3 Mar 2013

Kozhikode - Home to Lost Empires

Kozhikode, also known as Calicut, is one of the major cities of Kerala and the capital of the Malabar. It is of great historical importance and has attracted travellers from all corners of the earth for more than 500 years. A few well known travellers whose accounts of the city have been found include - Ibn Battuta from Arabia in the 1300s, and in the 1400s, Ma Huang from China, Abdur Razzak from Persia, Niccolò de' Conti from Italy and Athanasius Nikitin from Russia. The city came into existence under the rule of the Zamorins in the 13th century. The Mananchira Square is where the Zamorin kings had their palace.

Kozhikode was known as the “City of Spices” during the Middle Ages and has been in the spice trade since the 7th century, with Muslim Arab merchants. The famous Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama landed at Calicut in 1498 and set up a Portuguese factory and fort. Later, the English set up a trading port here, followed by the French and the Dutch. It was captured by Mysore in 1765 as part of its occupation of the Malabar coast. On entering the city, one can see ginger and spice plantations along the way as proof of why this name came about.

However, more recently, Kozhikode has been known as the “City of Sculptures” because of the amazing sculptures and architectural marvels located across the city. The sculptures are proof that this was once home to now lost Empires.

Another place that is a must see is the Kozhikode beach. It is known for its natural beauty and is very charming in a quaint, old fashioned sense. You can see a couple of hundred year old piers, a lighthouse as well as an aquarium. It is definitely a great spot to watch the sunrise or sunset as well.

If for some reason, you have missed on adding Kozhikode to your list of places to visit, it is a good idea to edit your list and add this city! Kozhikode flights are frequent, and the airport itself is twenty two kilometres from the city centre.