Exploring Ernakulam and Dutch Malabar


Active Member
One More Boat Trip

After I got free with some meetings at the convention I was attending, we took an autorickshaw to the Ernakulam jetty.

Walking down to the jetty, I came across this book stall that had a huge array of magazines covering all topics, including soft porn.
Malayalam originated in the 6th century. It flows from both Sanskrit and Tamil, so the Malayalam alphabet has the largest number of letters among the Indian languages !


The boat driver was ready to ferry us across the Cochin harbor from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi.


We saw some coast gaurd patrol boats checking out the port area.
With a coastline of 7,517 km to protect, India has to forever be on guard against the kind of terrorists who sailed into Mumbai on 26/11.


The passenger boats and very cheap ferries are a very popular mode of moving people, goods and vehicles across the waterways.

Chinese fishing nets swaying amidst the palms are a pretty sight but over hyped as a tourist attraction of Cochin.


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भारतीय नौ सेना

Kochi is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy

Indian navy ships in the Cochin harbor

India has a maritime history dating back to 7,600 years.

The Rig Veda written around 1500 BCE, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes and describes naval expeditions.


Powerful navies included those of the Maurya, Satavahana, Gupta, Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagara, Kalinga, Mughal and Maratha empires.


The Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia.


During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Maratha and Kerala fleets were expanded, and became the most powerful Naval Forces in the subcontinent, defeating European Navies at various times


Indian navy flag


Chhatrapati Shivaji is considered as the Father of Indian Navy


Crest of the Indian Navy



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Fort Kochi

Later that day, we went on a walk around Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi is just 8 km from Ernakulam city.

It is like a jewel box, spilling with heritage buildings built by the old colonials.

We saw colorful roadside stalls and heritage buildings.

Cochin became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over the town in 1795.

Bastion Bungalow, Fort Kochi
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667, the Bungalow gets its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the old Dutch fort.

The building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion.

Though it has been said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath the bungalow, none have been found.
Today, the Bungalow is the official residence of the Sub Collector.

During 1660s, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, and a centre for Christianity.

Fort Kochi is home to India's oldest church - the St.Francis Church.


The aromas, sights and sounds near the seafront seafood stalls are a big draw for tourists.
The roadside thattukadas serve fried fish with tasty Kerala parota.

Malabar house is a fine restaurant serving an array of splendid seafood.
It is also the best hotel in all of Fort Kochi.
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Great going Indizen. That Bastion Bungalow in the Photograph is one of the oldest structures in Cochin. It is still inhabited and it serves as the official residence of the Sub Div Magistrate/Sub Collector or RDO.


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The next morning, we went on the 130 km drive for an overnight stay at Munnar, the hill resort near Ernakulam.
Verdant green rolling hills gave way to the tea gardens that adorn this major attraction of Kerala.


The name "Munnar" signifies the confluence of 3 mountain streams over here: Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.

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The Raj-era bungalows, huge tea plantations, golf courses are a major draw for tourists, who also escape the tropical heat of the nearby plains.

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Two attractive waterfalls are a popular sight: Atukkad and Naimakkadu.

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Wildlife can be spotted in the Eravikulam and Chinnar parks.

In the afternoon we went inside a tea factory and saw how the green leaves change into packaged tea!

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Cochin is the spice capital of the world.


Pepper and cardamom and vanilla, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg...... Ginger, Turmeric, Tamarind....You name them.


They all grow in Kerala and are traded in Kochi. Not to forget Coffee!


The Spices Board India is headquartered in Cochin.

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And for a historic perspective...
The Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British all came to Cochin to trade in these exotic spices.
Our trade with Italy dates back to the 1st century, much before the advent of UPA 1 !

Munnar is perched 1600 m above sea level, and a very beautiful place to be in.

Not to be missed on your Kerala trip.


Active Member
Re: Munnar

I now take this opportunity to thank all of you, and shared your comments on my travelog.

Doc, Thanks for the beautiful pics from my hometown. I'm from Fort Cochin.

Now eagerly waiting for the story to unfold.
Kerala is one of the most beautiful places I've been to in my entire life, and Cochin may well be its crown jewel.

Sanjay, Very good start !!!!
Thanks, Sahil. Enjoy the rest.
Dr. Sanjay.........:grin::grin:
North to South..........:grin::grin:
Great Pics......................:grin::grin:
with detail............................:grin::grin:
Thank you, Satinder ji.

Interesting thread.. and lovely shot..Please share your experiance
Thanks for liking it.

I really like the way you present your Travelogue..........!!!

Keep pouring.......!!!
I'm working on my Leh blog now.

Very beautiful beginning :)
I'm also from Kochi :cool:
I hope you'll like my views of your city.
Please share some of your pics of Cochin.
Awesome start doc, more pic of Fort Kochi please.
I seem to have misplaced some on my hard disk; lets see what I can find.

What is Barlowganj Hotel Emerald doing here?! :eek:
Anup G, that was a spoof.
I expected you to tell me how its possible for Keralan architecture to land up on the Himalayas!
Awesome Start with some Amazing Pics :rolleyes:
Hey Ashish! You are too generous with the praise!
Nice start..beautiful pics... :)

looking forward for more updates as me too planning for Kerala in Dec... :)
Ask me if you need any info.
Lagey Raho Indizen:D Nice pics:) and a unique start to your new log
Thank you, Gita.
nice start & off course beautiful pics.
Thanks, Manju.
What dramatic and tempting start! Can't wait to get more!
Thanks. I hope you enjoy the rest of it.
Good 1 .. Pour Some more Wine ...... :grin:
You mean... toddy with fried fish/prawns/lobster!
Dr. Sanjay................:grin::grin:
Great South Views.........:grin::grin:
Enjoy, sir jee.
Good updates Indizen
Thanks, Indianature.
Lovely pics and information Indizen :)
Ya Piyush, I wanted to dig up more details on the "Dutch" period of Malabar history, but got busy, so I cut it short.
Well researched and well presented! :)

I loved that Café; though I do not approve of the new brew that is being sold as house specialty, that 'expresso' thing. The Ancients used to savour Espresso, coffee for the Gods! ;)
Thanks, Anup G.
I promise to add a section on all SEVEN religions prevailing in Kerala.

This superb coverage of Kerala & esp my hometown Fort Cochin :grin:

Serve us more please :)
Thanks for liking it.
Nice updates.
Thank you.

Anupji, That Cafe's ownership changed hands recently. It is a very popular hangout for the foreign tourists. They started of as a center of Art, organizing exhibitions of local artists holding Jugalbandis for tourists etc

It is very famous for their Chocolate Cake the recipe of which was developed by the previous owner's wife who was a US national. I do visit there when I'm home to have that really tasty Cake :grin:
The Kashi Art Cafe has a nice vibe and great food. It is featured in the guide books, so the firangis come looking for it.
beautiful pics with detailed information... waiting for more :)
I'll be happy to provide any sort of info related to Kerala.
Great coverage !!!!
Thanku, Sahil bhai.
Nice and detailed updates, as before :)
Thanks, John.
The only thing missing so far is the Toddy and Lobster!
Thank you very much sir.
I seem to have misplaced the food fotos.
nice photos...
Raj, thanks for your appreciation.
Great going Indizen. That Bastion Bungalow in the Photograph is one of the oldest structures in Cochin. It is still inhabited and it serves as the official residence of the Sub Div Magistrate/Sub Collector or RDO.
I added some of that info above, as a caption.
Very nice updates !!!!
Sahilthe goodguy, thanks for the good comments all along.

Just a couple of updates more, before our return flight from Trivandrum to Delhi.
I do mean Thiruvanthapuram !!!

Every place in Kerala has at least two, or sometimes 3 names.
Like Kannur is Cannanore.
Kozhikode is simply Calicut.
Thrissur is Trichur.
Alappuzha is Alleppey.
Kollam is Quilon.

Sometimes a city name is spelt with a contemporary Keralan name, but the railways spell it like it used to be 50 years ago. :)