This is continuation of our 4-day long weekend trip to Kerala. For fisrt part, please see this post.
An afternoon checkout from Kumarakom and a taxi drive coinciding with Varun’s nap, brought us to Kochi. The drive was through beautiful coconut trees lined roads with glimpses of the lake and backwaters and eventually gave way to a busy highway and then the downtown area of Kochi.
As most of the sight-seeing in Kochi is in its historic district of Fort Kochi, we had booked a room in the heritage house converted into a contemporary hotel – Old Lighthouse Bristow hotel. The hotel sits right onto Arabian sea but is walled off from the beach possibly due to privacy reasons. We checked into a garden facing room with a veranda outside to sit out and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.
Vipul got a Ayurvedic massage at their spa right away which was strictly ok. Varun played on the lawns,while I enquired about distances to popular sites and Kathakali performance – my only reason for visiting Kochi.
That evening we attened a mesmerizing Kathakali performance at Kerala Kathakali Center. We walked to the center and enroute saw Chinese Fishing nets, fish mongers, lots of other vendors selling trinkets, souveniors etc. The area around chinese fishing nets was bustling with schoolkids, tourists, kids playing etc.
We got seats fairly close to the front of the theater and took in an hour long makeup session, followed by an introduction to Kathakali mudras and dispositions and then an actual story from Mahabharata about Kichaka vadha – where Bheema kills Kichaka who tries to seduce Draupadi (who is the exiled queen in disguise ) [ This blog’s first paragraph has a great explanation about this episode of Mahabharata]
If you are in Kochi, do take in this performance. The performance is by a troupe who have learnt and practised the art of singing, dancing, makeup over decades in their school outside Thrissur – a town in central Kerala, north of Kochi.
After the performance, we had best fish fry of our trip at Oceanos – a smallish place highly rated on Tripadvisor for their seafood.
Next morning after breakfast, we rented an auto rickshaw and did a two hour sight seeing trip – We visited the Dutch Palace also known as Matancherry palace ( very quicky as Varun wasn’t into museum’s exhibits and piantings and only was interested in a cow grazing outside the window), Antique stores around Jewish synogauge ( as the synagogue was closed) and a spice market run by women co-operative.
Over lunch of Kerala Thali, we got a call from Spicejet that our flight was delayed by couple of hours and they couldn’t re-route us. So we looked up Tripadvisor again to see where we could spend the evening. Beach was where we wanted to go and Cherai beach came highly recommended. We decided to rent a car so we could take our luaggage along and then directly go to the airport.
Most folks take a ferry to Vypen island and then drive up to Cherai beach, but the ferry had a hour long wait time. We have experienced long ferry wait times in Seattle especially when you are in a car and so we decided to drive around. The drive to Cherai beach is over bridges, along Marine drive – the only city like happening area of Kochi, and along small town and backwaters. We reached the beach around 5:00 pm. The beach was clean, with soft s and was crowded as folks were out enjoying their evening on the beach. even at that hour it was hot and the beach did not have shade.
I didn’t really want Varun playing in the sand in the heat, so we crossed over to one of the many resorts lining the beach. We ordered tea and snacks while Varun played in sand and in the play area. These resorts on Cherai beach have the perfect location- miles upon miles of clean and soft sand Cherai beach on one side and the backwaters on the other. They have jetty’s on their property so you can begin a crusie right from the property. I would have loved to spend a couple of days here.
Around sunset, we went to the beach. Vipul was taking pictures while Varun and I played in the water and in the sand. Within minutes, Varun was covered in sand as he didn’t know what to do with so much sand – should he stick his feet in, should he sleep and roll around or should he dig it and scatter it around. This was his first visit to a beach as a toddler and he seemed to have a ball.
We didn’t find any facilities on the beach to shower Varun so took him back to the resort and hosed him off in the restrooms. Once dry and changed, Varun seemed ready to go out and play again. But it was getting dark and we decided to head back to the airport.
It was perfect four day weekend. Family, Food, Fun with a dose of culture. We are hooked on to Kerala. I know we will be back.