Kochi Local Customs

  • Jalebis
    Jalebis
    by Donna_in_India
  • Wearing a Mundu
    Wearing a Mundu
    by Donna_in_India
  • Wearing a Mundu
    Wearing a Mundu
    by Donna_in_India

Most Recent Local Customs in Kochi

  • aussirose's Profile Photo

    Kerala Special Tea

    by aussirose Updated Apr 20, 2014

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    Special Tea - Beer!

    Not all restaurants in Kerala have a beer and wine licence. To make it worse we just happened to visit during election time. A few days before the election the existing licences are removed from ALL restaurants that have them... which means you can't buy a cold beer anywhere! (31 March to around 2 April). That is when they need to apply for a new licence.

    The first restaurant we went to had a licence.... but the second one did not. We were assured we could get a special tea at the second restaurant only to find it dry.... however we did see a local walking out with a bucket covered with a towel... suspicious...mmmmm ;o) They did however give us some rum and filled up our glasses with coke to which we really appreciated :o)

    So here we are.... hot and humid.... day of busy sightseeing and sweat running down our faces.... and we could KILL for a coldie!! ;o)

    So we learnt.... A quiet whisper to the restaurant staff.... and out comes our beer in a mug.... Special Tea lol. Check out my photos for the many happy faces of a satisfied customer lol ;o)

    Support the Locals - Hire Anas, Tuk Tuk Driver

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    • Beer Tasting
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    Street Food

    by Donna_in_India Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Jalebis

    One of my very favorite things about India is the variety of (very inexpensive) street foods. There are literally thousands of street vendors selling everything from grilled veg sandwiches to pani puri to corn on the cob.

    Take heed of the usual warnings - don't eat anything raw (fruits should have skin that can be peeled), don't patronize vendors where flies or other bugs are near/on the food, be careful if using the same cups/plates as others (usually just rinsed in cold water), try to patronize vendors with a good turnover (of locals/families is usually a good sign), look for vendors that use purified/hygienic water and vendors whose cooking area looks clean. If you're getting something fried take a look at the oil. Think twice about eating anything with meat.

    Eating street foods is a personal choice. Some people don't have any trouble with it. I always recommend bringing some stomach meds from home (something you know works for you) just in case.

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    Mundu - the South Indian 'Dhoti'

    by Donna_in_India Written Mar 11, 2013

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    Wearing a Mundu
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    Closely related to the dhoti or lungi, the men's mundu is a garment worn around the waist in Kerala. The floor-length mundu can have enough material to wrap around your body a couple of times. It is normally woven in cotton, which is cooler in the heat. The mundu comes in a white or cream color depending if the material has been bleached or not.

    A mundu has border called the kara. The kara is a thicker colorful cloth that is woven into the mundu. Mundus with more decorative karas are worn for special occasions/ceremonies. When working, cycling or just hanging out, men will often fold the garment to resemble a short skirt. It is considered disrespectful to wear the mundu this way in front of women or elders but it is easy enough to loosen the mundu to quickly cover the legs.

    See how to wear a mundu here.

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  • ranger49's Profile Photo

    Traditional Kathakali Dance Theatre

    by ranger49 Written Jan 1, 2010

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    Kathakali as a theatrical dance form was unknown to me so I had no idea what to expect when I learned that arrangements had been made for an internationally known group to give a performance for us on board while we were docked in Kochi.
    A member of the team would present a short lecture by way of introduction to the art and anyone who wished to watch their preparations - which take several hours - would be welcome.
    Kathakali originated in Kerala centuries ago and is a complete theatrical experience of music, drama, movement, costume, mime, body language and special effects make -up.
    An ancient form of sign language is used for commnication between the actors - who are all men playing both male and female roles.
    Traditional Hindu stories of the exploits of the Gods in their battles with evil form the basis of the plots enacted to the accompaniment of music and singing.
    It is a rigidly stylised art form with costume and make-up effects rigourously adhered to. Applying the make up and donning the ornate, heavy costumes appears to be an exhausting exercise lasting several hours before the performance begins..
    A fascinating experience .

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    Help the fishermen!

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 21, 2009
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    First erected between 1350 and 1450, the cantilevered fishing nets indicate trade links with China. Known as Cheena vala they are fixed to the land with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.

    I got called over to one by 5 guys who were working on it and they showed me some of the small fish they had caught with names like toad fish and pen fish. I then helped them by pulling up the net which they say they do between 250 and 350 times a day!

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    Film crew

    by Willettsworld Written Sep 21, 2009

    As Kochi is a little different to other places in Kerala, it's become something of a film location manager’s delight what with its buildings, streets and history around every corner. And around these corners you might see a film crew and cast filming there on the street right in front of you. Of course, to Indian's, this is some of the best entertainment and they hang around for hours in order to get a glimpse of their favourite film stars.

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    India is the most Pro Israeli country in the world

    by cochinjew Written Apr 20, 2009

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    A study undertaken on behalf of Israel's foreign ministry by an international market research company found that India is the most pro-Israel country in the world, beating out the United States by two percentage points.
    The study, undertaken as part of the "Branding Israel" project, looked at what it calls the world's 13 most important countries and included 5,215 interviewees. Asked a series of questions, participants graded their sympathy for Israel on a 1-to-10 scale. Some results, given in terms of percentage expressing sympathy to the Jewish State:
    58% India
    56% United States
    52% Russia
    52% Mexico
    50% China
    34% Great Britain
    27% France
    23% Spain
    Comment: The Indian statistic is not the only striking one - note the continent of the countries clustered at the bottom and how much lower their numbers than those of Russia and China. Just as the U.S government should rethink its military alliances, so might Israelis take a fresh look at the globe. (April 3, 2009)

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    Fruits of Kerala

    by cochinjew Written Feb 13, 2009

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    arbol de pan
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    I was thinking of our dear VT friend from Israel when I was adding these photos of Kerala Fruits.
    Bread Fruit Tree or Arbol de Pan is originally from Tahiti and was brought over to Jamaica and other islands by Captain Bligh of Mutiny Fame. But what family does JackFruit belong to? is it indigenous to Kerala? like Guapin in Cuba which looks like Jackfruit? and also Durian, which family does that fruit belong to, which is ubiquitous in Malaysia?

    If you have answers to these questions, about the origins of Jack Fruit, Guapin and Durian, please let me know.. Thank You. Teremah Kaseh, Gracias y Nanri..

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    Fruits of Kerala

    by cochinjew Written Feb 13, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    arbol de pan
    4 more images

    I was thinking of our dear VT friend from Israel when I was adding these photos of Kerala Fruits.
    Bread Fruit Tree or Arbol de Pan is originally from Tahiti and was brought over to Jamaica and other islands by Captain Bligh of Mutiny Fame. But what family does JackFruit belong to? is it indigenous to Kerala? like Guapin in Cuba which looks like Jackfruit? and also Durian, which family does that fruit belong to, which is ubiquitous in Malaysia?

    If you have answers to these questions, about the origins of Jack Fruit, Guapin and Durian, please let me know.. Thank You. Teremah Kaseh, Gracias y Nanri..

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    coconut Lady of Ernakulam

    by cochinjew Written Jan 14, 2009

    This lady always greets me as i walk around the Ernakulam railway station, quite near the Touristland offices. She talks to me profusely in malayalam, without realizing that I dont live in Cochin nor do I speak malayalam but she has seen me enough to think that i live somewhere around here. On this past visit, she offered me a coconut, which usually is about 15 rupees, I graciously accepted and after drinking the sweet waters, gave her much more than the worth of the coconut. she was surprised but accepted it gracefully.
    another example of malayalee friendliness. no one in india is as friendly as the malayalees, I think..

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    Pharmacies and English Medicine

    by cochinjew Written Aug 28, 2008

    PHARMACEUTICALS
    Most Indians cannot afford to see a Doctor, so their primary care contact is the Pharmacist and perhaps that is why there are so many pharmacies are about. In the Indiantown near Ballard, there are four pharmacies at one junction, one at each corner.
    Anthony who is the man behind the counter at TARA medicals is a veritable source of pharmaceutical information. And he is very helpful.
    At least the medications are not expensive.
    For a course of antibiotics, it works around one dollar. So in a country where there is a large minority of the population living under two dollars a day, the drug prices are reasonable.
    I am told by more than one person that the medical profession is under the thumbs of the pharmaceutical company and when someone goes to a doctor he always comes back with a prescription for more expensive and more often combination drugs which are more expensive.
    One example is the prescription of Insulin Glargine Pens with expensive refill cartridges, which cost thousands of dollars.

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    Small Shops the pride of Malayalee

    by cochinjew Written Aug 28, 2008

    SHOPPING AT DELITE SHOPPING CENTRE
    India has many small shops, a family running a family goods business which would have a little of everything. In this store, next to the Delite Café in Princess Street, there are ayurvedic medications, household cleaning equipment, pots and pans, torch lights and flasks, chocolates, toys so you get the picture.
    Thermos flask with cover 390 inr
    Torch light with two AA batteries 140 inr
    Ayurvedic medications for stomach, and stress 150 inr
    A fan 50 inr
    730 inr I wanted him to give me a discount but he didn’t so I gave him 720 inr, which he accepted.
    India is full of these family owned and run shops, from small shops on bicycle wheels to fairly big sized fancy goods store.

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    My take on India's future

    by cochinjew Written Aug 28, 2008

    INDIA and ITS FUTURE
    This is a personal opinion. It is rather dim from many points of view. The economic development is so uneven, with hardly any investment in infrastructure or human potential.
    Health care for every one, even though touted as existent, is near non existent.
    Roads are full of pot holes and every day there is power cut of electricity.
    The health status of the population has so deteriorated that the young and capable are dying of heart disease and India has the dubious distinction of being the Diabetes Capital of the world
    Traffic is a metaphor for the selfishness of the society and lack of discipline.
    If I were you, I would watch China! That is the model to follow. Don’t get lost in the haze of the discussions about Democracy.
    Each day there are bombs going off somewhere or other. Northeastern states have an ongoing insurgency very similar to the ones in Myanmar. Moslems are becoming more and more militant and each year quite few die because of terrorism.

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    The Malayalee Memory or is it everywhere there are

    by cochinjew Written Aug 27, 2008

    In the course of one day in Cochin, I was greeted by a similar refrain: I remember your face , you have been here before. Perfect strangers.
    I can understand the people at the hotel recognizing a guest who has come to the same hotel more than once, but perfect strangers.
    Now in Cochin, I use the same adage I use in Cuba, I am interested in getting to know people who want to know me in the street.
    A banana seller, the pharmacists, the chai maker at the vegetarian restaurant, I can understand, there have been some contact in the past with them, perhaps even more than casually. Bur perfect strangers?
    An autorikshaw driver in front of the hotel: you have stayed at this hotel before, I have seen you on the street?
    My usual patent answer, no you have mistaken me for someone else. This is my first time.
    Then a waiter at one of the newly constructed “café” near the vypeen ferry comes rushing out: I remember your face, I never forget any faces. As usual my pat answer, you cant remember me, I have never been here before.
    Two or three shopkeepers along the road to the synagogue. I greet them since their greeting is genuine, since they are friends with the cobbler and the tailor (Versace of cochin). In fact the cobbler will duplicate my shoes !
    I went to see a friend of mine, and one of the clerks accompanied me: once again, I have seen you, eventhough it was two years ago that I had gone to the same office.
    Booksellers recognized me, that I take it to be an honour. Bought: Amitav Ghosh’s latest book; Naipauls authorized biography; the French translation of Kamala Das My story and another French translation of a Kottayam writer, C Radhakrishnan…
    Without asking, he gives me a 10 per cent discount. ( IDIOM bookstore)
    The “antique’ dealer on the left as you go towards the synagogue, his shop girl, says hello and when I asked for the price of a Mezuzah on sale ( these items are becoming a rarity, and very soon un obtainable), he called for the owner, who came over and greeted me like an old friend, and offered a price, 30 per cent cheaper than the one he had given me, one year and half ago. You are a regular customer, so I give you my best price, I agree with him, the price was very good..
    The place is crawling with tourists, I cant say I have a distinct face, but it has something to do with their memory, or is it the fact that I have been here before, or is it the survival acumen that makes their memory sharper?

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    Be part of a movie or a soap opera

    by cochinjew Written Aug 27, 2008
    a malayalam movie set The Boss

    Went for a walk. Towards the Bishop’s House. On the way they were shooting a Malayalam movie called The Boss, and we were walking up to the area and we were included in the set. A car is coming speeding up and the man who looks like BOSS was sitting there, he was rotund and fitted the part very well.
    We had to repeat our original innocent walk of a tourist couple walking in a street in Cochin, there were autorikshaws, pedestrians and bicycles coming in the other direction. Knowing the Malayalee penchant for memory, in a couple of years time, people are going to greet me: hey I have seen you in that movie?

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Kochi Local Customs

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