Kozhikode: Backwaters, History and much more
Kozhikode or Calicut, the former capital of the Zamorins and referred to as "the great province of Malabar" by the legendary Marco Polo, continues to attract visitors from distant shores. The city reeks of history and culture, making it the favourite destination of history buffs. Over the years, Kozhikode has become commercially important for textiles, seafood processing, timber and tiles. At the same time, traditional art forms like the ancient form of Kerala's martial art, Kalaripayattu has flourished.
The land of the Malabar Mahotsavam, Kozhikode was recognized as one of the most important historical regions in Malabar. Today, in addition to the ancient monuments, the green countryside and the pristine beaches, the area boasts of wildlife sanctuaries, rivers and hills. The backwaters of Kozhikode are a great holiday destination. The Canoli canal and the River Kallai are good for boating while the bird sanctuary at Kadalundi is fast becoming a favourite with bird-watchers and nature lovers. Nearby is Korapuzha, where the Korapuzha Jalotsavam, a water sports festival, is becoming a regular with tourists.
Barely 5 km from Kozhikode is the Pazhassiraja Museum and Art Gallery where copies of ancient murals, antique bronzes, old coins and excavated earthenware are kept. The art gallery has a collection of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings.
The other museum which is a must visit is the Krishna Menon Museum, where the statesman, V K Krishna Menon's personal belongings and souvenirs are kept on display. There is a planetarium at the city's Jaffarkhan Colony, which has daily shows unveiling the mysteries of the universe for its viewers.
For those with poetry and romance on their minds, the Kozhikode beach is a must see for it is a favourite of sunset viewers. Besides, there is the old Thikkoti lighthouse and the two piers, each more than a hundred years old, that go to the sea. Nearby is a park for children and an aquarium with a huge variety of fishes. Not too far away is Velliyamkallu, a huge rock from which the Marakkars used to attack the invading Portuguese. While the natural engravings on the rock are worth seeing, the area around the Velliyamkallu rock can also be explored for it is a temporary home for migratory birds.
The nearest airport is at Karipur, 23 km from Kozhikode town, which has flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and the Middle East touching down daily. The place is also linked by road and rail with major cities and tourist centres in India.
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