Formerly known as Calicut, Kozhikode was one of Aisa’s most prosperous trading capitals. The busy coastal city is 193 km north of Kochi, another major trading place. Kozhikode occupies an extremely important place in Kerala’s legend and history. After Vasco da Gama landed near Kappad in 1498, he and his fellow sailors were surprised to find themselves in a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city already inhabited by communities of Jews, Arabs & Chinese merchants as well as Christians. Nowadays, very few monuments are left in the city to illustrate its past.
Kozhikode is a very crowded city and the traffic can be an headache for you. The beach, 3 km west of the city centre, is reasonably a very good hangout and relaxing place–not suitable for swimming though–where you can find various flavoured drinks at stalls lined up near it. It gets very crowded during weekends but still, it holds a great charm in itself. The most sought-after savoury in Kozhikode is “halwa”, a sweet meat. Kozhikode is home to two premier educational institutes, namely, the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, from where a friend of mine is doing his M.Tech., and the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. This city remains very hot round the year, with temperature above 30 degrees Celsius.
It being a coastal city, the beach here has helped this city a lot in building its glorious past. The northern side of the beach is much more beautiful than the southern side and both have got piers more than hundred years old. Ibn Battuta, who visited the city six times, described it as “one of the great ports of the district of Malabar” where “merchants of all parts of the world are found”. This city was a great emporium of trade frequented by merchants from all over the world.
Tune in tomorrow as I explore the small beautiful city of Mahe, Puducherry and Tellicherry, known as the Paris of Kerala.