Appreciate contemporary arts or not, the Kochi Muziris Biennale appeals to all. With its thriving sense of artistic expression that reflects quirky concepts, cultural expression, installations of modern rationale, and even some hard-hitting social messaging, the fifth edition of Kochi Muziris Biennale is all set to take place between December 12, 2022 – April 10, 2023. The festival has been curated by Singapore-based Indian visual artist, Shubhigi Rao.
The famed international contemporary art exhibition runs for four months on the island of Fort Kochi in Kerala. So, if you are looking to soak into the art and ideas of this backwater paradise close and personal, we offer you a list of properties that will help you to achieve your objective.
Beach Gate Bungalows, Kochi, Kerala:
Located in the bylanes of Fort Kochi, the centre of the Biennale, are two private and exclusive heritage villas on rent, the Beach Gate Bungalows, CGH Earth. Each of these Bungalows is replete with modern luxuries of a private pool, lush gardens, a fully equipped kitchen with grocery on call, an attentive staff for housekeeping and maintenance, and even a chef on call to whip traditional or popular cuisine. Consisting of 3 bedrooms, a dining room, and a living room each, and the fact that the thriving scene of the Biennale is a few minutes walk away makes them an ideal choice to stay whether travelling with family or friends.
Brunton Boatyard, Kochi, Kerala:
No place unravels the unique story of Fort Kochi better than Brunton Boatyard. Always coveted for trade, refuge, and the local spices including the Black Gold, or simply chosen as ‘home’ by many travellers, Fort Kochi is an exotic amalgamation of influences – from the Arabs and east Asia to the Jews, Portuguese, Gujaratis, the Dutch, British Raj and many more. Conveniently located at the famed Fort Kochi harbour, the historic hotel is inspired by the harbour’s story. Be it the colonial architecture and local aesthetics, or the heady blend of many cuisines that is a cultural narrative in itself. Elegant and earthy sea-facing rooms and suites, even the windows next to the charming bathtubs facing the waters) don’t just reflect the city’s strong local character but are also equipped with all modern luxuries. Watching ships and fishing boats go by, Chinese nets in action or gambolling dolphins waft over the waves from the leisure of your rooms and indulging in an adventurous time-travel Kochi episode, a Brunton Boatyard experience of all things Kochi is something few men would want to miss.
Chittoor Kottaram, Kochi, Kerala:
Earthy Kerala luxuries and elegance mark every inch of this 200-year-old King’s abode, a royal mansion of devotion by the picturesque backwaters. Built by the Rajah of Cochin as a getaway from his routine and to pay homage to the family deity temple closeby, Chittoor Kottaram is a destination by itself. Entering the single-key heritage palace with a mystical boat ride through the Kerala waters and one is already transported to a fantastical bygone era. Carefully and meticulously restored by Lady Halyn’s Trust, this true-blooded legacy lies in an embrace of mystical gardens and the stunning backwaters with swaying palms and flowering creepers. Airy, well-lit and most aesthetically decorated, 3 bedrooms and living quarters are dotted with wooden windows, a beautiful verandah, and a backyard to sit back, relax and enjoy the most gorgeous greens and waters. Enjoy dishes that are Kerala’s best-kept secrets, as carefully planned and personalised to suit tastes and dietary needs, and let Mervin, the traditional karyasthan (royal caretaker) regale with your anecdotes and stories of the Palace. Do keep a day to explore the UNESCO-protected town of Fort Kochi, for its eclectic history and food! History lovers can also visit the Muziris archaeological museum for a dose of the latest findings on the legendary community.
Eighth Bastion, Kochi, Kerala:
A boutique hotel in charming Fort Kochi
Step into a chapter of history when you come to Eighth Bastion, in the heart of Fort Cochin. Located on a once-historical Dutch landmark, this hotel conjures up visions of the past and brings alive a time when this Malabar region was a battleground for Europe’s most prominent seafaring nations, who fought over spices and trade routes for 300 years.
Legend has it that there were seven bastions in Fort Kochi, built by the Portuguese and strengthened by the Dutch East India Company, or the VOC. The bastions defended Cochin for 500 years and CGH Earth’s Eighth Bastion adds to this legacy. Even as you step into our reception area, you see a model of the legendary ‘Batavia’, a reminder of the VOC’s power and their importance in the trade of the region.
The fusion menu at East Indies Restaurant serves progressive cuisine that follows the Dutch Spice Route in South Asia. Dishes from Surat, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malabar, and Bengal; wherever the Dutch were present have been included and presented in gourmet style, with a contemporary take on these age-old recipes.
The architecture and cuisine of Fort Kochi showcase Dutch, Portuguese, and Jewish influences that thrive in beautiful harmony with the local Malabar heritage.