Every traveller would have come across God’s Own Country tagline. Sure, Kerala is a different world altogether for its ineffable ideologies, sharp-skilled artisans, super-intelligent people, the game of chess, handmade souvenirs, the boho vibes, and cultural liberty. In fact, the world needs Kerala. It is obvious Lonely planet loves Kerala but what made their team of vigilant explorers pick Kochi. Kochi is in their top 10 cities of the world to visit in 2020. Hope! You’d start packing for Kochi after you finish reading this informative and engaging photoblog. We know you will!
The city of cosy cafes, creative wall arts, balmy boats, countless cuisines, and coruscating collision of cultures existing in zen harmony: Kochi always carves a sweet tingle in a traveller’s heart. The ones who have had an artistic date with Kochi will return again to celebrate her pristine nature and poetic vibes amidst contemporary characteristics.
Kochi is not just a city. Kochi is a feeling!
Kochi, the biggest city of Kerala is known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The commercial, industrial, and financial capital of Kerala is encapsulated on the south-west coast of Kerala. This port city has a trading history that dates back to 600 odd years. The effect of Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Phoenicians, and British is still evident in the colourful corners of Cochin. Affordable ferries, luxurious heritage accommodations function without calamity like its people coexisting in total brotherhood and sisterhood. Kochi is the world’s most hospitable neighbourhood. The combo of vintage and fashion make Kochi a repeatedly visited holiday destination for those who love liberty in a traditional environment. In this write-up, you’ll join us on foot to explore everything Kochi has for all the 190 odd countries. Slouch on your couch and read this whole piece in a stretch.
“Lonely Planet honours Kochi listing it in the Top 10 cities to travel in 2020.”
So what made Kochi in India enter the best cities to travel in the year 2020 list? The other cities are Salzburg in Austria, Cairo in Egypt, Washington DC in the USA, Bonn in Germany, Gateway in Ireland, Vancouver in Canada, La Paz in Bolivia, Denver in the USA, and Dubai in UAE. From promoting ecotourism to the world to creating a warm community of artistic people who are always concerned about the welfare of the world, Kochi is the best destination for any occasion and your upcoming vacation. We are giving 10 strong reasons that would have made Lonely Planet choose Kochi in the top 10 cities.
“The proud fulcrum of Ecotourism.”
The rising need to stop fuel abuse and save non-renewable resources is growing all around the world. From emerging young environmental activists like Greta Thunberg to world-famous NGOs like WWF (World Wildlife Federation), the attempt to preserve resources, control global warming, and address issues like poaching and non-renewable resource regulations have started in largescale. According to V.J. Kurian, Kochi stands as a pioneer, running its airport on solar energy. Kochi Airport grabbed the UN Champions of the Earth Award for 2018. Recent artic Icebergs Melting in blocks are strong indicators for the world to switch over to renewable fuels. Being one of the busy airports in India with high international traffic, Kochi made the world’s first eco-friendly airport.
“Chinese Fishing Nets bow for Zheng He even today.”
It is widely believed Zheng He, a Chinese explorer, mariner, and fleet admiral had introduced the Chinese Fishing Nets to Kochi some 500 years ago. He was from the court of Kubla Khan, the grandson of the great Chinese Conquerer Genghis Khan. The most desirable place for silhouette photoshoot lovers. This place effumes a golden hue amidst the strenuous cantilever pull. A 20m tall giant Cantilever Fishing Net requires 4 to 5 people to operate during high tide. Locally known as ‘Cheenvala’, this old yet heritage fishing technique is best experienced in the vicinity of Vasco Da Gama Square. Lonely Planet must have considered this while picking Kochi on the list.
“The Jewish Jewel as a cultural beacon light.”
Creating an atmosphere for everyone is impossible but Kochi has been a master in blending different cultures. The monuments near Mattanchery celebrates the Jew settlers after Israel’s Diaspora, Fort Kochi in Kochi became their amicable home. The Jewish Synagogue, the place of religious gatherings for Jews near the Mattanchery Bus Station was built in 1568 by Malabar Yehudans. The oldest Synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations wouldn’t have arrived if King Rama Varma hadn’t been secular in the first place. He gifted his land to the Jewish Community for seeking solace after everything that has happened to them. The four faces of the clock in the clock tower, the glass chandeliers of Belgium, the Chinese handcrafted tiles make Jewish Synagogue a must-visit monument. A small community of Jew people selling spices, Kashmiris selling oil lamps, and flocks of international tourists roaming happily make Kochi the second home for the world.
“The scenic spiritual triads of Kochi.”
The advent of Christianity in India started in Kerala. One of the respected explorers of history, Vasco Da Gama was initially buried in 1524 at St. Francis Church, Kochi. Only after 14 years, his remains were taken to Portugal. St. Francis Church is the oldest European Church in India. Santa Cruz Basilica’s whitewashed exterior and pastel-coloured interior, sharply arched ceilings, stained glass windows, altars emitting the murals and paintings of Fr Antonio Moscheni and his disciple De Gama, ceilings speaking volumes of Via Crucis of Christ, and Last Supper Scene recreation make it a worthy place for object photographers. Likewise, Syro-Malabar St George Forane Church or Edapally Church is a place for spiritual travellers to seek blessings from the Virgin Mary and imbibe the glory of this amalgamation architecture. The location of these three churches will form a small isolateral triangle for travellers to explore everything in a day. How about New Year 2020 and blessings from the Almighty in Kochi?
“The confluence of Portuguese, Dutch, English, and Malayalam.”
The traditional Kerala-style architecture and murals from the Indian epic Ramayana, Krishna Lila, paraphernalia of the Kochi Kings, impactful Ardhanadeshwara drawing, Lord Vishnu in his sleeping form maketh Mattancherry Palace. It was built in the year 1555 by Portuguese as a gift or compensation to the Kings of Cochi. Later, Dutch people altered its chambers, arches, and renovated the building in 1663. And so, it is called the Dutch Palace. The courtyard in the middle of this two-story building has three temples, one dedicated to Lord Siva, one to Lord Vishnu, and one other to the family deity of the Kochi Kings, Pazhayannur Bhagavathy. What will excite travellers other than the construction and painting is the flooring made of egg whites, scorched coconut shells, fruit saps, charcoal, and lime. Worship the deities, marvel the murals and share your experience. Yet another renowned heritage building in Kochi near the Jewish Synagogue.
“An artistic date with charismatic coffee.”
Experience the amount of natural light in the artistic Kashi Art Cafe is just right to devour the French Toast and inhale the brews of strong aromatic coffee.
Those who had seen Premam (a blockbuster movie in Malayalam) would tell Pepper House Cafe is a place to be with your loved one when you are strolling across Fort Kochi. The dockside warehouse of the Dutch beautified into a splendid outdoor cafe overlooking a well-crafted lawn.
Loafer’s Corner Cafe is a honeycomb for international travellers as it possesses the bistro vibes in a Dutch-Portuguese building. Reclaimed Woods, minimalistic portraits, and a gentle Carte du jour – just the right place if you are single and need a cosy cafe for your relaxed evenings.
Any Tea lover in the world would accept they drink tea for the positivity it creates within them. Make time for High Tea in Teapot Cafe where a green foresty atmosphere whisks strong with tea accents and antique tea wares.
Mocha Art Cafe happens to run with the same tenacity as the 300-year-old Dutch warehouse. Its owner Junaid, a curious storyteller and main chef, Laila Mani in her late fifties keeps up the warmth and amp up the spicy feel just for their love of food and happiness. The hanging Rajasthani lights inside the cafe and Pardesi Synagogue outside create a zealous street walking experience.
“A Three-Storey Museum with Millions of Stories.”
The Malabar styled ground floor, the Cochi-cum-Dutch styled 1st floor, and Travancore styled 2nd floor is an outcome of the team effort of a lovely couple, George Thaliath and Annie George. After 25 years of sincere toiling, they have managed to collect masks of the past era, stone and bronze sculptures, attires of ceremonial art forms, utensils from the Stone Age, clandestine manuscripts, beautiful jewels of the past, and countless small to life-size artefacts. Thus, preserving the cultural heritage of Kerala while sharing with the world of arts. With humble beginnings in 2009, the museum entrance is made of remains from the 16th temple in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Even the door is made with manichitratazhu (Traditional yet a decorated latch) the ancient lock system of Kerala. Kalithattu (floor of play) is the first floor for experiencing cultural dances like Theyyam, Ottanthullal, Kathakali, Kanjadalam, and Mohiniyattam. The final floor is called Lotus Petal full of mural paintings. A time worthy experience at Thevara in Ernakulam.
“A souvenir is like wine since it gets precious with time.”
Coir doormats, Coconut shell organic Bowls, figurines of elephants, Nettipattam (an ornament an elephant wears during festivals), the sacred Nilavilakku, jari embroidered Kasavu sari, the precious Aranmula Kannadi made of metal, Nettoor Petti (the hand-crafted jewel box), Chundan Vallom (miniature snake boat), Kathakali Masks, Redwood Chess Boards, and Mural Paintings are some of the must-buy souvenirs in Kerala. The streets of Fort Kochi has high traffic of exotic eco-tourism products. From intricately embroidered portable bags, playing cards painted with endangered animals, and boxes made of ecological waste, Fort Kochi is a place to explore on foot. Not only for its souvenirs, but Fort Kochi is also one hangout heaven for like-minded buddies and art-loving couples.
“Celebrating differences since the time of Cochin, Kochi – A place to be.”
How often you find art getting wild and staying raw without compromise? For the sake of financial dependency and industry pressure, creativity is murdered on streets, movies, books, newspapers, and business. But the walls of Kochi will make you stare at some of the ironic, sceptical, highly creative yet impressively sarcastic artworks.
Look at King of Pop, Micheal Jackson in a South Indian attire, our childhood favourite Mr Bean pulling off a saint avatar in style, and revolutionist Che Guevara wearing a shirt and Dhoti. This is just a glimpse of the creative shades of Kochi during the fourth edition of Kochi-Muzris Biennale 2018.
These graffiti and inspiring wall arts are inspirational works of contemporary and emerging artists. They not only enhance the look and feel of Kochi but also had created a livelihood for financially struggling artists. As the walls of Kochi keep life interesting, the 5th edition of Kochi- Muzris Biennale 2020 starting on December 12 will continue to entertain creative art lovers of the globe.
“Sip and stroll in the multicultural portrait of Kerala – Fort Kochi.”
Fort Kochi is more about the moments it carves in your heart to revisit later. You would have walked relaxedly in the mornings listening to motivational songs and wishing acquainted faces. Fort Kochi turns you into an explorer in a day or two just by the way it is.
From creating familiarity in the neighbourhood to clicking photographs of the communist reading rooms and drinking Kuluki Sarbath near the dockyards, Fort Kochi is always excited about something. Your days in Fort Kochi are always long and tiresome but never boring. Every time you look for something, you’ll be amazed by the way Fort Kochi is creatively assembled.
Heritage buildings, well-lit street ways, happenings cafeterias, shops that sell camel bone jewels near Princess Street, and the almost empty Fort Kochi Beach after Sunset make Fort Kochi evenings a must-try experience in South India.
During broad daylight, the streets of Fort Kochi gather all its colours saved overnight and paint the whole place in vibrant shades. Your bargaining skills will get 10x better after strolling vividly across the bright paths of Fort Kochi.
Artists from all around the world come to celebrate the biggest art festival in Kerala – Kochi Muzris Biennale. Spots like Aspinwall Hall, Pepper House Cafe, and semi-ruined buildings become the playground of contemporary, futuristic, creative, and graffiti artists. Their artistic strokes and your strides will influence your cerebrum to puke brilliant portraits when you get back home.
The amount of creativity expressed in this festival is unimaginable. Some creations will look ethereal and fortunately, Student Biennale makes it easy for us at certain places. Since those powerful creations are more understandable to a commoner. From revolutionary ideas to talking about poverty, the injustice toward humanity and women, every frame steals your time.
Many famous artists and craftsmen and craftswomen from all over the world join together to confess, discuss, and converse to the world from their portraits and Meraki creations. The next edition of Kochi-Muzris Biennale starts from December 12 2020. The celebrated curator Shubigi Rao will in charge of the fifth edition. Before we slip into the final section, there is one thing you must all try in Fort Kochi. Read the paragraph below.
An auto ride after sunset with your loved one. Without asking, your auto-captain will play famous romantic melodies. Like a dessert, it concludes your pleasant night. Immediately, Switch on your sleep mode as Fort Kochi is best spent on its happening road after sunrise and coffee.
Hope, you could fathom the aura of Kochi from an array of perspectives and photos. Your time in Kochi is not lost since this city is a depot of unexplored knowledge and wild imagination. From importance given to LGBT communities, acceptance of the multicultural appeal, interesting cuisine that urges travellers for a culinary trip, to having the biggest shopping mall in India, Lulu Mall, Kochi is one ancient seaport turned conglomeration of happiness and healthy vibes.
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