A small town located near Kochi, Cherai has developed into a busy tourist destination. Its clean and long sandy beach is the greatest attraction of the place. The shallow waters and gentle waves make the water ideal for swimming. High tides are also a rarity here which makes it very safe. There are many resorts lining the shores. If you are interested you can enjoy a relaxing stay at these places. There are also some restaurants on the beach where you can enjoy some local delicacies.
Apart from the beach, there are many tourist places near Cherai that will make you exuberant. The forts and churches in the area proclaim the historical importance of the region. If you are a history enthusiast, the stories behind each of these monuments will surely enthrall you.
Though it is the famous beach that makes the place so attractive, there are certain places near Cherai that will capture your imagination. These are mainly religious centers that are relevant historically too. They are remnants of the colonial past and cultural diversity of Cherai. The Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Syro Malabar church, Portuguese Fort, Pallippuram Syro Malabar church, Azheekkal Sree Varaha Venkireshware temple, and so on make Cherai a place of diverse culture and long history.
The important places to visit near Cherai are:
Top attractions in Cherai
There is a beautiful holiday destination near Kochi in the form of a beach. The Cherai beach is a nice spot for those who want to spend their time outdoors relishing sunset. The beach is almost 10 kilometers long and does not usually have high tides. The gentle waves lapping on the shore make the beach ideal for swimming. Dolphin sightings frequently reported in the area making it a favorite spot for the tourists.
It would be the best holiday yet if you include Cherai Beach too in your tour package to Kochi.
The oldest existing European fort in India is a great tourist destination near Cherai. The historical fort was built by the Portuguese in 1503. Later it was captured by the Dutch in 1661 and was sold to the Travancore Kingdom in 1789. The historical monument is hexagonal in shape and is constructed using laterite, lime plaster, and wood. The walls are thickly plastered with mortar to protect from gunfire.
There is an underground cellar that stores gunpowder. There also existed an underground tunnel to escape from enemies during emergencies which are permanently closed now. It would be great to include the fort also on your Cherai tour program.
Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Syro Malabar church
One of the best places to visit near Cherai is a historical church. Believed to be the first church in India, Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Syro Malabar church was established by St Thomas the apostle of Christ in 52 AD. It is one of the seven churches that he established in India. The Kottakkavu pond where St Thomas baptized the Jews who were already settled in Kerala is another tourist attraction.
In the 9th century AD, two bishops from Persia, Mar Sabor, and Mar Proth visited the church and founded a Persian cross here. The Kottakkavu Sliba, as the cross engraved on granite stone, is still preserved here. Pilgrims from far and wide come to pray at the church and see the holy relic. It would be a refreshing stop on your Cherai tour.
Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram
Basilica of Our Lady of Snows – or locally Manjumatha Church – is a historic and religious center built by the Portuguese. The church was built soon after they built the fort in 1503. It is an exciting place to visit near Cherai. The old Portuguese architectural style will surely enthrall you.
The legend says that during the Mysorean invasion in the 18th century, the church was mysteriously saved by a mist that left the invaders wandering without the sense of direction. Since then the church is named Manjumatha (lady of the snow) church.
Azheekkal Sree Varaha Venkireshwara Temple
There is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Sree Varaha Murthy which is a tourist attraction near Cherai. The temple belongs to the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin community of Kerala. It is considered as the only Sampoornakshetra (complete temple) of the nagara type in South India. Hence it is a sight that cannot be missed while on a trip to Cherai.
It is believed that the idol of Sree Varaha was installed at Azheekal in 1565. Later the location developed into a prominent temple of South India. It houses all the 7 deities of the Gowda Saraswatha Community. There is also a temple Ratham (chariot) in the temple which was dedicated to the deities in 1909. The religious location also served as a sanctum for preserving the community's unique mode of worship, language, and culture. Still, they maintain an identity of their own even though they mingle freely with other communities in Kerala.
Best Time To Visit Cherai
The best time to visit the tourist spot is during the winter season which falls between October and February. The climate will be pleasant during this time of the year.
March to May is time for summer and is hot and humid in the region. If you do not enjoy profuse sweating, it is better to avoid this season.
Monsoon, which starts in June and lasts till September, is a great time to visit the place if you are in love with the rain. The season is filled with heavy to very heavy rainfall in the region. Make sure that you carry an umbrella when you plan your visit at this time.
How To Reach Cherai
Cherai is well connected to nearby cities like Kochi and Thrissur. You can prefer any mode like road, air or rail to reach the place. There is even a ferry service that will give you a different experience.
- By Road: Cherai is at a distance of almost 40 kilometers from Kochi. You can hire a taxi, get on a state-run bus, or enjoy a beautiful drive to get to the place. You can take the Goshree bridge from Kochi to Vypin and reach Cherai. If you are coming from Cochin International Airport, you can reach the destination through North Paravur.
- By Ferry: There is a regular ferry service from Kochi to Vypin. It is the most economical and enjoyable journey. A local bus will take you from the Vypin boat jetty to Cherai.
- By Rail: Aluva railway station is the closest to Cherai and is at a distance of 20 kilometers. Public transport is available from Aluva to reach a tourist destination.
- By Air: Just 26 kilometers from the tourist spot is Cochin International Airport. Domestic flights are available to and from CIAL to most of the important cities in India and abroad.