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KOCHI (COCHIN)

     Kochi, a port city on the west coast, is called the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The commercial capital of Kerala, it has one of the best harbours. From time immemorial, it has been a centre of international trade. Because of its commercial importance,foreign powers vied for supremacy in the area and therefore the place has a blend of several exotic cultures like the Portuguese, Jewish, English, French, Dutch and Chinese. Backwater cruise here is very fascinating. Kathakali and Mohiniyattam can be seen in the city's cultural centres like Kerala Kathakali Kendra and the Kochi Cultural Centre.

Bolghatty island: Bolghatty palace, built by the Dutch in 1744 for their governors and later used by the British governors is situated here. Today it is a Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) owned hotel.
Willington island: This island is situated in the backwaters and is named after the British viceroy to India, Lord Willington. The headquarters of the naval command, port trust, trading centres etc are located here.
Fort Kochi: A fishing village, Fort Kochi became a European trading centre in the middle ages.
Mattancherry palace (Dutch palace): This was built by some foreigners on Hindu architectural style in 1555.
Synagogue (Mattancherry): Situated on Mattancherry island, this Jewish place of worship was built in 1568. It contains, among other things, the scrolls of Old Testament and some beautiful Belgium chandeliers. In the forlorn Jewish town, a Jewish community had prospered two thousand years ago.
St Francis Church: Built of wood in 1503, it may be the oldest European church in India. Vasco-da-Gama was buried here.

EXCURSIONS:

Athirappally:78 km from Kochi, Athirappally waterfalls is a popular picnic spot. The scenery is enchanting.
Malampuzha:154 km from Kochi or 14 km from Palaghat, Malampuzha dam was built across Bharatapuzha in the foothills of the Western Ghats. Swimming pool, boat cruise and children's park are the attractions.
Kodungalloor:St Thomas landed in Maliankara, near old Muziris (modern Kodungalloor) in 52 AD. Christianity was introduced to Kerala by him.

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