Fort Kochi: A word of caution

Nature Friendly traveller

Fort Kochi is where History, Architecture and Nature blend. This Queen of the Arabian Sea still has its remains from the past. The Portuguese, Dutch and British had left a treasure trove of memories for us to travel back in time. Huge trees decorating the pavements have a lot to say if you can tune your ears to listen. Ancient buildings still whisper the past glories of the city.

Old bungalows clad in green are now serene home stays for the tourist to shed the complexities of their stressful days. Driving out from the tight packed roads and bumper to bumper traffic of the neighboring places, Kochi presents a drastic change from frenzied speeds to a subtle, gentler pace.

The Vasco da Gama square, Jewish synagogue, Dutch palace, Dutch cemetery, vintage buildings, antique shops, spice markets massive jhankars, peaceful ambience, and slow moving life all bring in a calmness which is heavily lacking in the fast moving world outside. It’s like walking into a slow motion movie scene and instantly getting carried away by its cozy warmth. Closely stacked shops packed with artifacts and antiques, in narrow streets with the pleasant smiling faces of shopkeepers trying to catch our attention silently, fills us with an unknown calmness. It is a relief to be here at this tourist attraction rated sixth in India by Outlook Traveller.

Bubbling with the sportive spirit of football, irrespective of gender the youth of Kochi are active today in the tree lined natural stadium at Vasco da Gama square. The colorful spectacle of healthy and agile youngsters in the rich green background adds vigor to the subtle beauty of Fort Kochi. Heavy vessels moving out in the open sea with their giant hulls cutting waves still cannot break Kochi’s own calmness. Vacant chairs in the wave beaten pier get occupied by couples even under a hot sun for their own moments of peace.

The serenity preserved through years by Nature attracts international travelers to this destination. With the tourism activities peaking and beneficiaries increasing tremendously, there should be concrete programs to maintain the beauty of Fort Kochi. If the serenity is lost on waste dumps and unclean open areas, the health conscious tourist will be reluctant to return to this spot. So now it is the responsibility of one and all associated directly or indirectly with the prosperity and tourism value of Kochi to maintain the cleanliness of the Queen of Arabian Sea. The Association of Travel and Hospitality Industry at Kochi has now taken the initiative to bring back the glory of this destination, which is quickly diminishing with the growing number of tourists.

In the words of Mr. Jose Dominic who is the Managing Director of CGH Earth, “Tourism is not for the tourist or industry or hotels alone. It is a creator of livelihood. We had just scratched the surface. It can bring in more benefit to existing vendors and inspire new vendors. Tourism can happen only in clean, healthy and green surroundings. So we are trying to bring in one and all associated with the destination to keep the destination clean and healthy. Tourism will survive only if Kerala is clean.

If and only if each and every one associated or benefited out of the tourism value of Fort Kochi unites together and take his or her responsibility to maintain the destination clean and green, only then will the tourism industry thrive at this serene spot. If the number of tourists declines, it affects the vendors directly whose livelihood depends on tourism.

Let everyone understand their responsibility to maintain the beauty of Fort Kochi for their own livelihood and better health and make it mandatory to make adequate mechanisms for the Nature friendly disposal of waste generated by their business activity. The tourism market of Fort Kochi will soon decline if attention is not paid with immediate effect.

Let us join together for a Clean Healthy and Green Kerala.