Places to visit
Cherai Beach :- “The Princess of the Arabian Sea”. A beautiful stretch of golden beach, an azure sky, and a warm clean sea, all combine to tempt you to take a dip and unwind. For holiday makers that prefer to spend time relaxing on the beach, you can quench your thirst with tender coconuts and if lucky, you could see dolphins at play. With beach beds and umbrellas available for hire, Cherai Beach is a pleasant and convenient place to stay, swim and sunbathe.
The newly beautified 400m of central beach has a walkway, high mask lamps, and trained security staff, making the beach enjoyable even at night. There is also a park for children on the beach which is safe for all ages. Cherai Beach, one of the best beaches in Kerala, is just 25 km from Kochi, the business capital of Kerala, and is just 20km from Kochi International Airport. Rightly called “the Princess of the Arabian Sea”, the scenic beauty and traditional outlook of Cherai Beach guarantee visitors an enchanting stay.
Break-water Point :Situated at the northern end of Cherai Beach, Break-water Point is where the River Periyar flows into the Arabian Sea. It is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the views, and watch local fisherman in their traditional canoes and colourful boats. The stunning sunset forms the classic backdrop and provides marvellous inspiration to any keen photographer.
The Backwaters : with their outstanding charm and beauty, are a combination of lakes, lagoons, and canals, where the heart of Cherai resides. The shimmering placid waters of Periyar, with overhanging coconut trees, create an unforgettable symphony of nature. Observe everyday life unfolding on the shores of the canals, catch a glimpse of the art of coir making, and see huge boats being built entirely from wood. A quiet detour can also be made by boat through the scenic backwaters, rejuvenating you with a cool, gentle breeze. The Kollam Kottappuram National Water Way makes the backwater drive from Kochi to Cherai a wonderful experience.
Lake (Poyil) : Just a stone’s throw from the main beach lays the enchanting Lake Poyil, a unique place where the sea and the backwaters are divided by a narrow corridor of land. Waking at dawn to appreciate this stunning scenery, with the sun rising, the morning mist evaporating from the tranquil waters, and traditional fisherman casting their nets, is well worth the effort. Another delightful way to experience the lake is from the water. With Oceano Boating offering a wonderful cruise, and pedal boats and rowboats for hire, this is a superb way to enjoy Cherai’s scenery. You might also want to practice your angling skills and experience the thrill of catching your own fish.
ASVD Temple / Varaha Temple : The exquisite Varaha temple of Cherai was constructed in 1869. Azheekal Sree Varaha Venkateswara temple is the only “Somporanakshetra of Naga’ type in South India with all seven avaaranas. This is also the only temple in India where both the deities of Sree Varaha and Sree Venkateswara, incarnations of lord Vishnu, are installed side by side and worshipped as a single Moorthy (God). The temple is well known for its wood carving, the Silver Pallake, the ceiling of the eastern Gopuram, and the temple tank known as “Sreevarahapuskarani”, which are unique in their artistic excellence and beauty.
The famous temple ratha (chariot), which was dedicated to the deities in 1909, is built entirely from silver and Chinese glass and is a rarity in temple architecture. It is the only ratha in the world which runs on rails, with its rathaveethi (track) constructed under the supervision of European engineers. Traditionally, the chariot festival takes place twice a year and involves the ratha being pulled by the deities around the temple accompanied by a dramatic drum beat. No other chariot festival in the world can offer these unique characteristics and perhaps one of its most important qualities is that it reinforces a sense of continuity with the past.
Gowreeswara Temple : also known as South Pazhani, is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre in Kerala which was built in 1912. It was dedicated to Lord Muruga (Karthikeya), the God of War, whose vehicle is a peacock, whilst the idol was installed by the great Sree Narayana Guru. The temple is renowned for its legendary festival, which is a spectacular cultural and religious event. The trumpeting of more than 25 elephants, beautifully dressed woman in their finest silk sarees, people gathered around waving their hands to the magical sound of Panchavadya playing on the lawn, and the thrilling evening firework display, combine to evoke a feeling of time-honoured tradition.
Pallipuram Church : Pallipuram church was built by the Portuguese in 1507 and houses an exquisite picture of Ave Mary positioned above the altar, which originated in Portugal. Surprisingly, the church survived the Dutch slaughter of Catholics and the Dutch even built a chapel and priest house for the church. Cherai cultural life would be incomplete without the festival at Pallipuram church, which takes place for 15 days and still captures the atmosphere and excitement of when it first took place.
Juma Masjid : Juma Mazjid-Munambam is an elegant mosque of harmonious proportions and simplicity. Although it is not known when this mosque was built, it was reconstructed in 1869. This place of Muslim worship makes an interesting excursion for visitors to Cherai beach.
Portuguese Fort : (The oldest European monument in India) Built in 1503 by the Portuguese and also known as “Aya Kotta”, this fort is the oldest European monument in India. It was constructed as an outpost to safeguard the ancient port of Muziris. The Dutch captured the fort in 1661, in 1789 it was sold to the King of Thiruvathamkoor, and in 1795 it came under the ownership of the British East India Company. The three-story hexagonal structure is a very well-preserved Portuguese bastion. The fort was repaired between1596 and 1605 with a facade added in pure Manuelino style, possibly the only such building in India.
Paddy Fields : Representing the rice-producing heart of Cherai, the emerald green paddy fields are cultivated below sea level to create a charming pastoral environment. These water-logged fields tend to be single crop areas, mostly rice. However, following the harvest, paddy fields are used to farm fish, mainly prawns. Exotic flora and fauna can be discovered in and around the paddy fields, allowing you to enjoy encounters with butterflies and spot dozens of alluring species of both birds and fish.
Sahodhara Bhavan : Sahodharan Ayappan was born on July 22nd 1889 and later became an important disciple of Sree Nayarana Guru. Ayappan was a great social reformer, journalist, and politician and on May 29th 1917 he arranged a feast with several so-called lower castes. This was a revolutionary moment which helped undermine the concept of untouchability. Ayappan’s charming 18th century house is located in a scenic spot which provides a panoramic view of the River Periyar. His house is open to visitors and in addition there is a public library and a research centre.
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