Travelling and visiting new places has always been something which I have relished and eagerly looked forward for. While, it started off as a way to de-stress from the student life early on but gradually, it graduated to getting relieved from the vagaries of daily office chores. One recent occasion was last year when we – me and my 5 friends managed to take some time from our daily schedule and we booked a short trip to Kochi, a major port city on the Arabian Sea along the western coastline of India. We got our pre booking accomplished through the locally acclaimed Antilog Vacations by experiencing Antilog Vacations reviews on multiple forums
So one early October morning we, 6 members, started off from Kolkata and after our stopover in Bangalore, we reached the Kochi Airport at around 5 pm. The Kochi Airport was one of the most picturesque airports we had seen and helped us getting into the holiday mood once we landed. The Antilog Vacations had booked a room in the Abad resorts for the night and the consequent day. The Abad group of Resorts had arranged for a pick-up and the hotel was pretty close to the airport.
We reached the Abad Airport Hotel in around 20 minutes. We took the family suite and it was more like a 1 BHK flat with a really large hall. The room was of around 650 sq ft. and a really large hall. All modern amenities like coffee maker, LCD TV were present along with a plush new wooden wardrobe. The windows were quite large and the hotel being located on a secluded place, we got a fascinating view from them. Next day we enjoyed the sumptuous complimentary breakfast buffet which included both English delicacies like Chicken sausage, bacon and South Indian dishes like Appam, puttu, uttapam etc. along with a wide array of drinks like strawberry milkshake and pineapple juice. Thereafter, we booked a cab from the Abad authorities for the local sightseeing and we took off for our Kochi trip.
The cab driver – Ganesh, was quite knowledgeable and enlightened us with some interesting facts about Kochi and the places we were visiting. He said that Kochi or Cochin as it was known earlier is a part of Ernakulam. It is Kerala’s second largest city and is the tourism hub of the state as it sees the maximum footfall of domestic and international tourists. Ganesh also threw some light on the glorious history of Kochi, bragging that it was known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea from the 14th century, and it was also an important spice trading centre at that period. It was the earliest of the European colonies in India, built by the Portuguese in that period and remained their chief seat until when Goa was chosen.
After this vivid lesson in history we visited our first attraction, the Kochi Chinese fishing nets. The Chinese fishing nets also known as Cheena vala locally are generally preset land fittings used for an unusual form of fishing, something done by shore operated lift nets. The horizontal nets were of around 20 m width with the entire structure being at least 10 m high. It comprised of a girder with an extended net suspended over the sea and from the other end bulky stones were balanced from the ropes, which acted as balancing weights. We heard from the locales that the net is left in the sea for a short period of time before being raised by pulling the ropes.
The stylish construction of the entire arrangement was quite eye-catching and we snapped many pictures of the same. We also got to see a fresh catch which consisted of many types of fishes which included squids, octopus, lobsters, prawns and even baby sharks. Then we moved to see the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, which was an ancient but great piece of architecture. We got a guide who showed us the interiors of the palace and gave pertinent information on many areas. He said that the Mattancherry Palace was originally built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century as a gift for the king of Cochin. Their main objective was to gain favors from the king as well as a source of pacification for the king against a temple they had destroyed.
After that we moved to see the St. Francis Church located in Fort Cochin. The St. Francis Church was the first European Church constructed in India and Fort Cochin is supposed to be the seat of the oldest European Settlement in India. In the evening we went to Kodanad, a small place on the bank of Periyar nested amidst the panoramic beauty of the high mountains. It was around 40 km from the city of Cochin and is believed to have been one of the largest elephant-capturing stations of South India.
We got a ride on a large tusker for around 20 minutes. Coffee and spices are two things quite famous in Kerala and we were looking forward to stuffing our bags with these in the course of our trip and consequently, next we went to the spice market where we got the stuff we were looking for. While returning, Ganesh showed us the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, the Kochi cricket stadium, with its characteristic tilted flood lights and the ground more famous for Sachin Tendulkar’s bowling, where he has got both his ODI 5 wicket hauls. He said it was the third largest stadium in India after the Eden Gardens and Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
We returned in the evening and had a sumptuous dinner buffet at the Abad Restaurant on the ground floor. Though the price was slightly on the higher side, the choice of dishes more than compensated for that and we ate to our heart’s content! Next morning the Abad hotel arranged for our drop to the airport, where we had to catch our scheduled flight at 10 am. It was a highly memorable trip and something which was well planned by the Antilog Vacations. Also See Antilog Vacations Review and find more.