I love conferences. Well to be precise I love conferences held outside the city I live in and to be more specific, conferences held in cities I have never been too. I was fortunate an annual conference I usually attend year in year out was held in God’s Own Country, a city that lies on the South West Coast of India overlooking the Arabian Sea and this beautiful city is Kochi, in the state of Kerala.
The flight started off from Kempegowda airport in Bangalore and I could not wait for the plane to land in Kerela. What nobody told me was that the month that the conference was held in was the hottest month in the calendar year in Kochi.
My friends and I landed at the airport and we got an airport taxi to drive us to Kochi. The conference was being held at a hotel and we opted to stay in the same venue as the conference. My room had a huge window with a view of the backwaters and that was bliss.
I had too much to see but limited time in Kochi and with the weather no much on my side. My first stop was to tour the city by car to Fort Kochi. Kochi is the only place outside of China where you can find fishing nets and the huge cultural scene is very similar to China. If you love to walk like me then you definitely must visit Fort Kochi. It has a wonderful walking trail and it is the not so huge and too crowded like you would expect. If you want to get a picture perfect scene like in one of your favourite romantic movies, then go take a walk when the sun is about to set. It is a beauty to behold.
On my way back, I noticed that the buildings along the narrow roads were heavily influenced by European architecture. The Dutch cottages and the storied buildings lining up the streets could be a village in the west midlands of the UK and this made the scenery more enjoyable. Our guide later mentioned in passing that a lot of the houses were built by rich traders during the British Era.
I also visited St. Francis Church which was built in 1503. The church contains the tombstone of Vasco-da-Gama, the explorer, where he was initially buried and his body was later transported to Spain. The Church like any other tourist spot, attracts millions of tourists ever year. Mattancherry is also one of the major tourist spots here and this is where you will find the Dutch Palace. Another must visit in Mattancherry is the Jew Town and it has a Synagogoue that was built in 1568 and is still standing.
Kochi is lined up with unlimited little shops selling various items like statues, lamps and also there is a history of spice trading in Kochi. A couple of my friends indulged in cloves, pepper and many other spices one had never heard of.
If I could name one thing I absolutely enjoyed about Kochi, it has to be the fish dishes. They were absolutely delicious. I did not do justice to Kochi given the limited time I had. Another visit is definitely imminent from the little I saw and experienced and it has left a mark I cannot erase. I bid adieu to the city with a promise to be back soon!
Mayokun Aduwo is an avid traveler and a full time HR professional with IBM and is based out of India. When she is not busy with corporate deadlines, she is busy exploring the world, literally. This is a personal account of her travel tales.