Cochin: Cultural Hub of Kerala

Tripoto
21st Dec 2016
Photo of Cochin: Cultural Hub of Kerala 1/1 by Kausambhi Majumdar
Chinese fishing nets near Fort Kochi

Located in North Kerala, Cochin is a vibrant cultural centre. Although most people put this city as a one-day item in their itinerary, Cochin has quite a lot to offer. The best period to visit is from December to March, during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The closest airport is Cochin International Airport . The closest railway stations are a Ernakulam Town Station and Ernakulam Junction Station.

Day 1

Keep a day aside for the Biennale. Even if you are not the artsy kind, the Biennale is something that will enthrall you. It is held every two years and it is the only Biennale held in India. The scale of this event is at par with its international counterparts held in Venice, Berlin, Singapore and so on. The Tate Modern of London has called it the best Biennale of the world. It is spread across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands with shows being held in galleries, heritage buildings, and disused structures. You will also stumble upon site-specific installations at certain public spaces. Most of the exhibitions are held in and around Fort Kochi. The biennale showcases work form international as well as local artists. Although entry was free in the first year, to keep with running costs, a nominial fee of ₹50 is charged for entrance.

Day 2

A Kathakali performace at Cochin Cultural Centre

Photo of Cochin Cultural Centre, Perumanoor, Ernakulam, Kerala, India by Kausambhi Majumdar

The best place to see a Kathakali performance is in the place of its origin, Kerala. The Cochin Cultural Center is one venue where you can witness the detailed process of make-up that a Kathakali artist has to undergo. At the Cultural Centre, after the artists are done with make-up application, a short performance is presented to enlighten the audience about the different hand gestures and facial expressions. An artist demonstrates the mudras and rasa as the director of the performance explains the nuances of its gesture and expression. The Cultural Centre holds daily shows in the evening. The tickets are priced at 300 INR. The auditorium at the centre is quite small with capacity of 40-50 people. Prior booking of seats can be done by telephone or online through their website www.cochinculturalcentre.com.

A display of traditional masks at the Folklore Museum

Photo of Kerala Folklore Museum, Kochi, Kerala, India by Kausambhi Majumdar

Cochin has a museum of its own kind: Kerala Folklore Theatre & Museum. It is more of a cultural museum rather than a historical one. The museum building has been constructed along the lines of a traditional Malabar mansion. Comprising of three floors, the museum is filled with folk and cultural artefacts of Kerala. If you are interested in understanding the folk culture of Kerala, a visit to Kerala Folklore and Theatre would be worth your time. Entry fee is required.

Day 3

Jew Street, Mattancherry

Photo of Jew Street, Kacheripady, Ernakulam, Kerala, India by Kausambhi Majumdar

The Pardesi Synagogue at Jew Town, Mattancherry is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. The synagogue is open every day except Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Check out the quaint cafes and the curio shops on the street that leads to the synagogue. There are a lot of international tourists. So expect the prices to be highly inflated. As with any street shopping trip, your bargaining quotient would need to be high. Jew Street had lot of treasures for keen collectors. Rights from paintings to artisan items for interior decors, this place has everything. If historical museums are something that interests you, you can visit the Dutch Palace located close by. Although not very different from a majority of the historical museums located all over India, the artefacts on display provides a glimpse into the history of the place.

Display at a curio shop along Jew Street

Photo of Cochin: Cultural Hub of Kerala by Kausambhi Majumdar

In the evening, take a stroll along the Marine Drive. With a view of the sea and ample sitting space along the promenade, you can watch the sun set and look at the picturesque view of ships anchored near the harbour.

Be the first one to comment