If there is one festival the whole of Kochi impatiently awaits every year, then it's the Cochin Carnival held in the last week of December. Fort Kochi is decked up like a bride and tourists, not only from within the country, but also outside, flock to this lovely port city to participate in the revelry. The inception of the Kochi carnival can be traced back to the Portuguese New Year revelry, held here during the colonial days. Gradually, it evolved to take the form of what is today popularly called the Cochin Carnival of Kerala.
Preparations generally begin months in advance for hosting the unique games, fairs and partying during the Carnival of Cochin. Dressed up in fancy dresses, everyone, children in particular, is seen bursting with enthusiasm. The highlight of the carnival is the massive procession on the New Year's Day. Led by an embellished elephant accompanied by drums and music, the carnival is a moment to behold. There is also staging of different South and North Indian folk dances during the festivity.
Color white simply dominates the concluding 10 days of December, during the Kochi Carnival. All establishments in the city don white paper buntings. The available space on the streets host impromptu competitions and multi-faceted celebrations. Kalam Vara (floor drawing), tug-of-war, bicycle race, swimming in the sea, beach volleyball are some of the programs that take place during the Cochin Carnival at Fort Kochi. The festivities and revelries continue till midnight of December 31st with fireworks marking the grand finale.
St. THOMAS SHRINE , MALALAYATTUR
This popular shrine situated at the top of a hill nearly 2000 ft. high in
Malayattur, 52 kms from Ernakulam is believed to be one of the seven churches built by St. Thomas, apostle of
christ. The annual feast of this church is observed on the Sunday after Easter, on the day of the 1st moon after the Vernal
Equinon. The Octave is celebrated on the following Sunday.
SRINGERI MADAM, ADHI SANKARA JANMA BHOOMI, KALADY
This is the birth place of Adhi Sankara, the Advaitha philosopher and is on the banks of river
Periyar, formally known as Poorna river.,It celebrates a ten day festival during Navarathri and procession lead by a decorated temple chariot is conducted. Eminent artists present classical music concerts during the festival days. On Sankara
Jayanthi, the birthday of Sankara a Vedic discourse and debate is conducted in which Vedic scholars from all over the world participates.
KADAMATTAM CHURCH, KADAMATTAM
This church renowned for its legendary priest ‘Kadamattath
Kathanar’ is 35 kms to the south-east of Ernakulam.Two feasts are celebrated, during January-February and April – May. The first feast is believed to be the death anniversary of either the priest or his guru.
St. MARYS CHURCH, VALLARPADAM
This Catholic Church situated in a small island of Ernakulam is believed to have been established in 1676 by the
Portugese. The annual feast of Vallarpadathamma (St. Mary) lasts more than a week. A fair is conducted here at this time.
SREE RAJESWARI TEMPLE , CHOTTANIKARA
Situated at a distance of about 15 kms from Kochi, the Sree Rajeshwari Temple, Chottanikkara is unique in its own right. Here the Goddess is worshipped as Sarawati in the
moming, Bhadrakali at noon and Durga in the evening. This temple having the reputation as a place of redemption from evil spirits, has a temple pond known as
Rakthakulam, a dip in which is believed to remove the evil sprits from possessed individuals.
The annual nine day festival is marked by Aarattu performed everyday unlike the other temples . Large number of devotees come to this temple especially on Makam Thozhal on the 7th day, which is considered to be auspicious for women following a belief that it gives the unmarried women
mangalya, (matrimonial bliss), Caparisoned elephants line up for
Pooram, on the eight day and a spectacular display of the fire works marks the conclusion of the festival. Navarathri is also celebrated with emphasis on musical concerts.
SIVA TEMPLE , ERNAKULAM
The deity of this ancient temple situated at the heart of Cochin city, is popularly known as
Ernakulathappan. The annual festival is an eight-day event and on all these days inside the temple the Seeveli procession with 9 tuskers and the Panchavadyam is held twice a day. On the seventh evening, Pakalpooram is conducted.
Kathakali, Ottanthullal, music concerts are presented by renowned artists. The festival concludes with the
BHAGAWATHY TEMPLE, PUTHIYAKAVU
This temple is located near Thripunithura, 11 kms from
Ernakulam. It celebrates a seven-day festival every year. The third and fourth days are very auspicious for unmarried women and they come to offer
thalams. On the last night Thookam is performed followed by a fire works display to conclude the festival.
SREE POORNATHRAYEESA TEMPLE, THRIPUNITHURA
Devoted to Lord Krishna, this temple is one of the most important temples in
Kerala. The temple festival here attracts devotees from every part of
SREE KRISHNA SWAMY TEMPLE, CHITTOOR
This temple 8 kms from Ernakulam celebrates an 8 day festival Ezhunullathu procession in which the deity is ceremoniously taken around the temple in a specially decorated chariot, Garuda Vahanam take place every day starting from the second day. Kaathakali is presented on the first five evenings.
MAHADEVA TEMPLE , THRIKARIYUR, KOTHAMANGALAM
This ancient Siva temple celebrates a ten-day festival. Commencing with flag-hoisting the festival presents Kurathiyattam ,
Chakkiyarkoothu, Patakkam rrtc., On the last three days, elephants escort the image of the deity for a procession around the temple.
This mosque 25 kms from Erankulam is said to have been erected over the mortal remains of Sheik Faridudeen and it is also believed that the great muslim saint Vaver prayed here and attained Eternal bliss. The Kodikuthu festival is observed on the 14th of January every year and famous Chandanakuda Mahotsavam is at night. The procession with six caparisoned elephants and folk arts such as
Aravanamuttu, Chendamelam, Doobakali etc, is the main attraction. Cultural fare includes
Oppana, Mappila Pattu etc.
SIVA TEMPLE, ALUVA
The unique feature of this temple, the venue for the famous Alwaye Sivarathri is that the idol Sivalinga is not enshrined in any pagoda, but stands on the vast sand banks. On the night of Sivarathri pilgrims keep awake and recitie the puranas and in the early morning perform Vavubali in honour of their forefathers. A fair is also organised for a month from the Sivarathri day.daily Ezhunnallippu of the deity atop a caparisoned elephant, a procession known as Dikvijayam is conducted on the third and fourth days, and pallivetta ceremony on the fifth day. The festival concludes with the Aarattu known as
AZHAKIYAKAVU BHAGAVATHY TEMPLE, PALLURTHY
This temple celebrates a twenty two day long festival. On the last three days, grand processions led by decorated elephants are held to the accompaniment of
Panchavadhyam. Various temple art forms are performed during the festival. The festival concludes with a magnificient display of fire works.
Pulavanibham, a trade fair held here also attracts many.