Calicut: The City of Spices

Otto I. Eovaldi

Calicut is the second largest city of Kerala and is also known by the name Kozhikode. The city has a unique classical antiquity that gives it a distinct old world charm. It is known as the City of Spices for a long time and is still called so due to its role as the chief trading point of eastern spices. It has been the capital of an independent kingdom that was ruled by the Zamorins, also called as Samoothiris, during the Middle Ages. Later it served in the Malabar district under the colonial rule. The city also got the title “City of Sculptures” in the year 2012 due to the presence of numerous architectural sculptures located in various parts of Calicut.

The city also saw the arrival of Arab merchants that traded in this area long back in the 7th century while the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama also landed here during the year 1498. Currently Kozhikode (Calicut) serves as the marketing centre for commodities and products such as coffee, lemon grass oil, pepper coconut, rubber etc. that are produced in the city as well as its neighbouring districts of Kannur, Wayanad, and Malappuram.

One of the most prominent attractions of Calicut city is the Mananchira Square, which is a beautiful and well-maintained park in the centre of Calicut city. The park also has the historically significant Maithan adjacent to it, that has recently been converted into an arcadia with an artificial hill, sculptures, plants and shrubs, a musical fountain, and an open air theatre. This place has been named after the man-made lake Mananchira. It is the lake around which this park has been situated. The lake itself is named after Manadevan Samoothiri, who was the erstwhile ruler of the city. It is close to several hotels in Calicut.

The name Kozhikode has been derived from the word “koyil” that means palace and “kota” means a fort. thus the name refers to a “fortified palace”. The commercial heart of the city lies in Mittai Theruvu, which means Sweet Meat Street in English. It is a long street but don’t let its name let you believe that it is just a food lover’s destination. It is full of shops that sell anything and everything ranging from cosmetics to clothes. There are a large number of sweetmeat shops here as well, as are several restaurants. Apart from this, the Calicut city is full of shopping malls that have recently sprung up in the entire city.

If you are an adventure seeker, you can head to the famous Kozhikode beach that is known for its distinct old world charm and natural beauty. The beach also has a lighthouse as well as two crumbling piers that are more than a hundred years old. The beach welcomes a large number of visitors and tourists on an everyday basis. Moreover the area surrounding the beach has a large number of budget hotels in Calicut that will give you a locational advantage. So plan a visit soon to this beautiful and historically significant city.

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