Place of Interests
About 10 minutes’ walk from Aroma
Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco da Gamma Square
These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the Court of Kubla khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles.
The best place to watch the net being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is Vasco da Gamma square, a narrow promenade that runs along the Beach.
The square is an ideal place to idle with stalls serving fresh delicious sea food and tender coconuts.
Santa Cruz Basilica
The Santa Cruz Basilica not only happens to be one of the oldest churches in Cochin, but also in the whole of India. Counted as one of the heritage edifices of Kerala, this church is visited by tourists the whole year round. It was built by the first Portuguese viceroy, Francesco de Almeida, when he arrived in Kochi way back in 1505. On 3 May that year, during the feast of the "Invention of the Holy Cross", the foundation stone of this church was laid and upon completion, it was christened as Santa Cruz Cathedral.
Later on, when the Dutch conquered Cochin in 1663, they ruined all Catholic establishments except this particular cathedral and the famous church of St. Francis. In those days, the Santa Cruz Cathedral was used as an armory. It was, however, later shattered in 1795, after the British took over the city. An elaborate granite pillar of this monumental cathedral was what remained after the destruction of the Santa Cruz Cathedral. The pillar is still kept on the southeastern corner of the present Basilica.
St. Francis Church
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars, this is India’s oldest European Church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco da Gamma was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone can still be seen in the premises.
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. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.
The Vasco House in Cochin is one of the most visited Portuguese buildings in the entire state of Kerala. Built in the early sixteenth century, this building is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Cochin. Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gama - the legendary Portuguese Explorer, Vasco House is a must-visit destination for tourists on tour to Kerala.
Vasco Da Gama was the first European to reach Kerala through the sea route. A group of Portuguese navigators led by Vasco Da Gama, landed in Cochin in the 15th century, and selected the site as their first settlement. Later, they built the historical Fort Cochin which houses several colonial buildings, commercial and trading centers, military base, Churches and residential buildings.
Vasco House is one of the main attractions of Fort Cochin and the structure is reflective of the distinguished culture of the Portuguese settlers who had richly influenced the history of Kerala and left their heritage to this land.
Vasco House is characterized by typical European-style glass paned windows and balcony-cum-verandahs evocative of the era
About 20 minutes’ walk from Aroma
Earlier Mattancherry was the trade link to Ernakulam. Main Trade was on spices, rice, pulses, with the hustle and bustle of a trading market. Slowly the trading and the traders moved to Ernakulam city to the convenience of trade transport.
Visiting Mattancherry takes you to the Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace Museum, Gowd Saraswat Brahmin Samaj temples including the Venkatraman temple and a Jain's Temple (known as MahajanWadi). Mattancherry Palace Museum hosts different weapons such as swords, spears and various other artilleries such as cannon used to protect the borders from invaders in the historic ages. The museum also hosts various paintings and murals. Near the museum, a private BUS Depot is also present. Close to the Bus Depot there is a Boat Jetty, where we get boats to Ernakulam, and Willington Island. There is also a Bazaar (Market) where we get to buy different spices and articles used for interior decorations.
The synagogue, magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, was built in 1568. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. The exquisite hand painted blue Chinese tiles offer an interesting sight. Not one of the nearly two hundred year old tiles resembles another. In mid-18th century, the clock tower was added. There are several finely wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by the various patrons
It's almost a walk down the lanes of antiquity. The Jew Street is lined with shops that sell curios, antique pieces of crockery, carved wooden furniture, bronze and brass sculptures, remnants of traditional houses, and jewelry. The antique sellers of these streets are the descendants of a fast dwindling population of Jews who settled down here in AD 52. Every piece that they sell has its own tale to narrate - of a palace or a home of the nobility, of travels across many lands and ages. The Jewish Synagogue here, a mark of exceptional architecture and history, is a fascination for hundreds of visitors every day. There are a few other Jewish settlements too in the State. But Kochi has made a name with its synagogue and the popular antique shops.
Few beaches in Kerala can compare with the cleanliness and beauty of Cherai beach, situated at a distance of 35 kms from Cochin. Affectionately called the Princess of the Arabian Sea this 10 kilometer long beach is becoming the favorite destination of the tourists with each passing day. This beach also occupies the unique position of being the only beach where dolphins are sighted.
The tourism department has laid much emphasis on the development of this beach and has taken up the task of widening and beautifying it to suit the convenience of the tourists.
The Bolgatty Island is a short but inspiring boat ride away from Kochi. The commercial capital of Kerala is also blessed with monuments of great historic relevance. One such monument is the Bolgatty Palace. Set amidst lush, tropical greenery, this prestigious heritage hotel answers your quest for a holiday of quiet enchantment. One of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland, this quaint mansion was built way back in 1744 by a Dutch trader. In 1909 the palace was leased to the British and it served as their residency till 1947 when the British Raj came to an end in India.
Thripunithura Hill palace, the largest archaeological museum in Kerala and the erstwhile official residence of the Kochi Royal Family, was built in 1865. Hill Palace is situated at a distance of about 12kms from Kochi on Ernakulam- Chottanikkara route. The palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with ponds, fountains and lawns. A full-fledged ethno archaeological museum and Kerala's first ever Heritage museum are the main attractions here. The oldest building in the complex is a single stored Kerala style 'ettukettu' constructed around 1850 AD with an adjacent pond, temple and urappura. The other buildings are a combination of traditional and western architecture. The latest construction was a three storied western style building constructed in 1950 which used to function as the office.