Kozhikode was the capital of Malabar during the time of Zamorins who ruled before the British arrival in India. It was a major port on the Maritime Silk Road trading in spices like black pepper and cardamom with the outside world with the Jews, Arabs, Phoenicians, and Chinese for centuries before Europeans arrived.
Portuguese were the first Europeans to find this land, the gateway to Kerala, famous for spices. This city is famous for receiving Vasco da Gama in 1498. He landed on the remote beach of Kappad which is 18 km away from the city. After that there was much trade with Portuguese and a bit later with the Dutch, British and French.
The English word calico, a cotton textile, originated from this city's name "Calicut".
- Kozhikode has an international airport and many Indian and international airlines have flights.
- Calicut (Kozhikode) is well-connected to Bombay (Mumbai) by daily flights operated by Jet Airways and Indian Airlines / Air India.
- You can also land at Mumbai International Airport and catch a train or flight to Kozhikode.
- Other options are Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Chennai,Coimbatore, Bangalore, Bombay airports and then by train or flight to Kozhikode.
- Kozhikode is the major gateway of north Kerala expatriates to Middle East. As a result, Kozhikode is well connected with all the Gulf cities by several flights.
- SriLankan Airlines operates a service from Calicut Airport to Colombo.
The railway station of Kozhikode (code: CLT) is well connected to other cities of India. Reservations or details are available through the IRCTC website.
Kozhikode to Chennai
There are four direct trains between Calicut (Kozhikode) and Madras (Chennai), each taking about twelve to eighteen hours for one-way travel.
Kozhikode to Mumbai
There are a handful of direct trains connecting Bombay (Mumbai) with Calicut (Kozhikode) via the picturesque Konkan Railway route. Typically, these trains take about 24 hours to cover around 1200 kilometres between Bombay (Mumbai) and Calicut (Kozhikode).
There are plenty of trains between Calicut(Kozhikode), Cochin(Kochi) and Trivandrum(Thiruvananthapuram). Beware that unless you reserve seats beforehand, you could end up travelling in unreserved(general) compartments and it can be a tiring experience as these trains can get very crowded, especially in weekends and other holidays.
There are bus services operating from cities like Mangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore to Kozhikode.
Kozhikode is well connected to other cities Mangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore by road. It is actually a pleasure to drive from Bangalore to Calicut through Gundulpet and Sulthan Battery. Be cautioned that a small stretch of jungle you have to pass through might have wild elephants or other animals moving in late hours, and thus travelling in small vehicle during less traffic in late hours is not advised.
April 2008: The Bangalore-Mysore-Gundulpet-Sultan Battery-Kalpetta-Kozhikode route is fantastic. I took this 'alternative' route to travel to Thrissur from Bangalore since I wanted to avoid the Salem route (which I hear is in a very poor state). The entire Bangalore-Kozhikode-Thrissur route is fantastic and I plan to continue to use this route going forward, till the Salem stretch gets better.
Many places of attractions are near by one another so you could walk between them.
Kozhikode has an excellent local bus service system and it is cheap. Your first choice should be travelling by Bus. Be aware that the buses can travel at neck-breaking speeds, but they are fairly safe.
By auto rickshaw
This is cheap way of transport between attractions. Auto rickshaw in Calicut are the most honest and safest in India. They hold a reputation of being truthful and are charged right to the kilometer(using digital/analog meters) similar to the ones in Bombay (Mumbai) and Pune.
Local taxi are also available at good rates. Normally, taxis are not needed unless you plan to go way out of the city. If you want to move around in City, auto rickshaw and buses are good enough. Taxi usually charge a flat charge and do not operate on meter.
There are many rental companies offering cars with drivers or self-drive.
- Mitaitheruvu or S M Street is famous for shopping, sweets and halwas. Sweet Meat Street is the busiest street in Kozhikode.
- Art Gallery - paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma
- Beypore - A city in the mouth of Beypore river, traditional boat(Urus)-building yard, old port, fishing harbour.
- Canolly Canal - boating (Canolly Canal is such a place as there are many opportunities in the Canolly Canal to take boat and just stroll down the canal for enjoyment. Canolly Canal is especially very enjoyable during the sun set times when tourists stroll down the canal in the small local boats that give you a historical déjà vu.)
- Dolphin's Point - Just 15 minutes from the city centre is a place called Dolphin's Point, where one can see dolphins playing in the sea of an early morning.
- Elathur - boating (A very beautiful town as it has a lake that borders it on one side and on the other side; Elathur is bordered by a river. Thus, this unique composition allows Elathur to be a very well sought out place that must be seen by travelers who come to India for its rich heritage.)
- Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium - Located opposite the musical fountain is the Jawaharlal Nehru planetarium where you get a chance to unravel the mysteries of outer space.
- Kadalundi - bird sanctuary, boating
- Kakkayam - trekking and rock climbing through river path, enjoying numerous water falls.
- Kallai - Once the bustling nerve-centre 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 busy past.
- Kallai river - boating.
- Kappad - Kappad see shore is famous because Vasco Da Gamma landed here in 1498 from Europe.
- Kirtads - Special museum that shows us glimpses of the past. The main area of concern in the Museum is The Kerala tribe communities of the ancient times. You can find many tools and weapons that were used in the era of the Kerala. In addition, there is a vast anthropological library and an archeological library that has much information on the past history and tribal life styles of ancient India.
- Korapuzha - venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsav (water festival)
- Kozhikode Beach - hundred years old lighthouse and the two crumbling pier
- Kozhippara Water Falls - Ideal location for trekking and swimming, with river side forests, situated in Kakkadampoyil on the Malappuram -Calicut District border,can reach there by road.
- Krishna Menon Museum - dedicated to late V K Krishna Menon, the former Foreign minister and Defence minister of India.
- Lion's Park - Situated just next to the famous Calicut Beach. A great theme park with many rides for the children as well as many attractions for the parents. Lion's Park has the very good view of the sunset that is unparalleled in many places.
- `Mananchira Maidan - The palace tank of King Mana Vikrama, still used as venue of various festival.
- Payyoli - historical place, old fort and mosque of the Kunjali Marakkar.
- Pazhassiraja Museum - copies of ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes, coins, temple models and megalithic monuments.
- Peruvannamuzhi Dam - Boating facilities, birds sanctuary, crocodile farm.
- Tali Temple - One of the oldest and the most ancient temples around. It is a very distinct temple, and its history goes all the way back to the times of the Zamorin ruler in 14th century builted by Swami Thirumulpad, the Zamorian.
- Thikkoti Light House - 1847 build
- Tusharagiri - Famous for trekking tracks, with waterfall, evergreen dense forests with exotic birds and wild animals on the way.
- Vadakara - A city on bank of Kuttiyadi river, famous 1500 year old Lokanarkavu Bhagavathi Temple, rock cut caves with murals and carvings.
- Vellari Mala - waterfalls, velvet green landscapes, place for trekking.
- Wayanad Ghats - en route to Wayanad with nine hairpin bends
- Meenchanda - samudhiri royal family fort that now in NSS high school
Water pipe enthusiasts should look out for the Koyilandy Hookah, made in the nearby town of Koyilandy. Preparation of an average hookah requires up to 1.5 kg of copper, 1.5 kg of zinc and half kg silver. It takes a week to prepare a Hookah.Available in different sizes (12 to 24 inches), these Hookah are sold anywhere around rupees 500 to 1500. Specially crafted Hookah come at rupees 15,000.
To procure one of these, you may contact the Kozhikode District Handicrafts Artisans Co-operative society. They have several pieces ready and can polish it and sell it to you within an hour. These range from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 2500 depending on the size. They can also ship it to you in India at a price(not sure if they have international shipping). Their contact number is +91-496-2623151.
Malabar cuisine is quite popular among gourmands. The mild flavored, gently cooked Malabar Biriyani are a must eat when visiting Calicut. The mutton is cooked tender, the rice flaky and delicately spiced with the right portions of condiments, to leave the taste lingering for long.
Kozhikode has a lot of restaurants. The famous ones include Paragon Hotel, Bombay Hotel, Hotel Sagar, Mezban Restaurant(Hotel Asma Tower) and the King's Bay Hotel.
The side-dishes include `alisa'( husked wheat cooked with chicken), `muttamala' or `egg garland'(yolk of egg cooked in thin strings in sugar syrup, with the white cooked as a pudding ornamenting the center).
In seafood, mussels are a favorite. A concoction of mussel and rice flour, cooked in the shell is called arikadaka. The Arab influence on the local cuisine is very visible in the rich meat curries and desserts.
As a sweet, you should not miss the Calicut Halwa. Different varieties of Calicut Halwa are available in almost all bakeries in the city. Kozhikodan banana chips are also world famous, and can be purchased at the bakeries.
You should not miss a good meal at the Zains Restaurant, Convent Road, near the beach. It is famous for its exclusive biriyani as well as warm and friendly waiters. The mappila cook, Zainabi Noor, has been running the restaurant for around three decades, and has won the hearts of foodies all around Kerala.
- Gates Restaurant, Malabar Gate Hotel (Ram Mohan Road), ☎ . 0730 - 2230. Serving Buffet breakfast, À la carte lunch, and dinner. During Ramzan, an Ifthar buffet is also available.
Sastha Chips and Halwa centre situated next to the ancient Tali Temple in Tali, near Palayam: One can procure the best Banana and Tapioca chips available in the city of Calicut at this old fashioned chips shop where the chips are fried in front of customers. They have an outlet in Mankavu as well.
Kozhikode does not really have any proper pubs. Most bars have A/C and non-A/C sections. Smoking in he public is in violation to the law, although there might be Smoking rooms in bars. There is no specific law governing the closing time for bars, but most of them closes around 10:30PM - 11PM.
Some of the more upscale places to drink are:
- The Gateway Hotel (formerly known as Taj Residency, Calicut), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. P.T.Usha Road, Tel : :
- Kadavu Resorts. N.H Bye Pass Road.
- The Captain's Cabin in Fortune Hotel, Kannur Road, +91-11-45566666.
Mid range places include:
- Sea Queen, Beach Road. Sea Queen has a separate smoking area and is the one of the only decent places that lets you smoke while seated.
- Hotel Sasthapuri, M.M. Ali Road, near Palayam Bus Stand. Sasthapuri has a roof garden which opens from 5PM and is the only decent place (other than Sea Queen) that allows you to smoke while seated.
- Amrutha, Mavoor Road, near Poothiya (New) Bus Stand.
- Park Residency
Several other low end bars can be found in Kozhikode.
- The Gateway Hotel (formerly Taj Residency), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. P.T.Usha Road,
- Dreams The Mall and Hotel satra galleria,Mavoor road, calicut.
- Kadavu Resorts. NH Bye Pass Road.
- Fortune Hotel Calicut, Kannur Road, +91-11-45566666.
- Hotel De Grand heritage, rajaji road, calicut.
- Hotel Span Calicut. Jail Road, Calicut 4
- Hotel Maharani. Taluk Road, Puthiyara, Calicut 4
- Hotel Renaisance, Ram mohan road ,calicut.
- Kappad Resort, Kappad, calicut.
- Tusharagiri resorts, Tusharagiri, calicut.
- Hotel Alakapuri, palayam road, calicut
- Hotel Salkara, East nadakkavu, calicut.
- Hotel Malabar Gate, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Web. Ram Mohan Road,Kozhikode.:www.hotelmalabargate.com
- Hotel Malabar Mansion,SM Street, Calicut.
- Hotel Malabar Palace, Manuelsons, Junction, G.H. Road, Calicut.
- Sea Queen Hotel, Beach Road, Calicut.
- WelcomHotel Raviz Kadavu, Resort and Ayurveda Spa, NH 17,Calicut Bypass Road , Azhinjilam P.O. Malappuram District, ☎ , e-mail: , 027WelcomHotelRavizKadavu@itchotels.in.
- Ramanattukara - a quickly developing village-town at 16 km south of Calicut city, serving more and more as a suburb of Calicut.
- Wayanad District - famous for scenic locations is nearby with District Headquarters Kalpetta 68 km away and Sulthan Bathery 90 km away.
- Palakkad - has a number of tourist attractions like the Malampuzha gardens, is 140 km away by road.