Offbeat Kochi: Uncover The Hidden Treasures Of The City

Whether you're an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply someone looking to escape the crowds, Kochi has something special to offer when you venture off the well-trodden path
Fishermen at a beach in Kochi
Fishermen at a beach in KochiPixabay

Kochi, a coastal city in the southern state of Kerala, is often celebrated for its picturesque backwaters, lush green landscapes, and historical landmarks. While these attractions certainly make Kochi a popular tourist destination, there is much more to this city than meets the eye. Beyond the well-trodden paths lie hidden treasures waiting to be discovered by those willing to explore the offbeat side of Kochi. Here's a look at some of them.

Paniyeli Poru

Paniyeli Poru
Paniyeli Porumalayattoor_heads/instagram

Paniyeli Poru, situated on the outskirts of Kochi, is a serene destination known for its natural beauty. Located about 30 kilometres from Kochi, this peaceful spot offers captivating views of the Periyar River as it winds through rocky terrain and lush forests. Visitors are drawn to the area's enchanting streams and milky waterfalls, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy nature. However, Paniyeli Poru lacks restaurants and eateries, so bringing your own food and water is advisable to fully appreciate this unspoiled gem.

Getting There

To reach Paniyeli Poru from Kochi, travellers can hire a taxi or rent a car, driving to Perumbavoor and then continuing to the destination. Alternatively, public buses from Kochi to Perumbavoor are available, followed by a local taxi or auto-rickshaw ride to Paniyeli Poru.

Indo-Portuguese Museum

Exhibits inside the museum
Exhibits inside the museumlowbudgettravelindia/instagram

The Indo-Portuguese Museum, nestled in Fort Kochi, unveils an often-overlooked chapter of Kochi's history. Housed in a centuries-old building, it showcases the Indo-Portuguese community's influence on the region. Inside, an array of intricate woodwork, religious artefacts, and Christian art forms reveals the fusion of Indian and Portuguese cultures. The museum's exhibits elucidate this heritage's historical context and significance, offering visitors a deeper appreciation of Kochi's colonial past.

The Information

Timings: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays and all public holidays.

Entry Fee: INR 10 for Indian nationals and INR 25 for foreigners. Entry is free first Thursday of every month.

Getting There: Whether you arrive by air at Cochin International Airport, by train to Ernakulam Junction, by bus to Fort Kochi, or even by ferry from Ernakulam, the museum is conveniently located within walking distance of several historic landmarks in the Fort Kochi area.

Folklore Theatre And Museum

Folklore Theatre and Museum
Folklore Theatre and Museumxx__me__cookie__xx/instagram

Established as a non-profit endeavour in 2009, this museum is a remarkable testament to Kerala's folklore heritage. Within its walls, an array of artefacts from bygone eras awaits your exploration. Masks, wood, stone, bronze sculptures, traditional and ritual costumes, ancient musical instruments, traditional jewellery, manuscripts revealing rare medicinal and astrological secrets, and Stone-Age utensils are carefully preserved and displayed. The architectural wonder of the three-story building mirrors the styles of Malabar, Cochin, and Travancore.

The entrance, crafted from 16th-century Tamil Nadu temple remnants, exudes history, while nearby pierced wooden windows evoke the Malabar architectural style. The Cochin-style first floor, aptly named "kalithattu," showcases costumes from traditional Kerala dance forms like Theyyam, Kathakali, Ottanthullal, and Mohiniyattam. The second floor, named "Kanjadalam" or lotus petal, features mesmerizing mural paintings and a finely carved wooden ceiling with 60 frames. Daily at 6:30 p.m., the theatre comes alive with authentic stage performances, ensuring Kerala's cultural heritage continues to captivate and inspire.

The Information

Timings: The museum is open from 9.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m daily.

Entry Fee: The entrance fee to the museum is INR 100 for adults and INR 50 for students.

Getting There: The Folklore Museum is located in Thevara, a district of Cochin City, 35 km away from Nedumbassery. KSRTC provides two bus classes from the airport to the city, and all taxis at Cochin Airport are part of the pre-paid Cochin Airport Taxi Society.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Tawny Bellied Babbler, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Tawny Bellied Babbler, Mangalavanam Bird SanctuaryPixabay

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is a verdant oasis for avian enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Spanning a mere 2.74 hectares, this urban haven is a vital refuge for migratory birds and resident species. The sanctuary's name, "Mangalavanam," translates to "mangrove forest," aptly describing its lush, diverse ecosystem. Visitors can marvel at over 80 species of birds, including herons, egrets, and kingfishers, amidst the tranquil backdrop of mangrove forests, wetlands, and tidal ponds. Beyond its ornithological significance, Mangalavanam also plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of Kochi, highlighting the coexistence of nature and urban life.

The Information

Timings: 10 am-5 pm daily

Entry Fee: Free of cost 

Getting There: Visitors can reach it by air via Cochin International Airport, train to Ernakulam Junction or Ernakulam Town, or by road, taking advantage of Kochi's well-connected transportation network. Local taxis, buses, and auto-rickshaws make exploring this urban oasis and its diverse birdlife convenient.

Pooyamkutty River 

Pooyamkutty River
Pooyamkutty River sebin.tom_/instagram

Pooyamkutty River is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by tourists seeking natural beauty. This river meanders through dense forests, creating a mesmerising backdrop for eco-tourism enthusiasts and nature lovers. The lush greenery along its banks is home to diverse flora and fauna, offering a glimpse into Kerala's rich biodiversity. Visitors can embark on boat rides or canoeing expeditions, immersing themselves in the ambience of Pooyamkutty River. The journey unveils waterfalls and exotic bird species.

The Information

Timings: Generally, it's best to visit during daylight hours, from early morning to late afternoon, to fully appreciate the natural beauty and activities in the area.

Getting There: To reach Pooyamkutty River, fly into Cochin International Airport or arrive at Ernakulam Junction by train. From Kochi, it's a 50-kilometer journey by road, which can be covered by taxi, car rental, or public buses. Alternatively, explore the serene river via a houseboat adventure on Kerala's backwaters.

Outlook Traveller