Kettuvallom - Riceboats - Houseboats - romance of kerala backwaters


  

    Glory 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. The 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.'' After the 13th century Kozhikode 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 historian's say Kozhikode derives its name from the fortified palace ('koyil Kotta') built by a Samoothiri ruler. Kozhikode's commercial glory was also praised by the Arab Traveller Abdur Razzak in 1443 A.D.: ''Kozhikode is a perfectly secured harbour, which, like that of Ormuz, brings together merchants from every city and from every country.'' Interestingly, Kozhikode has also lent its name to 'calico', the fine variety of handwoven cotton clothe said to have originated in this place. Kozhikode 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. Today, Kozhikode is an important trading centre for timber and tiles and the shopping ground for that famous delicacy among sweets, 'Kozhikode Halwa.'
 

Places to visit

Pazhassiraja Museum and Art Gallery: 
Located at East Hill, 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 umbrella stones. (Timings: 10 A.M. tp 5 P.M. Closed on Mondays.) Adjacent to the museum is the Art Gallery which exhibits an excellent collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma.
Krishna Menon Museum: 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 Maidan: 
The palace tank of King Mana-Vikrama is an architectural wonder. The musical fountain inside the maidan and the meticulously landscaped lawns surrounded by traditional buildings in the Kerala style, fascinate visitors.

Kallai: 
6 km away, once the bustling nerve-point of Kozhikode'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 past. 

Beypore: 
11 km from Kozhikode, 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 shipbuilders known as khalasis. Beypore is still a favourite destination among Arabs shopping for large boats. 

Badagara:
A commercial centre also famous for the ancient Kerala form of martial arts, kalaripayattu. Badagara is 48 km from Kozhikode, is also the birthplace of Tacholi Othenan, whose heroic deeds have been immortalised in the ballads of North Malabar.

Vadakara: 
Situated on the right bank of Kuttiyadi River, Vadakara has a historical fort which is now in ruins. About 5 kms away from this town is the famous 1500-year-old Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple, where the main deity is Goddess Durga. The annual festival is celebrated during March - April. There are three rock cut caves near the Temple containing interesting murals and carvings.

Kappad: 
Vasco Da Gamma landed on these shore in 1498 for trade; there is a pillar here to commemorate this event. The beach itself is a calm haven, set amidst picturesque fishing villages and beautiful rock formations. 

Payyoli: 
It is a place of historical importance due to the old fort and mosque of the Kunhali Marakkans. This place is also known for its sacrifice rock which can be found at about 13 km away in the sea. 

 
Peruvannamoozhi Dam: 
The Peruvannamuzhi damsite set amid hills is a beautiful picnic spot. The reservoir here provides facilities for speed and row boat cruises during which one can see the Smarakathottam -  a garden built in memory of the freedom fighters of the region. Uninhabited islands, the birds sanctuary and a crocodile farm add to the charm of the place.

Tusharagiri: 
Famous for its trekking tracks, it is located, near Vythiri in Wayanad. Trekkers start early morning from the second waterfall and climb uphill through the pristine, evergreen dense forests populated with exotic birds and wild animals to reach Vythiri by evening.

Tali Temple: 
Built in the 14th century by Swami Thirumulpad, the Zamorian, within his palace complex, this temple was the venue of Revathy Pattathanam the annual culture and intellectual event at eh Zamorin's court.

Kozhikode Beach: 
This beach is a favourite haunt of sunset viewers. Adding to its natural beauty is the old world charm retained in the old lighthouse and the two crumbling piers, each more than a hundred years old, that run into the sea. Entertainment facilities such as Lions Park for children and the marine water aquarium are added attractions.

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary: 
The estuary at Kadalundi is a haven for migratory birds. Terns, gulls, herons, sandpipers,whimbrels and other exotic birds flock into this place in November and return home in April.

Planetarium: 
The Kozhikode Planetarium at the city's Jaffarkhan colony offers extensive insight into the mysteries of the universe, the planets and he galaxies.
 

 

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 Fact Sheet
Population: 4,19,531
Area: 2206 sq km
Altitude: Sea level
Rainfall  254 cm
Climate:  Tropical 
Summer Max      Min
35C     22.5C
Winter 34C     22C 
Season Sep to Mar
Clothing: Tropical cottons

Access

Air: 
Kozhikode Airport, at Karipur, 23 km from the city. Daily flights to Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and the Middle East. 

Rail: 

Kozhikode Railway Station in linked by rail to major cities in the country.

Road: 
Government-run and private bus services connect Kozhikode to several tourist and business centres in South India, e.g. Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Trichy, Pondicherry etc. 
 
Local Transport:
Private and KSRTC buses, Yellow-top and tourist taxis, Auto rickshaws.

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