If you are genuinely looking for a unique kind of Christmas and New Year celebration, just pack your bags to have a blast in the biggest annual extravaganza in the port city of Kochi, situated on the southwest coast of India.
Local festivals and carnivals!
As travelers, we usually plan our holidays and vacations around exotic places during certain period of time but it’s high time that trends must change now. We should travel more in unlikely months to discover the beautiful aspects of local festivals and fests. Recently, when I visited Goa for Tripurari Poornima, I discovered an absolutely unique and delightful side of this beach state. This helped me to realize that fests, carnivals, festivals, local conglomerations have a lot to tell us about culture and legacy of a place. Cochin Carnival is one of the hidden delights of India. It is a great way to rejoice and bid goodbye to the year that has been. It is all about starting the holidays in style, merry-making and feasting with hundreds of people before ushering in the New Year.
Why is Kochi decked up like a bride?
It is that time of the year when Kochi is decked up like a bride because the biggest bash of the state is back. The whole of Kochi awaits it eagerly every year. In the words of the locals, ‘every year it gets better than the previous year.’
Marked with parades, musical nights, stage performances, light decorations and folk songs, the most attractive part of the carnival is lighting of the Santa at Fort Cochin Beach. The other charming elements of the carnival are the caparisoned elephants, fancy dressed people, Panchavadyam, kalam vara (floor drawing) and tug-of-war. The colorful fiesta, parade, unlimited fun-frolic, colorful floats, different folk art forms, fancy lights and colorful decorations are some of the other not-to-be-missed aspects of the mega show. Irrespective of age, religion or regional boundaries, people throng in from all parts of Kochi to celebrate it with their dear ones.
Key Highlights of Cochin Carnival
This unique celebration of Christmas and New Year brings a breath of festive air and colonial feel from the Portuguese era and enhances the charm of this wondrous state of India.
The tales of history tell us that the Portuguese never shied from celebrations. They loved parties, musical meetings and great food. When they left, the parties faded away with time but the rich legacy was revived for the better. In 1984, this traditional way of week-long partying and feasting together was officially given the title of Cochin Carnival of India. The sheen and shine of the celebrations are back for last 32 years and it continues to enthrall everyone in the most interesting and amusing way in Kochi. The carnival isn’t just a starry affair but a grand spectacle which is celebrated over a period of time. The events are uniquely crafted to lure both locals as well as visitors with its food festival, colorful rallies, processions, parades, bullet race, marathon, cultural programs, competitions and more. There is a heady mix of adventure and thrill too with competitions like beach bike race, beach volleyball, sea swimming and beach football, etc.
How to reach there?
So if you are already curious and tempted to participate in the games, parades, parties, beach sports, music band, fireworks, you must head to Fort Kochi- one of the most historically significant areas in Kochi. Within the city, almost everyone knows where the carnival takes place and will help you to reach there. Traveling from nearby states is equally feasible through train, bus and car. Also, Cochin International Airport is well connected to major cities. It warmly welcomes visitors from across the world. As far as stay options are concerned, you may not have to worry much because there are many homestays and inns in the Fort Kochi area.
This year the Cochin Carnival is being celebrated from 11th December to 31st December.
Where to stay: Houseboats, Cottages, Apartments and more.