Attractions
Places of interest which can be accessed within a short time
Kodanad
Kodanad is located in the higher ranges on the southern bank of the Periyar river. Kodanad is one of the largest elephant training centers in South India. Here Elephants specially trained for safari are provided with saddles for riding. There is also a mini zoo for wild animals.
Malayatoor
Malayatoor Catholic church situated on top of the 609m high Malayatoor Hill is dedicated to St. Thomas. Thousands of devotees undertake the pilgrimage in the annual festival, the Malayatoor Perunnal conducted during the months of March and April. St. Thomas is believed to have prayed at this shrine.
Fort Kochi
A leisurely walk through the city is the ideal way to discover the historic Fort Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Fort Kochi has an eventful and colorful history. It has a reputation as a seafaring commercial town. The Chinese, the Italians, the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British have played integral roles in shaping the history and the architecture of this town. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo-European architecture that still exist here.
Mattancherry Dutch Palace
Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics- Ramayana and Mahabharatha, as well as some of the ancient Hindu legends. The palace also houses Dutch maps of the old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former Maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture. The three dimensional portraits of the Maharajas are also noteworthy.
Mattancherry Synagogue
Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Located at Mattancherry, it is noted for its mid-18th century, hand-painted, willow-patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates etc.
Thattekkadu bird sanctuary
This sanctuary, nestled in evergreen forests, was discovered by the renowned ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali and is named after him. The sanctuary is noted for indigenous birds like the Malabar grey-hornbill, the woodpecker, the rose-ringed and blue-winged Parakeet etc. Rare birds like the Ceylon frog-moth and the rose-billed roller are also seen here. Diverse migrant birds make this place their home during different seasons.
Cherai Beach
This picturesque beach, located on the North end of the Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Lined with luscious green coconut groves and paddy fields, this sandy beach is a unique combination of the sea and the backwaters, studded with seashells of various hues and shapes. Dolphins are occasionally seen here.
Athirapally and Vazhachal waterfalls
The most famous waterfalls of Kerala, Athirapally and Vazhachal are situated on the Chalakudy River, which originates from the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges is the largest waterfall in Kerala, Athirapally, which stands tall at 80 feet. Just a short drive from Athirapally, the Vazhachal waterfall is close to dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. This is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered Hornbill species are seen.
Amusement Parks
The most famous waterfalls of Kerala, Athirapally and Vazhachal are situated on the Chalakudy River, which originates from the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges is the largest waterfall in Kerala, Athirapally, which stands tall at 80 feet. Just a short drive from Athirapally, the Vazhachal waterfall is close to dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. This is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered Hornbill species are seen.
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