Kochi Muziris Biennale & Varkala: A perfect end to 2016

I tried to make the most of my two-week winter break in December, and ended the year with a vacation in Kerala. Essentially, my friend and I were visiting Kochi for the biennale, but after overcoming some rather poor planning and a constant state of indecision, we managed to get ourselves to Varkala – which is by far, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

We spent 5 nights in Fort Kochi, primarily to get the feel of the biennale – where we could take it all in at our own pace and not rush through. The Kochi Muziris Biennale is an international art festival held every other year in Fort Kochi, and this time, it’s on for 108 days (starting December 2016). There are about 8 main venues for the biennale, though several cafés and local shops around Fort Kochi have collaborated with the festival as well.

Spotted in Jew Town

Festival fervour in Jew Town, Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a rather tiny haven of all things arty and picturesque – I’m glad that we spent just the ideal amount of time to get to explore every corner of it. Here are some of the highlights.

Hostel Martime - where we put up

Hostel Martime – where we put up

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Quaint little Jew Town

Fort Kochi is quite quaint

Fort Kochi

More Fort Kochi

Some more Fort Kochi

Ongoing installation at Pepperhouse Fort Kochi

Ongoing installation at Pepperhouse, Fort Kochi

Kashi Art Cafe

Loving the wit at Kashi Art Cafe

Installation at Aspinwall

Installation at Aspinwall

The Sea of Pain - a moving installation at Aspinwall

The Sea of Pain – a moving installation at Aspinwall

Students Biennale display by Madras School of Art at Jew Town

Students Biennale display at Jew Town by Madras School of Arts

Seagull - a restaurant and bar at the bay

Spent lots of nights at Seagull – a restaurant and bar by the bay

We missed out on the Virtual Reality tour at Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, which is one of the biggest venues for the biennale – though it’s highly recommended by everyone who experienced it!

Other cultural activities to take part in Fort Kochi:

Visit Jew Town – and the oldest synagogue among the British commonwealth nations;

Squeeze in a day trip to Allepy if you’re up for it

Visit Dutch Palace

Visit Mattancherry Palace

Visit St Francis Church

We took a bus from Kochi to Varkala, a temple town that’s a couple of hours from Trivandrum. We spent 2 nights in Varkala, and it was nowhere near enough. I doubt the pictures do justice, Varkala is a unique experience in itself.

Spotted some dolhphins on our ferry ride

Spotted some dolphins on our ferry ride

How to get to Varkala from Kochi 
We took a State Transport Bus which took us 6 hours as opposed to 3 hours that it usually takes by road.
We stayed at North Cliff at a homestay – most places were booked out since it was peak season, and even the rates were quite high. Though we preferred staying in a hostel, we got ourselves a cosy room in a cottage at Heavenly Breeze. It’s really close to all the shops and restaurants in the North Cliff so it was quite the perfect deal.
Varkala was heavenly ii

Varkala was heavenly i

Varkala was heavenly i

Varkala was heavenly ii (at the North Cliff)

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Homestay at Varkala

Written By : Anisha Tiwary
Picture Credits : Nitya Misra and Anisha Tiwary

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