My new year resolution was to travel more. Work more in order to travel more. Half the year has gone by and I’m glad that I’m able to fuel the resolution. My quest for wanderlust (and a dear friend’s wedding) took me to Kerala this monsoon. They don’t call it God’s Own Country for nothing and I was going to discover that over the course of the next five days.
Cochin International Airport is housed in an elegant building that could very well be mistaken for someone’s mansion. I’m told its fired up by solar lighting- this was just the beginning of the many eco friendly things I’d see during my stay. Now the airport is located a little away from the city, 3 hours away to be precise, so we decided to take accommodation close to the airport at the SAJ Earth Resort which is located a kilometer away from the airport. The property is beautiful with an island style design. It houses a coffee shop, a poolside bar and a 24 hour restaurant. I had a scrumptious meal of Malabar parotta with butter chicken for lunch. Lip smackin’!
The Kerala Massage
I had heard so much about the traditional Ayurvedic massages and decided to give the panchkarma massage a shot. The therapist was a sweet lady who knew nothing but Malayalam, so when she asked me to strip to nothing (yes, you read that right, NOTHING) it took me a while to understand what she was trying to say. They put copious amounts of oil on you, enough to make America invade the room, but once you get over the initial awkwardness the massage is actually quite relaxing and recommended. Of course, a nap follows and I slept like a baby.
Ernakulam popularly known as Kochi is a long drive away from the airport. The drive though is spectacular with greenery on either sides of the road, backwaters and plantations. It is easy to get an Ola taxi from the airport, however the cars are not very well maintained. Ours, for example, had a cooling problem which turned out to be quite a nightmare on the humid afternoon.
The Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel is an amazing property at an amazing location. They have beautifully done up rooms each giving a glimpse of Kochi’s colonial past, overlooking the Arabian sea. You could spend hours there chilling in the pool watching the sun drown into the horizon whilst listening to the sound of waves. The staff too is extremely courteous and helpful. We decided to rent bicycles to explore the city.
So armed with Google maps and with a little help from TripAdvisor, we set out to explore the city. Kochi has a lot to offer in terms of art and culture- Chinese fishing nets, Kerala Kathakali centre, Jew Town, spice market and plenty of of nice cycling tracks to ride your bike in.
Two places you shouldn’t miss out in Kochi would be the Kashi Art Cafe which serves the most scrumptious omelettes and lemonades and the Brunton Boatyard Restaurant for a meal with a view- wining and dining watching the ships sail by.
Kottayam and Thrissur
We were headed to Kottayam next which also happens to be the passageway to the famous backwaters of Kumarakom. The backwaters are dotted with houseboats for all budgets. However, we were there for the Kerala wedding- the venue of which was a church in the middle of nowhere (rubber plantations). This was straight out of a fairytale and a fairytale wedding it was!
The next stop was Thrissur for the second edition of the wedding ceremony. A traditional Malayali affair, the wedding ceremony was followed by the lavish Sadhya dinner which involves food served on banana leaves. Rice, papad, chutneys, payasam, appams, sambar, rasam, and so many more things..I literally stuffed myself till I couldn’t eat any more.
So much more to see
And just like that it was time to head back home. I missed visiting Munnar, Wayanad, and a couple of other places but Kerala is beautiful and I’m sure one day these places will call out to me…and I will go!