Destinations Kochi, Kerala

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Kochi, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city. Formerly known as Cochin, this tourist destination is set on a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters. This harbour city of Kerala with its breathtaking beauty, will enthrall anyone with its aromatic spices and abundant availability of fresh bananas and coconuts. Kochi is also famous for its superb cuisine, fusioned with an array of mixed spices, seafood and meat dishes to delight any hungry visitor.

Highlights of Kochi

Visit St Francis Church built in 1503, which is one of the oldest churches constructed by Europeans on Indian soil. Vasco de Gama, the first European to reach India by sailing around Africa, died in Kochi in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years until his body was transferred to Lisbon in Portugal.

Next, visit the Chinese Fishing Nets. Next depart for Mattancherry Palace built by the Portugese in 1567. The most important aspect of this palace, however is the astonishing murals in the bed chambers and other rooms depicting the scenes from the Ramayana and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. Continue your tour with a visit to the Jewish Synagogue, which was built in 1568. This is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. The present building was destroyed by shelling during a Portuguese raid in 1662 and was rebuilt two years later when the Dutch took over Kochi. Guests also have the opportunity to shop at the local Jewish Town.

Kochi Harbour Cruise

Cruise in a motorboat and discover Kochi which is a cluster of islands networked by lagoons and backwaters. This is one of the finest naturals harbours in the world and was once a major centre of trade and commerce with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British. While cruising through the harbour in a motorboat, you will be able to see the Chinese fishing nets, a glimpse of Kerala Village by the backwaters, churches, etc

Alleppey Houseboat Voyage

Depart for Alleppey, a 64 km journey, then board the local houseboats for a cruise at Alleppey. A unique way of sailing on the backwaters is by these houseboats, which are a modified version of the traditional 'rice boat' or 'kettuvallam'. In the past, the village people living in the backwaters used these boats for transporting goods like paddy and other commercial goods. This unique web of lakes is an integral part of the backwaters of Kerala. Added to this experience is the freshly cooked Keralan meal served on the houseboat. After lunch disembark at Alleppey for the drive back to the pier.

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Lakshadweep Cruises

The spell bound expanse of emerald isles, Lakshadweep, studded in the blue water of the Arabian Sea unfolds another world in itself.

Five of the inhabited islands (Agatti, Kadmat, Minicoy, Kavaratti and Kalpeni) are open mostly to Indian tourists and Bangaram, an uninhabited island, is open to both domestic and foreign tourists.

Water sports facilities like swimming, Rafting, snorkeling, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing, catamaran sailing, deep sea fishing and scuba diving are available in the islands.

Bangaram Island

The world's 10 best secret beaches (Sunday Times Travel Magazine Feb 8th 2004) that is just an hours’ flight from Kerala’s cultural capital of Cochin. This teardrop shaped piece of land is encircled by creamy sand. For a perfect outing, there are three uninhabited islands in the same atoll, Tinnakara, Parali-I and Parali-II. The deep, warm, clear waters of Indian Ocean with its myriad flora and fauna are an irresistible invitation to the scuba diving fraternity of the world.

The exquisite coral formation including the black coral formations, the variety and number of coral fishes - the angel, the clown, the butterfly, the surgeon not to mention awesome -looking but harmless sharks, mantarays, sting rays moray eels and turtles make diving at Bangaram an addictive experience.

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