Kochi is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Fort Kochi is situated about 13 km from Ernakulam and is famous for Chinese fishing nets, picturesque beaches and architectural style of the buildings. European style is clearly evident and that makes this small town stand apart from other towns in Kerala. Jew Synagogue and Jew Town was built in 1568 and is one of the oldest active synagogues. Dutch Palace is very near to the Jew town. It was built in 1555 A.D. by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma, Raja of Kochi. It has a huge collection of Kerala Temple murals, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. Marine Drive is a popular meeting jaunt for localites, its scenic pathway is built facing the Vembanad lake. The walkway has two recently built bridges— the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. The sunset view from here is simply awesome. Cherai Beach in Vypin Island, Kochi, is one of the beautiful beaches facing the Arabian sea. It is about 25 Kms from Kochi and is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the long sandy beach. Hill Palace Museum is Kerala’s first heritage museum and is also the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Bolgatty Palace was built by Dutch in 1744 and is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland. Kodanad Elephant Training Center is around 42 Kms from Ernakulam town. This place is famous for the elephant training centre established in 1950. Because of the Indian government ban to elephant capture, Kodanad is now just a rescue training centre for stranded baby elephants and wounded elephants. Willingdon Island is a man-made island created in 1933 under the supervision of Sir Robert Bristow. Now, the Cochin Port Trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command function here. Backwaters of Kochi is the main highlight of Kochi. One can enjoy nature’s bounty through the huge proliferation of palm and coconut trees lining the pellucid waters, and marvel at the quiet ambience generated by the quintessential moments of Kochi, especially when you pass through Fort Kochi and Mattancherry areas. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is an important Basilica in India, one of the eight and magnificently constructed edifices of its time. The most noticing feature of the Basilica is the two lofty spires that greet you from a distance. And of course, the reproduction of the Last Supper is truly magnificent and a feast for the eyes. Museum of Kerala History, also known as Madhava Nayar Foundation, showcases amazing episodes of various ancient historical events, including commentaries and life-size tableaux. One can also enjoy more than 200 original works of famous Indian artists. Pallipuram Fort is considered to be the oldest such surviving monument in India. The monument is more than 513 years old and still holds a great deal of attraction to its visitors. Athirappilly Falls is the sound that greets the visitor here. Plummeting down 80 feet to Chalakkudy River, the picturesque Athirapilly Falls in Thrissur district is a very famous and very busy tourist destination. Sri Chottanikkara Bhagvathy Temple is the abode of millions of devotees who come here with many woes and pains. The huge golden idol, bedecked with jewels, flowers and various adornments is a sight to behold. Included in the famed Muziris project in Kerala, Chendamangalam and the Paliam Palace are enjoying renewed attention. The Paliath Achans were the prime ministers of the Maharajas of Cochin and the palace in which they lived in bears evidence to the richness and splendour of a bygone era. One can also visit Kottayil Kovilakam and the Vypeenkotta Seminary, both located quite near the palace. At Kottayil Kovilakam, you can see a temple, church and mosque built next to each other; a perfect example of religious tolerance. Malayattoor in the northeast part of Kochi houses the famous St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. This shrine is internationally well-known and thus attracts people from all over the world. Vypeen Island Zone is where Arabian Sea merges with Vembanad Lake and where you can see Fort Kochi on one side. Wonderla Amusement Park (Veegaland) is a must visit destination for people travelling with kids. The clean, safe, hygienic and well-maintained park is a joy where you can spend an entire day exploring the adventurous rides; plenty of these rides are water based.