Kochi’s signature walkways wait patiently for the citizens’ return

Kettuvallam Bridge walkway at Marine Drive in Kochi

Kettuvallam Bridge walkway at Marine Drive in Kochi   | Photo Credit: Vipin Chandran

These scenic paths oft-trodden are what I will make a beeline for as soon as I can, just like many in the city

Absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder. Having been homebound for the last 40 days, I miss parts of the city like never before. Once the lockdown is lifted, all roads will lead to the city’s once-crowded walkways. These scenic paths, spruced up with lampposts and benches, hug the water bodies.

At Fort Kochi it snakes alongside the sea, loops the lake at Chilavanoor, skirts the backwaters in Marine Drive, and straddles the canal at Panampilly Nagar. For me, like for many others, the day starts and ends here. The walkways and the jaunts have been sorely missed.

The sea breeze in the morning on the cobbled Fort Kochi walkway carries a strong whiff of fresh fish being hauled at the Chinese fishing nets. This sight is something I am looking forward to, not seeing it in the last six weeks. The sunrise, sunset and the sailing ships entering and exiting Kochi ports are postcard images that I look forward to seeing in real time.

The spanking new Thevara walkway on the road connecting Willingdon Island to Thevara, off the Kannangattu Bridge, was awaiting inauguration when the lockdown was clamped. But it had begun to draw the crowds even before the formal opening. I was looking forward to using its jogger’s track, which hopefully one can do soon.

My most endearing image of the 750 m stretch at Panampilly Nagar is not of its swish pathway where day breaks as early as 4.30 am and ends late by 10.00 pm but of elderly folk sitting content on the cast iron benches as they watch life go past.

To hear and feel the city’s strong heart beat, I would often go to the Marine Drive Walkway and immerse myself in the urban sounds and sights washed over by purposeful sea winds.

And to wind down, it is definitely the 1.8 km long Queen’s Way, on the GIDA-Chathiyath Church Road, overlooking the backwaters. It gets its name from the city’s romantic nom de plume – ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Usually buzzing with the early morning fitness enthusiasts and evening jaywalkers the walkway is well-loved. Despite being close to the heart of the city, it has been a cocoon of peace and quiet since its inauguration in 2017.

Kochi has plenty of beautiful spots — quiet, remote, hidden, touristy — but the walkways are the places that bring the Kochiite out to begin and end his/her day. I am looking forward to re-begin, re-start and re grow from these vibrant places and hope they missed me as much as I did them.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 2:22:09 AM |

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