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HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACES IN KERALA



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Trivandrum : The capital city derives its name from Thiru-Anantha-puram, which means the place of the sacred serpent Anantha or Adisesha on which Lord Padmanabha reclines. The ramparts of the fort of those days are still there. The main entrance is through the East Fort leading to the temple. There are old palaces inside this sprawling Fort, which was constructed during the period of Maharaja Marthanda Varma (1729-58). Places to be visited are :-
Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple : Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this ancient temple is believed to have been rebuilt by Marthanda Varma in 1733 A.D.With intricate carvings in granite, the temple is a splendid example of South Indian architecture. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.

Napier Museum : The museum contains a wonderful array of stone sculptures, bronzes and wood carvings, ancient musical instruments and a reconstructed Nair joint family dwelling.


Kovalam : It is one of the best beaches in India. Small palm-fringed bays separated by rocky headlands, pale sands, gentle surf and lush green lawns compel the visitor to overstay.

Quilon : It is a flourishing trade in cashewnuts, tiles and ceramic products. The delightful backwaters of Kerala begin from this picturesque town, which stands on the shore of the Ashtamudi Lake. Quilon's history is interwoven with the trade rivalries between the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English.


Ponmudi :
It's a hill station, 61 km from Trivandrum.

Thekkady : This is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries nature has gifted. It has a history dating back to 1934, when the erstwhile Travancore state initiated the establishment of the Nellikampathy Sanctuary. This was gradually developed into a 780-sq km Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary by 1950. Situated 10km from Thekkady, Sabarimalai is a famous piligrim center in India and has a great significance.


Cochin :
It is endowed with a natural harbour and is claimed to be the "Venice of the Orient" and the "Queen of the Arabian Sea". It has a maritime history that began in the remote past : Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese followed the sea routes to Cochin. It is one of the few places in the world where one can see a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, Dutch architecture, mosques, temples and Chinese fishing nets. Places to be visited are :-
Bolgatty Island : It is the most beautiful of the islands forming Cochin. The Bolgatty Palace, built by the Dutch in 1744 and later used by British, is now a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation.

Dutch Palace : It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 A.D and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Verma, as a gesture of goodwill. The palace acquired the present name after 1663 A.D when the Dutch renovated it.

Fort Cochin : One can always see merchant ships anchored in the sea off Fort Cochin awaiting berth.

Jewish Synagogue : It was built in 1567 A.D. The Jewish community in Cochin has its roots going back to St. Thomas the Apostle's voyage to India in 52 A.D. They first came to settle down in Cranganore, north of Cochin. Over the years they moved to Cochin and picked up trade in the Malabar Coast. Scrolls of Old Testament are preserved in the Synagogue. Also kept here are copper plates inscribed in tiny ancient Hebrew script, recording the grant of the village Anjuvannam and its revenue to a Jewish merchant by king Bhaskara Ravi Verma-I. Chinese hand-painted tiles are eye-catching.

St. Francis Church : Built in 1510 A.D. by the Portuguese, is said to be the first church built by Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India sailing around Africa, died in Cochin in 1524 A.D. His body was buried in this church. His gravestone is still there, although his remains were taken back to Portugal in 1538 A.D. The church reflects the colonial struggle in India. It was a Dutch Reformed Church from 1664 to 1804, an Anglican Church from 1804 to 1947, and has since been part of the Church of South India.

Kaladi : This piligrim town, 45 km from Ernakulam, is on the banks of the river Periyar. It is birthplace of Adi Sankara, the great religious reformer of the 8th century. There are two shrines in memory of Adi Sankara - one dedicated to him and the other to Goddess Saradambal.

Kalamandalam : This premier school of dancing was founded in 1930 by the late Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon, poet-laureate of Kerala.

Kottayam : It is a big commercial center and a busy base for Christian missionaries. The city boasts a number of old churches, including its famous Syrian Church.

Cranganore : Now known as Kodungalloor, the town is known for its temple of Devi Bhagavathi. The heritage of Cranganore's history also includes a Portuguese port and India's first mosque, similar in appearance to a temple. At Kottappuram nearby there is a church dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have landed here in 52 A.D.

Cannanore : This is another harbour which has seen the flags of the ancient world's maritime powers. Until 1887 it was the military headquarters of the alien rulers. It was the capital of the Kolathiri Raja, the main rival of the Zamorin Raja in Malabar. It has also an old fort built by Portuguese.


Trichur : This former capital of Cochin state was captured by Zamorin and later by Tippu Sultan in the second half of 18th century.
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