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Kochi

Kochi, a.k.a. Cochin is the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Kochi has a cosmopolitan outlook than the rest of Kerala because of its diverse, multicultural, and secular community consisting of people from all parts of Kerala and most of India. Kochi is well connected by road, rail, air and water to other parts of India and the World. There are a lot of tourist attractions and heritage spots in Kochi which are the reminiscences of the Portuguese, Dutch and British rules of the past.

St. Francis Church, Kochi, is where Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, was originally buried in 1524. Even though his remains were later moved to Lisbon in 1539, the church here still has the gravestone of Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama and his followers built Fort Emmanuel with the Permission of Rajah of Cochin. This gave the neighbourhood, Fort Kochi, its name. Within the fort, they built a church, a wooden structure dedicated to St. Bartholomew. Later it was reconstructed with stone and masonry and was dedicated to St. Anthony. When the Dutch, who were Protestants, captured Cochin, they demolished all the churches built by the Portuguese who were Roman Catholics, except this one. They retained this as a Government Church after reconditioning it. The Dutch later voluntarily handed over the church to Anglican Communion, who had in-turn changed the patron saint to St. Francis. Now a protected monument declared by the Archaeological Survey of India, it is owned by the North Kerala diocese of Church of South India.

Fort Kochi beach, alongside the Arabian Sea, has a lot many tourist attractions.

Mattancherry Palace or the Dutch Palace, Mattanchery was built by the Portuguese as a gift to the then Raja of Cochin around 1555. Later the Dutch made some renovation during their and the palace got its present name. The palace is built in traditional Kerala style of architecture with a courtyard in the middle. European influences are also evident in the quadrangular structure.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Kochi is one of the eight basilicas in Kerala. The Santa Cruz Basilica, a catholic church belonging to the Diocese of Cochin, the 2nd oldest Diocese in India (est. 1558 A.D.) and the 1st in Kerala, built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558, was spared by the Dutch conquerors who destroyed many catholic buildings. Later the British demolished the structure and Bishop Joao Gomes Ferreira [1887-1897] commissioned a new building in 1887. Bishop Matheus De Oliveira Xavier [1897-1909] consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by the Pope John Paul II in 1984. Chinese fishing nets and are some of them. The interiors of the church are mostly a blend of the Indo – European and the gothic style, with the main altar decorated by the famous Italian painter Bro. Antonio Moscheni, S.J., and his disciple De Gama of Bangalore. The columns are decorated with frescoes and murals, the seven large canvas paintings on the passion and death on the Cross, especially the painting of the Last Supper, modelled on the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci and the beautiful stained glass windows add to the artistic grandeur of the place. The paintings that adorn the ceiling depict scenes from the life of Christ. A huge decorative granite pillar in the south eastern corner of Santa Cruz Basilica is a remnant of the original Cathedral destroyed by the British.

Chinese fishing nets are the huge cantilevered fishing nets which were introduced in Fort Kochi by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He of the court of Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan, between 1350 and 1450 AD and have been in operation here since that time. The sight of the Chinese nets, suspended in mid-air, silhouetted against the sunset is undoubtedly, one of the most photographed sights in Kochi.

Hill Palace, Thripunithura was built by the Maharaja of Cochin in 1865. It is now the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. It was the Imperial Administrative offices and official residence of Cochin Maharaja built in the traditional architectural style. The complex has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children’s park.

Cochin Jewish Synagogue also known as the Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. Built by Sephardic or Spanish-speaking Jews in 1567, it is one of seven synagogues of the Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town, and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area still in use. The complex has four buildings. It was built adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace temple on the land given by the Raja of Kochi, Rama Varma. The Mattancherry Palace temple and the Mattancherry synagogue share a common wall.

Lulu Mall, Kochi, Kerala, is the largest shopping mall in India. It is one of the most visited places in Kerala. Spanning 17 acres (6.9 ha) and with a total built up area of 2.5 million square feet, it is the 89th-largest shopping mall in the world and the largest in India with 1.7 million square feet area of retail space. The mall was opened in March 2013. It contains more than 215 outlets, including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones, a multiplex, ice skating rink and bowling alley. The estimated cost for this project is more than ₹16 billion or US$250 million.