Saturday, November 29, 2008

Trip to Fort Kochi

Queen of the Arabian Sea,Kochi. Many of us know Eranakulam, but people kept telling me that Kochi is different. And on 16th November we decided to take a small trip in the morning. On the previous day night we took a small trip of Eranakulam.Marine Drive, the Goshree Bridge and the Vallarpadam bridge & the Thattukada at Shenoy's. However Kochi was still unexplored .All of us were tired due to the Shabarimala trip, but we decided to go for it.

Getting up in the morning was not that tough, Deepak me and jithu were like good boys getting up out of bed and folding the blankets

View from the Flat.

By 6:30 we went out. Our First stop was the Jew Street in Mattanchery. The lanes leading to it are narrow and I was told that the Jews came to Kochi for spice trade. During the day time, spice trade is hectic in the area and it is really hectic. You cannot even take a cycle through the area due to the loading and unloading activities.

We moved ahead to the Jew Synagogue at Fort Kochi. Synagogue was constructed in 1568 and is the oldest in the Commonwealth countries. The synagogue was partially destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid but was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. I could feel the valor & pride standing outside.

The articles of interest at the synagogue are a clock tower, hand painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, great scrolls of the Old Testament, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the former rulers of Cochin were recorded.

There are a lot of shops selling sculptors and ethnic items in the area.

Shops near the Synagogue

Kochi is also famous for Fishing Nets - Chinese fishing Nets to be precise.They are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets.Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.The system is sufficiently balanced that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea. The net is left for a short time, possibly just a few minutes, before it is raised by pulling on ropes. The catch is usually modest: a few fish and crustaceans — these may be sold to passers by within minutes.

It is received wisdom that the nets are Chinese in origin. This is not as improbable as the 5,000 km distance from China might suggest — Kochi is a very important centre for the spice trade attracting traders from far and wide. Some suppose that the nets were introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He.In addition, catches can be purchased individually and need be taken only a short distance to a street entrepreneur who will cook it.

Market where the fish is sold.

We took a walk around the Shore line which was a great experience. Since it was morning, I saw a lot of people doing exercises along the shore line. To save from the shoreline from the tides, Rocks have been laid. There is only one small stretch where you can see sand. I also saw a few people swimming in the sea. Being a natural port, there is lot of silt that gets deposited. There are dredging ships that takes care of cleaning up the silt deposits. No wonder the British made Kochi a Port. Vembanad Lake is really beautiful as well.

I saw a lot of opportunities of development along the shoreline. I also saw a couple of places where the provisions for restaurants and other small shops were made by the governemnt, but not much has been done there after. I don't think they have been used at all.

Old Mattanchery Bridge

Church at Fort Kochi, there are few of them!!! But this one is special...
This is called the St. Francis Church.
Built around 1503, this is the oldest European Church in India. But the real speciality about this place is related to Vasco Da Gama. For those of you who don't know, Vasco Da Gama was the first European Sailor to discover India. Dom Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the European Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. On his first visit he landed in Kappad (near Calicut) in 1498. He died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. His Grave stone is still available in this church. The Church was declared a protected monument in April and thereafter it is under the Archieolgical Suvery of India but owned by the North Kerala Dioces of Church of South India.

Our Car parked near the Fort Kochi Market.

One of the Old houses in Fort Kochi.
The path way along the shores
Fishermen setting off for the high seas!
Old Gunnery at Fort Kochi
Boilers at Fort Kochi
Dredging ship at the Port
The anchor!!!

We started back around 8:00 am as we had to catch a train at 9:30am. Overall the experience was really good. Though a wish still remains of having a tea at the "Thattukada" on the Beach! May be in the evening !

Coming Soon : Drive to Kannur!

1 comment:

Sajith Nambiar said...

Really good to read it man...i have read till the Tirunelli page...weel will do it in between as i do love travelling and visiting places as lon as i can :-) and also was happy to c my name to in between thanks brother :-).So watz the new subject about i do feel like Blogging lemme c will start of with some events of mine,do write more as its interesting to read about it....waiting to see more versions from you...take care.