Places to Visit in Ernakulam

  • Post last modified:9 April 2022
  • Reading time:20 mins read

Ernakulam is one of the 14 districts in the beautiful state of Kerala. This massive district is known for its many posh neighborhoods and numerous world-class residential complexes. There are countless places to visit in Ernakulam for couples, solo travelers, and those traveling with friends. Ernakulam gets its name from the namesake CBD of Kochi. Alluring and impressive tourist attractions are dotted throughout the city making it a paradise for travelers from across the country.

Your trip to Ernakulam would be hectic and incomplete if you do not plan your itinerary correctly. In this article, we bring to you the must-visit attractions in Ernakulam to make your trip a memorable one. A combination of natural attractions, museums, and religious sights makes our itinerary the go-to for travelers of all types.

10 Places to Visit in Ernakulam

  1. Mattancherry Palace
  2. Paradesi Synagogue
  3. Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
  4. Willingdon Island
  5. Fort Kochi Beach
  6. Hill Palace
  7. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Fort Kochi
  8. Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple
  9. Pallippuram Fort
  10. Fort Kochi

Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace
Mattancherry Palace

Also known as the Dutch Palace, Mattancherry Palace is definitely one of the top places to visit in Ernakulam. Such is the significance and popularity of this palace that it has made it to the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the major attractions of this palace is the murals adorning its walls. These murals have been believed to be made between the 16th to 18th Centuries. These murals portray the royals of Kochi at the time and also depict chapters from Hindu mythology. Mattancherry Palace is definitely one of the top places to visit in Ernakulam

This palace was built in the 16th Century. The Mattancherry Palace was commissioned by the Portuguese and was handed over to the Rajas of Kochi as a gift. It gets its name the Dutch Palace because the Dutch made extensive changes and renovation to the palace later in the 17th Century. The Nalukettu style of architecture that the Mattancherry Palace boasts is beautiful and will captivate your attention.

Opening Time: Sunday to Thursday from 09:45 AM to 01:00 PM,Sunday to Thursday from 02:00 PM to 04:45 PM

Major Attractions: Murals

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Paradesi Synagogue

Paradesi Synagogue
Paradesi Synagogue

The most interesting fact about this iconic synagogue is that it is the oldest active synagogue situated in all of the Commonwealth. Built in the year 1568, this is one of the most popular religious sights in the entire Kerala. This splendid synagogue was built by three local jews namely Samuel Castiel, David Belila, and Joseph Levi for the thriving Jewish community in Kochi at the time.

The Paradesi Synagogue is one of the most beautiful places in Ernakulam. It is situated in the Jew Quarter of the sprawling city of Kochi. This historic gem is also home to many priceless antiques like scrolls of the law, Belgian glass chandeliers, copper plates from the 10th Century among many others. The clock tower built in the 18th Century is also one of the major attractions at the Paradesi synagogue.

Opening Time: Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM, Friday from 10:00 AM to 02:00 PM

Major Attractions: The historical artifacts

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary
Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Spotting birds, resting among tall trees, and flying freely in the sky, is a sight that captivates the minds of people of all ages. If you are a bird-watching enthusiast or someone who loves to be amidst nature, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is definitely one of the places to visit in Ernakulam for you. This bird sanctuary covers a total area of 25 square kilometers (09.65 square miles) and is home to birds of diverse species.

Taking a walk among lush greenery through the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is highly recommended during your visit here. Jerdon’s courser, Indian cuckoo, Collared scops owl, Grey-fronted green pigeon, drongo cuckoo and large hawk cuckoo are some of the unique species that can be spotted here. This is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful tourist places in Ernakulam.

Best Time to Visit Thattekad Bird Sanctuary: October to February

Major Attractions: Lush greenery

Ideal Duration to Explore: 3 to 4 Hours Things to do: Bird watching and admiring nature

Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island
Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island is a spectacular man-made island in Kochi. This artificial island is named after the first Earl of Willingdon, the Viceroy of India. This island was made by adding the soil that was accumulated during the time of dredging the Vembanad Lake. The Vembanad Lake was dredged at the time to make space for a large port. Willingdon Island is one of the major attractions in Ernakulam.

The Venduruthy Bridge connects this island to mainland Kochi. The Willingdon Island is home to numerous hotels, Kochi Naval Base, Port of Kochi, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, and Custom House Cochin. Taking a ferry to the island is highly recommended for those looking to take in the beauty of the island and the surrounding waters. Willingdon Island is one of the top places for sightseeing in Ernakulam.

Best Time to Visit Willingdon Island: Throughout the year

Major Attractions: Kochi Naval Base

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hours

Fort Kochi Beach

Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi

If you are a beach lover, you won’t be disappointed during your trip to Ernakulam. The Fort Kochi Beach facing the Arabian Sea is pristine, beautiful and one of the most beautiful places in Ernakulam. If you are looking for someplace to get away from the noise of the city and listen to waves crashing, heading over to Fort Kochi Beach is a brilliant idea. Watch the sun color the sky with an orange hue as it slowly sets in the Arabian Sea during your visit to this beach.

The Chinese fishnets, boat jetty towards the Vembanad Lake, and the vestiges of the Fort Emmanuel are other attractions that you can enjoy during your visit to Fort Kochi Beach. This beach should definitely be a part of your itinerary as it is one of the top places to visit in Ernakulam.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year

Major Attractions: Chinese Fishnets

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Things to do: Watch the sunset

Hill Palace

Hill Palace
Hill Palace

Hill Palace is situated in the heart of Thrippunithura, Ernakulam. This sprawling complex comprises a total of 49 buildings. The buildings are all built in the traditional Kerala style of architecture that is appealing and alluring. Built in 1865 as the official residence for the Maharaja of Kochi, Hill Palace is now home to the largest archaeological museum in the state. Apart from the archaeological museum, the Hill Palace is home to a deer park, a prehistoric park, and a heritage museum. The Hill Palace is one of the best places to visit in Ernakulam.

This palace is also home to the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. The museum at this palace displays a wide range of artifacts and personal belongings of the Kochi Royal Family, who handed over the palace complex to the Government of Kerala in 1980. The Weapons Gallery at this museum is one of its major attractions. On display here is a wide range of weapons that were used by the army of the Kochi Kingdom over the years.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Tuesday to Sunday from 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM

Major Attractions: Museums

Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hours

Things to do: Explore the historical artifacts

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Fort Kochi

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Fort Kochi
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Fort Kochi

One of the nine basilicas in Kerala, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Kochi is a star attraction of Ernakulam tourism. Built in 1505 by the Portuguese, this cathedral was designated a basilica in 1558 by Pope Paul IV. This existing structure was demolished by the British. A new building was erected at this site in 1887. This church building was then consecrated as a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

The Gothic style of architecture of this church makes it, in terms of the design, similar to the churches in Europe that were built during the same period. This is the place to be if you are seeking solace and a spiritual environment. Devotees from across the country head to this church in large numbers throughout the year. Light a candle and offer prayer during your visit to the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica which is one of the must-visit places in Ernakulam.

Best Time to Visit Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Fort Kochi: Throughout the year

Major Attractions: Gothic ArchitectureIdeal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Things to do: Attend the Sunday Mass

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple
Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

This sacred Hindu temple is among the most-visited religious sites in the state. Dedicated to Hindu goddess Bhagavathy, this temple is a must-visit for devotees while in Ernakulam. If not for the spiritual and positive atmosphere, visiting for the beautiful architecture is highly recommended. The legend goes that goddess Bhagavathy resides at this temple along with her brother Maha Vishnu. Goddess Bhagavathy is a form of Durga Devi. The annual festival of Makam Thozhal here is a huge crowd puller. Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is one of the top religious destinations in Ernakulam.

During this annual festival, various rituals like bathing the sculpture at Calli Onakkuttichira—the temple pond—followed by a grand procession to the “Pooraparambhu ”, the main grounds of the festival takes place. Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple is considered only second to Sabarimala in terms of religious and historical significance in Kerala.

Best Time to Visit Chotanikkara Bhagavathy Temple: During the annual festival of Makam Thozhal. Between February to March.

Major Attractions: The architecture

Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Things to do: Attend one of the poojas

Pallippuram Fort

Pallippuram Fort
Pallippuram Fort

Originally built by Portuguese sailors during the beginning of the 16th Century, the Pallipuram Fort is the oldest existing European fort in India. In the year 1503, some Portuguese sailors erected a structure at the location using nothing but timber. This was because of lack of funding and resources at the time. To re-consolidate their position and presence in the region, the Portuguese built a stone fort at the same site in the year 1505. Pallippuram Fort is one of the most famous places in Ernakulam among history lovers.

The Dutch East Indies conquered the Pallipuram Fort in 1663. The Travancore king purchased this fort from the Dutch in the year 1789 as part of his expansionist policy. Today, the ruins of this historical fort stand as the vestige of centuries past. For anyone with an inclination and interest towards history, visiting this fort is highly recommended. Situated in Pallippuram, Vyppin, Ernakulam, this fort is built in hexagonal shape which is quite unique.

Famous For: Pallipuram Fort is the oldest existing European fort in India

Tickets: No Entry Fee

Opening Timings: 24X7

Ideal Time to Explore: 1 Hour

Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi

This trendy, hip and beautiful neighborhood in the heart of Kochi is Ernakulam’s prized jewel. Home to numerous cafes, touristy streets, posh residential areas, shopping complexes, restaurants, bars, and hotels, Fort Kochi has more than a tourist would want. Simply roaming the streets of Fort Kochi on foot or on a scooter is an experience that will stay with you for a long time to come.

The colonial-era architecture that Fort Kochi boasts is a blend of British, Dutch and Portuguese styles giving it a charm of its own. The popular art festival Biennale takes place at Fort Kochi. During this time, artists and art lovers from across the world gather here in large numbers. Forts, beaches, temples, and churches are dotted across Fort Kochi making it one of the must-visit places in Ernakulam.

Ernakulam is a true traveler’s paradise. It would not be an exaggeration to say that your trip to Kerala will be incomplete if you do not properly explore Ernakulam and all of its beautiful attractions. From budget travelers and couples to those traveling with family, everyone can enjoy Ernakulam equally. Visit all the attractions mentioned in our article during your trip to make the best out of it.

Best Time to Visit Fort Kochi: October to January

Major Attractions: Fort Kochi Beach

Ideal Duration to Explore: 3 to 4 Hours

Things to do: Explore the many cafes and bars here


FAQ

What is the specialty of Ernakulam?

The specialty of Ernakulam is that it is one of the best districts for a tourist to explore while in Kerala. The Ernakulam district is home to Kochi, arguably the best city in the state.

Are Ernakulam and Kochi the same?

No, Ernakulam and Kochi are not the same. Ernakulam is a district in which the Kochi city is located. Please note not to get confused between Ernakulam district and the Ernakulam downtown which is situated in the heart of Kochi city.

Leave a Reply