I haven't been everywhere, but its on list. – Susan Sontag
Kochi & Kumarakom
Unlike Goa, unlike Pondicherry, unlike any of the colonial ports…. Kochi has its own charisma. A mix of Dutch, Portuguese, British and Jewish influences make this city very unique. It has a lot to offer to everyone, from churches to museums and beaches to forts.
My favourites from the Kochi visit include:
Fort Kochi Heritage walks
Walk along the lanes of Fort Kochi to catch a glimpse of Kochi’s rich history and heritage. We had hired autorick to show us round. The autowalas here are very enterprising and they suggest more places around and offer to drive you to visit them. Some of the autos are decked up and have music systems playing the hit Bollywood and Mollywood songs. 🙂
We covered the following places in the ride.
• St Francis Church (India’s oldest European Church) built by the Portuguese Franciscan Friars.
• The Chinese Fishing nets that Cochin is famous for
• The Nehru Children’s Park area and the interesting houses that ring the park (Koder House, Tower House, Old Harbour Hotel)
• Fort Immanuel (the bastion of the Portuguese)
• Fort Kochi beach
• Bishop’s House Road, with its beautiful old-style homes
Maritime Museum, Kochi
Step into the Maritime Museum to have a feel of the great maritime heritage of Indian Navy, which dates back to Indus Valley civilizations; Kerala’s trade links with Arabs, its famous maritime hero KunjaliMarakkar; Influence of India’s maritime power in South East Asia; Colonization of Indian sub-continent by European powers.
At the museum, the visitors are enlightened on the evolution of the navy since 1612, when the Indian Marine was established in Surat. A section of the museum presents interesting aspects of shipbuilding activities in India. The museum also has a section, which highlights Indian Navy’s share of glory, when it took on its aggressors and eventually emerged victorious in the end.
Cherai beach & Vypin island
Take the boat jetty from Fort Kochi and then the KRTC bus to travel along Vypin island and visit the Cherai beach. Boat jetty provides cheap travel option charging Rs.6 for 2 adults and KRTC bus drivers have been trained in the Grand Prix 🙂 Hold your breath while he rides his bus like a 2 wheeler competing with others. 🙂
Vypin Island is island that is really popular among visitors to Kochi & Kerala. Vypin is also the location of Pallipuram Fort which is the oldest surviving fort in India built by European settlers and was constructed in 1503.
Located 35 km away from Cochin, in the Cherai village of the Ernakulam district, the Cherai beach is amongst the must-visit places for anyone touring these parts of South India. Having a coastline of 15 kms, the Cherai beach is different from many beaches in the sense that it is very clean and shallow and thus, ideal for the purpose of swimming and sunbathing.
Travel like the locals do by boat jetty to Ernakulam and Vypin and while doing so watch the various boats and ships that cross your path. From large Indian Navy vessels to small colourful boats printed “Welcome to the Art Capital” they sure make a pretty sight.
Marine Drive at Ernakulam
We took a boat jetty to Ernakulam for Rs 8 for 2 adults and then walked the Marine drive. Marine Drive is a beautiful promenade in Kochi. The Marine Drive is built facing the backwaters of Kochi.
Even though it is called Marine Drive, vehicles are not allowed on the walkway, so its rather a Marine Walk. Hundreds of people throng the Marine Drive walkway during the evenings to view the rising sun over the sea, and feel the gentle breeze coming from the nearby Vembanad Lake. The Marine Drive walkway starts from the High Court Junction and stretches until the RajendraMaidan. Several boat jetties dot the walkway, which has two bridges- the Rainbow Bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge.
You also have option to take a sunset cruise offered by some of the private jetties.
Drive through the coastal village
While driving from Kochi to Kumarakom one can come across many coastal villages. The quaint and laid back life of the coastal villagers is worth a watch. Catch a glimpse of them at fish farming or coir making or processing the coconuts and bananas. They are very friendly and you are welcomed with smiles.
Andhakaranazhy, translated as “the darkness lagoon”, is one of those wonderful beaches near the National Highway on the way to Aleppey from Cochin. Distance from Andhakaranazhi Beach to Kochi is 28 Kilometres. This beach has a Tsunami shelter and has a fishermen colony just near the beach and you have to be careful while loitering around as the beach may be not as clean as the other beaches in Kochi. The beach is postcard perfect with clean & clear water. The sight of local fishermen launching out every day morning in their country boats attacking the turbulent waves of the Andhakaranazhi beach is a must see.
Kumarakom: Vembanad Lake
Kerala is known for its panoramic backwater stretches, lush green paddy fields, highlands and beaches. A major backwater stretch lies in Kottayam district, where a network of rivers and canals empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. A labyrinth of backwaters with shimmering water, the brilliant green of mangrove forests, coconut palms lining the embankments, blue skies, flocks of migratory birds skimming the water – that is Kumarakom, a veritable dreamland! With the nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary that is home to exotic water birds, a boat cruise at this breath-taking tourist attraction will leave you speechless with wonder and excitement.
Duration: We spent 3 days & 2 nights at Fort Kochi and then 4 days and 3 nights at Kumarakom.
Fort Kochi is the best area to stay in Kochi. We stayed at Tissas Inn which is I can recommend.
Kumarakom: Zuri Kumarakom, you can try a deal from Agoda.com. Or KTDC Waterscapes is also a good option.
Travel: Spicejet has direct flights from Pune to Kochi. You can also avail trains.