Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. That is Ernakulam. Within friends’ circles in colleges, being from Ernakulam has very often become a matter of pride for many. So, what is it that makes this place stand out from all other places in Kerala?
Firstly, Ernakulam, or more precisely, Cochin enjoyed a central position in trade through much of history. Secondly, it is the meeting point of many different people and cultures like the Jews from Jerusalem, Muslims from Persia, Punjabis, and a whole lot more. Lastly, the place is stocked with amazing places! What other place in Kerala can boast of such a variety of attractions?! Ernakulam certainly is a major contributor to Kerala’s status as one of the best places to visit in Kerala. As a walk in the city can prove, Ernakulam attracts tourists from all over the world. So, what are the various gems that the place offers? Well, here is a curated list of the best the area can offer, with some hidden gems that are often overlooked.
A reservoir near Kothamangalam, Bhoothathankettu is laced with mythology and local legends. What many visitors often miss is a small passage by the side of the dam, that leads you to a secluded place where the water from the reservoir flows out. The place is laden with gigantic rocks that are believed to be placed there by ‘Bhoothams’, hence the name.
Thattekadu is a bird sanctuary near Kothamangalam, approximately in the boundary of the district. The place is rich with a wide variety of birds. The best time to visit the place is from November to February, which is the peak of the migratory season when a myriad of birds from the Himalayas and other parts of the world visit the sanctuary.
Inchathotty Suspension Bridge
This suspension bridge located in Inchathotty, Neriamangalam can be added as a pitstop on your way to Bhoothathankettu our Thattekadu. It is considered to be the longest suspension bridge in Kerala, offering a breath-taking view of the river Periyar. Kayaking options are also available in the area.
This Mana, located near Piravom, is also filled with local legends. The place demands a special mention when it comes to Astrology. Legend has it that the erstwhile Jotsyan of the Mana committed suicide after encountering Shani or Saturn who had come disguised, thereby locking Shani forever inside the Mana. This place has become a favourite shooting location.
Kerala is synonymous with Toddy. There is no problem that a glass of naadan kallu and beef roast can’t solve. Nettoor Shappu serves you with the authentic Kerala Toddy shop experience with no artificiality involved. The food is ultra spicy and therefore doubly delicious! The place is a must-visit for experiencing real Kerala cuisine.
Areekal is a small waterfall near Koothattukulam. The waterfall is mainly active during the rainy season and is a favourite among couples. It is situated between lush greenery and thus, offers an amazing view!
Old Railway Station
This abandoned railway station is located near the High Court of Kerala and gives off some seriously spooky vibes! The dilapidated station has mostly integrated itself with the surrounding trees and plants and is a breath of relief from the city that surrounds it.
The synagogue in Kochi is the remnant of an erstwhile active Jewish population. A visit to the synagogue truly transports you to another era with the rustic fans and glass chandeliers. It is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. It houses many antique objects such as the Scrolls of the Law, gold crowns, and a brass-railed pulpit.
Fort Kochi Beach
This is a place one must not miss when in Ernakulam. The Fort Kochi beach is a centre of activity with many small shops, tourists from around the world and small fishermen trying the lock in the catch of the day. A long peaceful stare into the horizons is mandatory during a visit to the beach. One can also see the Cochin Shipyard from the beach, which has built many ships for the Indian Navy. Different kinds of cruises are available in and around the area as this is the place where the Arabian sea kisses Kochi.
Poornathriyeesha Temple Utsavam
This is the utsavam that the whole of Trippunithura, and quite frankly Ernakulam, waits for the whole year. The famous Vrishchikoltsawam that takes place in the month of Vrishchikam (November-December) turns the whole town and the people into a festive mood with streets lined with lights and people going to and returning from the Poornathriyeesha temple. The Panchavadyam is a speciality and you can also enjoy other art forms such as Kathakali, Bharathanatiyam and Mohiniyattam. The festivities last for 8 days and runs for the whole day every day.
The biennale needs no real introduction. This event, which happens every two years is a magnet that brings artists from all over the world together. The wide variety of artworks are simply astounding and capable of taking your breath away. A single day would not be enough to devour all the wonders. There would also be scheduled artistic performances taking part as part of the biennale in the different venues all throughout the city.
The cafés in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are amazing destinations for fusion food and for trying something outside the Kerala cuisine. There are also many recent vegan and health-conscious cafés that have opened in the area. The best ones include Kashi Art Café, Loafers Corner Café and Mocha Art Café.
St. George’s Forane Church, Edapally
This church, situated in Edapally, has become a recent hotspot of tourists mainly because of the opulence it offers. The architecture and gold polishing is sure to catch your eye. The church also offers a peaceful interior which is suitable for prayer and meditation.
The century-old Kakkoor Kalavayal agricultural festival is conducted annually at Kakkoor village near Koothattukulam in the month of Kumbham. The Ox race is the highlight of the festival. There are also a lot of interesting legends associated with the event and the place. The festival has never failed to deliver its audience with the thrill factor.
This artificial island built during the colonial times houses the Kochi Naval Base. It is a busy hub for cruise liners and commercial shipping. The island was built under the vision of Sir Robert Bristow and is filled with long empty roads, making it an ideal spot for bicycling as it also offers views of the backwaters of Kochi.
One article really is insufficient to contain all that Ernakulam has to offer. You can enjoy shopping at Lulu mall, one of the biggest shopping malls in India, or chant amidst the Manja Pada as Kerala Blasters marches on in a spirited ISL match. You can see the life of the Kochi Rajas in Hill Palace and can go for some Kerala style fishing at Kumbalangi. Still the list remains incomplete. Because that is Ernakulam – a place of limitless opportunities.