Facing the backwaters studded with islands, Ernakulam, the district head quarters, is an important commercial and residential area. Ernakulam has its own share of interesting places.
THE HILL PALACE MUSEUM, TRIPUNITHURA:
Hill palace, the east while official residential of the Cochin royal family, was built in 1865. the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a deer park and facilities for horse riding. A full-fledged ethno-archaeological museum and Kerala’s first ever heritage museum are the main attractions. Displayed inside the thirteen galleries are oil paintings, 19th century paintings, murals, scripture in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions and coins belonging to Cochin royal family.
This Island is famous for its palace of the same name. the Bolghatty Palace was built in 1744 by the Dutch and later taken over by the British. Today it is a hotel run by KTDC (Kerala Truism Development Corporation), with a small golf course and special honeymoon cottage.
Named after Lord Willington, a British Viceroy to India, this man-made Island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The Island is the site of the city’s best hotels, customs and trading centres, the port trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
GURUKULAM KATHAKALI YOGAM:
Here, visitors can see the famous Kathakali, Kerala’s traditional dance-drama. Dancers in their colourful costumes, with painted faces and enormous skirts enact ancient legends.
The biggest ship building yard in India, the Cochin shipyard is situated in the southern part of Ernakulam on the way to Willington Island. Set up with Japanese collaboration, this shipyard has a building dock for ships up to 85,000 DWT and a repair dock that can accommodate ships up to 1,00,000 DWT. Motilal Nehru, the first oil tanker made in India, was built here.
LALITA KALA ACADEMY GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART:
Located in the Durbar Hall of the Cochin Rajas at D.H. Road, the Gallery is open from 10.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs.
PAREEKSHIT THAMPURAN MUSEUM:
This sprawling, traditional Kerala style building previously called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings. Lighthouse at Ochanthuruthu is open from 3:00 to 5:00 pm daily.
An important pilgrim centre and summer resort. The Periyar river widens here and is therefore ideal for bathing and picnicking. The annual Sivarathri Festival is celebrated on the banks of the Periyar during March/April. Aluva is also an important industrial centre.
Kerala’s centuries old backwaters stretch over 1,900 Km long, snaking their way across the land, into the sea. They passes through busy markets and quite paddy fields. The backwaters also act as vital waterways for the transport of goods, people and produce. Tourists can take time to float in these waters in a country craft, observing Kerala at a leisurely pace. KTDC offers boats for hire.
THATTAKAD BIRD SANCTUARY:
Kerala’s first Bird sanctuary, Thattakad is made up of moist deciduous forest on 25 Sq. Km. of peninsular land formed between the branches of Periyar River in Malayattoor Forest Division. Many water and forest birds including rarities like the Ceylon frogmouth and the rose-billed roller can be seen here. Season : September to March.