Cooking & homestay on Vypin Island, Kochi

Posted on March 30, 2020 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Vypin island chinese fishing nets

Chinese fishing nets at Vypin Island

 

I think the rise of Airbnb has contributed to how we travel these days. Now even traditional b & b and homestay have opted to list their accommodations on Airbnb to increase competitiveness. I have had both positive and negative experiences using Airbnb, and the negative experiences did leave a bitter taste in my mouth, which made me more cautious than before.

Nowaways, many of of us prefer to travel independently and connect with the locals; we want authentic experiences and hang out in non-touristy areas. Occasionally I would join specialised guided tours (like the textiles tour in Gujarat last year), but most of the time, I would plan my own itineraries, which does have some ups and downs as well. Sometimes I don't necessary pick the most convenient accommodations, but I do get to see how the locals live, which I think makes the trip more interesting.

After one night in Fort Kochi, I moved to an island opposite called Vypin/Vypeen, which is a residential area reachable by ferries and a few bridges. Actually there is not much to see on Vypin Island, but if you want to get away from the tourists in Fort Cochin, then Vypin may be right for you. Fort Kochi and Ernakulam are accessible by commuter ferries, which operate daily and are fairly frequent.

 

ferry Vypin kochi

ferry Vypin kochi

ferry Vypin kochi

ferry Vypin kochi

ferry Vypin kochi

Commuter ferries to Fort Kochi and Ernakulam

 

On the island, there are some homestays and one of them is a 2-room homestay called Bungalow Heritage Homestay, which is a 1930s heritage home built by the owner, Neema's father. The main attraction for me was the cooking class offered by Neema, as I was keen to learn about South Indian cooking. Neema is a passionate cook and she even has a Youtube channel where she shares her recipes and cooking tips.

Since Neema's husband was a Captain on Merchant ships, which meant that their family has sailed around the world, and their home is filled with nautical decorations and items. Even the rooms are named after the world's greatest explorers, Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus. As I was the only guest there during the two nights, Neema upgraded me to a bigger room and even invited me to her relative's birthday party next door. It was interesting to meet her extended family and chat to the locals who were all very hospitable.

 

img_6709-min

Bungalow Heritage Homestay

img_6649-min  img_6652-min

Bungalow Heritage Homestay

img_6641-min  img_6650-min

Bungalow Heritage Homestay

 

img_6693-min

Inside a relative's home

 

Another positive aspect of homestay is that breakfasts are never dull! I am not a fan of many hotels' breakfast buffets, so I appreciated Neema's homecooked breakfasts featuring a variety of local dishes. I don't usually eat spicy food for breakfasts, but when I travel to hot places, eating spicy food for breakfasts suddenly becomes quite appealing.

 

kerala breakfast

kerala breakfast

kerala breakfast

Homecooked breakfasts

 

My cooking class took place in the afternoon, and I learnt to cook five local south Indian dishes using fresh spices from Neema's kitchen. The dishes I learnt are not complicated, but various spices are required in all dishes. After eating at different restaurants in Fort Kochi, I do think that my (Neema's)  homecooked meal was the best I have had so far!

 

neema's kitchen

neema's kitchen

neema's kitchen

neema's kitchen

neema's kitchen

neema's kitchen

 

Although there isn't much to see on this island, you can enjoy a laidback stroll along the waterfront to see the Chinese fishing nets. Since there are no tourists here, you can watch the fishermen at work and take many good shots.

 

Vypin island

Vypin island chinese fishing nets

Vypin island chinese fishing nets

vypin

vypin

vypin

flowers vypin

flowers vypin

 

Like in most part of Kochi, churches and shrines are conspicuous... By the ferry terminal is the Roman Catholic Our Lady of Hope Church (Igreja Da Nossa Senhora Da Esperança), one of the oldest churches in Kochi built by the Portuguese in 1605. The church was renovated in 2005, which explains why it looks fairly polished. I visited the church early in the morning in between the masses, so it was empty and very peaceful.

 

Our Lady of Hope Church

Our Lady of Hope Church

Church of Our Lady of Hope

Church of Our Lady of Hope  church door

Our Lady of Hope Church

 

Besides the small churches and shrines, there is a large pilgrimage centre on the nearby Bolgatty Island called The Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom/Vallarpadam Church. This is an important prilgrimage site in India and around one million people visit the Basilica every year. Originally built in 1524, the former churcn was destroyed by heavy flood, and a new church was reconstructed in 1676. It became famous after a miracle happened in 1752 when the lives of two devotees were saved from a violent storm. In 1888, the church was declared as a special church by Pope Leo XIII and later the Union Government stated it as a major pilgrim centre. I didn't have the time to visit the church, but took a photo of it when the taxi drove past it (see below).

 

dsc_0732-min

vypin

img_6856-min  img_6855-min

img_6710-min

Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom

Bottom: Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom

 

I think two nights on this island was enough; it offered me a different perspective and I enjoyed the tourist-free time. If sightseeing is not your main priority, then I do recommend a short relaxing stay on this island.

 

architecture vypin

vypin

vypin

vypin

 

 

 


This post was posted in Food & dining, Architecture, Photography, Cookery, Travel, Street life, India, Colonial architecture, Kerala and was tagged with Food & dining, architecture, cookery, Colonial architecture, Architectural conservation, street life, India, Kerala, Kochi, churches, Vypin Island

Comments