Tag Archives: Kerala

365 Places: Fort Cochin

Day 182, Fort Cochin, Kerala, India

Fort Cochin is such a fabulous place, I don’t know where to begin to describe how wonderful this place really is.

There are many layers of history and culture in Fort Cochin, making it a fascinating visual feast in an architectural sense. Elegant 15th Century Portuguese Mansions sit side by side with English Colonial Style buildings and colourful shacks painted many different colours. There are some beautiful churches, mosques and Hindu temples, again, sitting peacefully side by side.

The thing that is most wonderful is the people. Their warmth and good nature melts religious differences, making this community one of diversity and harmony. Many other countries could learn from Kochi people.

Here are a couple of maps that track some journeys around Fort Cochin, with links to my EveryTrail maps.

Cruising Fort Cochin
Cruising Fort Cochin

This is a combination of an autorickshaw ride and walking around Fort Cochin.
Cruising Fort Cochin at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3047286&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.

Jewtown
Jewtown

This was an autorickshaw ride to the shopping centre of Jewtown.
Journey to Jew Town at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3048045&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.

Over the next 9 days we will be exploring this fascinating place in some detail, so hope to share lots with you!

Advertisements

365 Places: Kochi

Day 86: Kochi, Kerala, India

Today, I am staying in the region of Kerala to explore the coastal city of Kochi. Although Thiruvananathapuram is formally the capital of Kerala, Kochi is considered the financial capital of region. Kochi has a population of more than 2 million, making it the biggest urban centre in Kerala. It is also one of the major tourist destinations in India.

The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi are an icon of the city, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kochi
The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi are an icon of the city, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kochi

One of the events I am drawn to is the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, held in December. I am also curious the explore Kochi as one of my good friends loves it so much she spends 4 months a year based in Kochi.

The Biennale sounds like a fabulous event. Here is some information from the website:

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art being held in Kochi, Kerala.

The first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. There were shows in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.

Indian and international artists exhibited artworks across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art.

Through the celebration of contemporary art from around the world, The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi, and its mythical predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris.

I love the idea of the engaging the ancient world and culture through contemporary art and emerging media, very appealing. I think it would be an amazing experience to witness the biennale.

St. Francis Church, Kochi, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kochi
St. Francis Church, Kochi, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kochi

The story of the ancient city of Muziris is also fascinating. Located 30 km from Kochi, Muziris was a prosperous seaport and financial centre in the 1st Century B.C. It is believed the city was washed under the sea during the 1341 AD Periyar river flood. Muziris was a key link in the Indo-Roman Empire and Indo-Greek trade routes and drew legions of Roman, Greek, Chinese, Jewish and Arab traders.

Something else I find really interesting is that Kerala and Kochi are world-famous for the ancient healing art of Ayurveda. This 5000 years old healing tradition is known to heal chronic illnesses naturally. Apparently there are hundreds of government-run and private Ayurvedic hospitals and treatment centres are spread across the state that offer Ayurvedic treatment for almost every health condition. This is also something that I am drawn to as I have had an interest in Ayurveda for many years and would love to learn more about this natural healing tradition.

The more I learn about India the more curious I become, I can’t wait to experience some of these places for myself. I am sure it will be an incredible journey.

365 Places: Kerala

Day 85: Kerala, India

Earlier this year I wrote about Thiruvananathapuram, the capital city of the Kerala region, which is situated near the southern tip of India.

The world famous Kovalam beach, well known for fun and frolic, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
The world famous Kovalam beach, well known for fun and frolic, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

This region of India is quite different from the majority of India as large parts of Kerala did not come under British Rule; even though it was the place in India where European colonisation first started. The Portuguese were the first to discover a direct sea route between Lisbon and Kozhikode in Kerala, and this marked the beginning of European colonisation in the country. Soon the Dutch, French, Italians and British were all drawn to the wealth of spices and silk, coming with the intention of forming colonies.

Wiki Travel says:

Large parts of Kerala were not subject to direct British rule. Malabar was a district of Madras Presidency under direct British rule, but Tiruvithamkoor (Travancore) and Kochi (Cochin) regions were autonomous kingdoms ruled by Maharajas during the period of the British rule in India, and were known for their progressive attitude which resulted in various welfare reforms, particularly in the areas of education and health care.

I imagine that this part of India might be quite different culturally with the Portuguese influence and history.

The most popular Hill station of Kerala - Munnar, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
The most popular Hill station of Kerala – Munnar, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

It is said to have a very diverse ecology, with beautiful beaches and rain forests as well as spectacular hills, like in this image of Munnar above. Kerala, is very close to equator and has a tropical climate. Kerala experiences heavy rains almost throughout the year, and is considered one of the wettest areas on the earth.

A typical houseboat floating down the backwaters near Alleppey in Kerala. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
A typical houseboat floating down the backwaters near Alleppey in Kerala. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

One of the reasons I am attracted to Kerala is the fact that people in this region of India still live a largely traditional lifestyle. I think it would be wonderful to witness a site in India where much of the rich culture and heritage is well-preserved. From what I understand India is a country of great contrasts and many cities are fast becoming contemporary urban centres. It would be refreshing to experience a place where traditional lifestyles are still maintained.