Driving around Kochi on a hartal day

When I was in Kochi last weekend for Nexon Drive, I had an extra day. I decided to book a Zoomcar and explore few places around. But fate had other plans. Kerala is notorious for its hartals- for any silly reason anyone can call for a hartal, without any approval process, without any planning, without any notice. Because of this many industries and companies hesitate to operate in Kerala. Just the previous night BJP called for a bandh. This forced me to replan my day. My original plan was to go out of city, but since I had to return the car and catch a flight, going out of city, getting stuck in some road block or possession or some kind of violence was risky. My host said the areas I planned to visit are RSS stronghold and it may not be safe to venture there on a bandh day.

Zoomcar called and advised me not to drive the whole day. They gave 2 extra hours to return the car in the evening after bandh timings end. That wasn't an exciting proposition. Why would I pay the rent for the car and keep it stationery? After consulting few friends, I decided to explore places around Kochi, mainly the Vypin area which I had not visited so far.

Around 9.30 AM checked out and left from my hotel (Radisson Blu, Kochi) and first headed to Vallarapadam Basilica, known as Velankani of Kochi. (Tip off- Tennyson Thomas)



Sunday mass was in progress, so I didn't go inside. Apparently visitors can go till top of the church and get a good view. Church campus has lots of displays depicting stories from the life of Jesus
Once done with the church I proceeded on the same road till its end. Got to see this fishing net and a boat!


Enroute an old lady asked for lift. She wanted to go to church. Dropped her off at the church, but before that had to divert for a photoshoot with the lady sitting in the car!

Next proceeded on Puthuvype beach-there was nothing exciting here, 3 ice cream autos arrived one after another, hoping for some business as usual, despite the hartal day. Next hit the beach road and proceeded adjacent to the beach.

Spotted a nice temple as below

At some point the beach road was too bad for Figo, so had to turn away. But that proved to be great decision- could drive through of the most scenic spots. Check photos below.






A church by the road


Shops in main road were all closed due to Hartal call. Small shops in the side road were open. Managed the morning with banana and some snacks available in small shops. Many people were desperate for a ride, as buses were not operating. Few vehicles had stickers  "airport", "Hospital" etc on them. Several private vehicles and few taxis as well were plying on main road as usual.

Eventually I reached Cherai beach. But it was mid afternoon- not the best time to visit a beach. Cherai beach is a popular one- dozens of hotels and resorts operate next to it. Had some tender coconut here- nothing great but something is better than nothing.
From here decided to return towards city, but not through the shortest route. Went further north and got some very scenic views. Saw Munakkal beach from a distance- didn't have the mood to go there.

Diverted to a riverside road

Somewhere near Pallipuram, two youngsters tried to stop me. Managed to evade them. Returned to Kochi via NH66 (formerly NH 17). Highway was clean with very few vehicles and the drive was a breeze. As I neared Kochi passed through Lulu Mall, which was closed. But by 5 PM many shops had started business. Got a restaurant selling ghee rice, had my lunch. Though my original plans were different, didn't regret what I explored that day.  Rested for a while and then went to a Shiva temple, before returning the car to Zoomcar.
Not sure if those who called for a sudden bandh achieved their objective or are plotting another bandh. Not sure what they achieve by declaring a bandh on a Sunday. I logged around 110 kms on that day, without any incident. Driving around random street and amidst scenic fields/backwaters was a great experience. Returned the car slightly ahead of time and headed to airport.

16 comments:

  1. I see that you have made the best use of the day. Munakkal is actually a less visited, great beach, but as you have to take smaller and less used roads on the way, it is good that you didn't visit the place on the harthal day :)

    If it wasn't a harthal day, Cherai would have been crowded at all times. It is actually good that you kept to what all are around the city. There has been incidents of violence at many other places too.

    This is my earlier post on Vallarpadam and nearby; the view from up the towers is good :)
    https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/vallarpadam/

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  2. आपकी नजरों से कोच्ची बहुत अच्छा लगा।
    केरल को कुदरत ने भरपूर खूबसूरती प्रदान की है।

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  3. That chinese fish-net thing is something awesome to see. Good captures and glat that you could wisely use the day.

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  4. You are BRAVE! :)
    And you brought back some great images, so I guess the risk was worth it. Good that all went well, though. :)

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  5. Seems like a great place to explore. What are your highlights around Kochi?

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