta Seminary built in the 16th century by the Portuguese stands in ruins the remains of the seminary are still visible. The old Syrian Catholic Church established in the 1201 is near the ruin of the seminary. Near the synagogue and the church there is a temple and mosque. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The Jewish and Muslims cemetries are located near the temple. The existence of the Synagogue, the Church, the Mosque, and the Temple in very dose proximity to one another provides ample proof of the prevalence of communal harmony in this part of Kerala in oldest days. Chenamangalam is an important center for handloom weaving and coir manufacturing. The annual fair called "Mattachanda" (Barter Systems) is held here on the eve of Vishu(in April) Chenamangalam is situated 42Km away from Ernakulam and 5Km away from north Parur. There are buses from Ernakulam to North Parur and Chenamangalam is connected north Parur by frequent bus services.
BOLGHATTY ISLAND - This long narrow palm-fringed island, easily accessible from the mainland is where the Bolghatty Palace is situated amidst 15 acres of lush green lawns. Built by the Dutch in 1744, it became the seat of the British Resident later. In 1976, the palace was converted to into a hotel under the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The palace has a golf course on its grounds.This island is connected by frequent ferry services with the mainland Ernakulam. Boats to this island start from the High Court Jetty. Country boats (Machuvas) can also be hired near the Jetty.
CHINESE FISHING NETS, Fort Kochi – The Chinese fishing nets are a fascinating sight to us. These nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters with pivots of wood, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan in 1350AD.They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala
THE DUTCH CEMETERY - The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland on a mission to expand their colonial empires and changed the course of history of this land.
DUTCH PALACE - This Palace was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555 A.D. Though built by the Portuguese, it is popularly known as the "Dutch Palace" as the Dutch renovated it during their short-lived reign here. The palace is well known for its mural paintings, which are noted for their high level of excellence. These paintings represent scenes from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The paintings cover a wide range of themes from the "Puthra Kameshtiyagam" to Rama"s return to Ayodhya after vanquishing king Ravana of Lanka. They cover nearly 300 sq. feet of wall surface. In the central courtyard of the Palace is the temple dedicated to Panhayannur Bhagavathi. In the Coronation hall there is a display of dresses and palanquins used by the rulers of Cochin. The Palace is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all days except Fridays and National holidays.
ERNAKULAM SIVA TEMPLE - This temple is situated at the centre of the town, near the Durbar Hall Grounds. The presiding deity is Lord Siva and the annual festival in the temple is celebrated for eight days during January - February every year. The festival is rounded up with the Aarattu procession when the image of the deity is taken for a sacred bath in the temple pool. A cultural festival is also held with a variety of programmes of music concerts, Kathakali, etc., as part of celebrations.
FORT IMMANUEL - This bastion of the Portuguese in Kochi was a symbol of the strategic alliance between the Maharajah of Kochi and the Monarch of Portugal, after whom it was named.
HILL PALACE MUSEUM, Tripunithura - It is the largest archeological museum in Kerala. Set on top of a hillock, this prodigious palace-turned-museum displays 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore royal families and the Paliam Devaswom. The Heritage museum located on the rear side of the palace buildings familiarizes with the traditional lifestyles of ancient Kerala. The museum premise has also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from Central America to Australia. It is situated 12 Km. away from Ernakulam on the Ernakulam-Chottanikkara route. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all days except Mondays and National holidays. There are frequent private buses from Ernakulam to this place. Tripunithura was the head Quarters of the Maharaja of Cochin and his palace and his palace. The Pooorna Trayeesha Temple at Tripunithura is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and there are two festivals every year each lasting 8 days the most important festival falls in November -December and on the last day of the festival the image of the deity is taken out in an impressive procession on beautifully caparisoned elephant."Athachamayam" is celebrated here 10 days prior to Onam, August-September the national festival of Kerala. A Cultural festival is held as the part of the Celebrations. Tripunithura is situtated 10 km away from Ernakulam and is connected by frequent Private buses to this place.
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE - This synagogue built in 1568 A.D., was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two year after Scroll of Old Testament and a number of the Copper Plates inscribed in the Hebrew script script are preserved in the synagogue. The synagogue is open from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. excepted on Saturdays and Jewish holidays
KALADY - Kalady is the birth place of Sri Sankaracharya, the Great Indian Philosopher who lived in the 8th century it is situated on the banks of river Periyar there are two Shrines in memory of Sri Sankaracharya One dedicated to him as Dakshinamoorthy and the other to the Goddess Sharadha. The ancient Sree Krishna Temple situated here was the family temple of Adi Sankaracharya. Adi Sankaras shrines in kalady are open to all pilgrims irrespective of religion or caste. Kalady is connected by road with important cities in south India there are frequent buses to kalady from Angamaly and Aluva.
KANJIRAMATTAM MOSQUE - It is believed that this Mosque was erected over the mortal remains of Sheikh Parid. It was here that the Great Muslim Saint Baver is believed to have attained eternal bliss. The Kudikkuthu Festival which Falls in December-January attracts thousands of devotees the Mosque is situated at Kanjiramattam 30 Km Away from Kochi there are Private buses to Kanjiramattam from Ernakulam
LAKSHADWEEP ISLANDS - Lakshadweep, a Union Territory of India, is a group of 36 islands, located in the Arabian Sea, about 300 km off Kochi. Some of these islands worth a visit are Androt, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadamat, Kalpeni etc.
LOAFER"S CORNER/PRINCESS STREET - One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with its European style residences still retains its old world charm.
MALAYATOOR - (47 km from Kochi) Malayatoor is famous for the Catholic Church on the 609 m high Malayatoor hill (dedicated to St. Thomas).
PALLIPURAM FORT - The Portuguese built Pallipuram fort in 1503. It is one of the oldest existing European monuments in India. The Dutch captured the fort in 1661 and sold it to the State of Travancore in 1789. This fort is situated in the northern extremity of the Vypeen Island at Pallipuram. The Catholic Church at Pallipuram is an important pilgrim centre for the Christians. From Vypeen there are frequent buses to Pallipuram. Vypeen is connected by ferry with Fort Cochin and Ernakulam.
PARIKSHITH THAMPURAN MUSEUM - This is situated on the Durbar Hall Ground on the D.H.Road,Ernakulam. Collection of 19th centuary oil Paintings,old coins, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris and copies of mural painting are exhibited here. An Art Gallery is also functioning at the museum building. It is open form 9.30a.m to 12 noon and from 3 p.m to 5 p.m on all days except Mondays and national holidays.
PIERCE LESLIE BUNGALOW - This charming mansion was the office of Pierce Leslie & Co., coffee merchants, founded in 1862. A representative of the Fort Kochi colonial bungalow, this building reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences.
ST. FRANCIS CHURCH - This centuries old church at Fort Kochi was originally built completely of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. The Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church, restored it in 1779.
THIRUMALA DEVOSWAM TEMPLE - This is one of the temples of Gowda Sarawatha Brahmins. The presiding deity is Lord Venkateshwara. There are two main festivals in this temple, which are celebrated for eight days each during March-April and November-December respectively every year. The festival is rounded up with the Aarattu procession when the Chakra Snanam the sacred bath is conducted in the temple pool. The main specialty of this temple is that it has the second largest brass Bell in Asia.
WELLINGDON ISLAND - This is a man made island created from the materials drudged while deepening the Cochin Port. Lord Bristow was the architect of this island. There are frequent ferry and bus services to this place from Ernakulam. The Harbour, Airport and Harbour Railway Terminus are in this island.
Cherai Beach: Location: Near Vypeen Island accessible by boat (30 minutes journey) from Ernakulam The lovely beach bordering the Vypeen island is ideal for swimming.
Bhoothathan kettu: Location: 50 km north east of Ernakulam town, Ernakulam district, central Kerala. Bhoothathankettu, a scenic damsite with boating facilities is situated in a vast virgin forest.
Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary: Location: About 58 km from Kochi city and 13 km northeast of Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district; Thattekkad is in Devikula.
Places to Visit
Interstate private bus services to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Chennai and Madurai
Ferry Services: There are two ferry stations in Ernakulam. The main Boat Jetty is one km from the Junction Railway Station and the other is near the High Court.
Ferry timings (From the main boat jetty):
Vypeen: Frequent services (1/2 hour journey)
Mattancherry: Daily 6 ferries (1/2 hour journey) at 0910, 0940, 1100, 1400, 1520, 1740
Fort Kochi: Daily 30 services (20 minute journey) First trip at 0600 hrs and the last at 2110 hrs
Varapuzha: Daily 6 boats (2 hour journey)
Willingdon Island: Frequent services (15 minute journey)