Sunday, 19 May 2019

Kochi Journals! (Part 1)

Hello Readers! So, this is the first part of a two-parter post on my travel tour to Kochi, Kerala. Now, I have been to South India before. There are a lot of beautiful places there. Munnar & Pondicherry are few of the ones I have visited! And, now another place added to the list – Kochi! So, here we go with all the amazing places in Kochi!

This trip to Kochi was a short vacation & I took full advantage of it by roaming all around in the little city. About Kochi, it’s quite a small city with not much to see. This is what everyone told me, but I still went ahead with the plan only to find out that it was indeed a small city with not much to see. But whatever Kochi has to offer, it is pretty beautiful & worth seeing.

There are three areas where there are most of the sight seeing places in Kochi. First is near the Fort Kochi area. Don’t be too excited. The area is named as Fort Kochi. There isn’t an actual fort there. Another area is near the Mattancherry Palace, which is about 10 t0 15 minutes from Fort Kochi. And lastly, there are a few places in Ernakulam & Willingdon Island.

~~Fort Kochi Beach~~
Everyone loves beaches, right? Some even prefer beach vacations to mountains & snow. Same goes for me. But, you see, the thing is I’m from Mumbai where we have the gorgeous Marine Drive. And, wherever I go, I always compare the beaches to Marine Drive. So far, not a single beach has won. Not Pondicherry, not Goa & sadly not even Kochi. It was a nice setting and all, but I didn’t quite feel at peace. And, I always NEED to feel at peace when I am in front of the oceans & seas & lakes. I did check it off the list though!

Just before the Fort Beach road, there is a little lane which is the most amazing thing I have seen. On the left, there are hotels which are the ones you see on Instagram. They have colourful walls or walls with saplings all over it, which are quite good for taking photos. And, on the right side, there are these food outlets with outdoor seating underneath the shadow of the huge, nice & green trees. It’s almost as if it’s Europe. You are sitting on these wooden benches having delicious food. There is a roof of branches & leaves above you. In the background, there is the sound of waves from the beach. If you can imagine this, then I’m sure, you are already feeling happy & wanting to visit.

Time taken to explore: 45-60 minutes

~~Chinese Fishing Nets~~
If you do your research before travelling to Kochi, you will find ‘Chinese Fishing Nets’ in all the ‘Must Places to Visit in Kochi’ articles you read. You can not only visit these, you can also fish there. It's very different than the usual fishing. It’s quite a fun experience if you decide on doing that. I skipped on it as I was satisfied by viewing them from the beach itself.
You can get a view of these nets from the beach itself, but if you want to check it out & fish, it's a 5 minute walk from the beach.

Time taken to explore: 25-30 minutes

~~Santa Cruz Cathedral~~
This is one of the must-visit places in Kochi. The premises of the Cathedral are spread out & it’s a big place! I always find churches beautiful, but the Santa Cruz Cathedral was something else. Once you enter, you are mesmerised by the beauty of it all. The ceiling especially is a piece of artwork with many paintings which are related to the religion. When you walk up ahead, you see how amazing the entire setup is. When you look back, you see the beautiful coloured glasses on top of the entrance door, which is perfect for taking photos!

Time taken to explore: 20-30 minutes
Timings: 9AM to 1PM & 3PM to 5PM

I was roaming around Kochi on a two-wheeler which made travelling much easier & inexpensive. On the first day, I roamed around all over Kochi, noting down where exactly the places are & then I went to these places on the next day. So, this is the other part of Kochi, closer to Ernakulam.

~~Mattancherry Palace~~
Mattancherry Palace is also known as the Dutch Palace. It’s set up in a big area. There is a museum inside the palace with many informational pieces, wall paintings, murals & so on. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

What I found completely weird is the that the place did not look like a Palace at all. I couldn’t even imagine it to be glorious back in its time. It was deserted with not much tourist attraction. It was just a small 2-floored bungalow which we see in villages. Anyway, I went in. I can’t come all the way to Kochi to not visit a Palace just because it doesn’t look like a Palace now, can I?

I went in & started the tour. It was quite hot which is why I couldn’t stop at each piece of information to read. I just walked by admiring the murals, looking at swords & other artefacts. I absolutely loved two things about the Palace; the beautiful ceiling & the architectural masterpieces of windows in every room. Only because of these two things, the palace had an aura of royalty.

Time taken to explore: 30-45 minutes
Entry Fee: Rs. 5-10
Timings: 9:45AM to 1PM & 2PM to 4:45PM

~~Paradesi Synagogue~~
The Paradesi Synagogue is based in Jew Town & probably among the oldest Synagogues in South India. It is at the end of a little street, adjacent to the Jew Town lane. It gives similar vibes as to the Mattancherry Palace. Before entering the synagogue, there is a small room with paintings depicting a story & up ahead there is the Synagogue. It was undoubtedly lovely. These remarkable building merge the colours with glass structures so well that it’s incredibly wonderful. I sat there for a while & it was quite peaceful.

Time taken to explore: 15-25 minutes
Entry Fee: Rs. 5-10
Timings: 10AM to 12PM & 3PM to 5PM

~~Jew Town~~
Jew Town area is quite hyped & solely for shopping. It has a lot of shops to collect souvenirs, from jewellery to cotton kurtas & so on. It all looks authentic & you feel like buying a bit of everything. Bit of advice, don't! I used to do that. On my Udaipur trip, I shopped half the size of my luggage & it was just a lot! Souvenirs for my parents, brother, all friends! It was crazy. And after Udaipur, this is my 3rd trip & I have learnt well. I barely do any souvenir shopping on my trips now. It has started to feel like all the stuff is the same, despite the place!
If you do want to shop, then this is the place. It is the most active in the evening hours.

In a nutshell, yes, Kochi is beautiful, but you need to find the beauty. It’s not just sitting there waiting to be praised. It’s the hidden fruit, you need to understand & work towards finding it. And when you do, you will know your efforts are paid off.

Despite of roaming around the streets, there are still a lot of places I couldn’t find. Like some viewpoints of the beach or the graffiti art. But, I can say that I tried my best & I'm happy it was a wonderful trip.

I will be back with another post to tell you about the most amazing stay I had at AirBnb. There will also be some restaurant recommendations, per usual! And, also some real travel talk!

Until next time,

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