As I swerve and maneuver through the city traffic, I notice all the buildings lighting up. I have way too much time to look at all the decorations since there is a heavy traffic. Though I am not a fan of traffic, I know what this means. It means development. It means in a couple of years, the traffic would reduce. I look at all the pillars constructed and try to imagine how the place would look when the metro is ready and running. I can’t wait. Soon, Kochi known as The Queen of Arabian Sea, will have another name to it, The Metro City.
I have heard my colleagues and friends say that Kochi lacks the kind of coolness and serenity that many other districts in Kerala have. I think they don’t look well enough. I think it is the other way round. Kochi has everything provided you look for them at the right places. We have the rich history and places that narrate them, we have the waves kissing the shore, we have the city lights that dance and twinkle at nights and we have those silent greenery that invites you in. The best part is, no matter what Keralites think about Kochi, they are bound to come here for something or the other. For Kochi, is the center of everything.
The city is designed with a perfect blend of city life, cultural heritage and breathtaking beauty. We have Mahatma Gandhi Road, Convent junction & Broadway where the city life is at its maximum. While you get all the branded stores and a wide range of restaurants in M G Road, Convent junction offers you a combination of rich, sophisticated as well as inexpensive stores. Broadway is the most crowded of all with their wholesale shops, aroma of spices rending the air and the tag of ‘everything at low prices’. Go a bit further and you will find our very own Marine Drive facing the waters. The Rainbow bridge there is offers one of the most beautiful sunsets. Every time I go anywhere near Marine Drive, I am tempted to go and sit there for a while.
Then there is Fort Kochi & Mattanchery where the tourists pour in to see the Jewish Synagogue; the oldest active Synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, Santa Cruz Basilica; one among the eight Basilicas in the country, the Cochin Palace/The Dutch Palace that preserves the story of the Kings of Kochi and the fragments of their lifestyle during those times. Buildings constructed by the British during their rule and the streets named by them, stand out from rest of the city. You know the difference when you see the building or the street. Here is my account of our trip to Fort Kochi & Mattanchery
Interiors of the Jewish Synagogue
Visiting Thripunithura will leave you confused because, it isn’t like anything I just described. It is that part of Kochi brimming with Palaces of Gods. Though there are a lot of famous temples, Thripunithura has lot more around. Chottanikkara, Chakkankulangara, the Poornathrayeesha, Thamaramkulangara Sree Dharma Sastha temple and many more. The Hill Palace which is the Thripunithura Palace is one of the best tourist places here.
Flanked by Alappuzha & our cultural capital Trichur districts on both sides, Kochi is well connected. Anyone in Kerala would have heard of the North and South railway stations that serve as the common-point for all the malayalees. Isn’t train your favorite mode of transportation? You have our KSRTC bus stand near the South Railway station. And also the Vytila bus Hub.
The pride of Kochi lies in the Cochin International Airport – Nedumbassery that witnesses umpteen happy and sad moments daily. The airport, which is the first entirely solar-powered airport in the world, is what connects us to the entire world.
Kochi hosts India’s first bi-annual art biennale, Muziris Biennale where a number of artists display their experimental arts. I have come across some mind-blowing artwork in the Biennale. This is an example for our appetite for adventure and that is what drives us.
You will come across a wide variety of people here with different goals, aims, looks and behavior. Ones embracing the culture and traditions and wearing them in their persona, others open to experimenting, who are still as desi as one could be, but also have the thirst for adventure, to try something new. The ones who celebrate all the temple Ulsavam (Festivals in temples) day in and out, who dance for the Panchari melam (Percussion ensemble) in temples and also dance for the DJs. The women who wear all sorts of modern dresses, yet bow their heads when they pass by a temple, church or mosques. The love for our city and culture and the openness to explore the world is what drives us. That is what makes Kochi a potpourri of cultures, traditions and adventure!
A Proud Kochiite reluctantly ends the endless saga of her city – Kochi – which is indeed made of great.
PS – I have to mention that India’s largest mall – Lulu mall – is right here. Barely 3 Kms from my home and people from all over the state come to visit this mall. There is nothing you don’t get at the hypermarket there. 🙂
Image courtesy for all images: wikipedia.org