Facts About Calicut
30.61 sq km
(Annual): 254 cm
Season: September to May
to get there:
Air: Calicut Airport, at karipur,
23 km from the city, operates Indian Airlines flights to Mumbai
and Sharjah in the Middle East.
Rail: Calicut Railway Station
in linked by rail to major cities in the country.
Road: Government-run and private
bus services connect Calicut to several tourist and business centres
in South India, e.g. Ootty, Mysore, Bangalore, Mangalore, Coimbatore,
Trichy, Pondicherrt etc.
Local Transport: Yellow-top and tourist taxis, buses and
Conducted Tours: Callicut-Beypore-Peruvannamuzhi Dam-Lokanarakvu
Temple- Kappad Beach.
of past Grandeur
In northern Kerala lies the area which the legendary
traveller Marco Polo described in 1320 A.D. as the ''great province
of Malabar.'' Much of this richness today lies buried in the glory
of a past grandeur, a past replete with the trading visits of European
voyagers calling on the ancient port of calicut on their regular
journeys of commerce, lured by timber, ivory, pepper, ginger, cinnamon
and other spices.
great traveller lbn Batuta, who visited Calicut (known as Kozhikode
in Malayalam) at least six times in the mid-13th century, wrote
of the prosperity he saw: ''The greater part of the Mohammedan merchants
of this place are so wealthy that one of them can purchase the whole
freightage of such vessels put in here and fit out others like them.''
the 13th century Calicut grew in importance as a port and the capital
of the powerful kingdom of the Samoothiris or the Zamorins, as they
were called by the Portuguese. In fact, some historians say Calicut
derives its name from the fortified palace ('koyil Kotta') built
by a Samoothiri ruler.
commercial glory was also praised by the Arab Traveller Abdur Razzak
in 1443 A.D.: ''Calicut is a perfectly secured harbour, which, like
that of Ormuz, brings together merchants from every city and from
every country.'' Interestingly, Calicut has also lent its name to
'calico', the fine variety of handwoven cotton clothe said to have
originated in this place.
was also Vasco da Gama's first stop in India. He set foot on the
sands of Kappad beach, north of today's
city, on 27 May 1498 A.D., a landing commemorated by a small stone
monument at the beach. This event marked the beginning of a new
epoch in world history and specifically in the history of Kerala.
against the backdrop of bitter rivalries between local rulers began
a period of unbroken strife among foreign powers for the domination
of trade in Malabar.
Calicut is an important trading centre for timber and tiles and
the shopping ground for that famous delicacy among sweets, 'Calicut
15 minutes drive from the city centre is a place called
Dolphins's Point, where one can see in the
early hours of the morning dolphins playing in the sea. The
beach, 2 km from Calicut town centre, is a
long stretch of tree-lined sand popular with the local people because
of the Lions Club Park, the light house and the two piers-and, of
course, the opportunity to soak in the evening breeze.
at East Hill, the Pazhassirajah Museum, run by the
State Archaelogical Department, displays ancient mural paintings,
antique bronzes and old coins as well as models of temples, megalithic
monuments like dolmonoid cysts and umrella stones. (Timings: 10
A.M. tp 5 P.M. Closed on Mondays.)
next to the Pazhassirajah Museum, the Art
Gallery contains paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja
Varma. The Krishna Menon Museum has
a section in honour of the great Indian leader V. K. Krishna Menon,
whose personal belongings and souvenirs gifted by world leaders
are exhibited here. (Timings:10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Closed on Mondays
and Wednesday forenoons).
Mananchira is the heart of the
city which sites important institutions like the Town Hall and the
Public Library. One of Calicut's oldest buildings, the Commonwealth
Trust office is situated here. the large pond and the park are well-known
Six km away is kallai, Once the bustling nerve-point of Calicut's
timber trade, said to have been the largest such trading centre
in Asia. Today, though some business does take place, hard times
have fallen on the timber trade and Kallai is just a shadow of its
Beypore, 11 km from Calicut,
is a small coastal town known for centuries as a ship building centre
and still famous for its country crafts called 'Uru' built by the
traditional shipubuilders known as khalasis. Beypore is still a
favourite destination among Arabs shopping for large boats.
A commercial centre also famous for the ancient Kerala form
of martial arts, kalaripayattu, Badagara,
48 km from Calicut, is also the birthplace of Tacholi Othenan,
whose heroic deeds have been immortalised in the ballads of North
Tellicherry and Sultan
Battery, 98 km away, are important trading centres of
Calicut. The road from Calicut to Sultan Battery, though full of
steep climbs and hairpin curves, offers a breathtakingly scenic
drive. From Sultan Battery it is only six hours to Bangalore.