In his red shirt, with a braided beard, and painting the town red, is Anthony Kontrimas from Lithuania.
When you ask him about his braided beard, you will be surprised to know that he has the strongest beard on the planet.
Kontrimas garnered the attention of the world when he pulled an aeroplane with his beard for 20 metres. He also pulled a jeep laden with soldiers. Kontrimas is also adept at lifting people using his beard. Through sheer determination and will, Kontrimas is the proud owner of eleven Guinness Book World Records.
Kontrimas reached Kochi on January 1 with his wife and fellow tourists as part of a trip undertaken to celebrate the New Year.
He came to hear about Kerala from Jyoti Amge, who is a Guinness World Record holder for being the world’s shortest woman. He had met Jyoti at an event associated with the Guinness World Records. “It was she who gave me the idea of visiting India,” he says. “When a group of us decided to go on a tour which included India, I grabbed the opportunity.”
Initially, he went to North India. “I have been to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur before I reached Kerala,” he says. Little did he realise he would fall in love with God’s Own Country the instant he put his foot here.
“It is a completely different atmosphere here,” he says. “I am awed by the hospitality shown by the people. They are warm and cordial.”
Kontrimas says that he has been mesmerised by the charm of the old buildings of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi. “I am wonderstruck by monuments like the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Dutch Palace and, of course, the Chinese fishing nets,” he says, with a glint in his eyes. On Thursday, Anthony and his friends left for Alleppy and will go to Thiruvananthapuram later.
Incidentally, Kontrimas, who turned 50 last month, celebrated his birthday in Jaipur.