The historic town of Thripunithura that still bears the imprints of the royal grandeur, erupted in a riot of colors on Tuesday during the Atham processions. Thousands thronged the streets to bring alive the nostalgic memories of the rich past. Various folk art forms , processions and street shows marked the beginning of the week-long ‘Athaghosham 2012’.
The ceremonial flag hoisting and the lighting of the lamp in Atham Nagar was followed by a colorful parade along the streets. The colorful pageant was accompanied by caparisoned elephants, traditional folk and classical dance forms such as Theyyam, Kummatti kali, Kolkali, Mayilattom, Pulikali, Kathakali and Atakavadi among many others. The Panjavadyam added a frenzied fervour to the procession, while the modern dance forms added a contemporary touch to the milieu. Floats depicted many social issues raging the state including alcohol abuse, Shawarma and food poisoning and the Mullaperiyar issue among others. As always the mythical stories and legends remained the crowd pullers this year too.
Apart from the religious fervour and festivities, the Atham festivities highlight the religious harmony among the people of Kerala. Onam , which is the biggest festival in Kerala has always been celebrated by everyone irrespective of caste, creed or colour. Though we tend to forget this message of love and brotherhood in the flurry of activities like shopping and food festivals, Onam has always remained as the biggest bonding element in the lives of every Malayalee all over the world.
Late night call…
Friend: ‘What are you doing tomorrow morning?’
Me: “What to do. Nothing, just like that… like every day, free after holy mass by 7 am”.
Friend: “Come let’s go to fish market”.
Me: “WHAT! Sorry buddy…”
Friend: “No, this place is interesting. Carry some money also. Come to Champakkara fish market in Ernakulam by 07:30 I will be there.”
Alright! What else!
After mass, took car and went directly to the market. I have only heard about this. First visit! On the way to Tripunithura, the royal city, it says ‘Champakkara Market Complex’.
He came with his family. Well I came with mine too…or she will ask me… “Why did you buy this fish… you could buy other fish… ”
Parked car at the church compound next to the market… Waterfront church… Hmm!
Piled up plastic boxes, cycles and cane baskets. Can’t move around without hitting others…
I shifted my wallet to front pocket. Money is money.
Strong piercing smell of fish and meat… But the area is clean.
Ice crushing machine…Where are they taking this crushed ice?
Filling ice in the boxes packed with fish, tied on top of cycles and scooters
fishes still alive…struggling to breathe. Poor ones… Just like how we struggle under water.
We went inside.
There are some vegetable shops too. Like everywhere in the surrounding area, vegetables are always expensive here too.
Bought 2 kg tapioca, tomatoes and some vegetables… Rs.70… not bad!
Yummy tapioca and fish curry!
Some sad faces… some happy faces.
Walked along … beside butchers with pork, beef, mutton… still dripping blood.
Boiling and cleaning the intestines. It reminded me about sausages.
Memories went back to hotelier days when I used to gulp chicken sausages and bacon for breakfast.
Big fishes are sold as whole. But after buying, you can get it cut into pieces.
If two or three families go together, we can get those for cheap price as we share a big fish.
In one corner, they cut and clean fish.
Fish …fish… everywhere fish..
Crabs, even legs tried together, trying to crawl out to escape from the vessel. But another one pulls it back… should be a Malayalee crab.
Little portions of fish varieties and varieties of small fishes everywhere on the floor! Area is still neat.
People walking in between the portions to find the needed ones and for the best offers…
Maddening sounds of bargaining.
Rs. 20 – Rs.100 as per variety.
Where is my friend?
Walking around with the camera, I missed them. ( See the pics that I took here)
People looking me with suspicious eyes… newspaper? (Do I look like?)
No… Just like that.
Plenty of aunties sitting along the path selling fishes
my eyes stuck on piles and piles of prawns. Yummy
might be expensive.
Me: “etraya chechy?” (How much)
Chechy: “kilo nooru” (Rs.100 per kg)
What! My eyes bulge. Outside it is Rs.250 per kg starting…as big as pointing finger.
These ones are still jumping. Alive! Fresh!
Took a kilo of fresh prawns… Very happy, but did not show outside.
Inside it is still busy. Men filling their boxes in cycle and scooters with fish to be sold along houses
aunties filling their baskets for the same purposes… But showing eyes at men to bring the price down…hmm…
Scenic on the other side of the river… it should be the island; rowing boats still reach the jetty with loads of fishes.They start coming at 6 am. Fishes are cheaper that time. Good time for them as now no trolling by big boats or ships.
Bought varieties of fish!
Dividing the booty … just Rs.250 per family… Happy for a week! Will take some home for parents in the weekend, they will be happy too. These are less available at those places.
“Yeeeeewww…” She is screaming… two prawns… or one prawn? Jumped out!!
It took two hours to clean one kg prawns.
Very careful… fried prawns. I packed my lunch box
I have prawns today for lunch!!
Wish I’d get one piece… office buddies salivating!!
Travelling in Cochin city buses have always been a challenging task, and I was the victim last evening, when I had to reach Tripunithura ( a market town in Cochin). The distance from my work place to the destination (Tripunithura) is only 6km and a bus fare of mere 5 rupees, but, thanks to the heavy traffic congestion and unexpected showers your short journey gets stretched. The 5 rupees then gives you the pleasure of a jam-packed bus trip that runs into hours – a full Cochin sightseeing tour.
Well last day it was my chance to experience this bitter reality of the city transport service, while our bus driver was somehow making way amidst the traffic block, daily travelers were keeping themselves busy by chit-chats and other talks. The topic of discussion was the sensational tamil flick Enthiran (Robot), few college-goers were discussing how stars in the movie did justice to their roles and what the movie lacked. After few minutes I realised the bus again started moving, I was relieved and checked the wrist watch which was ticking past 6:20, which meant in the past 20 mins our bus moved only 2kms!!!
Even though our politicians may call our city great names at the end of the day things remain the same and local people have to bear the brunt of the administrative apathy.
Meanwhile, the chat regarding the movie continued and was getting more expressive with those college students enacting few stunts and facial expressions of the movie. Though I haven’t watched this much-awaited flick of Rajinikanth, ‘Enthiran’ in the past 10mins I was lucky enough to get a good visualized review of the movie. Watch was ticking past 6:30 and now another 3km was left to finally reach my destination.
The bus stopped in between at different bus stops with many passengers getting down and more getting in. Amidst all this chaos, the person who remained ‘as cool as cucumber’ was the conductor who was not even managing the crowd inside the bus, but was also making sure he was giving tickets to all passengers. Kudos to him to collect the money from everyone even when there was hardly any space to move freely.
After all the hardships I made it to Tripunithura and finally was out in the fresh air and took a deep breath and saluted those thousands of daily commuters who face this hardship daily after their daily grind.
Recently I went on a weekend visit to the Hill Palace Museum in Tripunithura which lies about 12 Km from Ernakulam. It was really enjoyable and mind-blowing when you are with a group of friends who are ready to enjoy to the maximum.
We five explored the nook and corners of the Palace, buildings close-by and the forest behind it. At first we hurried to visit the Palace Museum where we found a long queue of visitors waiting their turn. So, the lady who keeps all the visitors’ footwear in racks asked us to visit rest of the things that do not need any restrictions and be back before the museum closes for the day. So, we hurried down to visit the Deer Park, where we found interesting herds of deer. And, then we found a path leading to the wilderness behind.
Travelling through the forest route that encircled the boundary of the property was really interesting and it was the thing we enjoyed the most. It is a rare opportunity to explore a little forest that lies so close to big Ernakulam city. It is said that the land surrounding the Hill Palace has rare medicinal plants. Lovers roaming inside the forest became an interesting topic for us and soon we were giggling away. It was fun swinging from the solid roots that hung from the big old trees like Tarzan. After a refreshing yet scary walk through the forest we went back for the Museum visit. This time there was no queue and we could easily get in.
To ensure high security, they confiscated our bags and mobile phones. It was interesting to see the things on display that were once part of the life of our ancestors. As we walked through long verandahs and stairs of the Palace, we looking over our shoulders to see if ‘Nagavalli‘ was following us (It was here the famous Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu starring Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Shobhana was shot. Most of the Malayalees know this).
The architecture of the time the palace is made is really amazing (Hill Palace was built in 1865 by the Maharaja Of Cochin using their personal wealth). The view from the palace’s balcony is really stunning. We can see the garden which is maintained and designed artistically, and the view of the present city beyond.
The museum displayed 14 categories of exhibits including murals, paintings, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, carvings etc. The collections displayed in the museum are mainly from the Cochin Royal Family. Some other exhibits are from Travancore Royal House, Paliam Devaswom and from the department of Archaeology. It has a gold crown embedded with precious stones and many valuable coins, ornaments, majestic beds and samples of epigraphy.
When the museum visit got over, we hurried out to see if anything was left unexplored. After taking a few snaps of ourselves in different poses, the last thing we enjoyed was taking a turn on a real swing (this time it was not tree roots). There were numerous other visitors including newly-weds, families with children and groups of friends, like us.
It was both enjoyable and informative to take a weekend trip to the Hill Palace, Tripunitura. If you have made plans to enjoy, get set go!