If you haven’t yet heard of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, you’re missing out on one of India’s top art extravaganzas, made up of artworks, installations, performance pieces and so much more. Feel what it’s like to wade through the sea as a refugee, or wander through a pyramid of lost poets, The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an experience you don’t want to miss. The Biennale also includes musical performances, student exhibitions, a film festival, panels — it’s a long list, and it’s going on until March 29, so there’s plenty of time to plan a trip to Cochin over a weekend!

If you’re only able to head there for a few days, we’re making things easier for you by narrowing down our list of six shows you absolutely must catch at the Biennale. To make things that much more convenient, we’re also giving you our list of top 10 AirBnBs you can stay at while in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry!

The Sea Of Pain, Raul Zurita At Aspinwall House

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

One of the Biennale’s most powerful installations, Raul Zurita’s The Sea Of Pain offers a brief but thoughtful insight into the struggles faced by refugees while crossing dangerous waters to safety. The installation is in a warehouse that Zurita has opened up to allow seawater to flow through, inviting people to wade through the knee-high water. At the very end is a poem penned by Zurita, dedicated to five-year old Galip Kurdi who drowned along with his family while fleeing war-torn Syria, making for a haunting but beautifully orchestrated and highly immersive installation. You’re definitely not going to want to miss this.

Fort Heritage Hotel

fortheritage

Located in Fort Kochi, this 17th century Dutch house promises spacious and beautiful bedrooms, fantastic views and unparalleled location. The house is built using laterite, limestone, wood and tiles, and is surrounded by lush lawns and plenty of greenery. Just a few steps away from Kochi Beach, staying here means you’ll have the perfect opportunity to check out the Chinese fishing nets, the historic Church of St. Francis, the Indo-Portugese Museum and Aspinwall House, the main venue of the Biennale!

Price: INR 5,503

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Two guests

Find out more here.

The Pyramid Of Exiled Poets, Ales Steger At Aspinwall House

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Renowned Slovenian poet Ales Steger has constructing this imposing pyramid structure, inspired by the Great Pyramid of Giza, to house and highlight the works of poets who have been exiled from republics and nations due to the controversial nature of their work. Walking through absolute darkness, your ears are your only guide, as detached voices recite the works of Ovid, Bertolt Brecht, and Czeslaw Milosz to name a few. The piece addresses the existentialism a poet faces when forced out of their home country.

Spencer’s Home

spencershome

This homestay is both centrally located, as well as being a beautifully renovated heritage home. Over 350 years old, you can find classic elements Kerala architecture, such as high wood beam ceilings, a traditional verandah and greenery all around. The rooms are also quite spacious, and come with a private sitting area. If you’re looking to indulge in some local culture, try out Spencer’s Home’s in-house tabala and and raga singing lessons!

Price: INR 2,509

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Two guests

Find out more here.

Farewell, Spring And Autumn Pavilions, Wu Tien-Chang At Aspinwall House

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

This surrealist video installation combines 3D illustration with an old Taiwanese folk song, making for an eclectic and hypnotising four minute-long work of art. Known for his oil paintings and digital photography, Wu Tien-Chan’s installation is meant to unearth the gaudy and counterfeit, and his display perfectly sets the stage — expect an over-lit screen surrounded by a string of colourful lights. If you’re looking to introduce your child to the art world, this is the perfect entry point.

Tea House Of The August Moon

teahouse

While this AirBnB might be a little pricey, you’re shelling out for the luxury of staying at a classic colonial structure that’s over 100 years old! Decorated with bright whimsical colours, you can expect walls in every shade from yellow to red, and a beautifully accessorised, spacious room. They even have a private pool, a well-maintained garden space and a restaurant exclusive to in-house guests —  who doesn’t love delicious local food and all the privacy in the world? And its located just steps away from all the main attractions in Fort Kochi, as well as most of the Biennale venues like Aspinwall House, David Hall and more.

Price: INR 12,024

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Three guests

Find out more here.

Inverso Mundus, AES+F At Anand Warehouse

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

The Russian Collective AES+F is all set to turn the world upside down {that’s what the title means} with this acclaimed video installation. The piece questions authority by depicting a dystopian universe where the unusual is the norm: students punishing teachers, the poor giving to the rich. Albeit a bit disturbing at times, Inverso Mundo highlights the realities of life. It doesn’t help that upon exiting, you’re greeting by the serene backwaters of Kochi, making the piece that much more jarring!

Museum Room At The Waterfront Granary

museumroom

Located a short distance from the Synagogue, right by where all the spice traders have set up shop, this charming hotel is filled with vibrantly coloured walls, vintage decor {including an old grand piano that is very much off-key!} and a beautiful view of the Kochi backwaters. The rooms are spacious, and true to its name, the whole place is very much inspired by a museum. If you’re eager to check out some great shopping spots and several of Biennale’s venues in Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, Museum Room is a great place to stay!

Price: INR 12,001

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Two guests

Find out more here.

Secret Dialogues, C Bhagyanath At Aspinwall House

C Bhagyanath’s artwork is a tirelessly, multilayer blend of different periods of time — as the show progresses, the artist adds a new transparent sheet with a charcoal drawing, depicting how movement and stillness are the same.

Delightful Homestay

delightfulsuite

Quaint and beautiful, this truly is a delightful suite! With beautiful garden views, manicured lawns and plenty of flowers, this charming Airbnb offers traditional Kerala-style roofs, a teak panelled sitting room and a friendly family who run the place! It faces Parade Grounds, a venue of the Biennale, so it’s the perfect spot of serenity that you can escape to after a day spent walking around Fort Kochi.

Price: INR 2,989

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Two guests

Find out more here.

Go Play Ces, Orijit Sen At Aspinwall House

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Photo Source: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Orijit Sen, a celebrated Indian graphics artist, brings a heavy dose of fun and nostalgia to the Biennale with his playful jigsaw puzzle piece. By looking at the way history and location work, Sen challenges the notions of identity, and looks at how these concepts change when one {literal, in this case} piece of the puzzle is moved. It is an interactive piece, inspired by three places in which life and history meet: Mapusa market in Goa, the Grand Trunk (GT) Road in Punjab and Hyderabad’s Old City.

Ann’s Residency

deluxeroom

A beautiful garden with lush, green lawns, a sitting deck, spacious bedrooms and plenty of natural light — what’s not to love about this Airbnb? We’re also loving their luxurious bathtubs, perfect for an end-of-the-day soak to unwind and relax! Located just walking distance from Aspinwall House, you’ll also be surrounded by some of Fort Kochi’s main attractions like the Chinese fishing nets and the Indo-Portugese Museum, to name a few.

Price: INR 4,767

Type Of Stay: One bedroom

Can Accommodate: Two guests

Find out more here.

Find out more about the Kochi-Muziris Biennale here.