Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fort Kochi and Surroundings

Cranes of ICTT in the background
Close to noon I reached Aluva railway Station; wasn't it earlier than expected? Well it is. Heavy rain started Just after boarding a bus to Ernakulum. People would have enjoyed the rain, if the entire stretch of road was not dug open for constructing Kochi metro.

Maneka Boat Jetty
After jumping over so many pot holes we I finally reached CUSAT bus stop; from there took an auto to university hostel to meet Jithu. By the way I forgot to introduce Jithu; he was my roommate and currently pursuing an MSc from CUSAT after taking a sabbatical from NAL.

I am looking outside - U can see the jetty behind

Hostel was in a holiday mood. Room was full of magazines, meteorology related books and magazines. After having a brief breakfast from university campus, we went for sightseeing tour.

Port's Skyline
As I already mentioned about Kochi and her habits in one of my earlier articles, let’s see some other face of Kochi here.

Jithu in the boat

Our first destination was Kerala high court, from there a brief walk to nearby boat jetty. I didn’t plan this journey, as I went to Kochi for another purpose. There weren’t many services available from High Court jetty. So we boarded another bus to Menaka Boat Jetty. This is one of the major service points in Kochi’s costal navigation system. We took first boat going to Vypin.

Oil tanker transferring the commodity to mainland depots

And…. Finally we were in water. There were hardly 10-15 people in the boat. We slowly left the mainland and head towards Vypin. A couple of ships were anchored at a distance. A localite on the ship explained as the route for incoming and outgoing foreign and domestic ships. We finally reached Wellingdon Jetty.

Docked ship
Wellingdon Island

Named after Lord Wellington, erstwhile Governor of Madras, this island was created by dumping the soil dredged out during the deepening of Vembanad Lake to build new Kochi port back in 1936. Home to Cochin Port Trust and Southern Naval Command this is an important island and a poster boy of Kochi.

Water Jet going outside
We left the jetty and went further ahead. An oil tanker was anchored some 200 metres ahead. A long oil pipeline was busy in transferring the oil to mainland.

Office of Cochin Port Trust

Finally we reached Vypin. I heard first about Vypin through new paper reports.  Whenever there was some hooch or spurious liquor tragedy (mainly due to mixing of both ethyl and methyl alcohol) reporters frequently give some space to mention the disaster happened on that Onam day (in 1982 drinking spurious liquor killed 77 people, blinded 63 and crippled another 15). Unfortunately that was not the last liquor tragedy in Kerala; however banning hooch in early 2000s really improved the things.

Approching Vypin Island

Heavy rain slowed us, but who don’t want to enjoy monsoon rain in Kerala? We walked towards the bus stop and boarded a bus going to Bolgatty Palace.

Raining. @ Vypin boat jetty

On the way at one side you can see ICTT at Vallarpadam.

ICTT Vallarpadam

ICTT was Kerala’s dream project. Like many other projects it took decades to build, and finally when it opened road and rail connectivity remained a block. Being said that, Vedanturuthy Railway Bridge connecting Vallarpadam and mainland is India’s lengthiest railway bridge. On that rainy day, that freight only bridge with her beautiful curves looked beautiful.

Heavy rain continues

Bolgatty Palace

Built by Dutch, this is one of the oldest Dutch Palaces built outside their own country. Former seat of Dutch Commander, this Palace was handed over to British in 1909.  Currently this palace is a heritage hotel managed by KTDC.


As the palace was converted to hotel there was hardly anything to see there. We walked towards a nearby jetty and boarded a bus to Marine Drive.

You can see India's lengthiest railway bridge on the background 
Form there another bus to Menaka and then to our final destination Mattanchery. Once again on the waters… From here we can see the big cranes of ICTT. Honestly speaking I expected more, but it was only some 4-6 big cranes and associated machineries (with a very big parking space for container Lorries).

After a while we reached Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi

Lorries approaching ICTT 

We spend a lot of time in the lake by roaming here and there using government run boats. By the way, if you are coming to Kochi and would like to enjoy the waters (and not looking forward for adventure sports then try government run boats).

Me standing in front of lake
It is believed that Kochi rose in to prominence after the fall of Mussaris Port of Kodungallur in 1341AD. Later the area currently known as Fort Kochi was granted to Portuguese by Raja of Kochi in return for their help in war against Samootitri of Kochi. Portuguese built Fort Immanuel there. The word ‘Fort’ came from this fort (this fort was later destroyed by Dutch). After 160 years of Portuguese rule this areas was captured by Dutch in 1683. Dutch were the overload of Kochi for 112 years. Foreign rule didn’t end there… Kochi was conquered by Hyder Ali in 1760s and then by his Son Tipu. With the fall of Tipu Kochi came under British Rule.  In 1814 this area was attached to Madras presidency.

Standing opposite to Marine Drive

By time we reached Fort Kochi it was almost evening. From there we walked through the streets – which was almost empty – and reached Mattanchery. I had similar feeling when I walked some years back on a night in Palayam Market. How come both of these traditional market shutting down their operations before evening? I don’t know.

Marine Drive

Around 7.15 in the night we reached Jewish Synagogue.

Constructed on 1567 this Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in Commonwealth Nations. Original synagogue was built in Kodungallur when Jewish community had high profile mercantile role in the area. When community moved to Kochi, they built new Synagogue there. First synagogue built by Jews was later destroyed by Portuguese.

Entering into a boat
By the time we reached there, synagogue was already closed. We spend some more time on that deserted road and want back to Mattanchery jetty, boarded last bus to Menaka Jetty. It was really an interesting trip on that night, lights from the ships, marine drive, beacon lights etc created a magic of lights in the night sky.


Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky - Another view



Jewish Synagogue

I am standing in front of Synagogue

City skyline at night

Me and Jithu in a boat - return trip

Ships @ night

Lulu Hypermarket @ Edapally junction, with its excellent!!! road

No comments:

Post a Comment