Kerala / Travel

Kerala Diaries – Part 2 | Backpacking Fort Kochi (And the backwaters)

After spending a few nights at Munnar in Kerala, it was time to hit the coast! Having had enough of the inland and the mountains (honestly, that was a lie. I can never have enough of the mountains), it was time to check out the beaches and see what they had in store for me! It was time for KOCHI! or ERNAKULAM! or COCHIN! (Actually, I ended up spending all my time in FORT KOCHI!) (No reason for the exclamations)

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Slowly reaching Kanyakumari

Background

A few things I learned about Cochin (I’m not big on history but then again..) on my first day there started making sense over the next few days. For example, Cochin comes from Co-chin, which means Like-China. So Cochin “looked like” China when the Chinese came over (in the BC period) and named it Cochin. Simple, eh? But yeah, the “Chinese” fishing nets start making sense.

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These are the Chinese Fishing nets. They’re pretty famous, and apparently catch heaps of fish together – have a very peculiar way of using them, and have been around for AGES!

So,

In the 15th century, the Portuguese came over, and colonised the scene. Post which, the Dutch came over and chilled for a bit. And then in the 17th century, came the British raj, which obviously disintegrated after 1947. The point behind this somewhat boring background is that you will find heaps of British, Dutch & Portuguese architecture (which, honestly, is a delight) in Fort Kochi area and thereabouts.

A little bit about Kochi for someone who is confused about why I am randomly adding a “Fort” in front of Kochi – there are two parts to Kochi – the city & the Fort Kochi area. The city is just like any other city, no biggie, but Fort Kochi is the scene. Architecture, Food, Alcohol, People, Hostels, some more architecture, and the beach – it’s pretty chill.

Getting there & Vedanta! Wake up

So, I took a local bus from Munnar at 11 in the morning, and reached Ernakulam, around 3:30 pm. Walked about 3-4 kms from the bus stop to the ferry stop, constantly stopping on the way, talking to random people, asking for directions, and feeling weird about being in a “city” after more than a couple of weeks. I was also getting used to the heat and humidity of a coastal city, much like back home in Mumbai. Took the ferry and trudged off to Fort Kochi!

I reached my Hostel – Vedanta! Wake up, which I booked for as little as 150/200 rupees a night on the MakeMyTrip app (which gives tons of discounts for various reasons) and things were starting to look awesome-er than they already were.

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Such a chill hostel.

I also met Abby at the reception of the hostel and we then went out to look for Masala Dosa but ended up having chai at Cafe Marine Plaza – while we watched the sunset. Some fun conversations and the forgotten disappointment of not finding Masala Dosa, dinner was going to be interesting.

Exactly 6 months later I met Abby in Melbourne, Australia – where she is from and where I am currently as I write this post! Yes, she ended up hosting me here for my first few weeks – and people ask me for reasons why I love travel!! Thanks Abbsters!

There are many reasons why you’d want to visit Fort Kochi, here are my

5 reasons to visit Fort Kochi

1) The architecture

Like I mentioned above, there is heaps of ancient beautiful architecture in the city. We’re talking churches, buildings, the vibes, the feels – takes you back. Makes you feel different. Its around you, its prominent, its lovely.

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St. Francis Church: Has been around since the 1500s. Vasco Da Gama was buried here. Some real good vibes inside.

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2) The Cafe Culture & the arts:

Again, you will know what I’m really talking about when you’re casually walking around in Fort Kochi and you see small, cute cafes around the corner. One of my favourites there is Kashi Art Cafe, such a nice scene. Every once a while you will spot a cafe with a small gallery around/in the cafe featuring local work. Also, you find heaps of backpackers around here, so an added bonus is making friends from all over the world over some quality beer.

3) Mattancherry, Jew Town & therabouts:

Think Mattancherry Palace & the Jew Synagogue. A lot of history, a bunch of stories which honestly, had me all ears – and I’m not even a slight bit in this kind of thing. Honestly, I just feel its a delight to walk around these smaller towns close the Fort Kochi area.

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4) Half day trip the backwaters:

First things first – if you’re travelling on a budget by yourself, its hard to be able to afford a house boat to enjoy the backwaters of Allepey – or maybe its just me. I realised getting to Allepey and spending Rs. 4000 – 5000 on a 2 day house boat was TOTALLY out of my budget and a tad bit unnecessary – so, someone told me about the backwaters trip from Kochi which closes about 800 rupees including a pick-up, drop and a nice local lunch. Quite a deal, that. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

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Scenes

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Lots of local spices and herbs

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This is way too chill

 

5) Head over for a day trip to Athirapalli Falls:

About 3 hours from Kochi, Athirapalli falls are massive, delightful and a pleasure to the eye. A visit to Kerala is incomplete without these. It was quite an adventure for me to get to here via public transport – spent close the 6 hours travelling both ways but the trip was so totally worth it. Especially the drive, there is intense scenery along the road and it only makes me realise now how beautiful Kerala and certain parts of Kerala really are. Too good.

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The Niagara Falls of India dude. ’nuff said

 

This is it from Kochi – next stop, 4 hours further south was one of my favourite places on this trip – Varkala. More on that soon!


 

To see more pictures from my trip (and follow me on my next trip in India) check out my instagram : sharma.ji (While you’re at it, check out Tripoto and follow me there too: Siddharth Sharma)

Hit the Follow button on the blog- you will be notified by email with my next post! Thanks for reading and hope you had fun!

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