Kerala, known as Gods own country, is unbelievably green. In fact the two places I have visited that are about similar are Kerala and Sri Lanka because of the abundance in forests and beaches.
Friends who travelled to Cochin were fond of the place and I was told that it’s just another Goa. But it’s not. It’s rather more calm and perhaps not so crowded with ‘fussy’ tourists. After a night spent the Allappey houseboat, we head to Kochi, which is about 3 to 4 hours drive from Allappey. When in Kochi, I knew I had to visit the much talked about cafe – Kashi Art Cafe located just off Jew Street. I would never miss a place that connects me to Art.
Cochin/Kochi is a city in Kerala that can instantly change the way you think about the entire state. The airport here is quite metropolitan and connects to and fro any part of the world. So every time I did visit Kerala, my flights were more like Dubai to Kochi soon after visiting relatives, limiting my chances of exploring the city.
So I did visit the city finally. We went on a stroll around the place enjoying the freedom that I felt for the first time in Kerala, well, the second after Varkala Cliff- Trivandrum. Fort Kochi is where all the foreign tourists head, to unwind in the sun. The area features an array of stalls selling jewellery, food, and clothes for a great price (of course, BARGAIN!). As I stroll along the narrow alleyways, a small board on the burgher street said Kashi Art Cafe. Burgher means ‘clerk’ in Dutch as the place was once ruled by the Dutch, and it was primarily the clerks and middlemen who lived here. Kochi will give you a similar vibe as Galle in Sri Lanka, the similarities are prominent. There is a colonial twist in terms of architecture in Kochi and Galle.
As you enter the café, the passage walls display various art forms presented by artists. I believe they constantly change the artworks on the wall. The café is a small space with a touch of contemporary ambiance. What stands out the most are the railway sleepers spread on cobble of pebbles and the low cemented chairs. Sometimes the crowd is big that you may even have to wait. The café’s former owner Dories Younger, a Dutch women,had transformed a Dutch house into this beautiful café which was later renovated by the current owners. Brimming with artistic flavours in every nook and corner, the cafe is adorned with beautiful imaginative paintings and contemporary sculptures. Another element that is of a particular interest is the metal sculpture of 5 to 6 structures of human head arrayed one on top of the other conveying different human emotions.
The menu here is small but adequate – serving coffee, sandwiches, cakes and juices. I had a simple lemon juice and a chocolate cake but to me it was a bit of a dismay and not in par with my expectations. Although, the locals suggest a good breakfast in Fort Kochi is here – at Kashi Art Cafe. It’s no surprise the cafe sees a mix of crowd from across the world. The cafe is also an art gallery for artists to display their paintings during exhibitions. Another addition to the Kashi family is the Kashi residency that is home to many artists whose artworks are being displayed at the exhibition.
The Kashi Art cafe is not the best of the cafe’s I have seen so far but its a perfect spot for a laid – back evening or a lazy afternoon read. If you’re in the city, be sure to stop by the café to feast your eyes with some unique art elements.