‘You have to go to Kochi’, ‘you cannot miss Kochi’, a lot of people told me. And so it happened. I got high expectations of this famous colonial city, and I got a bit disappointed. It is not so different from other Indian cities, with cars and crowds and noise, and it is full of tourists, souvenir shops and touristic restaurants. Poor Kochi, what happened to you?
Fortunately, I did have some special moments and enjoyed my stay there.
Meeting “old” friends
After my lonely days in Munnar, I was very happy to meet my friends from Munroe Island in Kochi. We had met only one week before and it felt already like meeting old friends. Now that I am travelling, all days are different from each other and very intense, so one week seems such a looong time!
The most interesting thing I found in Kochi are the chinese fishing nets. They are still in use so we can see the fishermen lowering the nets and getting the fish out from there in the morning. I do not know if it is an efficient way of fishing, the nets are next to the coast and always at the same place, but they seem to work. And the sunset views from the fishing nets are quite nice!
One day I was walking with one of my friends when we passed by a church. There were a lot of people very well dressed and a car decorated with flowers… an Indian Christian wedding! I wondered, would the bride wear a colorful saree, or a white dress? We could not see her since she was still in the car. All the women were wearing very beautiful sarees. There was music. One man invited us to join, but we did not dare. We were not well dressed and a wedding is a personal thing.
We went away for a while to get some water and when we came back everybody was already in the church. We were invited again to approach and this time we did. We went near a window and looked inside: the bride was wearing a very beautiful orange-golden saree. They were singing songs I had never heard. It felt very special.
The ceremony with elephants
Do you believe in destiny? I am not sure if I do, but it is sure that if it were not for a lot of coincidences, we would not have seen elephants during my last night in Kochi.
- The restaurant where we wanted to have dinner was closed.
- One friend told that the owner of her home stay had recommended her another place, but she could not remember the name. We went back to the home stay to ask.
- The owner was not there, so we asked his daughter. She told us about another place, 2km far from there, outside Fort Cochin (the touristic part of Kochi).
- We went there: it was a real local restaurant, with aluminium plates and low prices. And very good food.
- In all the restaurant, there was only another table occupied by foreigners. They were talking in French. One of my friends was French and started talking with them. They were Canadian and told us about a ceremony with elephants that would take place that night.
Non hindus were not allowed in the temple but we were told we could see the elephants in the street. We found the place: there were a lot of people of all ages, children included.
It was magic. The people, the colors, the music, the white designs on the street, the smell of burning candles, the food for the gods, the smell of incense, the movement, the smoke. The two huge elephants. The man who told us that they were Brahmins who moved to Kochi when the Portuguese occupied Goa. He also explained that the ceremony was dedicated to Vishnu, it lasts 8 days and happens twice a year. And we got dried fruits and pieces of apple and were welcome there in that ceremony even if we were not hindu. It was a magic night.
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