It was last Friday we once again went to Fort Cochin.
For convenience sake and to avoid the heavy traffic of Cochin, we opted for the long stretch of the Bypass, from our house which took us through Vyttila Junction, past the office of EMIRATES Airlines and the Whyte Fort Hotel on the other side, through Kundanoor Toll, Thevera Cross Road onto Willingdon Island.
The Thoppumpady Bridge connecting the Willingdon Island to Fort Cochin/Mattancherry peninsula was not as crowded like the usual melee at the Thoppumpady Junction. JS and I prefer the Beach Road at the extreme end running parallel to the coastline of the Arabian Sea.
JS was born here in Fort Cochin and this surely is one of the many reasons why this place is special to us. The atmosphere, the ambiance is somewhat difficult to describe – it is … hmm yes … it is just special! But one thing is for sure, we always have this feeling like we have stepped back in time, just a few steps… mind you, but enough to leave the hassle and bustle of Cochin far behind. Surely most of you know that special feeling you get when you visit places from your past with their happy memories.
For example, there is always one spot we simply have to pass, the Veli Grounds, where we can see the giant old tree to our right (see picture above) which is decorated and illuminated every year during the Christmas and New Year season and of course, during the famous Fort Cochin Carnival. But what we found now was a giant bee’s hive further ahead at the junction. So huge and menacing looking from below – neither of us has ever seen anything like this before.
The entrance to K.B Jacaob Road also hosts a group of other huge trees with wide-stretched branches that is a treat to the eyes and indeed a silent welcome to the visitors to Fort Cochin.
But since we wanted to get to Kamaalakkadavu at the extreme end of Fort Cochin, we took the K.B. Jacob Road, now a main thoroughfare, for quicker access.
Soon we reach Kamaalakkadavu where the Chinese Fishnets loom above, facing the main island of Vypeen. A very popular tourist place – a must on every visitors “do-do” list and despite the fact that so much has been written about those Nets, I too will broach this subject and other attractions of Fort Cochin in my future blogs.
But for today, we buy our fish from our favourite vendor and whilst he is attending to one of the quick auctions, JS and I take in the sight (and smell) of the sea, watching the ships coming from the Arabian Sea and now passing through the channel into the harbour. We watch the men working the nets, like acrobats in a circus, dancing fearlessly across the wooden leavers – it never stops to fascinate us and we hope that this ancient art of fishing will somehow never die out.
We also watch the many little boats coming in to deliver their individual catch to be auctioned and a queue of people (and a few of the more than well-fed little cats) are always ready to walk off with their choice of fish from the auction place. And now that our own purchase of today, cleaned and cut to our liking, is ready, we have to say good-bye for now to this charming place and head for home.
But talking about cats – there is one cat we always look out for, GINGER, but we can not see her. We are dog people in our house, but this Ginger is a bit special. When I lived in Trinidad, W.I, we had just the double (or is it the other way round now?) of Ginger, to keep company to our dog and her puppies.
But just when we were nearing our car, we saw her – sound asleep in the groove at the bottom of one of the huge trees. Judging by the expression on her sleepy face she was enjoying the tranquility of Fort Cochin. We did not disturb her – but just took this photograph instead….
(Text and Photos © Carina/Manningtree Archive.)