Walk About

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the planning and execution of a video project as part of my internship. We worked with creative director Anoodha Kunnath, who has already produced many videos about different topics.

The first step was of course a discussion between Anoodha and Raxa Collective to understand what they both expected from the video. This took place about one month ago – at the beginning of my training – so it was really interesting for me to be aware, in a different way, of the company and its philosophy. The main goal of Anoodha’s work will be to communicate all the characteristics of Xandari Harbour (one of the hotels developed and managed by Raxa Collective) and of course its fascinating location.

Although Calvathy Canal is literally the border, Xandari Harbour spans the personalities between Mattanchery and Fort Kochi, the city of Cochin’s most historical neighbourhoods. The restaurant 51 embraces the essence of a Mattanchery spice go-down, while the rooms have more of a Fort Kochi polished style. When you step out the door of Xandari Harbour, you turn left to follow Bazar Road further into Mattanchery, or right to walk to Fort Kochi – either way, you can’t go wrong! To give us a better idea, Rosanna was our tour guide in both directions. I remember this fondly because it was my first day out and about in my temporary home and my first walk in Mattanchery and Fort Kochi. I was really glad to have the opportunity to discover it with a local like Rosanna.

I saw many things during this walk but two particularly surprised me. The first was the importance of art. There are a lot of really nice art galleries with paintings, photography and sculptures. But the most unexpected art is all around you on the street. Indeed, there is amazing “graffiti” and vivid murals on many of the walls; some of them deliver explicit messages but most of them are only there for their beauty. The loopy graphic quality of the Malayalam language makes even the painted letters a lovely sight! They bring colours to the streets and some charm to the town. The second thing that surprised me is the numerous historical, religious and cultural monuments. It’s amazing to see that a 2-kilometre stretch from the property could cover multiple religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Islam…) and also many cultural things, such as the spice trade, antiques, the Portuguese invasion and more.

Last week, Anoodha returned with her team for the actual filming. I was thrilled to be part of the process again, assisting with the section about the Mattanchery/Fort Kochi walking map RAXA Collective created. It was a very good experience for me and for sure the best way to discover the story (and untold stories) of these places. I am also really glad to be part of a video whose main purpose is to promote and represent Xandari Harbour.

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