If you thought Alleppey/Kumarakom is ‘the’ place to visit the backwaters in Kerala and if you have already seen the Chinese fishing nets/Dutch palace/Jewish Synagogue on your last trip to Kochi then read on to know these 12 offbeat reasons to re-visit Kochi.
Visit the backwaters of Kochi that no one knows of
As you discover more of Kochi, from the busy streets to little lanes leading to the local villages around Kochi, you realize that Kochi is blessed with a network of splendid backwaters that crisscross the city and probably even beat the ones in Alleppey.
Learn about fish & prawn farming from locals
Fish farming is a big source of income in the villages off Kochi and what’s more, you get a chance to study and learn how the locals indulge in this practice to make it their livelihood. Go visit the backwaters and quaint villages off Kochi and learn how the locals do fish & prawn farming.
Visit Jewish town and bazaar road
A visit to the Jewish town, located in the bustling port area and a haven for spice trade will enchant all your senses. The air is filled with an aroma of flavours as you walk past the little lanes surrounded by multi-coloured old architectural buildings on both sides. The vibrant markets lined up around the Dutch palace and synagogue also sell colourful antiques and tourist curio shops selling spices and other handmade stuff that is worth a buy.
Take a ride in the age-old ferry from Fort Kochi
An exciting way to tour around Kochi is by the local government ferry. At Rs 4 per ticket and a relaxing scenic ride of 30-40 minutes, you are reminded of the days of the past, where tickets cost just a few rupees. Ferries operate from 6am to 10am daily and connect Fort Kochi to the Ernakulam city and nearby islands.
Hire a bike to explore Vypin Island
Hire a bike/cycle and head off to Vypin Island where you can ride amidst backwaters, colourful villages, and unexplored beaches. What’s better is that you get to have a taste of authentic coastal Kerala cuisine at a local fishermen’s dwelling off Cherai Beach.
Explore the Muslim areas in Mattancherry
Walk amidst the Muslim market and settlement in Kochi near Mattancherry, where you can also see the local Masjid and historic architecture around it. Kutchi Muslims have been known to inhibit Kochi since 1815 when Kutch was affected by severe drought. Though is also a sizeable number of Muslims that have migrated to Kochi from West Asia, in lieu of the spice trade. You must try the Kayees Mutton biryani while you are there!
Visit the 100-year-old Jain temple and feed the local pigeons there
There is a vast amount of Gujarati/Jain population settled in Kochi that not many know of. And in fact, there is a specific area having Jain temples and restaurants where the locals Jain’s/Gujarati’s live and thrive. Go visit the 100-year-old Jain temple and the nearby pigeon feeding areas when you are near Dutch palace next time. Pigeon feeding happens every noon and it is said that it is auspicious to spot a white pigeon while you are there.
Visit Athirampally waterfalls, a few hours from Kochi
Athirampally waterfalls, a few hours from Kochi is where you should head for a day out in the Monsoon. It will never fail to delight you.
Take up an authentic Keralan cooking lesson
Take up a home cooking tour in Kochi to learn how the locals cook the feisty dishes that Kerala is well known for. There are many local families in Kochi who are pleased to share their culinary skills with tourists.
Visit the Ecotourism village Kumbhalangi
Visit Kumbhalangi, the eco-tourism village off Kochi and learn how the locals live by taking a day package. It is home to fishermen, farmers, labourers, toddy tappers and coir spinners all alike and is known to be the first model fisheries and tourism village of India which has its own tradition and culture.
Cycle around the villages of Kochi
Take an adventurous cycling tour to the quaint villages located near the backwaters around Kochi and also take a canoe ride while you are at it.
Do you have any more offbeat things to do in and around Kochi? Please do write in the comments below.