“Never did the world make queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without travelling”
~ Roman Payne
What happens when you put together the love for art, sand, the sea and the horizon melting into each other, fried fish and beef curry?
The best first solo travel weekend of 2015!!
From the Chinese traveller Ma Huan, to the Portuguese viceroy Vasco da Gama, through a period of the Dutch to the Mysore invasion leading to dominance by the British, Kochi has one of the most colourful and rich history mostly owing to its status as one of the best natural harbours in the world. It used to and continues to attract travelers and merchants from all over the world.
But it is not just the natural beauty, or the renowned spice markets or the varied history that Kochi has to offer. In the recent years, it has become one of the fastest growing Tier-II metros, offers food that would make gluttony a virtue and in the last 3 years the magnificent Biennale has catapulted it into one of the most enticing vacation spots.
Kochi – Muziris Biennale 2014
The Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi every two years. In its second edition, the Biennale, the only and first of its kind in India showcases Indian and international artists and their works across all kinds of mediums including film, photography, installations etc.
This year, Whorled Explorations seeks to travel through the axes of time and space, to explore Kochi’s rich scientific contributions to the world, juxtaposed with today’s advancements.
St. Francis Church
Built in 1503, the St Francis Church is the oldest European church in India and owes most of its historical significance as the church where Vasco da Gama’s body was buried before being taken back to Portugal after fourteen years.
Santa Cruz Basilica
The Basilica is one of the only eight in India and is definitely one of the finest and most impressive churches in the country. The Gothic architecture again reminded me of the Notre Dame in Paris and St Philomena in Mysore closer home.
Also known as the Mattancherry Synagogue, was built in 1567 and is the oldest active synagogue in India. The name got stuck mainly because it was built by Spanish Jews or “foreigners” . Located in the Old Jewish town of Mattancherry, the synagogue spells charm in every brick.
Mattancherry Palace, or the Dutch Palace was built and gifted by the Portuguese to the Raja of Cochin. The Palace features Kerala murals depicting Hindu art, portraits and tells the story of the varied rulers of Cochin.
Chinese Fishing Nets
Lining the coast, is a series of the Chinese fishing nets, which are huge fixed installations manually operated and offer a modest catch to passer bys. Earlier thought that the nets were introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He, was later on research found to be introduced by the Portuguese and are quite the tourist attraction. Watching the hypnotic functioning of the nets being lowered and pulled up, the modest catch and getting it cooked at a local restaurant, these nets provide the full package of Kochi tourism, food, culture, history, sea and unparalleled hospitality!
And if you are STILL not fulfilled, go catch a Kathakali show at one of the many art centers in the city, stroll along the alleys of Fort Kochi, ogle at the fascinating street art (BBC did a piece on the graffiti artists Guess Who), and have your fill of appam and beef stew!