PILGRIMAGE IN KOCHI, KERALA
Santa Cruz Cathedral:
This church is one of the colourful Church in the Fort Cochin area and has some beautiful paintings on the ceiling of the church. In 1795, this church fell in the hands of the British when they took over Kochi, and was demolished. Santa Cruz Cathedral was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. About a hundred years later bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887. The church was proclaimed as a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II. St. Francis Church: This church is one of the India's oldest European churches. This Church is located at the Fort Cochin. This church was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. This church was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch and thus became a Protestant church. Later in 1795 this church was converted into an Anglican church by the British. Now this church is used by the Church of South India. In 1524, the remains of the Vasco da Gama was buried in the churchyard of this church and later moved to Lisbon, Portugal. His tombstone still remains in the church.
This synagogue was built in 1568 and is the oldest synagogue in the subcontinent. This church was destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, and was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Jewish Synagogue is located very close to the Bolghatty Palace. This simple building at the end of a narrow lane has a marvelously rich interior. There are clusters of colored glass lamps hanging from the ceiling and the floor has 18th century hand printed, willow pattern tiles which were brought from the Canton in China. In the synagogue are the clock tower, carefully preserved land deeds inscribed on copper plates and Hebrew inscription on stone slabs.
The birth place of Adi Shankaracharya, the great Advaita philosopher of the 8th century. The temples dedicated to Sri Shankaracharya, Sharada Devi, Sri Krishna and Sri Ramkrishna are also located here. According to the legend, a crocodile caught hold of him and refused to release him until Shri Shankaracharya's mother Aryamba permitted him to accept Sanyas (renunciation). A place called Crocodile Ghat is also situated here where Sri Shankaracharya took his vows of renunciation.
This place is famous for the Catholic Church built on the 609 m high Malayatoor hill. This hill is dedicated to St. Thomas. Thousands of devotees visit this shrine to participate in the annual festival of Malayatoor Perunnal, in the month of March. St. Thomas is believed to have prayed at this shrine.