If you’re headed to Kochi (or Cochin, its colonial name) – Kerala’s ancient spice trade capital, then boutique hotel Tissa’s Inn is an ideal place to stay a while. It is in the middle of everything you’ll want to see, with easy access to the Chinese fishing nets, Jewish synagogue, and amazing antique and spice shops in the old part of the city just a short Tuc Tuc ride away.
|Inn in Cochin|
Tissa’s Inn (named after the owner’s wife) is a nine room boutique hotel housed in a mansion that once belonged to one V.K. Hamza, a lawyer and philanthropist of high repute. The mansion has now been transformed into a unique place to stay in Fort Cochin and with every modern convenience. It has a 24 seater restaurant serving fresh seafood- Indian and Continental style, a roof top swimming pool and sun deck and a yoga and meditation centre.
|The sun deck at Tissa’s Inn|
The hotel offers city tours and boat rides and even contributes to responsible tourism with its own sewage treatment plant and solar energy. The staff are super friendly and attentive and it has a welcoming personal feel.
|A warm welcome awaits!|
Beautiful antiques are placed about here and there in its public spaces – ornate wooden doors, a carved bone frieze, a painted baby’s cradle, some colourful terracotta figures. It’s decorated in white, bright ochre and dark orange – those colours which look so glorious in the sub continental sun. Tissa’s Inn is owned byJohny L. Malayil, one of Cochin’s most significant antique dealers. He also owns Crafters Antiques ( as well as six other fascinating shops) which is a cavernous shopping emporium housed in a former spice warehouse.
|Crafter’s wildlife collection|
|Luscious ice cold Lassi|
Johny is also notable for making the world’s largest Varpu (or brass cooking pot)
The Varpu, made in 2004, is quite famous and was visited by the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla in 2013. Although the pot is too large to do any actual cooking in (you would need a very large fire to bring things to the boil,) it now resides in one of Johny’s shops filled with water, water lilies serenely floating on the surface.
|Loui and the voluminous Varpu|
Johny’s Doctor son, Loui kindly gave us a tour of the shops and showed us this spectacular vessel.
This western old quarter of Cochin city is called Mattancherry and is steeped in history. An ancient commercial centre of Kerala, the place has been the favourite haunt of traders from all over the world down the centuries.
|A spicy part of town|
Still a major port, Cochin is sometimes known as the gateway to Kerala and is the second largest city on the West coast after Mumbai. In the old colonial area of Fort Cochin it’s an easy walk or short Tuc Tuc ride to explore the old town with its winding fascinating streets. Call in at the women’s co operative spice factory occupying another building of fading colonial splendour and see the fields of ginger drying in the hot sun.
|Is it tea time?|
Tired, hungry, need a bit of a pick me up to keep you going? Then look no further than a steaming cup of Masala Chai – it can resolve just about everything. Incidentally, this is where our English saying ‘ a cup of cha’ originally comes from.
Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India and was subsequently occupied by the Dutch and the British. If you are thinking of heading to Southern India then make sure a visit to Cochin and Tissa’s Inn is a stop on your trip..
|My sub continental look|