15 Things To Do In Ernakulam

Things To Do In Ernakulam

Ernakulam, a jewel in the crown of Kerala, serves as a gateway to exploring the rich tapestry of nature, culture, and history that the region has to offer. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, you’ll find that there’s always something new and exciting to discover. In this blog post, we’ll uncover the best things to do in Ernakulam, from exhilarating amusement parks and wildlife encounters to serene backwater excursions and vibrant cultural festivals. Get ready to embark on a journey through the heart of Kerala, where every corner promises a unique adventure.

Things To Do In Ernakulam

  1. Explore the Fort Kochi Area

Fort Kochi, a charming area in Ernakulam, is steeped in history and culture. Walking through its streets, you can admire the quaint architecture that reflects the influences of past European settlers. The iconic Chinese Fishing Nets at the beach, believed to have been introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, are a must-see. Visitors can also explore St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India, and enjoy the local art scene at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an international exhibition of contemporary art held here biennially.

  1. Visit the Hill Palace Museum

The Hill Palace, Kerala’s largest archaeological museum, is located in Tripunithura, a suburb of Ernakulam. This former royal palace of the Maharaja of Kochi has been converted into a museum that houses a rich collection of royal memorabilia, ornaments, and ancient artifacts. Covering over 52 acres, the complex includes a deer park and a heritage museum. It’s a fascinating visit that offers insights into the region’s royal history and architectural grandeur.

  1. Boat Ride in the Backwaters

A trip to Ernakulam is incomplete without experiencing its serene backwaters. Visitors can take a boat ride from Marine Drive, a picturesque promenade facing the backwaters. These rides offer breathtaking views of the lush greenery and the laid-back lifestyle of the local villages that line the waters. Sunset rides are particularly magical, as the sky and water are painted with colors of dusk. It’s a perfect way to relax and take in the natural beauty of Kerala.

  1. Shopping at Lulu Mall

For those who love shopping, Lulu Mall in Ernakulam offers an extravagant retail experience. It is one of the largest shopping malls in India and features a wide range of international and local brands. Apart from shopping, the mall also offers a variety of entertainment options including a multiplex cinema, a spacious food court, and a family entertainment center. Whether you’re looking to shop for fashion, gadgets, or souvenirs, Lulu Mall has something to cater to all tastes.

  1. Attend a Kathakali Performance

Experience the traditional performing art of Kathakali, an ancient dance form that combines dance, music, and acting to narrate epic Indian tales. Several venues in Ernakulam, such as the Kerala Kathakali Centre, offer nightly performances. These performances feature elaborate costumes, detailed makeup, and expressive gestures, providing a deep insight into Kerala’s cultural heritage. It’s a captivating experience that allows visitors to witness the artistic storytelling of India.

  1. Explore the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Nestled in the heart of Ernakulam, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is an ecologically sensitive area that acts as a haven for a large variety of migratory and resident birds. Known as the “green lung of Kochi,” it provides a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle. A walk through this serene park allows visitors to indulge in bird watching and enjoy the lush mangroves and the small tidal lake connected to the Kochi backwaters.

  1. Visit the Marine Drive

Marine Drive is a picturesque promenade in Kochi, perfect for a leisurely stroll or for watching the sun set over the harbor. Lined with shopping malls, cinemas, and numerous eateries, it’s a popular hangout spot that buzzes with activity throughout the day. The Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge along the walkway offer great spots for photography and to simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

  1. Discover the Jew Town

Jew Town, a historic area located between Mattancherry Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue, is famous for its antique shops and colonial buildings. Visitors can explore the quaint streets, hunting for handicrafts, spices, and antiques. The Paradesi Synagogue itself, built in 1568, is an architectural marvel and a testament to the once-thriving Jewish community in Kochi.

  1. Enjoy the Local Cuisine at a Toddy Shop

No visit to Kerala is complete without trying the local cuisine at a traditional toddy shop. These rustic eateries serve local delicacies like karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish marinated and wrapped in banana leaves), tapioca with fish curry, and duck roast, which are best enjoyed with freshly tapped toddy, a local alcoholic beverage made from coconut sap. This authentic experience offers a taste of the real Kerala lifestyle.

  1. Attend the Cochin Carnival

If your visit coincides with the end of December, don’t miss the Cochin Carnival held at Fort Kochi. This festive event is marked by parades, music, dance, and games, culminating in the massive New Year’s Eve celebration. The carnival, with its Portuguese influence, reflects the multicultural heritage of Kochi and offers fun and excitement for all ages.

  1. Visit Wonderla Amusement Park

For families and thrill-seekers, Wonderla Amusement Park offers a day packed with excitement and fun. Located on the outskirts of Ernakulam, this park features a wide range of rides and attractions suitable for all ages. From high-speed roller coasters and water rides to gentler rides for children, Wonderla makes for an exhilarating day out. Don’t miss their wave pools and rain disco, where you can dance and enjoy artificial rains.

  1. Explore the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre

Just a short drive from Ernakulam, the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre is set on the banks of the River Periyar. This facility used to be one of the largest elephant training centers in Kerala. Visitors can watch elephants being bathed and trained, a rare opportunity to get close to these magnificent creatures in a responsible setting. The elephant safari provides an adventurous experience through the natural habitat surrounding the area.

  1. Take a Spice Tour in the Plantations

Kerala is renowned for its spices, and Ernakulam offers visitors a chance to see how spices are grown, harvested, and processed. Many plantations in and around the city open their doors to tourists. You can walk through aromatic fields of cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and learn about the traditional methods still used to cultivate them. These tours often end with a chance to buy freshly harvested spices directly from the source.

  1. Visit Bhoothathankettu Dam

For a serene day out, head to Bhoothathankettu Dam, a picturesque dam site with a mythological backstory involving spirits (bhoothams) who are believed to have built this natural fortification. The area around the dam is perfect for picnics, boating, and trekking, surrounded by forests that are rich in wildlife. The nearby Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekad, a short drive from the dam, is a bonus for birdwatchers.

  1. Participate in the Thrissur Pooram Festival

If your visit aligns with the Malayalam month of Medam (April/May), don’t miss the spectacular Thrissur Pooram, held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple near Ernakulam. Known as one of the biggest temple festivals in Kerala, it features a grand assembly of decked up elephants, mesmerizing parasol exchanges, fireworks, and traditional music like panchavadyam. This festival attracts large crowds and offers a deep dive into the cultural festivity of Kerala.


From thrilling rides at Wonderla to the aromatic spice plantations, each activity in Ernakulam offers a unique slice of Kerala’s vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty. The city’s blend of historical landmarks, natural wonders, and lively festivals ensures that every visitor leaves with cherished memories and a deep appreciation of this dynamic region. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment, the list of things to do in Ernakulam caters to all interests and ages. Explore this dynamic city and discover why Ernakulam continues to captivate the hearts of travelers from around the world.

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