Dax Gueizelar, a guide in West Kochi, has been popularising the less explored tourism spots via a cycle tour.He has also brought out a small booklet ‘Fraternal Cochin - twenty cultures and more’, which gives an insight into the different communities who are settled in the area
KOCHI: Tourists travelling to West Kochi are mostly lured by the four locations -- the Chinese nets, St Francis Church, the Jew Synagogue and the Dutch Palace. But, the Queen of the Arabian Sea is not confined to these four tourist spots.
While the remnants of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British - who came for the region’s spices and teak wood, continue to be the most popular tourist destinations, what remains unexplored is the culture and traditions of over 20 different communities, who moved to settle in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry area from all over India to supply the exotic Kerala agri-products to their colonial masters.
Dax Gueizelar, a guide in West Kochi, has been popularising the less explored tourism spots, focusing on the different cultures or traditions of over 20 communities who have settled in the area via a cycle-tour.
“It’s a three-hour tour programme, and we are trying to involve India and Kerala Tourism Departments to take the project on a bigger scale,”Gueizelar, an Anglo-Indian himself, said.
The centuries-old port city, which was once a centre of spice trade with China, Europe and Arabia, thrived when the traders from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu moved to Kochi to facilitate the trade with the exporters. “We have been only looking at the ‘exporters’, but there’s also the story of those who sourced and supplied the spices to the foreigners. We are telling their story,” he said.
The tourists are introduced to the cultural forms of the communities (say kolkali of Muslims or kolam of Tamil Brahmins), their food and places of worship, among other things. Gueizelar has also brought out a small booklet ‘Fraternal Cochin - twenty cultures and more’, which gives an insight into the different communities who are settled in the area.
The booklet contains information on ‘Gujarathi Brahmins’(believed to have settled in Kochi from around 1500 AD); ‘Cutchi Memon’ (settled in Kochi from around 1815 AD from Kutch, Gujarat); ‘Kudumbi’ (from around 1510 AD from Goa); ‘Dakhini Muslim’ (from around 1790 AD, Deccan, Andhra Pradesh); ‘Pandithar Mahajanan’ (from around 1600, Kerala); ‘Saraswath Non Brahmins’ (from around 1885 AD, Goa); ‘Tamil Brahmins(from Tamil Nadu)’; ‘Vaishya’ (From around 1500 AD, Goa and Maharashtra), among others.
He said he began this initiative three years back in a small way, and nearly 900 foreign travellers have participated in his cycle-tour. “I have around 30 hybrid bicycles, which cost around Rs 43,000 each,” Gueiselar said. He charges Rs 1,200 for the three-hour ride. Now, it’s up to Kerala Tourism to take this
package on a bigger scale,Gueizelar said.