(Last Updated on : 14/05/2010)
Kozhikode, also most legendary as Calicut, is a city situated in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Kozhikode serves as the third largest city in Kerala and also the headquarters of Kozhikode district. Calicut once served as the capital of an erstwhile independent kingdom and later of the one-time Malabar District. Indeed, history of Kozhikode has much to offer to one`s platter of curiosity to learn more about this ancient city of seafaring wonders. Kozhikode is the third largest urban agglomeration in Kerala.
Kozhikode is precisely located by the long coastline of the legendary Malabar coastal region and the erstwhile referred Calicut does possess immense cultural traditions and lingo of its own; the city still is a trading nerve centre for spices and tiles and sometimes also acknowledged as the `land of spices`. The current name `Kozhikode` has been derived from the words `Koyil` (palace) and `Kodu` (fortified). The city found its idyllic place in world history when Portuguese navigator Vasco De Gama had discovered this very coastal region as a sea route to India in 1498. Kozhikode, as a result is presently identified by various names - the Arabs had referred to it as `Kalikat` and Chinese `Kalifo`. During the invasion and subjugation of Malabar, Tipu Sulthan had endeavoured to change the name of the city into `Ferozabad`. The city is immensely popular for its `Kozhikodan Halwas`, a sweet dish prepared by flour and jaggery and the traditional Muslim food, especially seafood cuisines made from prawns, crabs, lobster and shell creature known as kallummekkaya or kadukka. The present times, primeval monuments, tranquil beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, hills, a distinctive culture and a warm friendly ambience, makes Kozhikode stand out as a destination very much in demand.
Kozhikode`s most profitable earning as a trade establishing region has made this a major centre of attraction for several countries. Thus, Calicut was long overpowered by various foreign powers and thus has taken on a unique cultural amalgamation, not exactly alike to its other southern Indian counterparts. Despite the mentioned western influences, Kozhikode still has been successful to keep intact its own individuality and thus is very much proud of its culture and tradition. Finding and further exploration of the very many places of interest that are unquestionably worth a visit, is sure to make a tourist`s visiting experience a memorable one to be cherished forever.
There exist a number of rivers and lakes flowing by the city. Chaliyar puzha, Kallayi Puzha, Korapuzha, Mahe River and Korapuzha are some among them. The city of Kozhikode normally possesses a humid climate with an extremely hot season beginning in March and continuing up till May. The primary rainy season commences in the first week of June and moves up to September. The most pleasurable weather is found towards the end of the year, precisely in December and January - the skies are crystal and there can be felt a nip in the air.
Kozhikode has played substantial roles in the field of education, agriculture, spice trade, fishing, ship building, sea trade, media, heritage structures, cultural arts and festivals and tourism. Well-known and respected personalities like V. K. Krishna Menon and P.T. Usha had made this very city of Kerala proud in the international scenario, hailing as they were, from here.
Kozhikode is home to two of the most prestigious and premier educational institutions in the country, precisely the IIMK - one of the seven Indian Institutes of Management and the only National Institute of Technology in Kerala, the NITC. Some of the other respected educational institutes in comprise, Calicut Medical College, Calicut University Institute of Engineering and Technology (CUIET, Government Engineering College (GEC), Malabar Christian College, Zamorin`s Guruvayurappan College, St. Joseph`s College, Devagiri, Farook College, Government Arts and Science College, Providence Women`s College, Government Homeopathic Medical College, Government Law College, Government College of Teacher Education, Kerala School of Mathematics, CEDTI.
Kozhikode, then Calicut and Kolikod, has served as an essential multiethnic and multi-religious town since the early medieval period, as it was the most decisive trading port in the Indian ocean. Indeed, the people of this very coastal city are one exclusive and matchless a bunch, that has gradually moved towards contemporaneity. Hindus make up the largest community, succeeded by Muslims and Christians respectively. In terms of cultural excellence, Calicut has played its much endeavoured role to the fullest. Intelligently sticking to its ancient ethnicity, the city has been matured enough to hold up to international light, its southern heritage par excellence.
To begin with, Kozhikode has made numerous significant contributions in the field of Malayalam language and literature. The district is legendary for its folk songs or ballads, acknowledged and unanimously recognised as Vadakkan Pattukal. The most well-liked and accepted songs amongst them are those which commemorate and extol the exploits of city is singing Mappila pattu and Oppana. The songs are composed in an amalgamated and compound language of Arabic and Malayalam. The famous intellectual debate for Vedic scholars to win the much sought after position of Pattathanam, takes place at the Thali temple during the month of Thulam. Kozhikode also possesses strong undertones and prestigious links with ghazals and football.
Kozhikode also offers an exceedingly rich array of culinary chefs-d`oeuvre, the aroma and smell known to have charmed and melted every historic ruling emperor. Kozhikode offers à la carte to suit every palate and need. Vegetarian fare includes the most scrumptious and delectable sadya. The non-vegetarian food offered in the city is an inimitable blend of Muslim and Hindu cookeries. Some popular dishes comprise the Biriyani, ghee rice with meat curry, sea-food (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper-thin Pathiris (a localised version of pancake made of rice flour) to provide accompaniment to spicy gravy. Another well-known and admired Kozhikode specialty even by tourists is the banana chips (deep-fried and/or dried slices of banana, treated with sugar or honey), which are prepared crisp and wafer-thin. The `Kozhikode Halwa` is very popular, even in the overseas market.
Kozhikode, or Calicut, as it is still pronounced in terms of transport and travel, is exceedingly well linked and connected with the rest of India by the three chief modes of travelling - air, rail and road networks. It has a smoothly linked and interconnected huge road network with the country, its major cities and the highways. There exists the short distance and long distance public transport systems, run by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation as well as a ready availability of private transport operators. National Highway-17 links Kozhikode with the rest of the cities in Kerala and adjacent states. There are regular buses to Bangalore (354 km), Mangalore (74 km), Mysore, Ooty, Madurai, Coimbatore, Pondichery, Thiruvananthapuram (445 km), Alappuzha, Kochi (224 km) and Kottayam.
The Kozhikode Railway Station is located towards the south of the Manachira Square, serving as a sound rail connection with express and ordinary trains, connecting all the major cities and railway stations in India. The city is well linked with important places like Mangalore, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Coimbatore, Goa and Mumbai. Apart from these there is the Kozhikode Airport, situated at a distance of approximately 25 km from the city`s nerve centre. Kozhikode is connected in an undisturbed manner by flights to and from the Gulf countries, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Goa, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Chennai.
In terms of accommodation and contexts of places to stay and reside while on tour in Kozhikode, a visitor can literally be spoilt for choice, with the array of alternatives to choose from the hotels and other lodgings. The standard, normal and budget accommodation options are available all through the city of Calicut, scattered in the central of tourist attractions. One can also opt from the high-flying executive and business class five or four star hotels, with price offered on request. Then again, one can decide on for the rather thrilling and adventurous alternative luxurious houseboats floating in the legendary backwaters of Kerala. Tree houses around Kozhikode forests are a present-day and indeed unusual attraction for accommodation, but quite popular these days for the tourists desiring something off the regular trod track.