The most prevalent architectural style in the traditional historic and cultural monuments of Kerala is Nalukkettu or Ettukettu (four or eight sided structures with a centre courtyard and verandah opening out to it). The low sloping roofs and brick walls were designed to match the climatic conditions and texture of the land. Areas close to the harbors like Fort Kochi show a unique blend of typical Kerala, European, Chinese, Jewish and Arabic styles.
Chinese Fishing Nets/Vasco da Gama Square
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
In Fort Cochin, there stands the famous Jewish Synagogue built in 1568,
and preserved till today. The population of the Jews has dropped
drastically 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 Jewish Synagogue will be probably be taken
over by a Trust, and because of it's historical importance to the
history of Cochin (Kochi), will be preserved.
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667 AD by the Potuguese,
Bastion Bungalow of Ernakulam get its name from its location on the site
of the Stromberg Bastion of the old, Dutch fort. The building blends
beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof
and typical first floor verandah in wood, along its front portion.
Though it has been said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath
the bungalow, none has been found till now. Today, the bungalow is the
official residence of the Sub-Collector.
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. There is a
golf course to boot.
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
Pierce Leslie Bungalow
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.
Residence Of Vasco Da Gama
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.
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.
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 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
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.