Day 3 : Mumbai Cochin (By air)
After breakfast, Check out the hotel and get driven to Mumbai airport to board your flight for Cochin. Arrive at Cochin airport. Our representative will assist you in getting transferred to your pre booked hotel. Check in at your hotel. Relax and ready to local city tour which includes Jew Synagogue, Santa Cruz Basilica, Dutch Palace at Mattancherry, St. Francis Church, Chinese fishing net etc. Spend your evening watching Kathakali Dance performances during Cochin Beach Tour with Holiday India, overnight stay at the hotel.
Cochin: Kochi (colonial name Cochin) 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. 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. Cochin is situated in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala. Ernakulam is also the name of a town - the administrative capital of Ernakulam district - but, for all practical purposes Ernakulam and Cochin, generally, refer to the same place. Kathakali: Kathakali, literally meaning `story-play', is a dance-drama originated in the 17th century in Kerala, one of the smallest states in India lying on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. However, its roots could be tracked back even to the earlier times.
Koodiyattom, the only surviving form of Sanskrit theater in India has been preserved in Kerala for centuries, now, by a small community called Chakyar as a part of their hereditary temple service. Krishnanattom, another form of dance-drama considered fore runner to Kathakali in its origin, is performed even today at the famous Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayoor as an offering to the Lord. Besides these two forms, elements from martial, ritualistic, socio-religious arts have also influenced in the making of Kathakali. Though Kathakali is only 300 years old, a great deal of enrichment and refinement has taken place in every aspect of its technique during this short period. Scholars are of opinion that Kathakali is the result of a fusion between all Indian theater tradition represented by Koodiyattom and the indigenous tradition of folk dance forms. It was one of the Rajas (Chieftain) of Kottarakkara, who wrote the first play intended for Kathakali performance. They form a cycle of eight stories based on Ramayana. The performance for each story was designed to last for six to eight hours. The performed stories were then known as Ramanattom (play pertaining to Rama), which later came to be called as Kathakali. Stories based on other epics and puranas were added to its repertoire in later period. A vivid picture of the nature of performance of Kathakali in the past is not known. However, it is said that in the beginning the actors themselves used to sing the text while performing. Masks were elaborately used for some characters and percussion was limited to a Maddalam (two headed barrel shaped drum), a Chengila (metal gong) and Elathalam (a pair of cymbals). Among the better known Kathakali play writes are Kottarakara Thampuran, the author of the above mentioned Ramayana Stories; Kottayam Thampuran, who wrote four stories based on Mahabharatha; Irayamman Thampi, who was both a good poet and composer, accredited three stories; Unnayi Warrier, the author of Nalacharitham (Story of King Nala); and Vayaskara Moosad who wrote one of the popular stories -- Duryodhana Vadham. Santa Cruz Basilica: Santa Cruz Basilica, a 500-year-old church in Kochi, is famous all over the world. The British had partially destroyed it in 1795. Later, it was rebuilt, and is now the oldest church in the country. Celebrations for its 500th anniversary are on, and will go on throughout the year. The celebrations will be marked by religious and cultural program. The church is a sentinel of history. It is situated in Kochi, a city famous world over for its fascinating sights of huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, which were brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan. When the Dutch conquered Kochi in 1663 they turned every big building in the vicinity of what is now Fort Kochi into storehouses for goods and weapons. Later, British conquest of Kochi in 1795 saw the Cathedral being destroyed. It was rebuilt and consecrated on November 19, 1905. ""The church was destroyed and what we see today is the church that was rebuilt after destruction,"" said Mgsr. George Malat, Vicar of the Basilica. The remains of Indo-European architecture that still exists here can be seen on the streets of Fort Cochin. The Basilica, with its beautiful carved wooden panels and pulpit, was rebuilt in the early 20th century. The Italian paintings on the walls and most of the interiors remain the same. Dutch Palace: It was built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. This structure was taken over in 1663 by the Dutch, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin. The rajas also made more improvements. This palace is notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, particularly in the bed chambers. In that room one can see the entire story of Ramayana on the walls. The palace also contains rare examples of traditional Kerala flooring, which looks like polished black marble but is actually a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites. It is situated at Palace Road, Mattancherry. St. Francis Church: St. Francis Church, Kochi has great historical significance. It stands as an evidence of the European colonial struggle in India. In 1503, the then Rajah of Kochi permitted Alphonso Alburquerque to build this fort. Within this fort, Alburquerque erected a wooden church and dedicated it to St. Bartholomew. Dedicating to St. Antony, the church was newly built in 1516. In 1663, the Dutch army invaded the place and destroyed all the churches and convents except St. Francis Church. But in 1804, they voluntarily surrendered it to the Anglicans. Much later, under the Protected Monuments Act of 1904, the church became a protected monument in 1923. St. Francis Church of Kochi was originally named as Santo Antonio, the patron Saint of Portugal. Though it has hardly any architectural merits, it has been the model of many churches in India. The church has gabled timber-framed roof covered with tiles. The doors and windows of the church have semi-circular arches. The facades are flanked on either side by a stepped pinnacle. The bell turret of St. Francis Church at Kochi is divided into three compartments. Inside the church, the gravestones of the Portuguese are on the northern wall and that of the Dutch is on the southern wall. The gravestone of Vasco-da-Gama at St. Francis Church in Kochi is a major attraction there. Incidentally, after 14 years of his death, the remains were taken away to Lisbon in Portugal. St. Francis Church, Kochi is accessible by bus or boat from Ernakulam, 13 km away.