Never Say No to Cochin

Do you know that the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is going on right now? If you haven’t read about it, please check the information about the same on the website http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/ – but I am pretty sure that there will be enough information about the same on most of the newspapers of India, and it is abundant on the newspapers of Kerala. For those who are not aware of the same, it will be there till the twenty nineth of March this year. Everybody needs to attend a biennale at least once.

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale – on death by water 🙂

That would make people wonder if I am writing this from the location, and the answer is no. I haven’t been to this year’s Biennale. But I have been to the last festival which had its times during 2012-2013 and I have to admit that it was so well arranged, and impressively managed. So, is this post about that journey? No, this is more about Fort Cochin in general. I have been to the last Biennale and enjoyed it, and those four journeys to the Biennale were part of my multiple journeys to the place. Fort Cochin is a place which I have visited so many times.

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale ;)

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale – notice a jealous crow 😉

A journey to Fort Cochin shouldn’t be limited to one place. It should consist of four places – Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Thoppumpady and Kumbalanghi, the last one being a tourist village and an island with so much of natural beauty – I certify the same. The second last one is on the way to Fort Cochin, and Saint Sebastian’s Church there, a heritage building and a famous religious structure, is worth your time, and you can also have a nice view of the lake from the back side of the building.

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

Santa Cruz Basilica – a structure that you wouldn’t want to miss at any cost.

Then, about Fort Cochin and Mattanchery – they can’t be seen separately. The latter has the Dutch Palace which I am yet to visit, and the Jew Street with the Jewish Synagogue which is India’s oldest functioning synagogue. It also has the Holy Cross Church where Church the Coonan Cross Oath took place where an oath was taken by the ancient Christians not to submit to the Portuguese and in the need to continue their culture and traditions. Mattanchery Jain Temple is another much visited destination.

Chinese fishing nets - always part of Cochin and its islands.

Chinese fishing nets – always part of Cochin and its islands, adding to its glory.

Coming back to Fort Cochin, one has to admit that there is no better place to conduct the Biennale considering how much of history this place has, and how much of colonial as well as some of the traditional Kerala culture can be witnessed on the streets of the town. There are the Chinese fishing nets as well as the buildings of its colonial past which form the major part of this end of the extended Cochin city. Given to the Portuguese by the King of Cochin in return for military aid, this place has been under Portuguese as well as Dutch occupation and finally coming under the British till independence.

A day at the beach - Kerala never forgets its football.

A day at the beach – Kerala never forgets its football, and neither does its soul.

Saint Francis Church remains a significant landmark as the oldest European church in India, originally built by the Portuguese, and where Vasco da Gama was buried. It comes under the Archaeological Survey of India and the Church of South India as of now. Santa Cruz Basilica originally built by the Portuguese which was destroyed by the British and was later re-built, remains another symbol of the area’s long history. You would love its Gothic interiors with some beautiful works.

The oldest European church in India - antiquity's own child.

The oldest European church in India; Saint Francis Church – antiquity’s own child.

Then there is the beach, where sometimes the love of football can be seen in full power, and some of the monuments as well as the remains of other few, including that of Fort Emmanuel. You can walk on the paved area or the beach itself and see those ships, boats as well as the Chinese fishing nets. You can also see some more churches, temples and mosques, as well as the Dutch Cemetery. There are some huge trees to add to the beauty and serenity of the already lovable world. When is the best time to visit? Right now, for there is Biennale going on!

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

The fishing boats of Cochin with the old bridge of the city on the background.

All photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during 2010-2012 period.

TeNy

Antiquity, Beauty and Beliefs

Here are ten of my favourite Catholic churches in Kerala. Yes, I have traveled to a lot of them, and have taken photos of most of them. I have been pretty much interested in the spiritual affairs for some time now; some of these also got the value of antiquity and the rest has the strength of beauty, powered by legends and beliefs.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram: Saved from Tipu Sultan’s attack during the Mysorean Invasion of Travancore, this one managed not only to be spared from destruction but thrive, and is a smaller but beautiful structure located close to the oldest existing European fort in India.

plliprm

9. St. Joseph’s Church, Aluva: Part of the St. Joseph Pontifical Institute Of Theology Philosophy, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the area, this is one structure that you might wish to see for all its beauty in architecture as well as nature.

alva

8. Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam: Built after the tradition of Vallarpadath Amma who is believed to have saved her devotees multiple times from the forces of nature, this structure also has a tower which you can enter and see the area from a big height.

vllrpdm

7. Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin: Originally built by Portuguese, and later rebuilt after being demolished by the British, this church is a beautiful building of Gothic and colonial architecture, becoming a symbol of Fort Cochin itself.

frtkchi

6. St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal: Known for St. Sebastian’s feast, this church is also known for being a big pilgrimage centre. Its tradition traces its origins back to a mythical tale that links the Arthunkal Veluthachan of the church with the Sabarimala Ayyappan.

arthnkl

5. St. George Church, Kothamangalam: The Catholic Church at Kothamangalam is often less noticed compared to the other churches there, but the beauty and the architectural style are something that will surely catch your attention.

kmgm

4. St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad: Believed to have witnessed the Marian apparition, and having a long history before the Europe even got close to being Christian, this church is another wonderful structure.

kvlgd

3. St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor: At a pilgrim centre which has more churches, this newly built version of the older church is a mesmerizing beauty, and you just need to have a look at its altar to believe in Keats’ version of beauty.

mlytr

2. St. George Basilica, Angamaly: Often considered the largest church in India, or sometimes corrected as the biggest in South India, this one has some of the most beautiful painted glasses around, and the light reflected through the same is a thing of extreme beauty.

angmly

1. Our Lady Of Dolours Basilica, Trichur: The tallest church in India and one of the tallest in Asia, this Gothic structure also has a big tower which can be entered to see the whole town, as this is also the tallest building in the town.

tcr

All photos were taken on my camera and my previous mobile (Sony Cybershot DSC-W310/Samsung Star Duos). Which one is your favourite? 😉
TeNy