Place: Ernakulam, Kerala
Date: 23rd and 24th February 2007
We had come to Kerala by train – Kanyakumari express (don’t know why they call that train an express!). The vacation in Kerala had been planned for 7 days. Almost the entire first day was spent in getting to Moozhiyar. The second and third days we went around Moozhiyar. The fourth day was spent in travelling to Periyar lake in Idukki district, but we did get to see a lot of places on the way like: Pamba reservior, Sabarimala and also a forest fire! Also on the fourth day we took a leisurely walk into Tamilnadu, crossing the Kerala-TN border at Kumili. Within just a few km’s of crossing the border we could see the abrupt end of the Western Ghats and the start of the never ending plains towards TN. On the fifth day, we took the early morning boat ride in Thekkady. By now we had covered more places than what we had initially thought of, so we cancelled the return tickets to Bangalore by that shuttle train (Kanyakumari express), decided to travel to Ernakulam and take a bus from there to get back to Bangalore a day in advance.
After having our breakfast and thanking our Hosts sufficiently, we boarded the bus from Vandiperiyar (“vandi” means vehicle, derived from the fact that in earlier days people visiting Sabarimala from this side had to leave their vehicles at this place and go by walk to Sabarimala) to Kottayam. The only seats empty were that in the front, next to the driver, facing him (people who travel by bus in India will know what i mean!). Now, these are not the ideal seats to occupy when the bus is going to serpent its way through the Ghats, definitely not when it is in Kerala. But I should say that we were treated to the most beautiful sights all along the way not to mention the daredevil driving. From Kottayam we took a train to Ernakulam.
We reached Ernakulam by 4 PM. Our first priority was to book the bus tickets to Bangalore for the next day and get into a decent hotel. We managed to find a affordable hotel called “Luciana, taking a quick shower we headed to the famous Broadway (Waterfront) in Ernakulam. By the time we reached that place the sun had already set, we walked all the length of the Waterfront, took in sufficient sea air, also mosquito bites and decided to call it a day.
The next day we had time till 7 PM, our bus to Bangalore. The first thing we did was to visit the tourist office in Ernakulam, the officer there was very kind in suggesting many places, but we had less than a day in our hands. We wanted to visit the beach in Kochi (Kochi a.k.a Cochin and Ernakulam are twin cities) and Fort Kochi, also see the Chinese Fishing Nets in action. The first two we couldn’t. The beach was too far away, Fort Kochi we couldn’t find. We spent almost all our time walking on the rocky beaches observing the Chinese Fishing nets in action.
Ingenious boat: Canoe shaped boat powered by a motor
Chinese Fishing Nets (of Kochi):
People manning the operation of fishing nets.
The balancing mechanism is quite good. The weight a man on the main beam is enough to make the nets descend to the sea. The nets are raised within a few minutes and the catch is very modest, I have seen some nets catching nothing also. The unfortunate fish that are caught are cooked and served within a few metres of this place at the sea side stalls.
Rescue drill by the India air force/navy