Thursday, April 19, 2018

Life on the Water, Cochin, Early 1970s

Cochin is a fascinating city.  It is situated on an island which is connected to its much larger sister-city, Ernakulam, by bridges over two waterways, with the island of Willingdon in the middle.  One is easily confused as to where the labyrinthine waterways end and the Arabian Sea begins. 

Willingdon Island belongs entirely to the Defense establishment.  It also contains some small commercial places at its edge and a hotel, the Taj Malabar. The 'real' Cochin, on the Arabian Sea, is surrounded by bobbing boats, with fishing nets cast into the air, and fish being caught in a way that has to be seen. 

All my visits were to Defense-owned Willingdon Island, on which Taj purchased the best property, at the northern end of the island. I was a guest in one of the largest suites there. The picture above has been taken from there. I often regret that I enjoyed the suite in the hotel and looking out at the sea and waterways, rather than spending more time in Cochin proper. Cochin is an old city with a unique character, with architecture which is very photogenic. The above photograph does not contain that, I am sad to say. 

Vasco da Gama and many other travelers from Arab lands and beyond, were not aware of Gujarat or Maharashtra when they landed between Cochin and Trivandrum.  If I am lucky, by and by I would find other pictures, showing you the distinctive charms of Cochin, which not only a migrant from the north (Calcutta, like me, or others) would be able to admire.

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