Whenever I introduce myself as a pharmacist, people who are familiar to me from my childhood get flabbergasted. It is only because of the reason that my nature as a person is entirely distinct from my profession. People think pharmacist as a person having solitude and quiet perspective unlike me. But I think this is what that makes me discreet from others. I always loved yelling, freaking and travelling with my friends and family members as if I am born with such interests. My train travel from Bangalore to Visakhapatnam by Prasanti Express was a part of those interests. The journey still exists at a corner of my heart. It started with an objective to attend my friend’s wedding at Bangalore after which I was supposed to head towards Visakhapatnam for an expedition.
By 2’oclock in the afternoon I was there at Bangalore station to fetch my train for Visakhapatnam with my lunch packed forcibly by my beloved friend. It touched me to the core. With legion and indelible memories of our friendship I ensued towards my journey. The express was on speedy move and I was on the move of my excitement. Gushing through and halting on major junctions like Yelhanka Junction, Dharmavarm Junction, Guntakal Junction, Guntur Junction, so on and so forth, my night passed on with a sound sleep as I love to do so while travelling on train. The sight of sunrise through the windows of the train is simply rapturous. I headed towards the doorstep to let the early morning breeze paddle on my face. It’s an nexpressive feeling when you get the one you desired for so long. The last few days of my work were not contenting me as they persistently do and so I decided to pack my bags to get back my recharge.
By the time I could feel more of the cool breezes; the breakfast was ready to my delight. Thought of unaccompanied travelling is always a mixed feeling of agitation and exhilaration. This is what limits the thought of women at times. But keeping all my negativity apart, I managed to succeed my train travel from Bangalore to Visakhapatnam by Prasanti Express and reached the city by 1:35 pm and headed to haunt for a good hotel.
I consider myself fortunate to have had a chance to visit the temple of souls Chikurin Ji Temple Kochi. This Shingon Temple was founded by Gyoki in the early 18th century. House of beautiful sculptures and surrounded by a good amount of greenery, this place is a really good tourist destination.
I followed the stone path that lead to the entry of the temple through the dense woods. It was a fairly easy walk and the temperature was cool. As I entered the temple premises, I saw a number of ponds with loud bull frogs bellowing out of them. Beautifully designed shrines of different sizes complemented the place. The main square consists of the large temple with thatched roof. I further continued on the stone steps beside the smaller shrines which led to a vibrantly orange colored Pagoda.
It was a Tuesday when I visited the temple, the serene atmosphere of temple was not disturbed by the noises of people around. I was told by the temple staff that on weekends, there is a bus available to take the tourist to the top. I was not going to miss out the walk anyhow. I dodge my way from the path of a tiny cat staring at me as I entered the ancient wooden gate. It is amusing to see the compassion and caring of nature of people who shelter these homeless animals and nurture them. This temple has served as a refuge to Buddhist pilgrims too. This Japanese garden belongs to the 13th century and is a registered national treasure. It is great to spend time in this beautiful arrangement of rocks, ponds and pine trees. It was a lot more peaceful because I chose to visit the temple in late afternoon.
lingered at the temple for a while before I encountered white-clad Buddhist pilgrims paying a visit one their way around the long island. Overall, Chikurin Ji Temple is a picturesque structure where one can slow down the pace of life, introspect and rediscover the meaning of their existence. It will always be a memorable experience for me.
Poornathrayeesa Temple, Kochi : We went to check out the famous Poornathrayeesa Temple. This temple is very popular throughout Kerala. It is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. It has an immense religious and historic significance amongst the locals. It is located in Tripunithura which was once the capital of the kingdom of Kochi. The festivals of this temple is quite popular amongst the Malayalis.
There is nothing like spending time on the shores of a beautiful beach sipping coconut water and watching the sunset. My day at Cherai Beach Kochi was one such rejuvenating experience. Just 25 km outside the city, this beach is located on the north of the Vypeen Island. The cool breeze passes and tells me I am going to have one soothing day here.
I reached the beach at a perfect time when I could actually sit and watch the sun take a dip in water. I started walking on the sandy beach after removing my shoes and going barefoot. The amazing scenery complemented by the coconut trees countless in number and stretches of the paddy fields .The view of the perfect amalgam of sea and backwaters having numerous different shaped sea shells.
Some of the added attractions are the Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront. The cleanliness of the beach was commendable and it was very well maintained. I stretched my back on comfortable armchair with an umbrella shelter after renting it from a local guy. I ordered a pina colada mocktail and sat watching the horizon for a while. It is surely is a salvation for people who spend most of the time in the noisy and busy atmosphere of the city life. Fortunately during my visit, the beach was not too crowded and I could actually feel serenity just by looking at the scenic beauty of the endless beach. There was a street behind the beach with a lot of Indian and Chinese restaurants I am not really a person who takes pleasure in swimming but I loved dipping my feet in the cool water while I kept walking ahead.
The horizon at the eternal distance felt like an echo of every beautiful thought that ever crossed my mind. I recommend every tourist who visits Kochi and is looking for a way out of all the mayhem of a busy life, to visit the Cherai Beach Kochi and specifically spend your time here watching the sunset. There was my final stop Chikurin JI temple left to visit now.
I take extreme pleasure in my visit to any heritage site. The Pallipuram Fort Kochi was a perfect heritage site to grant me that pleasure. Situated in Ernakulam, Kerala, this fort was built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is one of the most ancient European forts housing a huge collection of rich cultural heritage. It is located in the northern extreme part of Vypeen Islands which is accessible by a 1 km long main boat jetty. This grand structure beholds a majestic history within the territory.
I could easily spot tourists from all over the country taking a walk inside the alleyways of history and admiring the beautiful architecture. I could relive the European memories that place unraveled from within as I took every step ahead. Amidst huge trees ascending to the skies, this fort holds a royal position in the center. I discovered that this was the oldest surviving European monument in India also called ‘Alikotta’. The huge hexagonal shaped architecture of the fort is truly a work of art. The fort has been constructed with the use of laterite, wood and chunam while the walls comprise of thickly plastered mortar. The outer bounds of the fort were designed to mount countless guns round the fort with the cellar used as a magazine at that time.
The local people hoed a belief that the cellar was a secret tunnel that leads to Cheraman Masjid. There is the Manjumatha church dedicated to the Lady of Snow located in close proximity. Palli means church that is where this fort got its name as the area surrounding church is called PalliPuram. Fort also consisted of giant gates, door posts and beautiful carved lintels. There is also present a square well inside the premises itself which used to be a fresh water source in the ancient period. I could reckon three embrasures; piled one on the other installed at all the faces of the fort. The amazing past and the grandeur of the Pallipuram Fort Kochi compel every tourist to pay a visit to this primary tourist destination in Kochi. After all the museums and the forts, it was time for some relaxation at the Cherai Beach Kochi.
Situated at the magnificent Fort Kochi in Kerala, the Indo Portuguese Museum is one of the most looked upon museums in the city of Kochi. It is an example of the influence Portuguese had in the field of architecture and art. It depicts the legends of the period when Portuguese used to be the most influential bunch around in Kochi.
I was not sure what I will find when I entered the premises but I was sure it would be a journey to learn a lot about the Indo-Portuguese culture. Built by the Bishop of Kochi late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, this museum houses prominent Indo Portuguese legacy in the form of artistic things. I could actually feel myself close to the inheritance of the times these artifacts and exhibitions belonged to. I was told there by a person staring at a painting that this museum was the first museum in Kerala to specially host artifacts and scriptures that had a theological importance. There are five sections in which the museum is divided based on the nature of the items displayed. These divisions were named Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil Life and Cathedral.
Every projection was an example of the similarities Indian and the Portuguese culture shared. The impeccable work of art in the exquisite collections showcased almost blew my mind away. I had never seen such exotic display of art. The collections included a piece of altar made up of teak wood presumed to be from the church of Lady Of Hope, a chasuble from the House of Bishop. The museum entry is free on 1st Thursday of every month so I was sort of lucky to land on the same day. It is only open till 5 PM and as much as I wished to stay a little longer, I had to leave the building as soon as the clock hand hit 5. The Indo Portuguese Museum is surely a must visit for anyone who takes interest in the Portuguese culture and the influence it has in the field of art and architecture. Apparently I plan to take my love for history a step higher by paying a visit to the grand Pallipuram Fort Kochi.
If you have an interest for archaeology, then visit the biggest archaeological museum located in Kerala. Constructed in 1865, Hill Palace Museum Kerala served as a permanent shelter to the royal family of Kochi. It is situated in close proximity with the Kochi city on the route Kochi-Chottanikkara. I bought the ticket and submitted my camera at the entry itself as it was strictly prohibited inside the premises of the museum building.
The palace falls under the supervision of Department of Archaeology since 1980 and opened for public visit in 1986. It is an elegant piece of architecture with the building consisting around 50 units while being spread over a land having an area of 52 acre. It is renowned due to its terraced landscape beautified with lawns, ponds and fountains. The palace is house to a well maintained ethno museum and is Kerala's first ever museum of its kind. I was amused by the temple right beside the museum and a beautiful pond. The architecture of the palace had a beautiful amalgam of western and traditional essence. The main office of the building is a three-story modern style structure which really stands out of the lot. I went through all 14 categories of exhibitions the museum had to offer. These included paintings, murals, sculpture made out in plaster of Paris, carvings, manuscripts and a lot more that made me wonder how beautiful ancient art is.
One of the major attractions was the rich collection of exquisite coins from the old times, ornaments belonging to the royal house and epigraphy samples displayed in the museum. I have always been an antique lover and this love was reverted by 200 antique artifacts displayed at the museum. It was so unfortunate they refused me to take pictures due to the protocols. My favorite part of the visit was the weapon and armory gallery. I saw old war time weapons from different places and different periods added to the collection. The Hill Palace Museum is a must-visit place regardless of your age as it offers amusing stuff for everyone. Next destination on my list was the Indo Portuguese Museum Kochi.
After witnessing the sunset at the Anthirapally Waterfalls, we drove to our next and final destination for the evening which was the Marine Drive Kochi. It is a scenic boulevard in the town of Kochi. Built in order to fence the backwaters it has become a popular retreat for young and old alike.
Marine Drive has also emerged as the economically flourishing area of Kochi which makes it a tourist attraction. Several shopping malls have also lined up in that area making it a must visit for fashion followers. The presence of malls has converted that area into shopping centre spot in Kochi. The causeway has two constructed bridges; one is called the Rainbow Bridge and the other as Chinese Fishing-Net Bridge. All the night unfolds the area of Marine drive starts buzzing with laughter and activity of visitors that throng the place. Many activities take place at the Marine Drive. One can even take advantage of various boating services offered at Marine Drive that row us the tourists spots such as oil tanker cubicle, the Kochi shipyard, Bolgatty Palace, Mattanchery - a Jewish synagogue, Jews Street, the Vallarpadom Terminal and many more to mention.
We also witnessed a flash mob arranged to spread awareness for pedestrian safety near marine drive. Rains add a magical touch to the place and the lights look splendid at night. You can even notice photographers with huge lenses capturing the lights of the two bridges in their DSLR’s. We chose to sit on the pavement for some time and witness the beauty of the marine drive. We chose to get some shopping done in one of the malls and also had dinner at the food joint present in the mall.
Thus, Marine Drive Kochi makes a beautiful crown for the Queen of Arabian Sea, Kochi. This trip to Kochi was indeed very refreshing and a much needed break from our daily routines. Thanks to my friends I could enjoy the offerings of the town whole heartedly. Kochi has a lot to offer for nature lovers and vintage historical place lovers alike. Kochi must find a place in the bucket list of all visitors that want to visit Kerala.
After the majestic photo session at the castle we head back to the hotel to have some lunch. Freshened up and then headed towards the Athirapally Falls Kochi. If you are eager to picture the walls which even words would not define completely, then imagine Priety Zinta and Shahrukh Khan (Bollywood actors) dance to the tunes of the song named ‘Jiya Jale’ from the movie ‘Dil Se’ or remember Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan dancing merrily to the tunes of ‘Barso re’ from the bollywood movie ‘Guru’.
The 80 feet high, 330 feet wide, waterfall is splendour to the eye. I could not take my eyes off the beautiful waterfall and hence understood why Mani Ratnam (a famous Indian movie director) chose Athirapally falls for shooting a song sequence in his film. It has also earned the name of being called the ‘Niagara Falls of India’. The waterfall is located close to the river Chalakudy and ranges of Sholayar. For years now it is one of the famous tourist attractions of Kochi. One only has to visit it to experience the marvel of Mother Nature and its vastness. On the whole, experience of travelling to the falls is beguiling.
The path to the waterfall decked with lush palms, coconut trees, and green pastures. One can also take a 2 km long trek route to reach the site of waterfalls. The waterfall can never leave its visitors lost in the green pastures as the roaring sound of the waterfall invited its visitors to assimilate its beauty with passion and grace. Just close your eyes and feel the mist of rushing waters touch your face. That in itself is a heavenly experience. Athirapally Fall is without doubt is glorious and exquisite. Your trip to Kochi is only complete if you visit these falls and lose yourself in the music of the falls.
The monsoon season definitely adds to the charm of Athirapally Falls Kochi falls. Nevertheless, trekking up to the falls can be little risky in that season so utmost care must be taken. One can even try out fishing with the local fisher man and immerse your worries in the waters of the falls. Swimming is allowed only if done with precaution.
After the playful evening at the Kochi backwaters, the next day of the itinerary expected us to visit the Kochi Castle. It is closer to the Comfort Hotel, so we decide to walk to the palace and also explore the city on our way to the destination.
The Kochi Castle was built in the 16th century and was originally called Otakasaka. It takes its name after the hill which inhabits the castle. The castle was built to shield the Kochi city and one can even notice the partially burnt structure which was damaged when fire broke in the castle in early 17th century. The castle has never faced an attack and hence has maintained its decorum. At the entry of the castle we were entertained by a gang of volunteer tour guides. We hesitated for a while, but their way of approach appealed to us. They showed us an unseen part of the castle which we had not noticed before. Like it was some trick. A structure without the knowledge of its history is, just a structure. We hired a guide to show us every bi and corner of the castle history and also learnt all the tricks that dwelled in the castle. The stories told by the guide were so colourful and intriguing in a way, which we had never thought about it. Kochi castle is also very calm in its surroundings and is enveloped with a fine view of the tranquil civic of Kochi. The castle reflects ancient Japanese structures covered with wooden beams and pointed roofs. What I like most about the castle is that it does not have a museum feel to it and love the part where it has restored every bit and pieces of the old world sense to it.
At the magnificent Kochi Castle we felt as if, we were transported back in the era where the castle was alive and buzzed with life. The castle also exhibits some old paintings and murals depicting the history of life at the castle and offers some great insights. Trip to Kochi castle is a must and also don’t forget to capture the breath taking view in your camera, from the top floor of the castle.
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Sharing is what I always believe in, since childhood I have been most expressive kid in my family. Making new friends, jelling up with people, traveling or participating in any event, I have always been in the fore front. Hello friends this is Soumya Shetty a Pharmacist, I love reading, travelling to places, visiting spiritual places the rich history behind the existence attracts me. Moreover, at the same time I too enjoy shopping with friends, movies, food, and parties. Most importantly, “sharing” so here is crazy Soumu sharing her experiences and life with you friends. Hope you would like being part of my life’s journey.