Kochi & Alleppey: Why you must visit them

Monday, April 20, 2015 Rahul Das 2 Comments


Those God’s own country commercials do plant gorgeous images of Kerala in our heads, don’t they?



It was therefore with a lot of enthusiasm last year that I, along with 7 of my friends, took to planning our boat-stay on the state’s famous backwaters. The Lulu pranks, the thattukada, learning Kochi’s history, the houseboat, our VTV pursuit… : Indeed, for the third consecutive year, we sure did make the most of the NITK Engi break!

This 4 day guide should help you in case you decide to visit Kochi or Alleppey. Read on. You'll see the 5-step guide to booking a houseboat towards the end of the post.



OUR ITINERARY


Day 1 - Thursday, Oct 24 2013: Train from Mangalore to Kochi; Lulu Mall
Day 2 - Friday, Oct 25 2013: Wonderla Amusement Park; Night at Kochi streets
Day 3 - Saturday, Oct 26 2013: Around Fort Kochi; Bus to Alleppey; Houseboat
Day 4 - Sunday, Oct 27 2013: Houseboat; VTV experience; Return to Surathkal (Mangalore)


THE EXPERIENCE



1. NITK to Kochi


NITK bus stop at 0630: Signalled at the long-distance tourist buses and got lucky when one of them offered to let us in.

On the Ernad Express, the rest of the day was a cheery affair, much to the annoyance of our fellow passengers :P

Arrived at Ernakulam Junction at 1630 after which Henry, Jestin and I used our Malayalam and found ourselves an inhabitable lodge near MG Road. Freshened up and readied ourselves to spend the rest of the evening in the largest mall in India.


2. Lulu mall


Malls lack the fun-factor, don’t they? Determined to ensure that our evening wouldn't just pass by, we played a host of pranks on the mall's employees and visitors. There’s a hilarious story behind each of these pictures, but let's continue with the rest of the trip for now. 




<Irrelevant, but for silly map fanatics like me, Lulu mall lies next to the busy Edapally Junction which marks the start of the NH 66 (previously NH 17) – the same road that we NITKians cross every day to get to the western end of our campus.>


3. Wonderla Amusement Park (formerly Veega Land)


One of the park’s managers informed us about the large number of visitors to the park that day and talked us into buying Fast Track Tickets, with which we were able to skip queues. Did our best to instigate the people who impatiently awaited their turns and ended up causing a bit of a commotion :P

Dancing with school kids
Dangling from the "Space Gun"
How we did it differently :P


4. Marine Drive and the thattukada


What the God’s Own Country commercials fail to show you is how delicious our thattukada (roadside stalls) food is. After the exhausting day at Wonderla, we returned to Kochi and had authentic Kerala porotas with an assortment of chicken and beef gravies for dinner. To savour the feeling we had after the meal (which cost us less than 100 rupees each!), we wandered to Marine Drive at midnight and sat at the pier taking in the quiet.

Dinner at the thattukada
View of Willingdon Island
Sneaking into fishermen's boats

The contentment didn't last long though. On our way back to the lodge, we had a first-hand demonstration of Kochi’s waste disposal concerns when we saw the rats infested in the posh locality. Really need to follow Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign a bit more earnestly, needn't we?

At 2 am, back in the lodge, it occurred to us that despite its being the end of the second day, we hadn't really “experienced” Kochi yet! Jestin, Prashanth and I planned to compromise on our sleep, wake up early the next morning and explore a bit of the city while the others would rest at the lodge.


5. Fort Kochi and Mattancherry


The 3 of us stepped out of the room quietly at 0630 and took the first bus to Fort Kochi. Visited Vasco da Gama Square, the Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry Palace, Pazhayanoor temple, Santa Cruz basilica and the Jewish Synagogue. For reasons not limited to the Dutch connection, this region, reminded me a lot of Malacca and Pondicherry (blog post coming up in February!). Make sure you do NOT miss these places when you visit Kochi!

The 500 year-old Santa Cruz Basilica
Chinese Fishing Nets
Jetty near Mattacherry Palace

Returned to the lodge and joined the others. A 2 hour bus journey to Alleppey and a short rickshaw ride later, we were, after all those hours of planning and anticipation, on our houseboat at last.


Click here to continue reading about our houseboat and VTV experiences>>




2 comments:

  1. I have been to Kochi. It was beautiful and refreshing. Would like to explore the rest of Kerala too!

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    Replies
    1. Refreshing! It sure was, Renuka!

      Have you visited Alleppey as well? :)

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