Ernakulam the commercial capital of Kerala, served by an international airport, fine communication facilities, excellent accommodation, modern amenities and a lot of attractive tourist places gives a breathtaking experience for its visitors and settlers. The district took its form on 1st April 1958, by carving out the areas of erstwhile Travancore, Kochi & Malabar kingdoms. The word Ernakulam was derived from a Tamil word 'Erayanarkulam' which means 'Lord Shiva's abode'.
Ernakulam district comprising of mainland Ernakulam, Old Cochin, including Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Palluruthy, and Thoppumpady, Willingdon Island, the suburbs of Edappally and the exurbia of Kalamassery,Thrikkakara and Kakkanad to the northeast, and Tripunithura to the southeast.
MATTANCHERRY PALACE: It is also known as Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Kochi in 1555 A.D. It acquired the present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out extensions and repairs in the palace. It is interesting to note that at no time did the Portuguese or Dutch actually stay here. Its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins. Timings: 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs. Closed on Fridays and national holidays.
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE: Situated In MATTANCHERRY the Synagogue was built in 1568 AD. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Kochi rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest. Timing: 1000 hrs to 1200 hrs and 1500 hrs to 1700 hrs. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays.
ST. FRANCIS CHURCH: Located at Fort Kochi this Protestant church was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India. lt is here the remains of the inveterate traveler, Vasco da Gama were initially buried and 14 years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal .
SANTA CRUZ BASILICA CHURCH: Fort Kochi The Roman Catholic Church situated close to St. Francis Church and is worth visiting. Some beautiful paintings can be seen here.
ST. FRANCIS ASSISI CHURCH: St.Francis Assissi church popularly knows as Naduvileppalli,the most beautiful and old church in Ernakulam city,the blend of Portuguese and Kerala style of architecture.The unique feature churche's roof is that the entire hyper bolic para bloid shell roof rests only on the centre pillars on the either sides.It has completed 179th year existence....Hundreds of people come here at odd times to sit in the quiteness of the church to commune with god.
CHINESE FISHING NETS: Fort Kochi- The Chinese Fishing nets that line the sea-front and exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. Said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubala Khan's Court, they are used at high tide.
BOLGHATTY PALACE: Bolghatty Palace is situated in Bolghatty Island a narrow palm-fringed Island easily accessible from the mainland. The Palace was built by the Dutch in 1744. Later, it became the seat of the British Resident and today this has been converted into a hotel run by the KTDC.
VALLARPADAM CHURCH: The Basilica of Our Lady of Vallarpadam adds another landmark to its growing reputation with the completion of 20 stations that will depict the 20 mysteries of the rosary. The 20 stations will features the mysteries that are celebrated by Catholics all over the world. These include the Joyous Glorious, Sorrowful Mysteries and the Mysteries of Light that were added to the original by Pope John Paul II. The Vallarpadam Church, which was already a national pilgrim centre, was raised to the status of a Basilica on the basis of a request submitted by Archbishop Daniel Acharuparampil of Varappuzha in December 2003.The Vallarpadam church was bestowed a special status by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. In 1951, it was declared a pilgrim centre.
HILL PALACE MUSEUM: Hill Palace Museum is situated 12 km away from Eranakulam on the Eranakulam Chottanikkara route.Different types of sculptures, collection of rare coins,old weapons, manuscripts in ancient scripts and collection from Kochi Royal Family are exhibited here. Tourist may also visit the Deer Park situated there. Horse riding facility is also available. The Parishith Thampuran Musueum situated at the Durbar Hall Ground together with its collection were transferred to Hill Palace Museum in 1997. Timings: 9:00 hrs to 12:30 hrs and 14:00 hrs to 16:30 hrs. Closed on Mondays & National holidays.
WILLINGDON ISLAND: A man-made island created from the material dredged while deeping Kochi Port. Situated between the main land Emakulam and the old town Mattancherry and separated by the backwaters. Willingdon Island is an important part of Kochi. The Govt. of India Tourist Office, the Southern Naval Command Headquarters, the Seaport, Naval Airport, Railway terminus, Customs House, Kochi Port Office etc are all located in this island.
MUSEUM OF KERALA HISTORY: Situated at Edappally 10 km on the National Highway from Eranakulam on the Alwaye route. Presents one hour light and sound spectacles of life-size sculptures in concrete, of the makers of Kerala history, together with the background music and commentary with glimpses of the vastness and diversity of Kerala's history over the centuries. Timings: 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 12:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00 15:30, 16:00. Closed on Mondays and Public holidays.
M. N. F. GALLERY OF PAINTINGS & SCULPTURES: The centre for Visual Arts and Gallery Paintings & Sculptures is situated at Edappally about l0km from Emakulam and located next to Museum of Kerala History. It houses about two hundred original paintings of recognized Indian masters, both contemporary and of the past. There is also a large collection of modern sculptures in marble, bronze, granite etc. Timings: 10:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs.
Mangalavanam-" The green lung of Kochi city": The ecologically sensitive Magalavanam is safely tucked away behind the Ernakulam High Court. This evergreen forest land in the heart of Kochi is a green oasis for many migratory birds as a nesting ground. Visitors to Mangalavanam are captivated by the sheer variety of migratory birds that have nested atop the huge trees.
CHITRAM ART GALLERY: Opposite Air India, M. G. Road, Eranakulam Exhibit regularly collection of paintings.