the most important city of Malabar region of Kerala, was a leading
trading centre for spices on the West Coast of India during
the medieval period. Ruled by the Zamorin dynasty, calicut found
a place in World History with the discovery of sea route to
India in 1498 by the Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama. The
landing of Gama at Kapat near Calicut changed the political
scanario of India, which ultimately ended with it's colonization
by the British. It remained under the Madras Presidency till
the formation of Kerala in 1956 after independence.
Not much is known about the early history of Calicut. However a few prehistoric
relics like rock cut caves were found in the district at many places. During the
sangam age, the district formed part of the Chera Empire. It played a leading
part in fostering trade relations between Kerala and outside world. Tondi, the
present Kadalundi as per scholars, was one of the most flourishing seaports of
Kerala that time. Again nothing is known in the post-sangam age which is
considered to be the Dark Age in South India's history. In the 9th century,
Calicut became a part of the Second Chera Empire. The Chera's also known as
Perumals, ruled the territory till 1122 AD. With the fall of Cheras, the kingdom
was divided into many independent districts called 'Nadus' such as Ernad and
Polanad. Originally Calicut area was under the Porlarthris, rulers of Poland. It
became an important town in 13th century with the conquest of Polanad by the
King of Ernad.
Formation of Calicut
The Udaiyavar of Ernad, whose headquarters was at Nediyiruppu wanted an outlet
to the sea and after fighting with the Polatthiri King for 48 long years
conquered the area around Ponniankara and build a fort at a place called
Velapuram. Thus the city of Calicut came into existence sometime in the 13th
Century AD. With the accession of Calicut, the status of Nediyirippu increased
and he come to known as Swami Nambiyathiri Thirumulpad, which gradually became
Samuri or Samuthiri over the years. The Europeans called him Zamorin. The place
surrounded by the fort was known as Koyil (palace) Kotta (fort) and hence the
name of the place became Kozhikode. Foreigners called it by different names, For
Arabs it was Kalikat, for Chinese it was Kalifo while the city is known to
outside world by its European name - Calicut.
Calicut became a mighty seaport, where the Arabs and
the Chinese met to exchange the products of west with the east and vise versa.
Religious tolerance, good administration, which gave security and impartiality
to all and the friendly attitude of Zamorin to all traders, made Calicut the
chief centre of trade in Malabar region. Zamorin gave special concession to
Arabs (the Moors) to carry out trade. Islam was also propagated here.
According to K.V. Krishna Iyer, the rise of calicut is at once a cause and a
consequence of Zamorin's ascendancy in Kerala. By the end of the century,
Zamorin was at the zenith of his powers with all princes and chieftains of
Kerala north of Cochin acknowledging his suzerainty.
The Arrival of Portuguese
Vasco Da Gama arrived in 1498 and obtained permission to carry out trade from
Calicut. The Arabs sensing the threat posed by Portuguese to their commercial
supremacy, opposed the Europeans. Bitter fights started between Portuguese and
Arabs. The Portuguese went to Cochin for trade and the Raja of Cochin had an
alliance with the Portuguese with aim of attaining sovereignty from Zamorin.
The hostilities between the Zamorin and the Portuguese continued for many
decades and the role played by the Kunjali
Marakkar in these battles can not been forgotten. Kunjali Marakkar were the
hereditary admirals of the zamorin and organized a powerful navy to fight the
Portuguese. Kunajali II, the greatest of Zamorin's Admirals, fought bravely and
captured the Portuguese ships and massacred the crew members. Kunjali III built
a fort at Kottakkal and enjoyed all the privileges enjoyed by the Nair chiefs.
The caused heavy damages to the Portuguese shipping and trade but with the
defeats in 1528 and 1538 they lost their glory.
The Portuguese built a fort at Chaliyam at the mouth of the Baypore River in the
middle of the Zamorin's territory. Due to the prolonged struggle, zamorin's
strength deteriorated and entered into a treaty in 1540 and allowed the
Portuguese to have monopoly over trade at Calicut port. The peace was temporary
and war broke out again resulting in the demolition of Chaliyom Fort in the 1571
by the Zamorin.
The battles continued unabated till 1588 when the
Portuguese were allowed to settle down at Calicut. However Kunjali opposed the
move. Moreover the Kunjali IV declared himself as the 'King of the Moors' and
disobeyed the Zamorin. Zamorin could not digest this and sided with Portuguese
to destroy the powerful Kunjalis and in 1600, kunjalis surrendered and
subsequently executed. It was really ironical that Zamorins had to ally with
Portuguese and to fight the Kunjalis, who saved the Calicut Kingdom for decades
in its fight against Portuguese.
In the meanwhile, the Dutch, English and the French
arrived in Kerala. Zamorins allowed the Dutch to trade in Calicut and sought
their help to drive out the Portuguese. The position of Portuguese weakened
gradually due to international events and their position in Kerala deteriorated.
Dutch captured Cochin and Cannanore and established trade. However, by 1721, the
Dutch formally withdrew from all interference in native wars.
Places of Interest
Vasco-da-Gama set foot on the sands of
Kappad beach, on 27 May 1498 A.D., a landing commemorated by a small stone
monument at the beach.
Here one can see in the early hours of the morning
dolphins playing in the sea. The beach, 2 km from Calicut town centre is
along 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 enjoy in the evening breeze.
Located at East Hill, the Pazhassirajah Museum, run
by the State Archaeological Department, displays ancient mural paintings,
antique bronzes and old coins as well as models of temples, megalithic
monuments like dolmonoid cysts and the umbrella stones.
Situated next to the Pazhassirajah Museum, the Art
Gallery contains paintings of Raja Ravi 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 this world leader are exhibited here.
Mananchira the heart of the city, is the site of
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 landmarks.
Six kms 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 past.
11 kms from Calicut, is a small coastal town known
for centuries as a ship building centre and still famous for its country
crafts called "Uru" which are built by the traditional
shipbuilders known as Khalasis. Beypore is still a favourite destination
among the Arabs shopping for the large boats.
A commercial centre 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 Malabar.
Tellicherry and Sultan Battery
98 km away, are important trading centres of
Calicut. The road from Calicut to Sultan's Battery, though full of steep
climbs and hairpin curves, offers a breath taking scenic drive. From
Sultan's Battery it is only six hours to Bangalore.
Two crumbling piers, more than hundred years
old stand out into sea at Kozhikode Beach pondering the glorious trade this
beach witnessed in yester years. Beach is easily accessible from city and
best for enjoying sunset.
True to its very name land
and water have struck an extraordinary kinship at this destination. The
three water falls in the backdrop of lush green forest is exhilarating and
dumbfounding for every visitor. This natural beauty spot exists 11 kms from
Kodenchery which is abound in plantations of rubber, aracanut, coconut,
pepper, ginger, and spices of all sort. This destination provides ample
opportunities for young and old alike and challenging time for adventurers.
Best season to visit is from October to March.
A dam site of unique beauty
and abundant wild life situate 45 kms. from Kozhikode. Kakkayam offers a
Muscle flexing and challenging trekking and rock climbing through river
path, enjoying numerous water falls. Best seasons for a trek is from
November to April.
The dam site 60 kms. from
Kozhikode girdled with mountains is an abode of beauty, calm & serenity.
Cruise in a speed boat or lazily walk around through thick foliage. A
crocodile farm run by the forest Department situates close to the reservoir.
There exists a 'Smarakathottam' within this reservoir bearing the heroes of
A beautiful location for
trekking. The trekking starts from a water fall and pass through lush green
forest. Overnight stay in tented accommodations is required, as it is not
safe to trek at night. On the top of the hill it is so chill that warm
cloths are required. Can be reached from Thiruvambadi.
Kozhikode wins a place in the
planetarium map of the world. Situate within city at Jaffarkhan Colony. It
reveals the mysteries of universe and enlightens about the planets and
stars. Shows are at 12.00, 2.00, 4.00 & 6.00 pm.
The science centre abounds
with puzzles and wonders that can keep you busy
for at least half a day. Floating ball, whisper being carried from one end
to another with the help of parabolic reflectors and many more wonders await
you at Science centre. Science Centre and Planetarium situate in the same
The palace tank of King Mana
Vikrama is now turned into a traditional architectural splendour, with
carpeted green grass, and surrounded by Kerala style buildings. The musical
fountain within the maidan (open ground) has become a local favourite.
A park for children situates
next to the light house at Calicut beach. The park is open from 3 pm
onwards. It is good to enjoy the sunset from here.
A recreational boating centre
within the heart of city can be seen at Arayadathupalam. Boating in pedal
boats and row boats are facilitated here. Timing 8.00 am - 7.00 pm.
A marine water aquarium is
situated at Kozhikode beach near the light house. Varieties of marine and
fresh water fish can be seen here. Opened on all days from 8am to 8pm.
Malabar House Boats
For luxury boating and
exploring pristine back waters of Kozhikode, House Boats can be availed. The
novel concept and excellent hospitality in this floating palace is worth
enjoying, with family and friends. These are the first fully newly built
House Boats of Kerala. These are stationed at Purakkattiri, close to
Purakkattiri Bridge on Ullery - Perambra road. 10 kms. from Kozhikode.
The sanctury at Kadalundi is
a Haven for migratory birds. Terns, Gulls, Herons, Sand pipers, Whimbrels
and other such migratory birds flock from the month of November and returns
only by the end of April. It is 25 kms. from Kozhikode. The ideal season to
visit is from December to April in the early hours of the day. BEYPORE It is
one of the important ports and fishing harbor. Ancient Beypore had been the
centre of ship building industry where merchants from West Asia and Middle
East regularly placed orders for huge wooden crafts, locally called as URU's.
This art is a mnemonic tradition of almost 1500 yrs old. It is 15 kms. from
Kozhikode, City buses are available.
S. M. Street
Sweet Meat Street is the
busiest shopping area at Kozhikode City. All shops are opened till 9.00pm.
The name derived so as a result of the presence of numerous sweet meat
Birth Place of
The Marakars were admirals of
Zamorines. who valiantly resisted the Portuguese on high seas. Kunhali
marakkar built a fort on the southern bank of Mooriad river which was
completely destroyed by Portuguese with the help of Zamorins for various
reasons. The place is known today as Kottakkal. It is 46 Kms. North of
Kozhikode. A small hut belonged to Kunhali Marakkar with collections of
ancient swords, canon balls and knives can be seen here.
A massive rock "Velliyamkallu" associated with the valiant Kunhali Marakkar Situates 13 kms. off Payyoli
Beach. The rock though much dreaded by navigators was safe ground for the
Marakar to attack the invading Portuguese. The fisher folk look at it with
awe and fear. However., it is worth exploring it to see for oneself the
beautiful figures nature has engraved on it. It was on this rock that
Marakars killed the whole crew of a ship belonging to the Portuguese.
The district has a humid climate with a very hot
season extending from March to May. The most important rainy season is during
the South West Monsoon which sets in the first week of June and extends up to
September. The North-East Monsoon extends form the second half of October
through November. The average annual rainfall in 3266 m.m.
During December to March,
practically no rain is received and from October onwards, the temperature
gradually increases to reach the maximum in May, which is the hottest month of
the year, The maximum temperature in the month of May come to 36*c during the
month of March 1975 and the lowest temperature was 14*c recorded on 26th
December 1975. Humidity is very high in the coastal region.
Flora & Fauna
There is an abundance of wild and marine life
here. Through wild elephants and bisons are occasionally
seen in the forests,
tigers and leopards are very few and rare.
Barking deer, Mouse deer, Monta
lizards, Malabar squirrels, black and grey monkeys, hares and porcupines are
found in the forests here. The avions are well represented by horn bills,
peacocks, jungle fowls, thrushes, pigeons, sunbirds, king fishers, wood peackers,
paradise fly catchers, parrots, mynas, king crows, rachuet railed drangos etc.
Snakes, poisonous and non poisonous, are seen in the forests in fairly large
numbers. Pythons also are common.
The natural forests fall under
three main categories; the southern tropical moist deciduous, western tropical
wet ever green and semi evergreen.
The principal tropical moist
deciduous forest species are Terminalia Paniculata, Dillenia, Pentagyna, Miliusa
Vlutina, Schrebra Suretenoides (all inhabiting species) etc; Bamboods Bambusa
Arundanaclac, Callicarpalanta, Cacsalpintia Minussoides etc. (under growth);
Butea Parviflora, Celastrus Paniculaters (climbers) etc.
The princiapl western tropical
wet evergreen species are Pakquium Ellipticum, Salmalia Malabarica, Mappila
Foetida (inhabiting species top canopy layer) canarium Strictum, chrysophyllum
Rexhurghi, Oleadiocea, Canes, wild arrows roots, screwpines etc.