Fort Kochi sits in the middle of the state of Kerala, in south-west of India. Kerala is ‘God’s Own Country’ as the marketing campaign has been shouting for years. That’s true.
You go to Kerala to learn that there are more greens than just bottle green and olive-green. But no, Fort Kochi doesn’t succumb to the rest-of-Kerala’s diktat. Kerala is all about the backwaters? errr… you hardly experience that at Fort Kochi. And nor are there the famous tea-gardens of Munnar lying anywhere in Fort Kochi. When I visited in March, it got me thinking, what is it about Fort Kochi that makes me want to keep going back? (And I’ve been there a few times and still feel like I want to go back)
Yet Fort Kochi always astonishes me. I have been there a couple of times, been to Ernakulam or the mainland, numerous times, yet every time it feels like my first time – there is always something new I see. You might say it’s me and that everyone else doesn’t feel that way, but I don’t agree. I think it is this element that draw y The feeling that you can keep going back – the familiar will envelope and comfort you, and the new will freshen up the experience. I get that feeling with my favourite books too… I could read them again and again, and still always come back with something new… like the last time I saw so much graffiti and street art at Kochi.
It’s got oodles of vintage charm and all enclosed in a cocoon – because it’s an island. As a visitor, I am drawn into that cocoon.. it’s really snug. There are few modern buildings, the entire place seems slow and fewer people mulling around on the streets compared to other Indian cities and the entire place is stuck in time. And given its isolated island status maybe it stays like that. Also as I walk around I feel like I can see it all. Few cities give me that sense of power… The twin city Ernakulam is modern, getting industry and tall-rises, malls and modern shopping options. Fort Kochi stays lost… in the eons of time.
Yes, Goa also has this ‘homely-coziness’, this ‘lost-in-the-past-ness’ but as a visitor everyone goes to a different Goa – North or South, this beach or that, shack or five-star… You experience a version of Goa and I experience another one… Both are as unique and both are as beautiful. But I think there is only one Fort Kochi, and we all end up there. And that ‘sameness’ of experience is alluring and it is even more exciting to make that ‘sameness’ different for you… to make Fort Kochi, yours!