Police Museum, Fort Kochi
This Kochi museum was opened four years ago, and was the first Police museum in the country. The uniforms, and weapons of Tranvancore Police, the British Indian Police, and the modern Kerala police are among the variety of exhibits. The museum is small and clean. It is located at Jew Town near the Synagogue, and if one doesn’t look for it, it might be missed. The entry to the museum is free, and is open from 9:30 PM to 6 PM.
This promenade at Ernakulam Town is clean and well maintained next to the Ernakulam jetty. It is modeled after the promenade in Mumbai, but still it is nothing like the one in Mumbai in terms of number of visitors and the size of it. It does offer a good view of the passing ships especially at night when the ships and boats are lit. There are malls and shopping centers by the promenade, and it is a favorite hangout spot of kids in Cochin. The highlight of this promenade is that there are two bridges in the promenade, one of them looks like a Chinese fishing net, and the other one is called the Rainbow Bridge.
Hill Palace Museum
The flight of steps to the Hill Palace, Tripunithura.
There are many museums in Kochi, and the first among them is the Hill Palace in Tripunithura. It was an one and a half hour’s ride on a Honda Activa from Fort Kochi. From what I saw many tourists do not venture out of Fort Kochi out to the Hill Palace. The Palace has an amazing history. The city of Kochi was administered from here by the Rajas of Kochi. The integration of Kochi into the Indian Union was signed at the Darbar Hall (the court) in this palace. That is the first room you see in the museum.
The horse drawn carts, the artifacts, the weapons, and tools are quite fascinating. When you are at the museum try viewing out from the balcony. You may get to see the Arabian Sea from there. So, this was where Cochin royalty lived. I appreciate the Archaeological Society of India in maintaining the place, however the museum could be maintained better. You can spend an hour or two at the museum and its premises.
The museum is open between 10 AM to 12:30 PM in the morning, and 2 PM to 5 PM in the evening.
Note: There is Wonderla, an amusement park about 18 km from there. Try making time for it if you are a theme park maniac. I did not enter the park, but I sat at the cafeteria, had lunch, and then came back to the museum.
Tevara Folklore Museum
Look at this building. This building, and the collection inside it was a one man’s job. The passion of Mr. George Thaliath and his family for history, and archaeology gave Kochi its grandest museum. No wonder the Prince Charles, the Price of Wales chose to visit this museum. It shows us three different types of traditional architecture from Kerala. There are so many good things to see that you could spend half a day here if you would like to see it in detail. Photography is allowed for a price. Some of the wood carvings, the stone carvings, the theyyam faces, Kalaripayattu tools, musical instruments, swords, daggers were fabulous.
There are artifacts that are a millennium years old. The architecture of the museum is traditional and distinct to Kerala. besides there are collection from all the major kingdoms that were ruling in Kerala and beyond. The detailing at the staircase is amazing. the theater on the third floor is remarkable. The room has a nice scent too. There are paintings of different dance, and martial art forms of Kerala. They say they also arrange for special performances at the theater for a price of Rs.15,000. I bet it would be awesome. There is a store inside where they sell saris. Women, I suggest you buy the traditional Keralan sari. But most importantly try not to forget to tip them. They are running the museum, not with the help of the government, but your’s.
There artifacts are a history lovers’ delight
Greenix Village has a private museum, an ayurvedic spa, and a theater. Walked in at 6PM in the evening for a cultural show. The show started with Mohiniyattam, then Kathakali, Kalaripayattu after this, and it ended with Theyyam. I had watched Kathakali when i was in school, but to watch it in a theater in Kerala was a treat. Elaborate costumes and impressive makeup. There are professional Kalaripattu, Kathakali schools all over Kerala. They have performances from their students which I recommend you to go to if you want to see something better.
The charges at Greenix are higher than the other theaters because it is a private organization. Nonetheless, this organization does a good job to introduce you to the art forms of Kerala. My favorite part of the show was the Theyyam performance. The performer danced as if on trance. The management allows you to take pictures while the performers put on their makeup. I guess most theaters in Kerala do that. The make up, the performance, and the photography session after the performance with some eager tourists are what the performers live and breathe for everyday. Watch out for the Navarasa – the display of nine emotions
The Kathakali performer who played the role of a woman gave his best.
Kalaripattu artists demonstrating stick combat
Cherai Beach is more than 20 KM from Vypin Island jetty. It was 4 PM in the evening when I decided to go the Cherai beach. I rented a Honda Activa and then used the ferry to cross to Vypin Island from Fort Kochi, and from there I continued on my Honda towards the beach. The island is accessible by road from Ernakulam. The ferry was just a five minute journey, and will cost you Rs. 7. You will get a panoramic view of Ernakulam mainland, and Fort Cochin from the jetty.
There are number of restaurants and resorts on the beach. If you come during early dawn or dusk, you can catch the fishermen in action. There are Chinese fishing nets here too. Cherai beach is also famous for Dolphin sightings, but I wasn’t lucky enough. There is a fort here too, but you will come early in the evening to go visit it. A good place if you want an alone ‘Me’ time.
Where are the dolphins?
Kashi Art Cafe
There are many art cafe’s around. Teapot cafe is a must try. They are a teapot themed cafe. I recommend the Kashi. The first time I went to Kashi’s was on my second day at Kochi. Busy it was. It had an interesting contemporary art gallery at the front. I had my breakfast there, and then went for a walk. This place is hidden in a nondescript lane called the Burgher Street. There was no street noise. The music is upbeat, not too loud, and there was plenty of natural light. I love well lit rooms and restaurants. The servings is all large.
Kochi is a humid city, and Kashi is an oasis where you could get refreshed. The second time I came was with some friends from the travelers hostel that I stayed in. This places closes down at 7.30 PM. Great place to spend some group time. The third time I came here was the day before I left for Alleppey. I finished my Kashi experience with a sea food salad and a lime soda while reading a book. Yes, this cafe is a book reader’s paradise.
Dine at a heritage hotel
Fort Kochi has no shortage of heritage hotels. There is one by Neemrana, then there is Old Harbor Hotel and many others. But my favorite is the Brunton Boatyard.
Brunton Boatyard, Fort Kochi
This building once belonged to Geo Brunton and Sons, one of the most reputed ship builders of Kochi. The building was revived and Brunton Boatyard, the heritage hotel is what Kochi got. It was seven in the evening when I got to Fort Kochi, and it had just started to rain. I kept my luggage at my hotel room, and then went to Brunton for my dinner. The small lamps at the reception hall were just extinguished by the breeze, and the staff were making efforts to light it. The restaurant inside looked like an ancient ship building site. They have cooking classes, and yoga classes for their guests. They are open to outsiders as well.
“Do you stay with us?”, asked the hotel employee.
“No, I came over for dinner. I came to Kochi an hour ago”, I said.
“Welcome to Kochi, and to our hotel.”
The food was yummy. I also came dropped in for breakfast at their Armory Cafe one morning. A perfect location to watch ships go by from their coffee shop. The hotel has a historic character, a colonial past. Well, more than all of this I loved my food. That’s what counts the most.
Those windows offer you view of passing ships, boats, fishermen, and the harbor.