Day 21 – Jan 8th
Emerging from the need for a new port in Kochi is the largest artificial island in India – Willingdon island. We had an early start from Orchid Homestay to visit the island and a few other places on the way.
Our first stop was the Kerala folklore museum. This private museum is home to thousands of antiques, crafts, folk art collected from different parts of India, but mainly the south. The entire collection has sprung out of one man’s passion for ancient art.
The staff gave a brief introduction of the museum and what to expect from the three storey building. With so many items to carefully observe and marvel at, it took us around 3 hours to tour the museum. We ended the tour by having refreshing masala chai and strong coffee from the art cafe on the third floor. It also houses a textile, antiques and jewellery shop, in case you are in a mood for some shopping.
Under the burning rays of the sun, we headed to Willingdon island. NH 966B along the border of the island connects it to mainland Kochi and Thevara, offering a good view of the Vembanad lake.
A check-post at the entrance of the island issues tickets for all the vehicles going in. For bikes it was Rs 3. Since the island is mainly built for the shipping purposes, there is nothing specific to see, except the Cochin Port Maritime Heritage Museum which was also closed because of Bharat bandh.
We wandered around the island on the bike, looking at different establishments. The most noteworthy one is the Office of the Cochin Port Trust, which we first saw from the Ro-Ro ferry we took from Vypin to Fort Kochi. The island also hosts many cement factories, warehouses and other port related offices.
Out of the few restaurants that were available, we went to BTH Harbour Gate for lunch. The food and ambience of the place was decent while offering good value for money. The staff at the restaurant was kind enough to allow us to sit and work there. While working, we enjoyed a nice strong coffee with a lovely view overlooking the garden in front of the restaurant.
After that, we headed to the Hill Palace museum only to find out that it is also closed due to the strike. Finally, we decided to call it a day and headed back to our homestay. On our way back, we took a short detour to drive through the InfoPark (IT hub in Kochi) which reminded us of the Hitech city in Hyderabad.
Day 22 – Jan 9th
Its time to try the Kochi metro and visit the famous Lulu Mall! Conveniently, there is a direct train from Aluva to Lulu mall in Edapally. Both the metro stations are well maintained with parking facility. Unlike the plastic token system in Hyderabad metro, paper tickets are issued in Kochi metro and boxes are placed at the exit to drop the tickets.
Lulu mall is located right next to the Edapally metro station with a foot-over bridge connecting it to the station. The mall itself is huge, and we learned about quite a few brands that we had never heard of before. There is a mini amusement park with different rides and a food court on the top floor. We spent most of our time window shopping.
Day 23 – Jan 10th
We spent our time at the Homestay.
We wouldn’t call Willingdon island a touristy place. Its a quiet, clean place with a lot of huge trees and a great spot to hang out with friends. Since it doesn’t take lot of time to cover, you can include it amongst a few other places that you plan to visit in a day. We recommend the coffee at BTH Harbour gate and if you are someone who enjoys ancient art, then Kerala folklore museum is a must visit.
Following are the places we visited:
- Kerala folklore museum
- Willingdon island
- BTH Harbour gate – Restaurant in Willingdon island
- Info park – IT hub in Kochi
- Lulu international shopping mall