Kozhikode

Vasco da Gama landed in Kozhikode in 1498, thus putting it on the world map.Today this great port of yesteryears is popular for its historical sites, unique, culture, and warm and friendly ambience. Despite the urban sprawl, this charming coastal city is awash in glorious history.

The Arabs, who were the earliest traders to visit the shores of Kozhikode, called it Kalikut,a name later anglicized to ‘ Calicut’ by the Europeans. The Italian explorer, Marco Polo, eulogized it virtues, whereas the Arab traveler and chronicler, Ibn Battuta, called it ‘one of the great ports of the Malabar District where traders from all part are found’. In the wake of the Portuguese, followed the Dutch, ranch and the British, who waged ceaseless war against the Zamorin kings, and later, among themselves, to gain control over this Jewel of the Malabar’.

Adding to the sizeable Muslim population of Kozhikode today,are two other communities – the Hindus and the Christians. Ancient temples, moseques and churches are found all over, keeping alive rituals and traditions that go back a long time.

For details of Kozhikode District Kerala tourism products, see the web page http://halokerala.com/picnic-spots/kozhikode/

Sights

Beach Road:A stretch of nearly 3 km skirting the beach, this boulevard is quiet during the heat of day, except for the marine aquarium at the northern end, which draws a few visitors. At sundown, people wander on to the promendade, and pushcarts, vending an assortment of snacks and eatables, emerge from the adjoining streets.

Mananchira SquareMananchira Square :The heart of the city and the hub of shopping and local transport, this square is surrounded by important landmarks.

Mananchira is a man made freshwater lake situated in the centre of Kozhikode in Kerala.It is one of the architectural wonders created by the Zamorin.

The 3.49 acre rectangular lake is fed by a natural spring.Mananchira was built as a bathing pool by the Zamorin Mana Vikrama, the feudal ruler of Kozhikode around the 14th century. The laterite obtained from excavating the tank was used to construct two palaces to the East and the West. The lake has been preserved in its original form and continues to supply water..

Centuries later, Kozhikode’s municipal council ordered that the lake be reserved exclusively for drinking purposes, and prohibited its use for bathing, washing and recreational activities, a ruling that has remained in place over since.

The sprawling estate adjoining the lake was partly covered into a park called Mananchira Square or Mananchira Maidan in 1994.Locals and tourists gravitate towards this green environ. The musical fountain inside the maidan, meticulously landscaped lawns surrounded by traditional building in Kerala style, fascinates all visitors.

The SM Streeet located near the Mananchira Square and at the heart of Kozhikode is a paradise for middle class shoppers and a tourist attraction for its heritage importance too.

Mishkal Mosque : An architectural and historical landmark,the moseque wa constructed by the rich Arab businessman and ship owner.

Mother of God Cathedral : This 18th century cathedral, built by Jesuit missionaries, has a 200 year old portrait of St.Mary adorning its walls.

Tali Temple : Built in the 14th century by the Zamorin king,Manavikraman,on the site of an earlier temple, this shrine is located about one and a half kilometers east of Mananchira Square close to Palayam market.

Planetarium and Science Centre: This 250 seater planetarium at the city’s Jaffar Khan Colony is a must see. The sophisticated Zeiss projector simulates the night sky.

Pazhassi Raja Archaeological MuseumPazhassiraja Museum and Art Galley :Built in 1812,it was known as the East Hill Bungalow,but was later renamed in 1980 after Pazhassiraja Raja Kerala Varma of the Kottayam royal family.Named after the brave ruler Pazhassi Raja, also known as the Lion of Kerala who dare to fight the British with the help of tribal warriors, Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery is a treasure trove for historians and connoisseurs of art. The art gallery and museum located in Kozhikode displays the acclaimed paintings of Kerala’s Legendary artist Raja Ravi Varma,who work brought international repute to the state.

The museum has exhibits dating back to the megalithic age and the Indus Valley Civilization of historical artifacts like old coins ,antique bronzes ,models of temples, umbrella stone (tomb stones of rulers),burial urns, mural paintings and monuments that are centuries old. The museum also boasts of a collection of war weapons used by British soldiers and the official caps of British and French soldiers. The special collection of the museum includes the Panchaloha idols and stone statues described as war Heroes.

The building that houses the museum was constructed in 1812 and was known as East Hill Bungalow. It was converted into museum in 1976 and was renamed as Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum in 1980.It is managed by the Kerala Archaeology Department.

Payyoli Beach : The endangered Olive Ridley turtles come lay eggs in this secluded palm fringed beach during November – December

Kappad Beach : A plaque proclaims that this is where Vasco da Gama first set foot on Indian soil. 

Beypore Ship BuildingBeypore: Beypore, once a trading hub to the Middle East, is an ancient port town in Kozhikode. It was an important trade and maritime centre for Arab and Chinese travelers in those days and late for the Euroeans.The port is situated at the mouth of Chaliyar River. After gaining prominence as port and trade centre, Beypore slowly began to flourish as an centre for ship building. The wooden ships, known as Urus were in great demand among Arab Traders.

They bought it for trading, fishing and now use it as a tourist ships. Unlike modern day ship building involving development of blue print and machinery to facilitate manufacturing of ships, in those days inn Beypore shipwrights honed their 1,500 year old craftsmanship with perfection and minimum sophistication. A visit to this historic place is a must in order to have close look at some of the skillful and alert minds, measuring and fixing different part of the ships to perfection.

Nearby attraction in Beypore include a fishing harbor, hardly a kilometer from the ship building yard and Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, which is about seven km from Beypore. The Kadalundi estuary is considered to be bird watcher’s paradise, due to the variety of local as well as migratory bird life.Migratory birds flock here in large numbers during February – March.Pulimuttu is the one km long stone bridge stretching into the sea. Beypore lighthouse is another attraction here.

That is not all. Beypore is the home town of legendary writer Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, popularly known to locals as Beypore Sultan.

Kadalundi : Consisting of 25 acres of mudflats at the Kadalundi river estuary, this is a wetland habitat for migratory and terrestrial birds and a haven for environmentalists.

Mahe : A charming little town with a distinctively French flavor, it is located 58 km north of Kozhikode and is bisected by the Mahe River. Originally the town was called ‘Mayyazhi’; it was renamed ‘Mahe’ after the Frenchman who captured it.Mahe was an important trading centre under French. Today a union territory, it is free of the strict government control on alcohol, which means there is no dearth of wine shops here.

Thalassery : This historical coastal town is located 45 km north of Kozhikode at the site of the first British settlement n the Malabar Coast. It is also famous for its three C’s – Circus, cake and cricket.

Main attractions of Thalassery are Thalassery Fort, Dharmadom Island, Muzhappilangad Beach and Odathil Palli.Thalassery Fort built in 1708,on a headland facing the sea,the Thalassery Fort has massive laterrite walls,turrets and bastions on the flanks.Muzhappilangad beach situated 8 km north of Thalassery.This drive through beach – nearly 4 km of tightly packed wet sand – allows vehicles to whiz by.

Vellarimala

VellarimalaRich with verdant, rolling landscape and numerous brooks, Vellarimala is Kozhikode offers a true abode for nature lovers. River Kanjirapuzha, a tributary of the River Chaliyar, meanders through the rocky terrain, creating cascades and breathtaking waterfalls at much points.The land’s topography – the velvet green landscape – makes this truly a trekker’s paradise. It is also an ideal picnic spot for people of all age groups.

Vellarimala is located in the Western Ghats .It is forms a part of a hill range which is collectively known as Camel’s Hump Mountains. The hill ranges are accessible by foot from Muthappanpuzha,near Anakkampoyil,a small town situated about 50 km from Kozhikode. About 6 kilometers by foot from Muthappanpuzha on the way to Vellarimala hills lay the Olichuchattam waterfall. It is situated 15 km from Thiruvambady.Swargam Kunnu is also located here. The water gushing down several hundred feet is a veritable feast for eyes.

This block of compact high mountains is similar to the Nilgiri Hills.Vavul Mala is the highest peak in this range. Located at an altitude of 2,339 metre,the peak lies to the  north of the Nilgiri Hills. The view from the hill is delight to behold. One gets to see wooded valleys, undulating grassy hills and the blue ranges in the distance.

Feroke

Feroke is one of the prominent heritage spots in the Malabar region famous for its rich history. The remnants of Tipu Sultan’s Fort area telltale of the Mysore Emperor’s dream to make Farookabad,now Ferok,his new capital, but that dream was never realized.

Lokanarkavu Temple

Lokanarkavu temple, associated with the heroes and heroines of the Vadakkanpattu combines an arresting simplicity and a legendary aura. The candid murals and carvings here area delight to art lovers.

Getting There

By Air : Kozhikode (Calicut) International Airport,25 km

By Rail : Kozhiode railway station connects to all major cities.

By Road : NH 17 and State highways connact the city to all destinations in Kerala and in the neighbouring states.

Where to stay

For details of hotels and resorts in Kozhikode,see accommodation listing on http://halokerala.com/hotels/kozhikode/ .

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Publish on 06/10/2014

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