Spice root gave a good account of Kozhikode (called Calicut) about the importance of the place in Indian History. From Vasco da Gama days to the present day set up, the place is considered a business spot for years. As I belong to the Thali area of Kozhikode I followed the development of the place from my younger days. As a Bank officer I was working in Quilandy branch and was able to visit the Kappad beach, through which Vasco da Gama entered India. When I was watching Surabhi programme of Siddharth Kak through Doordarshan, I came to know that Hooka manufactured at Quilandy was exported to Persia and other countries. Whenever I return from Kozhikode I used to buy the Aluwa (Sweet) specially made in different colours for my children. Now Kozhikode Railway Station is a model Railway Station of the Southern Railways. There are many facets of the place in the northern part of Kerala and if you want a quiet holiday and somewhere you can unwind and get away from the stress of metropolitan life then Kozhikode is the ideal place. It is a place of the erstwhile capital of the Zamorin Kings of Yore. Calicut as the old name suggests is literally meaning a cockerel crowing, is a city of contrasts.
A city that showcases wide-open spaces and lush, green countryside as well as narrow, tightly wound streets that teem with activities. This is not only Kerala’s commercial hub and centre for its timber industry but also the home of Ayurveda-an ancient system of medicine that operates in tune with nature. In fact about 50 kilometres from Kozhikode lies the largest herbal gardens in the world. Kerala’s verdant forests have, for long years, nourished a profusion of herbs, plants and trees that are extremely valuable in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. Not surprising therefore, that the ancient tradition of Ayurveda has been kept alive in this State by master Vaidya. The Chief Vaidyas belonged to just eight families and were called Ashta Vaidyas due to their competence in all the eight branches of Ayurveda. If you are looking for the bright city lights then Kozhikode is not really your kind of the place. On the other hand, if you want a quiet holiday and somewhere you want to unwind and get away from the stress of metropolitan life then this is the ideal getaway and there is no doubt about it. There is the sea, rather quiet beach and a few good museums like the Pazhassiraja Museum and the Krishna Menon Museum whose exhibits include an excellent selection of paintings as also wood and ivory carvings.
A large number of the population here is Muslim and in Kuttichira possibly the oldest quarter in the city you can hear the muezzin call the faithful to prayer. Visit the Muccunti Mosque and discover some interesting facets in history of the Zamorins of Kozhikode and their patronage of Islam in Kerala. Better still, see the Mananchiri Maidan and the Manachira tank. The musical fountain the Maidan is a local favourite. Kozhikode is a city that exudes all our expectations.
Late. V.R. Krishna Iyer, Supreme Court Judge belonged to this place as he hails from Quilandy a small town near Kozhikode (Calicut).
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)