Cherai is a hidden gem located at the northern tip of Vypin Island, one out of the four islands of Kochi. Cherai, a tiny Kochi suburb, holds the perfect spot between the gorgeous backwaters and the Arabian Sea, making for a heavenly getaway from the daily hustle of life. It offers plenty of sunlight in and the narrow island piece spread across an area of 40 kilometres is breathtakingly serene. The Cherai Village and the beach have only been recently discovered by tourists and thus commercialisation has not really hit this area as much. This adds to the secluded charm that Cherai exudes. So, the next time you are on a getaway at Kochi and are wondering about the things to do in Kochi, set out on a road trip to Cherai! You will not regret a trip to this quaint little Kochi suburb.
Kochi Fort is where you can grab a bike and ride towards the calmness of Cherai. With some quaint fishing villages to explore, backwaters to cruise and soul-satisfying seafood to indulge in, Cherai offers you a true holiday experience; one that goes out of its way to calm your mind, body, and soul!
Here are the top 5 things you can indulge in, when at Cherai, one of the most beautiful towns in Kochi:
• Cruise the Backwaters
• Indulge in Ayurveda
• Take a Tour of the Historical Mattancherry Palace in Kochi
• Rejuvenate Yourself at Cherai Beach
• Explore the Culture of Cherai
1. Cruise the Backwaters
Just one visit here ensures that you will never forget the picturesque backwaters in all their glory; watch the Cherai backwaters turning a shade of crimson under the spectacular sun and capture a photo in your mind’s camera! The lakes, lagoons, and canals, together, will leave an imprint in your mind that can never be replaced. Whether its Lake Poyil with the mesmerising view of the backwaters gushing towards the huge sea or the beautiful sunset you can gaze at while on a boat, the backwaters of Cherai are a class apart. The shimmering tranquillity is set against a golden beach that stretches for kilometres. It is what makes it a sight you can never have enough of. Get your fishing rods along and hone your skills because the backwaters are the perfect place to get some fresh catch. You can also sign up for one of the readily available cruises or just grab a pedal boat and set out on a sojourn of your own.
Go kayaking at Cherai backwaters if you are looking for some adventure, and perhaps you will catch the Chinese fishing nets spread all over to catch the scrumptious fish that you will enjoy for your meals. Cruise across the backwaters to reach the village side where you can learn the art of coir-making or see the huge and epic wooden boats being made out of wood. Cherai is the old-world heart of Kochi and the Kollam Kottappuram National Water Way makes for a tremendous commute from Kochi to Cherai.
If you do decide to tour the villages in Kochi, especially Cherai, make sure you shop a bunch before you leave! Most of the products here are handcrafted by local artisans. Also, the spices are something you cannot miss. Do pack a bag of cardamom, cloves and pepper and hoard on those famous banana chips! The cashew nuts also are very famous here. When looking for souvenirs, you can opt for handmade wooden objects or coconut coir products that are beautifully crafted with utmost precision.
2. Indulge in Ayurveda
Your visit to Kochi, and especially Cherai, cannot be complete without experiencing the Ayurveda treatments here, originating back 5000 years. The two types of treatments include Shodhana and Shamana. While the former focuses on the purification of your body through Panchakarma i.e. five purification procedures; the latter focuses on exercises, medicines, etc.
What you experience at one of these centres is a trance-like state that takes you to a world that is pure and noiseless. You can choose from the many massages available which are oil-based, milk-based or even fruit juice-based. Rejuvenate your senses, your body and your mind to the deepest nook and you shall come out as good as new! Depending on the season you have chosen to visit this Kochi town in, the centres shall offer you massages that include ingredients suitable for the weather. Some of these centres also offer massage treatments for pains and other body ailments, hence, if you have the time; we suggest do indulge yourself!
Post your beach expeditions and a ton of sunbathing, an ayurvedic massage in Cherai sounds like just the kind of pampering you would want to indulge yourself in. It is what the Kochi islands are famous for, after all. What better way to rejuvenate yourself than with an experience that heals you as well?
3. Take a Tour of the Historical Mattancherry Palace in Kochi
There is no better place than Mattancherry Palace in Cherai to retrospect on the opulent lives lead by the Kochi royal family. A charming affair between modernisms of Kochi city and the historical heritage, this imperial palace, just 10 kilometres from Ernakulam, tells an enticing story in a chronological and pictorial manner. It is crowned one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and offers visitors splendid interiors and magnificent Portuguese architecture that stands out vividly. This makes it one of the must visit place in Kochi while planning a detailed Kerala tourism with family.
Believed to have been built around the 16th century by the Portuguese and modified by the Dutch in 1663, this structure was stated a centrally-protected memorial by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1951. Currently, this Dutch Palace museum displays preserved clothes, jewellery, and items such as an ivory palanquin, exhibits, royal umbrellas, coins and stamps used by the Kochi royal family. Don’t miss the gallery of the palace adorned by the portraits of the Kochi Rajas. Whatever your reason for visiting Kochi, this city rarely disappoints, as the combination of thriving industrial efforts and beautiful attractions create a vivacious and progressive economy. Do remember that photography is not allowed inside.
Ticket Prices: For adults, the ticket is priced at INR 5, whereas for children, entry is free.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
4. Rejuvenate Yourself at Cherai Beach
Cherai Beach, also known as the ‘Princess of the Arabian Sea’, is one of the most popular beaches associated with Kochi, and is located just 30 kilometres from Kochi. Visited by hordes of tourists from all across the globe and with round-the-clock lifeguards and security vigilance on the beach, this 15-kilometre stretch of sandy beach is an ideal destination for swimming and sunbathing. Clean, azure waters of the inviting ocean, flanked by the swaying coconut palms and the combination of the sea and the backwaters, set up the perfect tranquil ambience for a day of relaxation. The sight of the unique Chinese fishing nets against the sunset enhances the overall enigmatic experience.
Besides, you can also take up adventurous boating experience and exciting water sports activities on Cherai Beach like jet skiing, paragliding and snorkelling to make your holiday unforgettable. If you happen to visit during the month of December, you will be enthralled by the five-day tourism festival in Cherai Beach known as the Cherai Beach Tourism Mela. With plenty of cultural shows and Kathakali dance performances, this festival displays the deep ethos and warm welcome of the people of Kochi’s suburbs.
Not very far away from Cherai Beach are the vast and indulgent paddy fields that glitter in all their glory under the sun. They are cultivated below the sea level and are home to exotic fauna and flora waiting to be explored. Just take a stroll around the fields to the sound of chirping birds and to the sights of dancing butterflies. While at Cherai Beach, please make sure that you delve as much into the spectacularly fresh seafood as you possibly can. From crabs to oysters to Karimeen and kingfish, the variety is never-ending. Being one of the cleanest beaches in the country, this beach on the suburbs of Kochi will not fail to amaze you with all its charming and alluring offerings.
This place is also an exotic destination for dolphin sightings. You can just take a boat and sail across the Arabian Sea to watch these wonderful mammals put on a dynamic demonstration. Make sure you have the camera ready to catch the fleeting yet resplendent glimpses of these gorgeous mammals flying high out the water to breathe a few gasps of air. Laze in the scarlet sunset as you savour in some delightful locally made fresh seafood delicacies at the beach. A trip to Kochi, especially Cherai, is incomplete without these memorable experiences.
5. Explore the Culture of Cherai
Pay homage to the revered Gowreeshwara Temple, one of the most popular pilgrim destinations in Cherai. Tourists on a Kochi trip definitely make it a point to visit this temple. Dedicated to Lord Subrahmanyan, this temple is regarded as the only temple in Asia to have four main doors to enter inside the main hall. The temple is open on all the days in the week from 05:00 AM to 8:00 PM. If you are travelling around the month of January, partake in the grand festival that takes place at the end of January every year. An indispensable part of temple festivals, you can be one of the lucky few to witness the extravagant procession of a large number of decorated elephants and majestic chariots to mark the occasion. Do remember to add this festival in your Kochi trip itinerary, and plan accordingly!
If the cultural angle of these places intrigues you, we would suggest you plan your visit to Cherai in the month of April when the celebrations for Vishu festival are in full swing. Vishu festival is the Malayali new year and the temples are decked up like brides on the occasion. All of Kerala, especially Kochi and its islands, celebrate Vishu with great pomp and splendour. It involves seeing the very auspicious betel leaves, coins, mirror, rice, etc. as the very first things when you wake up.
Also famous is the Varaha Temple of Cherai. This happens to be the only temple in India where two incarnations of Lord Vishnu are worshipped together as a single deity. It consists of a chariot made of pure silver and Chinese glass, made under the expert supervision of European architects, and makes for a very rare sight. It also hosts one of the most unique chariot festivals of the world, where the chariot actually runs on the rails and is pulled by the deities with drums beating in the background. It happens to be also one of the most only temples in south India with all seven avaaranas, and visitors in and around Kochi make it a point to come witness this temple in person.
Also, don’t miss out on these offbeat places to visit in Cherai to make the most of your family vacation in Kochi!
On a trip to Cherai, a Kochi suburb, do make it a point to visit the old Pallipuram Church that was established in 1507 by the Portuguese. This church houses a beautiful image of Ave Mary. The land of cultural diversity, Kerala is famous for celebrating every festival with grandeur. Also, a must visit is the Portuguese Fort which is the oldest European monument in India and one of the monuments this Kochi town is famous for. Built in 1503 to keep the port of Muziris safe, it is a three-storied structure which has been preserved beautifully and has a Manueline-style facade which is a rarity. Take a stroll in the Jew Town which is a small winding street between Mattancherry Palace and the Synagogue. Don’t miss the huge vaarpu or the bronze vessel; it is one of the most interesting things here.
The Club Mahindra Cherai Beach Resort has the Arabian sea on one side and the backwaters on the other. Nestled amidst lush greenery, it has been made to provide guests with a feeling of utter tranquillity. The many resorts in Cherai Beach can get crowded and hence, Club Mahindra’s endeavour gives you the perfect setting to enjoy the peace that Cherai has to offer. With a pond right in the middle of the resort, Club Mahindra Cherai is the perfect place for you to stay and relax at with your family. There is no dearth of activities within and outside this Cherai property. From various sports activities like table tennis, biking and board games to outdoor activities like spa and swimming, our resort has it all. The rooms are incredibly spacious and airy, so that your stay is as liberating as you want it to be. One of the prime features of all Club Mahindra reviews is the in-house restaurant with the best-tasting Kerala food. Do not miss out on the crab and the mussels. We also help you organise the most scenic trails within Cherai that help you explore the untouched parts of the island as well. So, pack your bags today and come visit us at the Club Mahindra resort, Cherai for an experience of your lifetime!