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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 Madurai:    
SONA Travels takes to the Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium; it later on came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.

The Sangam age or the Golden age of Tamil literature – produced masterpieces way back in the Pre christian era and in early 1st millennium . Madurai was the seat of the Tamil Sangam or Academy of learning. The entire city of Madurai, is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple – the temple par excellence. Concentric rectangular streets surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos. SONA Travels makes possible to visit the place.

As early as the 3rd century BC, Megasthanes visited Madurai. Later many people from Rome and Greece visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings. Madurai flourished till 10th century AD when it was captured by Cholas the arch rivals of the Pandyas.

The Cholas ruled Madurai from 920 AD till the beginning of the 13th century. In 1223 AD Pandyas regained their kingdom and once again become prosperous. Pandian Kings patronised Tamil language in a great way. During their period, many master-pieces were created. "Silapathikaram", the great epic in Tamil was written based on the story of Kannagi who burnt Madurai as a result of the injustice caused to her husband Kovalan. In April 1311, Malik Kafur, the general of Alauddin Khilji who was then the ruler of Delhi, reached Madurai and raided and robbed the city for precious stones, jewels, and other rare treasures. This led to the subsequent raids by other Muslim Sultans. In 1323, the Pandya kingdom including Madurai became a province of the Delhi empire, under the Tughlaks.SONA Travels can help to make a visit on Madurai.The 1371, the Vijayanagar dynasty of Hampi captured Madurai and it became part of the Vijayanagar empire. Kings of this dynasty were in habit of leaving the captured land to governors called Nayaks. This was done for the efficient management of their empire. The Nayaks paid fixed amount annually to the Vijayanagar empire. After the death of Krishna Deva Raya (King of Vijayanagar empire) in 1530 AD, the Nayaks became independent and ruled the territories under their control. Among Nayaks, Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) was very popular, even now he is popular among people, since, it was he who contributed to the creation of many magnificent structures in and around Madurai. The Raja Gopuram of the Meenakshi Amman Temple, The Pudu Mandapam and The Thirumalai Nayakar's Palace are living monuments to his artistic fervor.Madurai started slipping into the hands of the British's East India Company. In 1781, British appointed their representatives to look after Madurai. George Procter was the first collector of Madurai.

Madurai is famous for its temples.The Aappudaiyaar Koyil Tevara Stalam and the Koodalazhagar Divya Desam are the most important temples one should rarely miss to go. In the vicinity of Madurai is Tirupparamkunram, one of the 6 padai veedu shrines of Murugan (glorified in Madurai Sangam Nakeerar’s Tirumurugaatruppadai). Also in the vicinity of Madurai is Alagar Koyil, one of the prominent Divya Desam shrines of the Sri Vaishnavite faith.SONA Travels takes to this beautiful place.

SONA Travels are safe to use. There are also specific services available at night. Remember that in India everyone lives by asking each other for directions. The friendly people are often more than happy to help a foreigner find his/her way by giving directions. Most people speak the working national Language "English" , at bus stops don’t form a queue. Choose to wait and travel comfortably. Travel at night is also safe. So relax, forget your travel guide and discover a whole new culture of friendliness.

Book online bus tickets to Madurai by SONA Travels
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