Koffee At Kochi
Hi!BLITZ|February 2017

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale has triggered offa tourism renaissance in Kerala. Already famous globally for its ayurveda charms, the biennale has ironically caught the attention of the Indian traveller many of whom are hotfooting there for the spectacular art on display. So if you are a biennale visitor what else should you soak in? Kochi junkie Priti Mahajan leads you from the fort to the backwaters.

Priti Mahajan

Over my 50 plus visits since, the city has surely and slowly undergone a renaissance. Kochi is now a world city. Amitabh Kant’s path breaking work in positioning Kerala to the world and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale more specifically has ensured that Kochi gets its own share of glory under the sun. While odes have been written about its lush beauty and many articles penned on the numerous things to do, here are my gems lovingly gathered and cherished over the years.

Those in the know of things cut the clutter at the numerous stores in Jew Town and head to Crafters (www.crafters.in). Sunny and Johny Malayil, the very amicable owners run a beautiful store where one can find some real treasures like Chettinad four-poster beds to Chinese urns. Proudly on display at the store is the largest ‘Varp’ (uruli) in the area! Over the numerous restorations and new builds that I have spear headed for the Taj Group of Hotels in Kerala in the past, Sunny has always had some surprises in store for me. One of my favourites is a classic Travancore swing lovingly restored and placed outside the Rice Boat restaurant at the Vivanta Malabar—a favourite lookout of mine to spot dolphins from!

For the ultimate curated collection of small pieces, rummage through Sheratone (www.antiquesdealershop.com) located next to Crafters. On my recent trip, I found some rare pieces from a ship break. My brother has happily come home with an early 1900s vintage telescope and I placed a weather beaten brass ship model from the same ship in a client’s backwater facing villa.

While I love to read, I absolutely love collecting books even more! My eyes light up when I see a book shop and I can tell you that the absolute best is Idiom Book Sellers in Fort Kochi (Tel: +91 048 42217075). In the early 90s it started as a pushcart selling books on the Fort Kochi beach and went on to become the most loved bookstore around town carrying a hugely diverse and eclectic list of publications. On this trip I picked up celebrated cartoonist, E.P. Unny’s The Making of Fort Kochi. Unny also has a prominent display at the Aspinwall House at the Kochi- Muziris Biennale 2016.

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