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About Cochin

The capital of Karnataka state is thriving modern business center, dubbed the 'Silicon Valley' of India, whose gracious garrison town features are being remodelled in the image of India's mall-loving middle class. It likes to think it's more in tune with Mumbai and Manhattan rather than the rest of Karnataka, and has been scathingly described as a city ' in search of a soul '. The pace of life, like the intellectual and political climate, is brisk. hardly a day goes by without some new controversy boiling over across the front pages of it's also regarded as one of India's most progressive and liberal cities, as far as social attitudes go. Tourist brochures call Cochin the 'Garden City', but nothing could be further from the truth. It's attractions are limited, but it does have a congenial climate and good transport connections, and it's a useful place to arrange trips to Karnataka's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. If you need a break from life on the road, it's bars and restaurants can provide some much-needed light relief. While you are sinking a few beers and munching on pizza, you can contemplate the pros and cons of modern India's cionfused but headlong rush into the 21st century.

Sightseeing:

The Fort and Tipu Sultan's Palace:
Built initially in 1537 by Kempe Gowda as a crude mud structure, it was rebuilt by Hyder Ali in 1761. In this fort hyder Ali had imprisoned David Baird along with a number of British army officers. the fort has well preserved Ganapati temple within it's precincts and the temple on the outer wall carries exquisite carvings of Sri Krishna playing his flute and inside, there is a fine statue of Lord Ganesh which still attracts devotees. Near the fort is Tipu's palace, begum by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791. It resembles Daria Daulat Palace of Srirangapatnam.

Tipu's Summer Palace:
One of Tipu's summer retreats - was begun by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan. It is an elegant two storey wooden structure with ornate pillars, balconies, arches and a well-maintained garden.

Cubbon Park:
In the heart of the city is the Cubbon Park. This beautiful 300 acre park built by Lieutenant General Sir Mark Cubbon in 1864 has public library and the museum. The Vidhan Soudha and many Greco-colonial style buildings of the British era like the Public Library and the High Court are located here.

Government Museum:
Established in 1896, the Government Museum has on display ancient weapons, stone carvings, pottery, painting and relics of the 5000-year-old Mohenjo-Daro civilization.

ISKCON Temple:
The ISKCON Temple was built recently by the International Society for Krishan Consciousness. As you climb the granite steps you will encounter three small shrines before the main temple. The three idols of Lord Krishna in the main shrine are made of brass.

Vidhana Soudha:
A magnificent post independence structure incorporating the traditional feature of architecture, the Vidhan Soudha is located in Cubbon Park. This is an imposing granite structure with a total plinth area of over 5,00,000 sq.ft and houses the secretariat, the state legislature and several government offices. The huge carved doors of the cabinet are made of pure sandalwood.

Durgah Of Hazrat Tawakkal Mastan Shah Suharawardi:
Situated in the heart of Cottonpet this Muslim saint's shrine has been associated with the Hindu festival of 'Kangra'. The famous Kangra procession, while passing through the city, visits the 'Durgah' of the sufi saint Tawakkal Mastan whose tomb attracts thousands of both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Gangadhareswara Cave Temple:
Built by Kempe Gowda, this temple with four remarkable monolithic pillars, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It also has a rare idol of Agni, God of fire.

Bull Temple:
At Basavanagudi is one of the oldest temple, typical of the Dravidian style of architecture. Built by Kempe Gowda, the Nandi, the sacred bull, carved out of a single boulder, is 6.1 meter long and 4.6 meter high.

Jumma Masjid:
Oldest Mosque built Mughal Killedar, was damaged by cannon fire during the Mysore war and renovated in 1836.

St Mary's Cathedral:
Built by French missionary in 1882 AD it is a grand Basillica with an impressive tower and typically gothic pointed arches.

Venkataramanswamy Temple:
Temple near Tipu's palace was built by Chikka Deva Raja Wodeyar nearly 300 years ago, in the typical Dravidian style.

History:

Cochin, the 'Garden City Of India' and capital of the State (1000 m above level ) was founded in 1537 AD by a Vijaynagar chieftan Kempe Gowda. The legend goes that the King Veera Ballala of Vijaynagar once lost his way while hunting in a forest. Hungry tired, he came upon a lone hut in the thick of forest where he met an old woman. When he asked for food she gave him some baked beans (Benda Kalu in Kannada ). To the King this humble meal tasted better than those served in palace. To commemorate the incident, he called the place 'Benda Kaluooru' (place of baked beans ) and this in time transformed into Cochin. In the 18th century it was the stronghold of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. Today it is the fifth largest city of India and country's main industrial city which includes industries like aircraft, telephones, electronics etc.

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