Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kochi, of Old World Charms


From Alappuzha ( Alleppey )  we started for Kochi at around 2:30 PM.We had a wonderful boat ride in Alappuzha. We reached Kochi around 4:30 PM. Though the distance between Alappuzha and Kochi is about 50 kilometers but it may take time depending upon the road traffic.

  We didn't know previuosly that Kochi is the old city and the new Kochi is actually Ernakulam, about 7Km from Kochi. Old Kochi is beautiful in its own way.... with its narrow lanes, old buildings, palaces, streets and all. We looked for hotels in Kochi ( Mattancherry ) but could not find anything immediately, so we went to Ernakulam.

  We went from Kochi to Ernakulam, but crossing the Thoppumpady BOT bridge (more commonly BOT bridge) via Wellington Island. The surrounding 
looks very scenic while crossing the bridge. We got into a hotel Chandrika Residency on MG Road. Non AC double bedrooms cost Rs 900 but the hotel is not worth the money. Though it has a restaurant but it is not good,the plates and cups dirty and the restaurant is closed most of the time.Maybe if you plan 
to visit Kochi try to avoid this hotel,I am sure you will get better staying options.

  After we got fresh,we took an auto and went to the Boat Jetty. There are sundown cruises available from Kochi Boat Jetty which starts from 5:30 PM(well its always 15 minutes late). You can book your tickets immediately before getting into the boats, there is no requirement for advance booking. It is roughly an hour cruise on the Vembanad lake costing Rs 150 per person. You can see the beautiful sunset from the river and some chinese fishing nets from far. We took the sunset tour in Kochi from SeaLand Tours and Travels (0484-2372122, 93429 80832). One thing that requires special mention is that the auto drivers in Kochi are not like money sucking vampire autowallas in Bangalore. The autowalla just took Rs 15 (minimum fare) from us to take us from our hotel to Boat Jetty though he understood us as tourists!! In fact I could not believe my ears and thought the fare was Rs 50. :)
At Marine Drive Boat Jetty

Sunset from the boat.

Government building and Chinese fishing nets during sunset.

KTDC cottages on the Vembanad Lake.
  The next day we left this hotel. We wanted to stay in Old Kochi for a day. Though the number of hotels is less but its a lot more cheaper there. Moroever all the important sight seeing places in Kochi are in old Kochi. We booked a hotel "Udupi Hotel". It was simple, yet comfortable and largely less expensive. We kept our things from our car and headed for Dutch Palace also called Mattancherry Palace and Jewish Synagogue. Both of them are close to one another.


Dutch Palace.
  Though the roads get narrower but all the important tourist places are properly shown on sign boards. So we did not face any problem in navigating.
After parking our car we went to the Dutch Palace.The entry is congested with vehicles and people. But inside its clean and less crowded. The palace was built by the Portuguese and gifted to  the then Raja of Kochi, Veera Varma. It is a rectangular shaped palace, looks pretty unconventional unlike other palaces. The fantastic thing about this palace is the murals that heavily decorate the walls. The murals have stories from Hindu scriptures mainly Ramayana. The entry ticket is Rs 5 for Indians and photography is not allowed inside.


Synagogue.
   From the Palace it is a very short walk to the Jewish Synagogue. The street is called Jew Street. This street is vibrantly colourful with shops selling artefacts, handworks, masks, clothes. Almost all the restaurants on this street have a small collection of old statues and antiques for its patrons to buy/see. As a lot of European tourists visit the synagogue (more than Indians ), so Jew Street looks more like an European alley. The synagogue is closed on Fridays. You need to deposit all your things before entering the synagogue. Entry tickets to synagogue is Rs 5 and photography is not allowed inside.


Jew Street

Handicrafts shop

Wall hang-able replicas of different types of masks. 

Restaurant displaying antiques.
  Since the midday sun was getting hot, it was becoming intolerable for us.We went back to hotel. For evening we had St Francis Church, Dutch cemetary and Fort Kochi(for Chinese fishing nets) to see. All these places are close to each other.

  Since the noon heatwaves took time to become soothing so we were also a little late for our afternoon sightseeing. By the time we reached St Francis Church it was closed. The church closes at 5 PM. From there we saw the Dutch cemetary which falls on the way, and a little further away is Fort Kochi. We came here to see the sunset along with the Chinese Fishing nets from very close. Fort Kochi has numerous homestays.


St. Francis Church

A shop next to the church. It was selling cotton dolls.

   There was one incident that I found sad yet funny. A Chinese fishing net owner was only allowing non Indians to walk on the platform where his fishing net was tied. He himself being an Indian was shooing away other Indians. I observed his actions for sometime then I realised he was doing that because he thought that foreigners will tip him for allowing them to walk on the platform of the fishing net and Indians will not... it feels bad to see discrimination in your own country... People in Kerala are just too good ( I fondly have so many anecdotes of nice helpful people ) so this must be well a worthless fellow, I laughed off the incident.


Chinese fishing nets.
Fish market at Fort Kochi.
  My Kerala trip came to an end, with Kochi as the last stopping point. The next day I was off for my good old Bangalore. Kerala was such an awesome place and it was such a wonderful trip. Kerala is so true to its name "God's Own Country".

Ernakulam city as seen from Vembanad Lake.

30 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! Nice images and write up.

    http://www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kochi unveiled nicely. Lovely pictures

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the images..Awesome
    http://www.ankionthemove.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. i like your picture and travel too. keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  5. and i m not a robot. you can check . i tried 3 times . sure that u dont give comments

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really sorry that you had to try to comment multiple times. It happens with us sometimes as well. :)

      Delete
  6. beautiful photographs and interesting narration...
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. brought back my memories of our visit to this place..great captures!

    ReplyDelete
  8. wonderful images of a very wonderful place

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great pics... Thanks for the information on Kochi trip..
    I plan a trip soon.

    :)
    manjulikapramod.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much........and yes definitely give the place a visit...i am sure you will enjoy :)

      Delete
  10. Awesome Photography Ankur and Soma and very well written . You have a great touch of photography . Kochi is beautiful city , i also have been there with my friends and enjoyed our 1 week stay there and was memorable trip . You brought back that memory , now surely will be planning to hang out in Kerala , this time somewhere new destination

    (http://www.justkerala.in)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very very well detailed. I had plans to visit Kerala, but after seeing your informative blog, the idea intensified. Thanks very much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, it was a pleasure to know that you found our blog informative :)

      Delete

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...