-----A random escapade-----
The world I see is moulded by I perceptions. A recent visit to the historic quarters of Fort Kochi exposed me to multiple realities of life. When I look back to my trip to Kochi, I am not very sure on where I would start :) Anyway here it goes..
Enroute to Fort Kochi I took a detour to ride through the Wellington Island. The entire route from Thevara to Wellingdon looks like a mini north India. You can see Dhabas on one side, the Cochin Shipyard, Naval Base on the other side, places with name- Katari Bagh, etc.. ;) Wellingdon Island is India’s largest man-made island constructed purely out of the sands of Vembanad Lake in the 1930s to house the ‘Port of Kochi’. Riding through the roads of the Island felt more like riding back in time. The old British style buildings, remnants of old railway tracks, the rusted old railway station added up to the retro mood. Except for the port, the island is not manned much, hence a creepy and spooky air circulates throughout the place, you totally get a feel as though you have just stepped into a haunted bungalow.
After wandering a bit I resumed my trip to Fort Kochi. I rode over the splendid Venduruthy draw bridge, one of the marvels of British Technology. A ride through the bridge is truly priceless, with the lake flowing both the sides, and boats decked in the harbour, it is indeed a beautiful shot that shouldn’t be missed. After an hour I reached Fort Kochi Beach. Unlike other beaches Fort Kochi Beach is all about the unique aura that consumes you. With the shipyards on one side, random ships passing by so close to you. With fisherman finding their catch in the chinese nets, the whole place is different in many ways. Not to mention the plate full of salted mango, pineapple, amla that you get from Babukka’s shop…it is 20 bucks of spicy happiness ;). There were many sea food eateries where you get freshly caught fish fried with all spices. The beach area is a very touristy spot with tourists from all around the globe can be seen wandering around. I simply rode through the streets of Fort Kochi, even the streets have got unique names, Princess street, Napier Street, Peter Cell street..all of a sudden I felt as if I have reached a foreign land. With Dutch and Portuguese style buildings and houses, Fort Kochi is one must place to be visited.
Then I drove straight to Mattancherry, simply glanced through the Dutch palace, drove through the Mattancherry market which still beholds the century old buildings. One of the best part of Mattancherry & Fort Kochi are the mind blowing graffities drawn by various artists at numerous locations. All you need to do is to walk simply across some random street to locate one. The Jew Town in Mattancherry is yet another highlight. There are many antique shops, precious stone jewellers, handloom shops and most importantly it homes the Paradesi Synagogue. The Paradesi Synagogue was built in 1567 by Spanish Jews. The entire story of how the synagogue was built with the permission of the then Raja of Kochi, Rama Verma, is artistically represented in the adjacent museum. The Synagogue architecture is itself unique with broad benches built along the windows, persian lights hanging from the ceiling and chinese tiles paved across the prayer hall. The Synagogue hold a calm and serene ambientce even though there are always people coming in and out.
The unique thing about Fort Kochi and Mattancherry is that whatever picture that you capture whether that be of a window or a building or let that be something as simple as a door lock, the place adds a jinx to the photograph. Each picture is a perfect click. :) From Mattancherry I again drove back to Fort Kochi to take the ferry to reach Vypin. I was super excited to go on a ferry for the first time and that too along with a scooter on board. Within 10 minutes I reached Vypin, from there it was crazy ride through the very long container terminal road with lake on one side. I went straight to Cochin University area to drink the very famous MS (Milk Sharbath) to wash down the craziness. :)
After a strolling through Marine drive for sometime I left for home taking back a truck load of memories and promising myself to come back and explore more during kochi biennale. Until this trip Kochi was not anything more than a city. But now I know Kochi is indeed a queen. Each part of Kochi has it’s own identity, it’s own different feel and yes there is always a place for every kind of people in Kochi. And like one of the graffities rightly said - “ Kochi is not just a city, it is a feeling..” :)