Kozhikode (Calicut), the most important region of Malabar in yesteryears,
was the capital of the powerful Zamorins and also a prominent trade and commerce
center. Kozhikode District found a place in the World History with the discovery
of Sea Route to India in 1498 by the Portuguese Navigator Vasco Da Gama. Vasco
Da Gama landed at the Kappad sea shore with three vessels and 170 men. A
monument is constructed here to commemorate the historical landing.
Kozhikode city continues to be a centre of flourishing domestic and
international trade. Its contribution to all round development of the district
in trade, commerce and economic development over the years is spectacular.
Kozhikode city is the marketing centre for commodities like pepper coconut,
coffee, rubber, lemon grass oil etc., produced in Kozhikode and the neighboring
districts of Wayanad, Malappuram and Kannur.
Basking in the idyllic
setting of the serene Arabian Sea on the west and the proud peaks of the Wayanad
hills on the east, this district with the serene beaches, lush green
countryside, historic sites, all combine to make Kozhikode a popular tourist
destination filled with a warm ambience to fascinate a visitor
Kozhikode had a high order of cosmopolitanism and
cultural variety and so, not surprisingly, it has many names such as Kalicut and
Calicut. Some have even given it the peculiar name — The Cock Fort. It is said
that the name Calicut is derived from the Malayalam word Koyil Kotta, 'a
fortified place'. While others think Kalicut is an Arabic version of Kozhikode,
which the colonisers morphed to Calicut, which in turn gave the name Calico to
the hand-woven cloth that originated here
Topographically the district has three
distinct regions-the sandy coastal beelt, the rocky highlands formed by the
hilly portion of the Western Ghats and lateritic midland. Of the total area of
23444 sq.kms, the sandy coastal belt is 362.85 sq.kms., lateritic midlands
1343.50 sq.kms. and rocky highlands 637.65 sq.kms.
All the three taluks
are spread over the three regions. The district has a coastal length about 80
kms. Kozhikode district is stimulated on the south-west coast of India. The
district is bounded on the north by Kannur district, on the east by Wayanad
district, on the south by Malappuram district and on the west by the Arabian
Sea. It is situated between North latitudes 11008’ and 11050’ and East
longitudes 75030’ and 76008’.
Basking in the idyllic setting of the
serene Arabian Sea on the west and the proud peaks of the Wayanad hills on the
east, this district has all the elements that fascinate a visitor. The highland
region accounts for 26.80 per cent and the lowland region for 15.55 per cent of
the total area of the district.
The district has a humid climate with a very
hot season extending from March to May. The most important rainy season is
during the South – West Monsoon which sets in the first week of June and extends
up to September. The North-East Monsoon extends from the second half of October
through November. The average annual rainfall is 3266 m.m.
December to March, practically no rain is received and from October onwards, the
temperature gradually increase to reach the maximum in May, which is the hottest
month of the year. The maximum temperature in the month of May comes to 360C.
The highest maximum temperature recorded at Kozhikode was 39.40C during the
month of March 1975 and the lowest temperature was 140C recorded on 26th
December 1975. Humidity is very high in the coastal region.
Religion and Customs
constitute the majority of the population and next come the Muslim and the
Christina communities respectively.
The Hindu community is organized on
the basis of caste and sub castes as elsewhere in the State. They worship all
the major Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon as well as several minor
deities. Vishnu and Siva are the major Gods worshipped. The temples are in many
respects different from those of the East Coast. Elaborate rules prescribed by
the Sastras are followed in their construction. The Kavu dedicated to the
Bhadrakali is a typical example. They have their own oracles called Velichappad.
There are also temples devoted to such deities as Ayyappan, Hanuman and Garuda.
Serpent worship has been widely prevalent here. Ancestor worship also practiced
by the Hindus.
The Muslims of the district are known as Mappilas. A great
majority of them are sunnis following the Shafi school of thought. They are
noted for their piety. Though Christianity is believed to have been introduced
in Kerala in 52 A.D, not much progress was made by the Christians of this
district before the advent of the Portuguese towards the close of the 15th
century. Almost all different sections of Christians are represented here.
Christians of Travancore and Cochin have migrated to the hilly regions and have
Art and Culture
The temple and mosques of
this district contain sculptures and inscriptions which are of considerable
interest to the students of art. Kozhikode town itself has many temples, the
most important of which are the Tali temple, the Tiruvannur temple, Azhakodi
temple, Varakkal temple, Bilathikulam temple and Bhairagimadom temple. Some of
these temples contain sculptures and paintings of very high artistic order. The
Thiruvilangad temple contains many ancient sculptures. Its gateway is
interesting because it is built in the same style as the Jain Bastis.
Meppayur, 16.09 kms. southeast of Vadakara, is the Elavattara temple of Durga,
in the grove attached to which are some sculptured images. Southeast of Vadakara
by 4.92 kms. is the Lokanarkav, in the vicinity of which there are rock-cut
caves. There is an art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum at East hill in
Kozhikode city. Lalithakala Academy also has an art gallery adjacent to town
In the field of Malayalam Language and Literature,
Kozhikode has made most significant contributions. The district is famous for
folk songs or ballads known as Vadakkam Pattukal. The most popular folk songs
among them are those which celebrate the exploits of Tacholi Meppayil Kunju
Othenan, ‘the Robinhood of North Malabar’.
During temple festivals and
important social functions entertainments like Koothu, Kathakali, Ottanthullal
and Kaikottikali are performed. There are also ritual dances such as Thira and
One of the favorite pastimes of the Muslims of the district is
the singing of the Mappilapattu and Oppana. These songs are sung in a
distinctive tune and cover a wide range of themes. The songs are composed in a
composite language of Arabic and Malayalam.
The important festivals in the district
are held at Arakkal temple, Madappalli, Vadakara (pooram Festival, march/April),
Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi temple, Memunda, Vadakara (two festivals – (1)
March/April (2) November/December), Kadappally Kumbhom Thira Puduppanam,
Vadakara Shri Pisharikavu Bhagavathi temple, Viyyur, Thikkody (Kaliatta
Mahotsavam in March), Vettakkorumakan pattu in the Balussery Fort, Koyilandy,
Sreekanteswara temple festival, Kozhikode (Sivarathri Festival for seven days in
February/March), Thacholi Manikkoth Temple Festival (February), and Appavanibha
Nercha at Idiyangara Sheik Masjid.
intellectual debate for vedic scholars to win the coveted position of pattathana
takes place at Thali temple during the month of Thulam. It is said that this
unique intellectual gathering commenced during the fag end of 13th century. Many
stories are attributed to the beginning of the Pattathanam. The seven-day debate
starts on Revathi day and concludes on Thiruvathira day of the Malayalam month
Places of Interest
Art Gallery and Krishna Menon
Situated adjacent to the Pazhassi Raja Museum, the art gallery
houses paintings of Raja Ravi Varma among other collections. The museum has a
section dedicated to V.K. Krishna Menon. The personal belonging of the late
leader are exhibited here.
This ancient place
is now the headquarters of the taluk as well as the municipality of that name.
There is a ruined fort in the town. Vadakara was the scene of many exploits of
Tacholi Othenan, the hero of the ballads of north Malabar (Vadakkan Pattukal).
Five kms. South-East of Vadakara in Memunda amsom, is the Lokanarkavu which has
three rock-cut caves in its vicinity. Annual ceremonies are conducted in memory
of Othenan, whose birth place is Manikkoth near Meppayil.Vadakara (Vadakkekara)
is so called because of its location just north (Vadakku) of Kotta river. The
Orkattery cattle fair is held between 25th January and 2nd February at Orkattery
6.45 kms. from Vadakara.
Beypore town is about 9.65
kms. from Kozhikode, at the mouth of the Beypore river. The place was formerly
known as Vaypura and Vadaparappanad. Tippu Sultan named the town “Sultan
Pattanam”. It is one of the important ports of Kerala and naturally, an
important trading centre.
Beypore is famous for its boat building yard
where mammoth country crafts known as Urus are being built. It is major fishing
harbour of Kerala. There are two man made extensions to the sea to facilitate
easy access for fishing boats. This is an ideal place for an
An island in Kadalundi amsom formed by the
Beypore and kadalundi rivers, Chaliyam was formerly the terminus of the Madras
Railway. The bridge at Feroke which extended the railway upto Kozhikode in 1888,
reduced the importance of Chaliyam.
and Feroke are predominant industrial areas. A number of tile factories, match
factories etc. are located here, providing employment to thousands of workers.
The Steel Complex is also located here.
beauty and serenity of Kozhikode beach is not yet exploited to develop it into a
tourist centre. Still people from all around gather here to enjoy the sunset and
it is a popular retreat for local people. Two sea piers almost 125 years old
extending well inside the sea are a speciality. Lion’s club, children’s park
make evening pleasant for visiting families. Fishermen with their small rowing
boats entering the sea, fighting the waves and returning with varieties of fish
is worth watching.
Feroke is the cradle of the tile
industry in Kerala. The rapid rivers from the Western Ghats after passing
through forests carry the clay which is the raw-material for tiles, pottery and
ceramic wares. There are more than a dozen tile factories in Feroke
This is a thick dense forest and is
called the “Chirapunchi” of Kerala because of the high availability of heavy
rains. It is about 44 kms. from Kozhikode and is the boundary to Wayanad
ditrict. A journey through this Ghat section is an enjoyable experience. It is
14 kms. long with nine hairpin curves amidst a number of hills and thick
forests. A view from the top will be a breath taking
On 27th May 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed
here with three vessels and 170 men. If you travel 16 kms. north of Kozhikode by
Kannur road, a small road near Tiruvangoor Health Centre will guide you to this
beach of historical importance. A monument is here to commemorate the historical
landing. An ancient temple on a hillock, facing the deep sea, is an added
Kallai was known as the world’s best
timber trading centre. Even now, it is the place for timber trade in
Thousands of migratory birds from all
over the world gather here during the season which starts from
Twenty nine kms. from Vadakara, Kuttiadi
acknowledged the supremacy of the Kottayam Raja, whose fortified palace stands
on a hill. During the Pazhassi rebellion, Kuttiadi, which commanded one of the
chief passes to Wayanad was of great strategic importance. In 1957, the shafts
of two golden swords supposed to have been used by Pazhassi Raja were unearthed.
Overlooking Kuttiadi and other regions is the 1758 m. height Banasura peak,
named after the giant demon Banasura, who is supposed to have built a fort on
the summit. Now the name of Kuttiadi connected with the Hydro-Electric project
in Kuttiadi river basin.
A new attraction
in the heart of the city, Mananchira Maithan, is the sublimation of the concept
of a planned modern city. The historic maithan, adjacent to Manachira has been
converted into an arcadia with beautiful trees and plants, artificial hill,
shrubs, sculpture, an open air theatre and above all, a musical fountain. No
doubt, locals and tourists seekings leisure and relief from the mad rush
outside, find shelter here. Mananchira Maithan is managed by the Corporation of
Nadapuram is second only to Ponnani
from the point of view of Islamic culture. It is located 18 kms. North-East of
Pazhassi Raja Museum
Pazhassi Raja Museum is
located at East Hill, 5 kms. from Kozhikode. Copies of ancient mural paintings,
antiques, bronzes, old coins, models of temples, megalithic monuments like
dolmonoid cysts, umbrella stones etc. are displayed
Ibu-Btuta described Kollam as a
beautiful and large place, abounding with gardens and markets. Portugese attacks
were strongly rebuffed by the garrison on mayyat Kannu. In 1550, Panthalayani
was burnt by the Portugese.
The Dasara Festival is celebrated with great
pomp in the month of Kanni. The Zamorin had a palace here.
Centre and Planetarium
Regional Science Centre and Planetarium are at
the city’s Jaffarkhan Colony offers extensive insight into the mysteries of the
universe, the planets and the galaxies. There are daily shows at 12.00, 14.00,
16.00 and 18.00 hrs.
Sweat Meat street,
popularly known as S.M. Street with its cross roads, is the busiest shopping
spot of Kozhikode. Old bakery shops here are known for the famous Kozhikode
halwa and banana chips.
Thusharagiri is 48
kms. from Kozhikode and is one of the recently identified tourist centers. The
waterfalls and streams amidst the hilly regions are really a feast to eyes.