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About Cochin:    
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Kochi SONA Travels , formerly known as Cochin, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. The city is one of the principal seaports of the country and is located in the district of Ernakulam, about 220 kilometres (137 mi) north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. It has an estimated population of 600,000, with an extended metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the largest urban agglomeration and the second largest city in Kerala after the state capital. Kochi is also the largest city in South India without a Hindu majority.

In 1102 CE, Kochi SONA Travels became the seat of the Kingdom of Cochin, a princely state which traces its lineage to the Kulasekhara Empire. Heralded as the Queen of Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the Arabian Sea coast since the 14th century. Ancient travellers and tradesmen referred to Kochi in their writings, variously alluding to it as Cocym, Cochym, Cochin, and Cochi. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the site of the first European colonial settlement in India. It remained the capital of Portuguese India until 1530, when they opted for Goa as their capital. The city was later occupied by the Dutch, the Mysore and the British.

Kochi SONA Travels entered a period of economic growth after 2000, leading to a spurt in the city's development. A growing centre of shipping industries, international trade, tourism and information technology, Kochi is one of the fastest growing second-tier metros in India. Like other large cities in the developing world, Kochi continues to struggle with urbanisation problems such as traffic congestion and environmental degradation.

Kochi SONA Travels, or more familiarly, Cochin is a city of many parts. Around for a long, long time, Kochi played a pivotal role in the development of shipping and trade in the region. Kochi''s prime location on the west coast, its fine bay and protected harbour made it popular with seafarers and merchant ships

who made frequent stops to stock up on spices, coffee and wooden route to the rich markets of Europe and West Asia. And so down the ages, Kochi prospered as a busy port city and commercial centre. Its seafront is still extremely relevant to Cochin and to India it houses a Naval Base and one of India’s busiest ports. It’s twin city, Ernakulam, is an important railhead and industrial centre. Kochi''s location between the blue, blue waters of the Arabian Sea and Kerala’s emerald backwaters, its rich medley of Indian and foreign architecture, its truly unusual sights like the Chinese fishing nets and its quaint quiet localities like the Jewish Quarters demand the attention of all who travel to Kerala. Explore the city thoroughly it’s bound to have you hooked!

Cochin''s SONA Travels history is a bright tapestry - many coloured threads woven through centuries together present the fabric of the present. Its involvement with the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British are evident in the architecture of city buildings, the old durbar hall is the spice in the dish! Modern day Kochi may be a busy port and shipping centre but it has many attractions for ordinary tourists.

Places to seen in Cochin.

1) Bolghatty Palace in cochin - Once a mansion of the British Resident and now a hotel, is in palm fringed Bolghatty Island

2) Mattancherry Palace in cochin - The palace (Dutch Palace) was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Varma. The Dutch renovated it after 1663, and hence the palace has another name, 'Dutch Palace'.

3) The cochin is the most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. These murals are some of the most beautiful and extensive, and are one of the wonders of India.

4) The Shiva temple in Ettumanur ( near Kottayam) has similar murals.

5) Jewish Synagogue in cochin - Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. A stone slab from Kochangadi synagogue (built in 1344, and has then disappeared), inscribed in Hebrew, can be found on the inner surface of the wall.The synagogue has hand-painted, willow pattern floor tiles brought from China.

6) St. Francis Church in cochin - Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India's oldest European-built church. The original structure was wood, but was rebuilt in stone in mid-16th century. Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India, died in Cochin in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Portugal. The tombstone still stands in Cochin.

7) Cochins' Famous Chinese Fishing Nets in cochin - Lined along the sea-front, these fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. These nets are also seen along the backwaters between Cochin (Kochi) and Kottayam, and between Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Quilon (Kollam). They are mainly used at high tide.

8) Parishath Thampuran Museum in cochin - Housed in what was previously Durbar Hall, constructed in traditional Kerala style, the museum contains collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures and Mughul paintings and exhibits from the Cochin Royal family.

By visiting the cochin place through SONA Travels, it can be viewed and enjoyed.

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About Calicut:    
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Kozhikode pronounced also known as Calicut SONA Travels, is a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It is the third largest city in Kerala and the headquarters of Kozhikode district. During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Calicut was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District.

Kozhikode has a population of 436,556 as per 2001 census, with an extended metropolitan population of about 0.9 million, making it the third largest urban agglomeration and the third largest city in Kerala. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Kozhikode ranked as the second best city in India to reside in. Indicus considered six parameters – health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment. Kozhikode was ranked eleventh among Tier-II Indian cities in job creation by a study conducted by ASSOCHAM in 2007. Kozhikode was declared the first litter- free city in India in 2004. A 'Hunger-Free Kozhikode' project was initiated in January 2009 following which Kozhikode was declared the country's first hunger-free city. Kozhikode is expected to come under the radar of the IT industry with the development of Cyberpark by the Kerala government. This will be the third IT 'Hub' in the state developed on the lines of Thiruvananthapuram Technopark and Kochi InfoPark, Kochi and is expected to take off by mid 2011.

Places of interest is

Kozhikode Beach

A view of Calicut beach from the southern end

In Calicut SONA Travels beach is the most popular retreat for locals. In spite of beautification works and lax coastal management, it remains unexploited and visually pleasing. This shore has been a witness to many historic events, including pitched naval battles and the arrival of ships from distant lands. Uddanda, the Sanskrit poet in Zamorin's court, said "The ocean, the father of the goddess of riches [Indira is a synonym of Lakshmi] seeing that his daughter has settled down in Kukkatakroda [Sanskrit for Kozhikode], is embracing the place, presenting it with shipful of jewels". Several national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Indira Gandhi and Krishna Menon have addressed people here. The 'Beach Road' was renamed Gandhi Road from Evan's Road after Mahatma Gandhi's visit in January 1934. Two dilapidated piers can be seen extending into the sea. The 'Iron Screw-pile' pier to the north was built in 1871, 400 ft long (120 m) with a 'T' end. Numerous cranes on these piers once loaded spices and other goods destined to foreign ports like Aden, Genoa, Oslo, London, Bremen, Hamburg, New York etc. Near the northern pier is a park maintained by the Lions club, a children's park, the lighthouse with a seafarer's memorial and a marine aquarium. Further north to the Lions' Park is a dirty fishing area where once was located a French Loge with factories and French settlements. Near the south pier is a place called 'Horse's Jumping Point' where horses brought from Gujarat and Arabia were made to jump into the water, swim and would gallop along the shore and be displayed for sale. The beach offers a pleasant view at times of fishermen entering the sea with their tiny boats, fighting the waves and returning with their catch.

Mananchira and nearby institutions

Main gate of Mananchira Square
View of Mananchira from ComTrust

Mananchira in calicut SONA Travels is a large tank in the heart of the city. Mananchira or Mana Vikraman Tank (Manan or Mana Vikraman being the Coronation name of the Zamorins) seems to have been the drinking water source for the entire Palace complex (previously located at the Kottaparambu Women and Children Hospital). Surrounding the Mananchira are several important institutions. The Town Hall was constructed in 1891 by the salt merchants (previously called Salt Abkari Town Hall) and has been an important stage for several popular agitations and ceremonies during the freedom movement and thereafter. The Pattalapalli or 'Military Mosque' was originally built for the Mysore soldiers who had surrounded the Palace during the 'Mysore invasion'. The Comtrust Textile Factory (previously the Commonwealth Weaving Factory) was established in 1884 by the Basel Mission from Germany. To the western side of Mananchira is located the C.S.I. Church, Basel Mission Complex and the BEM (Basel Evangelical Mission) Girls' School (1848). Once the main courtyard of the Zamorin Ruler's palace, the Mananchira ground along with the older Ansari Park (named after the freedom fighter Ansari) has been developed into a well- maintained park called 'Mananchira Square'. It has a green carpet lawn fenced with laterite- sculpted walls. The entire complex is circled by 250 lamp posts designed in 'colonial' style. The 'Square' has an artificial stream, a musical fountain, an open-air theatre and a music stage.

SM Street

S.M. Street in calicut SONA Travels is a buzzing shopping and commercial lane immediately north of Mananchira Square. The name Sweetmeat is thought to have been derived from a kind of sweet (locally called 'Halwa') which was called 'Sweetmeat' by European traders. S.M. street, like the lanes of Veliyangadi, is about 600 years old and was most likely occupied by the residences and shops of sweet manufacturers from Gujarath. A now-abandoned Parsi cemetery called Anjuman, most likely built in the 17th century, is located here and finds mention in William Logan's Malabar.

Sarovaram Park

Sarovaram in calicut is an eco-friendly development adjacent to Canoly Canal. The project has been developed with an eco-friendly theme and the construction has been done in traditional Kerala style. It is one of the more popular spots in the city to spend an evening.

Tali Siva Temple

The entrance to the Tali Siva temple at Calicut

The Tali Siva temple in Calicut was one of the two Brahmanical royal temples patronized by the Zamorin (the other being the Valayanaattu Kavu) and to this day remains one of the most important spiritual and cultural centres in Kozhikode. The temple's date of origin is uncertain but was most likely built during the foundation of the city itself in the 12th century or before. The temple is surrounded by gigantic walls of 'elephant belly' (aana palla) type with broad base and narrower neck at the top. One of the two tanks attached to the temple can be seen to the right. The temple hosts the annual 'competition for scholars' called Revathi Pattathanam attended by eminent scholars and philophers of Bharatiya Mimamsa, Prabhakara Mimamsa, Vedanta Mimamsa and Vyakarana. The temple was also the site for the famous anti-caste agitation of 1911 organized by Krishna Vakil (editor of Mitavadi) and advocate Manjeri Rama Ayyar for the rights of 'low-caste' people to use the road between the tank and the temple.

Panniyankara Bhagavati Temple

The Bhagavaty temple on a hillock on the southern side of Kallayi river is one of the two pre-Calicut temples known to historians, built at least two centuries before the foundation of the city. This area must have come under the territory of Porlathiri during the reign of Ceraman Perumal. It is a typical Chera period structure with a square garbhagriha and mandapa and probably had a currambalam and prakara (outer walls) that are no more. Two granite slabs dating to the 10-11th century A.D. were recovered recently carrying three inscriptions in Vattezhuthu, an old Malayalam language. One is a record of a land grant of the Chera king Ravi Kota, who was coronated in 1021 A.D.Mentioned in the inscription are functionaries like Adhikarar (officials), Alkoyil (king's representative) and Poduval (temple secretary) and avirodham (a system of unanimous resolution), kalam (an old measure), etc. The second inscription dating back to 883-913 A.D. records a decision by the Taliyar and Tali Adhikarikal of 'Panriyankarai' to conduct seven Tiruvakkiram (sacred feast) at the shrine of Patari (female deity). The third inscription records a unanimous decision to transfer some land belonging to the daughter of the Chief Queen of Cheraman Perumal for the conduct of Tiru amritu (sacred feast).

Thiruvannur Siva Temple

This ancient and beautiful Siva temple has an apsidal garbhagriha, decorated with typical Chola pillars and pilasters, panjaras and vyalimukhas. The central shrine has escaped any repair or change and is relatively well preserved. An inscription unearthed records a land grant given to Tirumannur Patarakar in the eighth regnal year of Raja Raja Chera. The record has been dated to 1044 A.D. The deity appears to have been a Jain Tirthankara (since the rules of Thirukkunavaye, the premier Jain shrine of Kerala in Kodungalloor, are cited in the punitive clauses). The Jain temple must have been converted into a Siva temples sometime in the 11th century before the arrival of the Zamorins.The apsidal shrine and other features are attributable to this period.

Kappad Beach

Kappad Beach
Vasco da Gama landed here at Kappad in 1498

In calicut, Kappad (Kappakkadavu) Beach is located 16 km to the north of Kozhikode along the Kannur road at Tiruvangoor. Apart from the fact that it is a beautiful rocky beach with high potential for tourism, it is the site where Vasco Da Gama landed on 27 May 1498 with three vessels and 170 men. A monument erected here commemorates this 'historic landing'. However, many authors have questioned the emphasis given to the Portuguese sailor who was one amongst hundreds of traders who reached the shores of Calicut and was guided by a Portuguese-speaking Arab.An ancient temple on a hillock, facing the sea, is an added attraction.

Beypore

An Uru under construction

In Calicut, Beypore is a small port town situated 10 km south of Calicut at the mouth of Chaliyar river. Beypore is famous for its ancient shipbuilding industry that constructed the Uru, trading vessels more popular during the medieval periods and still used by the Arabs and others for commerce and tours. The place was formerly known as Vaypura and Vadaparappanad. Tippu Sultan named the town "Sultan Pattanam". It is one of the important ports of Kerala and has been an major trading centre for centuries. The dilapidated Kovilakam (palace) of the Parappanad Rajas and a small Basheer Museum (former house of the writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer) can be found here. Towards the sea shore is a big complex that includes a port, a boat yard, a fish landing platform, breakwater project, marine ware shop, ship- breaking unit, etc. There are two man-made extensions to the sea to facilitate easy access for fishing boats. The 2 km breakwater made of stone is another attraction. The Beypore lighthouse is located to the south of the Chaliyar.

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