A local’s guide to Calicut

4/18/2018 Dhanur Chauhan 0 Comments

Formerly called Calicut, the coastal town of Kozhikode occupies a significant place in the history and culture of Kerala. Since the 16th century, the town developed as a spice-trading settlement, under the Portuguese influence, when Vasco Da Gama landed at the nearby Kappad Beach in 1498.

Named after the Calico fabric produced/found here, Calicut is the third most populous city in Kerala and an important tourist destination in the region.

The ancient architectures, churches, mosques and the natural beauty of the place indeed add up to the city’s charm. But somewhere in its deep interiors, this unhurried town is still trying to adapt to the millennium lifestyle and yet trying to retain its rich heritage. Though the recent construction boom has sidelined most of Calicut’s historical monuments, a few still rise above the modern day edifices.

The best way to feel the pulse of a city is to explore it like a local. Book a taxi service in Calicut and take a tour through the city’s memory lane to see Calicut in its original essence.

Stroll along the Kozhikode beach - One of the longest sandy beach in the country, Calicut’s sea-shores are the best places to sit, introspect or relax after a tiring touring day. Watch the sun as it set in the glistening Arabian Sea. The cerulean waters of the Arabian Sea, the golden sandy beaches dotted by coconut palms is undoubtedly a picture-perfect sight of this town.

Sit under the ‘Whispering Trees’ - The Kappad Beach is lined with tall and thick Casuarina trees. In the hot summer days, if you sit under their shade, you can hear them whispering- a sound effect of their needle-like leaves rustled by the sea breeze. This could be your perfect spot for an afternoon siesta or to get your creative juices out.

Tour the Moppila mosques - Right after the Portuguese army was overthrown, the Moppila-Muslim community took over the town. That was the start of the rising Muslim population in this region. Their influence is still prominent in the Moppila mosques across Calicut. Though these rulers were from Arabia, the adopted the local culture and artistry of Kerala, which you can find in the buildings of their time. These mosques have a distinctive structure and can be characterized by the typical Keralan multi-tiered roofs.

Join the Malabar Mahotsavam - The Malabar Mahotsavam or Malabar Festival is an important local fest held in the month of January. So, if you are planning to travel around this time, don’t forget to join the festivities where you can witness Malabari cultural activities. The entire program comes to an end with music concerts and an array of fireworks. If you’re in Kerala around the time of the festival, book a Cochin taxi to get to Calicut.

Enjoy a seafood dinner at Kingsbay Restaurant - How can one be on a beach holiday and not gorge on the fresh catch? Set within a heritage Portuguese building, the Kingsbay Restaurant serves sumptuous seafood prepared with fresh local spices in Malabari style.

Explore traditional Malabari food - Like the place, the food scene of Calicut is also popular among travelers. Malabari cuisine features coconut-based dishes, in sweet or savory form. Sample a few local dishes at eateries like Cape Comorin or Dhe Puttu. While the former is a traditional dining place, the latter is an old-school eatery serving rolled rice puttu (dumplings). 

Visit the Mother of God Church - Whether you are a believer or not, a visit to an ancient church is always an interesting thing to do. The ancient architecture and the timeworn structure speaks of its past. Once a sacred church in its hay days, this religious site is also known as “Matre de Deo’s Church of Calicut”.  Founded under the Portuguese rule, this was one of the first Catholic establishments in the area.