Kerala has always intrigued me. My experience at the backwaters made me want to come back again and explore more about God’s Own Country. owing to the fact that I am a resident of the NCR, coming back to this state meant a distant dream thanks to the demanding professional commitments. To my surprise, the very business oriented meetings brought me to Kerala, this time in Kochi. A one hour taxi from the airport to my hotel at MG Road was a smooth journey. The first night was spent in preparing for meetings the following day and searching travel blogs for cool places to check out.
Having done with my work, I circled down on the must visit areas of this city and with just three hours in my hand, I set out to feel the Kochi air.
I left at 2.30 PM for the Ernakulum port jetty by auto which was not difficult to find. Fifteen minutes later I reached my destination at a very reasonable fare. With better transportation alternatives due to the Goshree bridges (which links Kochi’s islands), people don’t quite prefer the jetty. However, if you are a first timer in this city, I strongly recommend you travel by the jetty to, for it defines the old transportation system of this City which is also regarded as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
A four rupees ferry jetty ticket to Fort Kochi through the expanse of the Arabian Sea, roughly 20 minds later I disembarked and navigated my way to Chinese Fishnets by walking 1.5 Km, using the following link:
The Chinese Fishing Nets are a trademark of this city. Numerous tourist brochures, websites often depict the sun appearing to set in on the lap of these fishnets. Sadly, the fishing business doesn’t yield much to the fishermen and the overhead cost of maintain these nets adds further to their miseries. It is a good idea to tip them if you walk by, for the tourist attraction, more than the dwindling fishing business, is what gets these fishermen going. Legend has is it that these nets were brought in by the Chinese, which is factually incorrect. The Chinese Nets were introduced by the Portuguese, who had some of their colonies in China. Parts of these nets still have the Portuguese names and this unique fishing mechanism still prevails in some parts of France with smaller nets. A national geographic channel study confirmed, the ones set up in Kochi are the largest in the world!
Walking 200 meters beyond these nets will take you to the St. Francis Church:
This Church is the oldest European Church in India which has silently seen the phases of the Colonial India. This is where the body of Vasco De Gama was buried, after he died on his third visit to India. Though the remains were later moved to Lisbon, the church is of paramount importance to both Kochi and India as it has strong links attached to the discoverer of the Indian Subcontinent. Walking around these magnificent architectural splendours is bound to transport you to History and you may see your history lessons coming to life!
Walking further ahead through the markets will land you to a yet another Architectural Marvel of the Colonial India: The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica. One of the eight Basilicas in India, this heritage site is also one of the imposing churches in India. It survived battles and conquests and was honoured with the Status of a Cathedral in 1558 and later to the status of a Basilica in1984, given its architectural grandeur, historical significance and antiquity. This Gothic Style magnificent Basilica is of prime importance to Catholics and celebrated the Quincentenary, five centuries of its existence in the year 2004.
The sun sat as I walked through the sandy Kochi Beach towards the bus depot. With my heart and soul left behind in the pages of history and the era of Colonial India, once again, I reluctantly walked towards the bustling city life.
Important GPS Links
Kochi Fact File
- Ferries are the cheapest and fastest way to commute.
- Jetty point to Vypeen Island is just in front of Kochi fort bus stand
- Jetty point to Ernakulam, Mattancherry and Willingdon Island is 800 meter right to Fort Kochi bus stand.
- Ferry to Ernakulam from Fort Kochi [4.00 INR, 30 minutes]
- If you want to grace yourself with the shows of Kathakali (Dramatized representation of a play) or Kalarippayat(Traditional Martial Art), Kochi is the best place in Kerala.
- Evening Show timings/ticket: Kathakali ( 5-6 PM & 6-7:30 PM, 250 INR), Kalarippayat (4-5 PM, 200 INR)
- Ferry timings from Fort Cochin to Ernakulam: Starts from 5:00 AM till 09:50 PM
- Ferry timings from Fort Cochin to Willingdon Island: Starts from 6:15 AM till 09:30 PM