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Chinese Fishing Nets
Jewish Synagogue
Koder House
Pierce Leslie Bungalow
Bolghatty Palace - View of Entrance from Backwater
Idukki Arch Dam
Sree Chithra Art Gallery
Kuthiramalika Palace
Planetarium
Hill Palace
HISTORICAL PLACES

History of Kerala

      According to a story in Hindu mythology, the creation of Kerala was by Parasuram, a warrior sage. Parasuram was the incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. He was the sixth of the ten avatars (incarnation) of Vishnu. The word Parasu means 'axe' in Sanskrit and therefore the name Parasuram means 'Ram with Axe'. The aim of his birth was to deliver the world from the arrogant oppression of the ruling caste, the Kshatriyas. He killed all the male Kshatriyas on earth and filled five lakes with their blood. After destroying the Kshatriya kings, he approached an assembly of learned men to find a way of penitence for his sins.

      On the advice of a sage, Visvamitra, Parasurama went on a pilgrimage to the ocean shore in the south as penance for the slaughter he had committed.He was advised that, to save his soul from damnation, he must hand over the lands he had conquered to the Brahmins. He did as they advised and sat in meditation at Gokarnam. There, he was blessed by Varuna - the God of the Oceans and Bhumidevi - Goddess of Earth. From Gokarnam he reached Kanyakumari and threw his axe northward across the ocean, parting the ocean fom the shore. It was 160 katam (an old measure) of land lying between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari. This land emerged out from the sea came to known as Kerala.

     'Keram' means 'Coconut' & since Kerala is rich in coconut trees, came the name 'Keralam' meaning 'Land Of Coconut Trees' !!!


Monuments

      Kerala houses a large collection of historic monuments - Buildings ,Palaces & Forts.Kerala has been host to a number of foreigners who settled on its coast and thus its architecture has influences of various countries that have blended in beautifully and harmoniously to lend Kerala, it's present look.The styles represent a unique blend of typical Kerala, European, Chinese, Jewish and Arabic styles.

  • Residence Of Vasco Da Gama
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gama, this is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Cochin. Built in the early 16th century, Vasco House sports the typical European glass paned windows and Balcony cum Verandas characteristic of the times.

  • Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco da Gama Square
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected in Fort Kochi between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are built of teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The square is an ideal place to idle, with stalls serving fresh delicious seafood and tender coconut.

  • Jewish Synagogue
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    Jewish Synagogue built in 1568 & with the establishing of the Jewish State of Israel, many Jewish settlers in Cochin and other parts of Kerala left the country for Israel. There are only about 17 Jews left, and that the number of adult males does not come up to the required number for a Priest, the Community is without one. The monument is still preserved and is a famous tourist spot.

  • Koder House
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    Koder House, the magnificent building constructed by Samuel. S. Koder of the Cochin Electric Company in 1808 AD is a supreme example of transition from colonial to Indo-European architecture. Features like Veranda Seats at the entrance, floor tiles set in a chess board pattern, red colored brick like facade, carved wood furniture and a wooden bridge connecting to separate structure across the street are unique to this Bungalow.

  • Pierce Leslie Bungalow
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    The charming mansion was once the office of Pierce Leslie & Co., the famous coffee merchants. Founded in 1862 AD, this building, a representative of Fort Cochin Colonial Bungalow reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences. Characteristic features of this bungalow are wood panels that form the roof of ground floor, arched doorways, carved doors and sprawling rooms. Water front verandas are an added attraction to the magnificent house.

  • Bishop's House
    Location :Fort Cochin (Cochin)

    Built in 1506 as the residence of the Portuguese Governor, the Bishop's House stands on a little hillock near Parade Ground in Ernakulam. The facade of the house is characterized by large Gothic Arches and has a circular garden path, winding upto the main entrance. The building was acquired by Dome Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Cochin whose jurisdiction extended over Burma, Malaya and Ceylon in addition to India.

  • Bolghatty Palace
    Location :Ernakulam

    A scenic island near the city of Ernakulam, Bolghatty is famous for the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch in 1744 AD. This palace was once a Governor's palace for the Dutch and later the home of the British Governors that has now been converted into a hotel. The palace is two-storeyed and contains well-decorated bedchambers and a huge lounge wherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from the mainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable experience.This ancient Palace turned Hotel has a Golf Course as well.

  • Chittur Gurumadam
    Location :Palakkad

    Chittur Gurumadam, situated in Thekkegramam near Arikkode in Palakkad district, on the banks of the River Sokanasini, Chittur Gurumadam is a memorial to Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the author of 'Adhyatma Ramayana'. It is believed that the poet-saint spent his last days here. A 'srichakra', some of the idols worshipped by him, a stylus, wooden slippers and a few old manuscripts are exhibited here.

  • Gundert's Bungalow
    Location :Thalassery

    Gundert's Bungalow at Nettur is on the outskirts of Thalaserry. It is a historically significant place for all lovers of Malayalam Language. Home of Dr. Hermann Gundert (1814-1893), a scholar of the German Basel Mission, who compiled the first Malayalam English dictionary.It is said that the revered German priest and lexicographer lived in the bungalow for 20 years from 1839. Mr. Gundert was the publisher of one of the Malayalam's oldest newspapers, the 'Paschimodayam', and also authored several books on Malayalam grammar.

  • Idukki Arch Dam
    Location :Idukki

    Idukki arch dam is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam, constructed across the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. 550 feet high and 650 feet wide, the dam lies close to the Cheruthoni Barrage. To its west is the Kulamavu Dam. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary is located close by. The sanctuary spreads over 77 sq. km and is about 450-748 m above sea level. Three dams, namely, Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu extending to 33 sq. kms, form the Idukki Reservoir.


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Museums

      Museums depict the ancient glory & truly the museums of Kerala have stood up to the glory of the region. Some of the museums once belonged to the royalty (their palaces or guest houses) but as the days of kings and queens came to an end, they have been converted into museums for the general public to behold their gorgeous splendor.Unlike the common conception, Kerala's museums are some of the most exciting places displaying colorful simplicity of the region.

  • Sree Chitra Art Gallery
    Location :Thiruvananthapuram

    Sree Chitra Art Gallery displays select paintings of the renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The art gallery housed in a traditional building next to Napier Museum, houses the collections of the Travancore ruling family, and include an interesting assortment of turn-of-the-century Bengali school paintings, and Rajasthani and Mughal miniatures. Kerala's favorite artist son, Raja Ravi Varma's works include a number of portraits of kings and the royal families, British residents and distinguished individuals. The paintings are full of life such that one can easily get a glimpse of a part of Kerala's history, by looking at them.

  • Science & Technology Museum
    Location :Thiruvananthapuram

    The Science and Technology Museum was established with the prime objective of setting up of galleries with working or animated exhibits, on all disciplines of Science & Technology. The Planetarium has a daily 40-minute science-related show in English. The Observatory is situated at one of the highest points in the city near the Museum complex, opposite the Kanakakkunnu Palace. The observatory situated at an altitude of 60 m above sea level affords a bird's eye view of the city.

  • Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
    Location :Thiruvananthapuram

    Situated neat the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is a classic specimen of Travancore style of architecture. The palace, with its excellent carvings and amazing architectural designs, is by itself a slice of heritage & has a wide range of exhibits representing the erstwhile state of Travancore. The Museum displays the paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family & offers a rare glimpse into the private lives of the members of the royal family. The first room of the palace is home to 14 life-size figures depicting various scenes from the Kerala legends and Kathakali. Magnificent ivory cots, thrones of kings, a musical tree that produces the eight 'swaras (sounds)' when tapped and other such wonders are a few of the attractions of the museum.

  • Napier Museum
    Location :Thiruvananthapuram

    This architectural splendor,combines traditional Kerala style with the Chinese and Mughal influences much evident in its architecture. The 19th century English architect, Chisholm, designed the building, which houses a rare collection of archaeological and historical artifacts.

  • Priyadarshini Planetarium
    Location :Thiruvananthapuram

    Priyadarshini Planetarium is one of the most sophisticated and versatile planetaria in India. This fabulous planetarium complex has a centrally air conditioned Sky theatre of planetarium, conference hall, workshops, sound - studio and other facilities. With a seating capacity of 184, Priyadarsini Planetarium is rated as one of the best horizontal domed planetaria of global standards. It is known for organizing shows such as 'Man And The Universe' that deals with the origin and different stages of development of astronomy, the structure of different planets and the origin of the Universe, 'Myriad Suns' that deals with the birth and death of stars, black holes, neutron stars, star clusters, galaxies, nebula and supernova.

  • Ambalavayal Heritage Museum
    Location :Sulthanbathery(Wayanad)

    The Ambalavayal Heritage Museum is one of the best heritage museums of Kerala. The museum boasts of one the largest collections of articles that date back to 2nd century AD. Near the Ambukuthi hill region is this heritage museum housing artifacts and belongings of the various tribes of the land. The exhibits here include rare 2nd century artifacts such as clay sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows, stone weapons and other curios.

  • Krishna Menon Museum
    Location :Kozhikode

    Neighboring the Pazhassi Raja Museum in Kozhikode, the Krishna Menon Museum houses a good collection of paintings by Raja Raja Varma and Raja Ravi Varma. A section is devoted to the memorabilia of the late V.K. Krishna Menon, former Indian Defence Minister and national leader. The section in honor of the great Indian leader V.K Krishna Menon has on display the collection of personal belongings and souvenirs gifted by this world leader.

  • Pazhassi Raja Museum
    Location :Kozhikode

    The Pazhassi Raja Museum,is named after the great Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma of the Padinjare Kovilakom of the Kottayam Royal Family. Pazhassiraja led the famous 'Pazhassi Revolt' against the British East India Company during the second half of the 1700s. Nicknamed the 'Lion of Kerala', Pazhassiraja is also credited with introducing guerilla warfare in the hills of Wayanad to resist the increasingly intolerable British colonialism. This great freedom fighter was shot dead in an encounter on 30 November 1805 AD. The museum has on its display ancient murals, antique bronzes and coins, megalithic relics such as diamond cysts, temple miniatures and umbrella stones. The Museum houses a veritable treasure trove for historians and connoisseurs of art.

  • Museum of Kerala History
    Location :Ernakulam

    The Museum of Kerala History at Edapally is the best place to have a quick glimpse of Kerala's history in the past 2000 years. A statue of Parasurama, the sage who is said to have created Kerala, greets the visitors. Life size figures depict important landmarks of civilization from the Neolithic age to the modern era. It presents one-hour light and sound spectacles of life-size sculptures in concrete, of the makers of Kerala history,with commentary with glimpses of the vastness and diversity of Kerala's history over the centuries. The commentary is in English as well as in Malayalam. 87 figures who shaped the history and culture of Kerala in the last two thousand years have been represented here in Light and Sound Tableaus.

  • Hill Palace Museum
    Location :Ernakulam

    Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi Royal Family was built in 1865. Consisting of 49 buildings, the palace is built in the traditional architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land.A full-fledged ethno-archaeological Museum and Kerala's first ever Heritage Museum are the major attractions. The huge expanse of land that surrounds the royal palace has a Deer Park and has facilities for horse riding. Exhibited inside the museum are the thirteen galleries of oil paintings, 19th century paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi Royal Family, Paliathachan's gallery and royal furniture including the 'Simhasana' (the throne or the king's chair). There are on display 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from China and Japan, Kudalkall, tomb stone 'thoppikkallu', hood stone 'menhirs' in granite and Literate memorials, rock cut caves belonging to the early iron, age wooden temple models. There is an amazing array of plaster cast models of objects from Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley civilization of North India. The upper story houses a gallery of contemporary art.


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