Business District of Cochin City
Willingdon Island - a quiet business district of Cochin city (now called Kochi) is busy during day and almost desolate by night, somewhat remotely akin to Ballard Estate of Bombay (now called Mumbai).
By around 10 A.M., executives and office workers of shipping agents, tea brokers, other trade intermediaries and banks troop in to Willingdon Island by car, motorbike and bus. A few of them arrive by ferry boat from mainland and surrounding islands though these boats are on the way out consequent to building of several interconnecting bridges across the channels. At the centre of the activity is Cochin Port Trust a modestly grand colonial edifice with clock tower supplemented by adjacent multi-storied office block, in which all important offices including that of the Chairman of Cochin Port Trust is located.
Until recently, there used to be ubiquitous presence of workers. Changes in methods of cargo handling in ships gave rise to modernisation of the port leading to massive exit of these workers. Now there is ubiquitous presence of gun-tooting security guards – an aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attack in the USA, that led to adoption International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code by International Maritime Organisation. Tourists can be reassured of their security. The guards are helpful though most of them understand Hindi, while local language is Malayalam.
By 4-30 PM., everyone starts to leave and by night there is eerie silence almost everywhere, except in few fine hotels, where too, guests enjoy the ambience of the place that is enhanced by quiet efficiency f the hotel.
For tourists it is good to visit Willingdon Island by evening preferably by hiring a private motor launch, which is not very expensive and are available for hire on hourly rate. Far more cheap option is to buy ticket, (price - less than US 3 ¢) to board public ferry service operating from Fort Cochin, Vypeen and Ernakulam.
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