GR Travels

St Francis Church

St Francis CSI Church Fort Cochin (presently Fort Kochi) is the oldest European settlement in India and St. Francis Church is the first European Church that was built in India. The History of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India from the 15th to 20th centuries. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover the sea route to India when Vasco da Gama landed at Calicut in 1498. Two years later, on 24th December 1500, Portuguese ships, under the command of Admiral Cabral, visited Cochin and the Rajah of Cochin permitted them to engage in trade. In 1503 Alphonso Albuquerque was given permission by the Rajah to build a fort at the mouth of the river which was constructed mainly of the stems of coconut trees bound with iron bands, whilst the rampart of stones and sand formed the inner defence. Within the fort they erected a church made of wood which was dedicated to St. Bartholomew and that stood on the exact place where the more spacious existing structure of the Franciscans later arose. In 1506 Dom Francisco Almeyda, the Viceroy, was given permission by the Rajah of Cochin to build a new city using mortar and stone and building roofed with titles (a privilege hitherto been confined only to the palace of the local prince and to the temples in which he performed puja). The Portuguese vowed that apart from the fortifications, the first permanent erection would be a church for divine worship. Accordingly, the wooden structure was replaced with one made of mortar and bricks. The new church was completed in 1516 and dedicated to St. Antony. Towards the end of 1524 Vasco Da Gama returned to Cochin (his first visit was in 1502) where he died on the Christmas eve of that year and was buried in this Church. Fourteen years later, his remains were shipped to Portugal and deposited at Vidigveria where they remained until 1872 when they were removed to the monastery of Jeronimos in Lisbon, its present abode.      Book Now



Hill Palace Tripunithura

The Hill Palace, Kerala first heritage museum noted for royal collections of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kochi, is today the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Built in 1865, the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style of Kerala, sprawled over 52 acres of beautifully landscaped terraced land which houses a deer park and facilities for horse riding. Numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants grow here. On display in the full fledged Ethno-archaeological museum are oil-paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family and royal furniture including the simhasana (throne) Also exhibited are over 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from Japan and China, Kudakkallu (tomb stone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock cut weapons from the Stone Age, wooden temple models, plaster cast models of objects from Mohenjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilisation. The museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.      Book Now



Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple

Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple is situated in the heart of Ernakulam City. The deity in this temple is famous as Ernakulathappan. This is one of the rare Shiva temples where deity is facing sea towards west. Arjuna, the pandava performed a severe penance to propitiate Lord Shiva. Pleased with Arjuna devotion Shiva accompanied with his consort Sri Parvathi set out from their abode at Kailash to meet Arjuna. Shiva disguises himself as Kiratha before appearing in front of Arjuna. Just as Shiva appears before Arjuna he sees a wild boar charging towards Arjuna and shoots an arrow at the boar. Arjuna, who is an accomplished archer, also shoots an arrow at the boar. The boar who was in fact a demon named Mookasura in disguise is killed and its original form is revealed. However, dispute arises between Arjuna and Kiratha as to who is the real killer of the animal. A battle ensues between the two, lasting a long time, ultimately resulting in Kiratha victory over Arjuna.The vanquished Arjuna, unable to even stand up makes a Shiva Linga out the earth and performs a pooja offering flowers. To his surprise, he sees that the flower he offers over the Shiva Linga is falling over the head of Kiratha. Arjuna then realizes that Kiratha is non other than his Lord Shiva. Shiva, in his true form, along with Parvathy appears before Arjuna and blesses him. He also gifts him the divine arrow, the Pasupathastram. A rishi by name Devala killed a serpent by accident and was cursed by his guru. The curse turned his face into the hood of a snake and he acquired the name Nagarishi. It was ordained that a sustained period of Shiva worship would relieve him of the curse. He comes across the Shiva Linga made by Arjuna and takes it with him. After taking holy dips in the sacred rivers and praying at temples he arrives at Rishinagakulam the ancient name of present Ernakulam.      Book Now



Marine Drive

Home Marine Drive its beauty Marine Drive is one of the popular hangouts in Ernakulam city. Facing the serene backwaters with a walkway of about three kilometers, the place attracts a lot of local residents as well as tourists every day. The backdrop of the backwaters, with ships anchored at the harbour, is one of the main reasons for its allure. The walkway is usually thronged by people in the evening and the view of the sun setting in the tranquil sea is a. At night, the place provides a picturesque spectacle with the light seeping out of the anchored ships. The cleanliness, sitting arrangements and the cool breeze from the backwaters are the other factors that draw tourists here. The beauty of the place has been enhanced by two contemporary constructions the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. Childrens Park and Subhash Chandra Bose Park are also situated near Marine Drive. There are various boat services from Marine Drive to take you to tourist spots like the oil tanker berth, the Cochin shipyard, the Bolgatty Palace, Mattanchery Jewish synagogue, Jew Street, Vallarpadom Terminal and so on. Commercial significance Marine Drive, with its many skyscrapers and shopping malls, is one of the commercially thriving areas of Cochin. Corporate offices, quality restaurants, showrooms for international names and so on have found secured their place in the buildings adjacent to the walkway. Apart from being a shopping destination, Marine Drive has a number of apartments that are much in demand. The boat jetty that operates ferry services to various islands is situated near Marine Drive.      Book Now


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