Air India Bombay to Cochin
Most of the flights ( from Paris or New York) arrive closer to midnight, thus you are left with a choice of spending the rest of the night at the airport (not user friendly) for an early morning flight or find a place to stay.
Air India offers domestic flights which are connections to its international flights and there is a flight from Bombay to Cochin leaving at 0100 in the morning, at least you could sleep in the hotel in Cochin and sleep in if you like.
If you book ahead the airfares on Air India are very reasonable, competetive to Kingfisher and jet and Indian. and they all leave first thing in the morning for Cochin.
The greatest attraction for me is the fact that you dont have to switch terminals in the middle of the night. Air India flies into and out of International Terminal, so if you arrive on Air France, you can clear the immigration and customs and recheck for Air India.
Basilica of Santa Cruz
This Roman Catholic church, was built by the first Portuguese viceroy, Francisco de Almeida, when he arrived in Kochi in 1505. In 1558, Pope Paul IV, raised the Santa Cruz church to the status of a Cathedral. In 1663, the Dutch conquered Kochi and destroyed all the Catholic buildings, except the Saint Francis Church and the Cathedral. The Dutch made the cathedral their arms storehouse. Later it fell into the hands of the British who demolished it when they took over Kochi in 1795. One of the decorative granite pillars of the destroyed Cathedral is still kept as a monument at the southeastern corner of the present Basilica premises.
Bishop Dom João Gomes Ferreira, in 1887, took up the initiative to rebuild this monument, but only in 1905 the new cathedral could be sanctified by Dom Sebastião José Pereira, the bishop of Dmão. In 1984, Pope John Paul II raised the status of the Cathedral to a Basilica.
Nowadays, this Basilica is the “capital church” of the diocese of Kochi and one of the eight Basilicas in India. The architecture of the monument is a blend of the Indo-European and the gothic style. The making of the pulpit and the wooden paneling of this cathedral is very impressive. Moreover, the Italian paintings dating from the time of the original foundation of the church adorning the interiors of the Santa Cruz Basilica give it a completely magnificent look.
Near the Parade Ground you can find this former Bishop's House, with a circular garden path running up to to the main entrance. It houses a nice little museum too, with some religious items.
It was built in 1506 for the Portuguese Governor and in 1795 it became residence of Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Cochin. From here, he was in charge of Burma, Malaya and Ceylon,besides southern and eastern India.
Toursitland Tour agency near the Railway Station
TouristLand, an travel agency near Ernakulum Railway Station
Mr Suresh who runs with agency with his assistant Suneel are courteous and very keen on personal relationships and friendships rather than the pittance of the commission they can make out of you.
To give an example, suresh booked the hotel for me, at a travel agent’s rate, so that the saving was passed on to me, and when I wanted to transfer to the Fort Cochin Hotel , Ballard Bungalows, he personally drove me there, thus allaying anxiety of travelling to Fort Cochin with luggage and through the drizzle.
Sure enough, Like Densal Sany who is the manager of Ballard Hotels and Suresh of the TouristLand Travel agency, I have known them for a while and on each visit, I use their services and without doubt it has always been sincere and service with a smile.
SPICE CAPTIAL OF THE WORLD
"KERALA THE GODS OWN COUNTRY"
Kochi or Cochin is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula, in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, dubbed 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.
From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.
This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate.
Strictly speaking, Cochin is a small town. But, Cochin has outgrown its original bounds and is now the general name given to much of the region adjoining the original town, which now includes Cochin, Fort Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many other nearby towns and villages.
Kochi is the arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala, rated in the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council and featured in National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime'.
"AMZING NATURAL WONDER"
Since time immemorial, "the gods own country" is known for its unbelievable medicinal plant life as well as its fast healing climate This brought many Sagas like Vasishta, Agasthya to the land, which in turn made it must sought after health and tourism destination.
Kerala health and Holiday, Promoted by the consortium of world's best healthcare provider and holiday providers is a concept envisaged to provide people from world over as hassle free, enriching healthy experience. For body and mind.
"MASMERSING BACK WATER ISLANDS"
Like most cities in India, Kochi has a very long and illustrious history. But, the origin of the name is still shrouded in mystery. Many theories exist, but none are strong enough to be conclusive. Some historians believe that Cochin is a modified form of the word 'Cochazhi' which in Malayalam means 'small sea'. Others are of the opinion that 'Kochi' was named so by the Chinese. According to them, traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, gave Kochi the name of their homeland. The peculiar Chinese fishing nets found here, the only place outside China where it has been spotted, can possibly be attributed to the heavy Chinese influence the city has had in the past. Still another theory is that Kochi is derived from the word 'Kaci' meaning 'harbour'.