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kandath Kozhikode - A travel report by Krishnakumar
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Kozhikode,  India - flag India -  Kerala
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kandath's travel reports

Kozhikode (Calicut) - in the Spicy Malabar Coast

  26 votes
Kozhikode means'koyil kotta' or fortified palace. Chinese called it Kalifo, Arabs kalicut and the europeans calicut. This costal town in the land of spices is seeped in history, culture, commercial glory, beaches, back waters and lush countryside.

Vaso da Gama's
monument in Kappad
Vaso da Gama's monument in Kappad
Classic Kozhikode in north Kerala is the area which the legendary traveller Marco Polo described in 1320AD as the Great Province of Malabar. In fact Chinese were the first to establish commercial contact with these shores and many eminent travellers followed their footsteps. Ibn Batuta(1342),Abdur Razzak(1443), and Anthanaseus Nikiten(1468) were few of them. The remarks made by these travellers confirms the by gone glory of Kozhikode. After the 13th C Kozhikode grew in importance as a port and capital of the powerful kingdom of Samoothiri's or Zamorin's as Portuguese called them. Interestingly Kozhikode has lent its English name 'Calicut' to Calico, the fine variety of hand woven cotton cloth said to have originated from here. It was also Vaso da Gama's (the discoverer of sea route to India) first halt in India. He set foot on the sands of Kappad beach north of today's city on 27 May 1498AD, a landing commemorated by a small stone monument at the beach. This event marked a new epoch in world, Indian and Kerala history and marked the advent of European powers on the Indian sub-continent. Today Kozhikode is an important centre for timber and tiles and hunting ground for that famous delicacy, 'Calicut Halva'. Now it is also slowly gaining reputation as a holiday centre teeming with natural beauty. The lush landscape dotted with beaches, backwaters, rivers, hills, ancient monuments, historic sights and wildlife sanctuaries and of course a unique culture that offers warmth, friendliness and hospitality for the visitor as it has been doing since time immemorial.
Kozhikode is well connected by road, rail and air. While in Kozhikode a must for every tourist is a trip in the local 'autorikshaw' who are rated the best in Kerala, if not in whole of India. It is a hair raising experience for anyone taking a ride through the busy city roads during peak hours.

Favourite spots:
SM street, Kozhikode
SM street, Kozhikode
For the tourist who is inclined to learn about the way of life and culture of Kozhikode, the following offer the maximum reward: 1)Mananchira Square-This serene square in the heart of the city, originally the palace tank of King Mana Vikrama, is an architectural marvel. The square is surrounded by kerala style buildings incl. the commonwealth trust office.2)Sweet Meat(SM)Street- is the busiest shopping street with history behind and is named after the numerous sweetmeat stalls located here.3)Pazhassiraja Museum-5km away from the cityin east hill and named after'Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma', who led the historical Pazhassi revolt against the british in the 18th C. Maintained by the state archeological department, this is a veritable treasure trove for historians and connoisseurs of art.4)Others include tali temple(14C),Jain temple, Muchunthi Palli(13C Muslim Mosque), St Mary's Church(built in 1860) and Kozhikode beach which is a popular sunset point.

What's really great:
Beypore - old port in Kozhikode
Beypore - old port in Kozhikode
The most wonderful aspect of Kozhikode tourism is the diversity on offer for the visitor. All the places mentioned above are within easy reach of the city, say within 6 kms. if you travel 10 kms you can get to the old port town of Beypore where traditional mammoth shipping vessels called 'Urus' were built going back a few hundred years. By travelling 16 kms one can reach 'Kappad Beach' where Vasco da Gama landed in 1498. Travel further by say 50kms and u can get to the stunning Western Ghats which is part of the rainforest region with breathtaking hills and lush forests.

Kappad beach near Kozhikode
Kappad beach near Kozhikode
The extraordinary places one must not miss while in Kozhikode are 1) The ancient mosque-'Mishkal Masjid' in Kuttichira which was built a long time ago and is one of the oldest mosques in town. It was burnt down by the Portuguese in 1510 and burnt portions can still be seen.2)- 'Lokanarkavu Bhagavati Temple' near vadakara. It is a 1500 year old shrine dedicated to goddess Durga and associated with the heros and heroines of 'Vadakkanpattu' or northern ballads of kerala and 3)' Peruvannamuzhi Dam', 60kms from Kozhikode is a really outstandingly beautiful place. Speed and row boat cruises can be enjoyed on the waters of the reservoir. There are a number of un-inhabited islands in the reservoir, a bird sanctuary and a crocodile farm to explore.

Hotel Malabar Palace, G.H.Road
Hotel Malabar Palace, G.H.Road
In Kozhikode they have a wide range of hotels with Taj Residency on the P.T.Usha road (*****star) at the top end. The places ideal for middle budget westrn tourists are 1)Hyson Heritage, Bank road,20 Asma Tower, Mavoor Road and 3) calicut Towers, Mavoor Road etc. There are awide range of 2* hotels to choose as well. Hotel Malabar Palace is of good standards.

Mananchira Square in the heart of the city
Mananchira Square in the heart of the city
There are no clubs here in the Western meaning of the word. Again if you are looking for Club activities and night life like in a western resort you have come to the wrong place. There are a wide range of local activities which one can explore with some help from english speaking guides which can easily be arranged

The lottery salesman I met at mananchira Square -happy and contented!
The lottery salesman I met at mananchira Square -happy and contented!
No pubs available at all. Some of the 2 and 3 * hotels have their own bars which is the closest one can get if you are looking for pubs. If you go to kozhikode beach, there are a few good sea-facing hotels like the Beach Hotel, Sea Queen etc which offers a certain amount of night life and have modern bars attached to them. These are comfortable places for saty and also offers good sea food. For the more adventureous there are tody shops (where a strong liquor made from coconuts are served). My advice is to avoid such places if you are not accompanied by locals who you can trust.

Tali temple  the famous temple of Lord Shiva in Kozhikode
Tali temple the famous temple of Lord Shiva in Kozhikode
There are some excellent vegetarian and non vegetarian restaurants in Kozhikode. I found the food at Asma Towers, Dakshin the Veg, Hyson, Calicut Towers, Woodlands and hotel Vigneswara very good.
While in Kozhikode one must'nt miss local delicacies such as ' Pathiri and Erachi Curry (pathiri is a type of very soft bread made from rice dough flattened on a banana leaf and cooked; erachi curry is of course mutton or beef curry cooked with coconut etc in the traditional malabar way). Another delicacy is the 'wafer thin' banana chips to munch away while sight seeing. Local 'Appam and Stew', 'Puttu and Kadala' (all made from powdered rice and coconut milk) are other treats awaiting ones taste buds.

Other recommendations:
Kallai, an ancient timber centre
Kallai, an ancient timber centre
Kallai was once the second largest timber trading centre in asia. A steel bridge built here by the British is still in good condition.
Kottakkal is a small town 48 kms away from Kozhikode. Here is the head quarters of the renowned private ayurvedic institution which was established in 1900. People from all parts of the world are coming here for treatment.
About 100 kms away is 'Thusharagiri' a popular haunt for enthusiastic trekkers. The famous trekking route starting from the second waterfall to Vythiri in Wayanad is worth exploring.
The people of Malabar are renowned for their hospitality and the ideal way for a Westerner to thoroughly enjoy the 'mystique of malabar' is by becoming one among the locals, which can also be arranged. In a nut shell north Kerala and Malabar are a big de-tour for the tourists from the usual beaten tracks of south and central Kerala.

Published on Tuesday June 7th, 2005

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Tue, Aug 22 2006 - 06:27 AM rating by adisidh

Dear Krish
Nice report. I wish to come Kozhikode and other part of Kerela. Do you know about Kozhikode Biriyani. Once I have tested Kozhicode biriyaniv and I found very testy .

Kerela is a nice place to visit . Please publish more on kerela .



Mon, Oct 17 2005 - 04:03 PM rating by miguelmarchi

this is a very good and useful report!
I hope to write one report about my Montevideo, where I was born, as well as you did this one.

Wed, Jun 15 2005 - 06:20 AM rating by britman

Hi Kris, I eventually got chance to read your report. It is a fantastic effort and is well written and beautifully illustrated. I see that this month is going to be difficult for the judges to award the top accolades. Well done - looking forward to loads more from you!

Mon, Jun 13 2005 - 07:05 PM rating by magsalex

Informative report

Fri, Jun 10 2005 - 02:39 AM rating by jaydev1

Wonderful report indeed Kris. Being from Kerala and now away I am planning to spend more time there soon and this report coupled with your presence there would no doubt make my stay in Kozhkode exciting. I want you to do similar reports on Trissur, Palghad, Kochi, Kannur and if possible Thiruvananthpuram. All the best,
Your old mate Jaydev

Thu, Jun 09 2005 - 02:08 PM rating by lukasdj

I like very much this detailed report, you have given many points of reference to me, and your album has described places that I have never seen.

Thu, Jun 09 2005 - 04:07 AM rating by gloriajames

good report, perhaps you should replace some of the pics to generate more ratings?? [just a suggestion]

Wed, Jun 08 2005 - 10:07 AM rating by bear495


This is done very well. Keep up the good work. Your contributions are always welcome.


Wed, Jun 08 2005 - 09:27 AM rating by davidx

I think this is very interesting and informative and I can't imagine why it is only rated 3* after 4 votes.
Cheers, David

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