Tea and sea
At Fort Kochi, you are never far from a cafe and a relaxing cuppa. Teapot Cafe (Peter Celli St, Fort Nagar) is an ode to tea, with the decor and menu devoted to the beverage. At Kashi Art Gallery, take in an art exhibition after dining at its cheerful garden cafe. And for a taste of fresh seafood (below) from the Malabar Coast, head to the atmospheric History Restaurant at Brunton Boatyard.
Reawaken the senses
Kerala is the original home of Ayurveda, which means the science of life, and is a great place to visit for authentic therapies. Experience them at Ayurville (below) or Agastya Ayurveda. While these centres are recommended for intensive treatments, head to Jiva Spa at Vivanta by Taj or Sohum Spa at Crowne Plaza if you prefer a relaxing massage in a luxurious ambience.
Passage of time
Kochi is the proverbial melting pot of history, with a rich mix of European influences, including Portuguese, Dutch and British. Explore the city’s past on a walk with Cochin Magic or Hornbilltrails. Or opt for two wheels (below), with Art of Bicycle Trips. Stop to watch the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets by the coast, or stroll through Jew Town and stop by Paradesi Synagogue (Synagogue Ln, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry), which was built in 1568.
Kathakali, which literally means a katha (story) told in the form of a kali (play), is a mix of classical and folk dance styles that dates back to the 17th century. Catch a nightly performance at the Kerala Kathakali Centre or Greenix Village. While the kathakali show starts at 6pm, get there early for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the elaborate make-up process (below).
Find the best deals at antique shops such as Crafters (below), which are filled with delicate Chinese vases, cast-iron cookware, bronze statues and wooden spice boxes. Cinnamon is a popular choice for designer wear, jewellery and homeware. And for traditional Kerala saris in exquisite white and gold, look no further than Kasavukada, which has been owned by the same family for more than three generations.
– TEXT BY CHARUKESI RAMADURAI
PHOTOS: INMAGINE, SUPPLIED, BRUNTON BOATYARD FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.