Friday, 28 November 2014


Ernakulam : formed on 1st April 1958 carving areas of erstwhile Travancore-Kochi-Malabar kingdoms. Major portion of the district is from the Kochi kingdom. The district consists of the mainland Ernakulam, the man made Willington Island, Mattanchery, Fort Kochi,  world's most populous area of Vypeen Island, Bolghatty Palace etc. Kochi is the most modern city of Kerala where the best shopping, markets and  bazars are located.

From time immemorial  Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese seafarers followed the sea route to Kochi and left their impressions in the town. The Chinese fishing nets, believed to be erected in 1350 AD, swaying in the breeze over backwaters, the Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, Portuguese Architecture, Bolghatty Palace etc. enrich the heritage of Kerala.

 The word Ernakulam was drawn from a Tamil word Erayanarkulam means abode of Lord Shiva's.  

The present Ernakulam District include Paravur, Aluva, Kochi, Kanayannoor, Muvattupuzha, Kunnathunadu, Kothamangalam Taluks which come under Fortkochi and  Muvattupuzha  Revenue Sub Division.  Prior to the formation of  Idukki District, Thodupuzha Taluk was also a part of  Ernakulam District.  Ernakulam District was formed on April 1st 1958.  The District  which has  an area of 895.3Sq.K.M. can be divided geographically as Highland, Midland and Coastal area.  The altitude of Highland is about 1000 feet.

The borders of the district are the Arabian Sea in the  West, Thrissur District in the North, Idukki District in the East and Alappuzha and Kottayam District in the South.  Periyar, Kerala's second largest river flows through all the Taluks except Muvattupuzha.  Muvattupuzha river and a branch of Chalakkudy river all gifts of this District. Average rainfall yearly is 3431.8 mm and 139 rain days.  As there are rivers, lakes and seas the region has a moderate climate.  Temperature is between 31.3oCand 25.8oC . Many types of sands and soil and also rocks which are geological importance is abundant here.

Majority of islands in Kerala are in Ernakulam district which was from different parts of old Cochin-Travancore-Malabar area.  The main islands of this district all man-made Willington Island,World's most populated Vypeen Island, Cheriya Kadamakkudi, Valiya Kadamakkudi, Ramanthuruthu, Ponjikkara, Vallarpadam, Kumbalam, Panangad, Cheppanam, Nettoor, Pizhala, Kankattuthuruthu, Korampadam, Cheranelloor, Chathanadu, Chendamangalam.  All these islands are populated areas. All these islands are believed to have formed from the soil accumulated due to soil erosion of highlands.

Ernakulam District Map :

KOCHI CITY – ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Spread over a cluster of islands on Vembanad lake & mainland (Ernakulam). Backwater tours.

Fort Kochi – Historic town influenced by Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Jewish synagogue –Built in 1568. Has scrolls of Old Testament, copper plates recording grants by Kochi rulers & hand painted blue Chinese ceramic tiles. Jew Town – Street leading to synagogue has curio shops. St. Francis Church – Built by Portuguese around 1546. Has crypts & tombstones of Portuguese nobles. Has Vasco da Gama’s grave stone, as he was first buried here. Mortal remains were later taken to Portugal.

Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace) – Built by Portuguese and gifted to Cochin Raja in 1555. Renovated by the Dutch in 1663. Has beautiful murals depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

Chinese Fishing Nets – Huge cantilevered fishing nets, originally brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan.

Santa Cruz Basilica – Present building was commissioned in 1887 and has a grand interior. Originally built in 1558 by Portuguese.

Pallipuram Fort – On the northern fringe of Vypeen island. Built in 1503 by Portuguese, first fort built in India by Europeans. Hexagonal shaped & three storeyed.

Bolghatty Palace – Built in 1744 by the Dutch is now a heritage hotel run by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. Located on Bolghatty island.

GUNDU ISLAND – Small island, coir products factory. Taj Group to develop resort.

Cherai Beach (45 km) – Near Vypeen island, ideal for swimming.

THRIPPUNITHURA (9 km) – Was the seat of the Cochin Rajas.

Hill Palace Museum - Paintings, epigraphy, furniture of the royal family are displayed.

Poornathreyesa (Vishnu) Temple – Masterpiece of Chola architecture. Chottanikkara Bhagawathi Temple (15 km; near Thrippunithura) – Deity is worshipped as Saraswathi, Bhadrakali and Durga at different times of the day.

Museum of Kerala History (10 km; Edappally) – Has statue of Parasurama, the sage who is said to have created Kerala. Life size figures depict important landmarks of civilization from neolithic age to modern era in Kerala. One hour sound and light shows.

Edapally :St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church : popularly known as Edappally Church, is situated in Edappally, which is about 10 km from Cochin. This is one of the oldest churches in Kerala built in 594 AD. In 1080, a new church was built adjacent to the old church. Every year, a grand nine-day festival is celebrated here in the month of April - May. The church is also quite popular amongst the non-Christians, who also come here for veneration.

ALUVA (21 km) –Pilgrim centre & summer picnic site on left bank of river Aluva.

Chovvara – Old summer palace of erstwhile Cochin royal family, on right bank of Aluva.

Kodanadu (30 km from Kottayam) – Elephant training centre under forest department, amid high ranges near Perambavoor. Elephants trained for safari are provided to tourists.

THATTEKKAD Bird Sanctuary (20 km from Kothamangalam) – Between branches of Periyar river. Has 200 bird species Boat cruises from Bhoothathankettu to Thattekkad.

BHOOTHATHANKETTU (50 km) – Popular picnic & trekking spot, close to Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. Boating in reservoir of Periyar Valley & Idamalayar irrigation project dams.

MALAYATTOOR (52 km) – St. Thomas Church on Malayattoor peak (609 m ASL). Has life-size statue of St. Thomas & imprint of his feet on a rock. He is said to have prayed here.

CHENNAMANGALAM (42 km) –A historical Jewish centre. Has remains of Oriental Jewish Synagogue in the old Jewish colony. Nearby are ruins of Vypeenkotta Seminary built by Portuguese (16th cen.) and ancient Syrian Catholic Church (13th cen.).

KALADI (45 km) – Birth place of Adi Sankaracharya, on the banks of river Periyar. Temples to Sri Sankara, Sarada Devi, Sri Krishna, International Temple (abode of peace).

Kothamangalam (55km) – 14 centuries old St. Thomas & St. Mary’s churches.

St. Mary's church :

Kanjiramattom Mosque (30 km) - Erected over mortal remains of Sheikh Parid/Farid. Caparisoned elephants, traditional Muslim art forms like Oppana & Mappilappattu, pilgrims carrying sandalwood paste are highlights of Kodikuthu festival (Dec/Jan).

Mangalavanam Birds Sanctury - The green lung of the city Cochin because of considering its role in keeping the city's air pollution under check. The area is a roosting place for many kinds of resident and migratory birdsMangalavanam is an ecologically sensitive area situated at the centre of the  city of Kochi. It is situated behind the Kerala High Court building. It is a nesting ground for a large variety of migratory birds and supports many types of mangroves.

 Mangalavanam is primarily a bird refuge. A bird survey conducted in May 2006 found that there were 194 birds belonging to 32 species. The total number of bird species recorded so far from the area is 72.

During a study conducted in 2006, 17 species of butterflies were recorded in this area. 51 species of spiders belonging to 40 Genus and 16 families were recorded here. This represented 27% of the total families reported from India. In a recent study revealed six species of mammals Indian flying-fox, painted bat, three-striped palm squirrel/dusky palm squirrel, house rat/black rat, bandicota, and Eurasian otter. Two species of amphibians  and seven species of fishes were found here. 

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