My alma-mater not only handed me a bachelor’s degree but many mallu friends as well. We had a bunch of folks from Kerala due to which Onam celebration used to be a massive event in our college.
A special Onam lunch was organized in college mess at the coupon price of Rs 180 and with a dress code of traditional white saree with golden border for girls and white dhoti and shirt for boys.
This custom from college had incited a spark in me for a tour to Kerala. And my long awaited Kerala tour finally happened after three years of graduation.
One of my colleagues from Kerala encouraged us to plan a visit to his native place, to which we (4 colleagues-cum-friends) enthusiastically agreed.
We planned a week trip to Kerala and boarded the flight to Kochi which is in central Kerala. The one way flight ticket of Indigo priced Rs 7000 each and took 3 hours to land us to the soil of Kerala.
As we wanted to relish the heritage of Kerala we stayed in Ambadis Villas which locates near backwaters at Cherai Beach. Because the journey had exhausted us, we decided to explore the beauty of Kerala from next morning and ended our day with a short stroll at Cherai Beach.
The following day, we hanged our bag packs and left for Fort Cochin which was built in 1503 and reinforced in 1538. Also known as Old Kochi, It was once a fishing village and by reason of invasion from Portuguese, Dutch, and later British the amalgamation of these civilizations was quite evident from the buildings, streets (Burger Street, Rose Street, Princess Street) and culture of the city.
We ticked our check list of Fort Cochin by visiting St. Francis (Vasco Da Gamma) Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Jewish Synagogue and Indo Portuguese and Maritime Navy Museums. Santa Cruz Basilica Church impressed me the most with its artistic magnificence of the gothic style.
Other attractions of Fort Cochin were Chinese Fishing Nets which are fixed land installations for fishing, Fort Cochin Beach which is settled amidst coconut trees, green scrubs and gently pounding seawater, Mattancherry which is popularly known as Dutch Palace, and Handicrafts Shops which can be easily sighted at Jew street and Kalvathy road.
At the end of the day we hit the houseboat in the backwaters and enjoyed freshly cooked food while experiencing a panoramic view passing by.
In the succeeding days of our Kerala tour we rejoiced in Wonderla Amusement Park in Cochin, Munnar, Thekkady, Bekal Fort in Kasaragod district, Varkala Beach, Agastya Mala and Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
Our major time was spent in revering the exquisiteness of Munnar. Its mountain slopes covers about 80,000 miles of green tea farms and give a delightful view of low-flying clouds and foggy valleys. Few must visit spots in Munnar are Attukal Waterfalls, Anamudi, Top Station, Marayoor, Lockhart Gap and Indo Swiss dairy farm.
Thiruvananthapuram was our last destination from where we took a flight back to Delhi, ending a memorable Kerala tour India.