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Book a flight to Kozhikode, better known as Calicut, “City of Truth”, and discover a prosperous town in India’s southern Kerala region where Arab, Chinese and East African traders once converged.
Once capital of the powerful Zamorins (rulers), Kozhikode sits on the stunning Malabar Coast, and the region has experienced some dramatic changes through the years. The whiff of history lingers in the lanes, bazaars and business hubs of the city. Lush green countryside, serene beaches, archaeological sites, hills and bird sanctuaries make Kozhikode a popular destination.
Fly to Kozhikode with Qatar Airways, for an unmissable encounter with India’s romantic south.
Beaches include Vasco Da Gama’s landfall; nature beckons, in the form of waterfalls and rapids at Thusharagiri and Kozhippara; and don’t forget to visit the temples of Tali and Lokanarkavu; welcome to Kozhikode.
Start with Kozhikode’s exquisite coastline, with its many and varied beaches. There is the old lighthouse and crumbling piers of Calicut Beach. Dolphins occasionally frolic off Beypore’s coast. Another historic light house rests on the remains of a shipwreck at Thikkoti. And then there is the rock-studded Kappad Beach. This is where, in 1498, an expedition led by Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama became the first Europeans since the Roman era, to set foot on Indian soil.
The city also boasts several 14th-century temples, such as Tali Temple, which can be found in the heart of Kozhikode Town, around 1km east of the railway station. It is a remarkable combination of laterite (hard red clay) and intricately carved wood. Another imposing temple is the 1,500-year-old Lokanarkavu at Memunda.
Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery is home to a sizeable collection of historical artefacts, and Krishna Menon Museum exhibits multiple works from celebrated artist Raja Ravi Varma.
Water sports at Payyoli Beach; boating at the eco-friendly Sarovaram Bio Park; and river-rafting through the awe-inspiring falls of Thusharagiri and Kozhippara. These are just the start of your southern Indian adventure. Instead of rafting, consider pulling on your walking shoes and taking a nature-trek through either Thusharagiri or Kozhippara.
If nature is close to your heart, you can see herons, whimbrels, gulls and a host of other migratory birds at the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, between December and April.
Ayurvedic healing (a holistic alternative-medical treatment) is prominent in Kozhikode and you can book yourself in for a full check-up at one of the city’s many Ayurveda centres.
Cuisine in the Malabar region is mildly flavoured and delicately spiced, and you will find most dishes to be subtler than in many other parts of India. You should try Kozhikode biryani, which is delicately spiced mutton or chicken with fragrant rice. Other local specialties include spiced mussels and alisa (chicken and chamba wheat).
You will find local halwa and banana chips at bakeries across the city, available in a range of different flavours.
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a traditional breakfast at one of Kozhikode’s hotels. Idli (fluffy rice pancakes) and puttu (a grated coconut and rice-powder dish) are popular choices.
You will find many local markets and shops selling hand-crafted souvenirs when you travel to Kozhikode. Replicas of traditional wooden boats are a typical Kozhikode souvenir. Sweetmeat Street is a great place to find gifts.
The khadhi (homespun cotton) centres in Calicut specialise in khadi and silk, but are also renowned for their rosewood carvings and buffalo-horn artefacts. Three prominent ones are Khadi Grama Soubhagya Kozhikode, Khadi Emporium and Khadi and Village Industries.
Court Road Market is a great place to buy spices or simply soak up the fragrant atmosphere. Hi-tech shopping malls are also springing up in abundance, across the city.
Essential facts about Kozhikode
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip