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For the district with the same name, see Kozhikode Districtmarker.

Kozhikode (Malayalam: , ), also known as Calicut, is a city in the southern Indianmarker state of Keralamarker. It is the third largest city in Kerala and the headquarters of Kozhikode districtmarker.During the Middle Ages, Calicut was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom, and later of the erstwhile Malabar Districtmarker.

Kozhikode has a population of 436,556 as per 2001 census, with an extended metropolitan population of about 0.9 million, making it the third largest urban agglomeration and the third largest city in Kerala. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics on residences, earnings and investments, Kozhikode ranked as the second best city in India to reside in. Indicus considered six parameters – health, education, environment, safety, public facilities and entertainment – for preparing their 'reside-in' index of liveability.


The name Kozhikode is thought to be derived from koyil (palace) kotta (fort). Calicut is the anglicized version of Kozhikode.Foreigners have called it by different names: for the Arabs it was Kalikat, for the Chinese it was Kalifo. It is known to the outside world by its anglicized name. However, Malayalis have always preferred to call it Kozhikode.


The ports of the Malabar Coast have participated in the Indian Ocean trade in spices, silk, and other goods for over two millennia. There are documented visits, as early as the 14th century, by Chinese travellers such as Zheng He.

During the Sangam period, Calicut District formed part of the Chera Empire. It played an important role in fostering trade relations between Kerala and the outside world. Tondi, present day Kadalundimarker, as per scholars, was a flourishing seaport of Kerala at that time. Very little is known about Calicut's history in the post-Sangam age (which is considered to be a Dark Age in South India's history). During the 9th century, Calicut became a part of the Second Chera Empire. The Cheras (also known as Perumals) ruled the territory until 1122 AD. After the fall of the Cheras, the Chera kingdom in Kerala was divided into many independent districts called "Nadus", such as Eranad (land of the Eradis) and Polanad. The Porlarthris, rulers of Polanad, controlled the area to be later called as kozhikode.

During the 13th century AD, the Udaiyavar of Ernad, whose headquarters was at Nediyiruppu wanted an outlet to the sea. After going to war with the Polatthiri King for 48 long years he conquered the area around Ponniankara (Panniyankara) and build a fort at a place called Velapuram. Thus the city of Calicut came into existence sometime in the 13th century AD. With the conquest of Calicut, the status of the Udaiyavar increased and he came to be known as Swami Nambiyathiri Thirumulpad. This title gradually shortened to Samoothirippadu or Saamoothiri or Samuri over the years. The Europeans called him Zamorin.

In 1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kappadmarker, about 15 km from Calicut city. This was a major event in the era of European exploration because the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India gave the Portuguese a significant advantage in the control of international trade. Portuguese control of the sea route lasted for almost a century.

It was during the 16th century that the Portuguese set up trading posts to the north in Kannur and to the south in Kochimarker, The Zamorin, however, resisted the establishment of a permanent Portuguese presence in the city. In 1509, the kingdom was forced to accept a Portuguese trading post at Chaliyar.

In 1604 the Samoothirippadu allied with Steven van der Hagen, representing the Dutch East India Company and by the mid-17th century the Dutchmarker had captured the Malabar Coast spice trade from the Portuguese.
Engraving of the coast of Calicut (James Forbes, 1813)
In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore captured Kozhikode and much of the northern Malabar Coast. This bought him into conflict with the British based in Madras, which resulted in four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Kozhikode and the surrounding districts were among the territories ceded to the British by Tipu Sultan of Mysore at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Mysore War in 1792. The newly acquired possessions on the Malabar Coast were organized into the Malabar Districtmarker of Madras Presidency, and Calicut became the district capital.

After Indian Independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became the Madras State. In 1956 when the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines, Malabar District was combined with the state of Travancore-Cochin to form the new state of Kerala on 1 November 1956. Malabar District was split into the districts of Kannurmarker, Kozhikodemarker, and Palakkadmarker on 1 January 1957.


View of Kallai river

Kozhikode is located at . It has an average elevation of 1 metre (3 feet).There are a number of rivers and lakes in the district.Chaliyar puzha, Kallayi Puzhamarker, Korapuzha, Poonoormarker puzha, and Iravanjhi puzha are some among them.

The rainy season allows for abundant growth of beautiful vegetation

The district has a generally humid climate with a very hot season extending from March to May. The main rainy season is during the South-West Monsoon, which sets in the first week of June and extends up to September. The North-East Monsoon extends from the second half of October through November. The average annual rainfall is 3,266 mm. The best weather is found towards the end of the year, in December and January –the skies are clear, and the air is crisp.The highest temperature recorded was 39.4 °C in March 1975. The lowest was 14 °C recorded on 26 December 1975.

Civic administration

The city is administered by the Kozhikode Corporation, headed by a mayor, and with its headquarters in Kozhikode.

Kozhikode City officials

Mr. M.
District collector

Kozhikode has two assembly constituencies: Calicut - I and Calicut - II, both of which are part of Kozhikode .


Calicut is one of the main commercial cities of Kerala.The economy is mainly business oriented.

A large proportion of the male population are employed in the Middle Eastern countries, and their remittances home are an important part of the local economy.

Calicut has witnessed a building boom in recent years. This is particularly evident in the number of malls built in recent years.Other planned projects include the Birla IT park (at Mavoor),Cyber park and Malaysian satellite city (at Kinaloor).KINFRA has plans to set up a 400 acre industrial park.


 India census, Kozhikode had a population of 436,530. Sex ratio : Females/1000 - 1,057. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kozhikode has an average literacy rate of 92.24%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 96.11% and female literacy is 88.62%. In Kozhikode, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Kozhikode has been a multiethnic and multi-religious town since the early medieval period, as it was an important trading port in the Indian ocean. Hindus form the largest community, followed by Muslims and Christians respectively.

The Hindu community worship all the major Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon as well as several minor deities. Vishnu and Shiva are the major Gods worshipped. The temples, like the others in Kerala, are in many respects different from those of the East Coast. Elaborate rules prescribed by the Sastras are followed in their construction. The Kavu dedicated to the Bhadrakali is a typical example. They have their own oracles called Velichappad. There are also temples devoted to such deities as Ayyappan, Hanuman, and Garuda. Serpent worship has been widely prevalent here. Ancestor worship is also practised by the Hindus.

The Muslims of Kozhikode are known as Mappilas, the great majority of whom are Sunnis following the Shafi school of thought. There are also some smaller communities among the Muslims such as Dawoodi Bohras. Many of the Muslims living in the historic part of the city follow matriliny. They are noted for their piety. In fact, Mappila is a Dravidian word, meaning a newly-wed husband coming to his wife's house. The argument is that the infant Muslim community in Malabar adopted it as a convenient arrangement that they were familiar with, owing to the increasing number of marriages between West Asian traders who visited the area for business and Malabar women belonging to trading families.

Though Christianity is believed to have been introduced in Kerala in 52 AD, not much progress was made by the Christians of this district before the advent of the Portuguese towards the close of the 15th century. Christians of Travancore and Cochin have migrated to the hilly regions of the district and have settled there.

Places of interest

Kozhikode Beach

The beach at Kozhikode is not yet overdeveloped. It remains a popular retreat for local people. There are two sea piers, almost 125 years old extending well into the sea. There are some nearby parks like the Lions club, and children’s park. It is possible to watch fishermen with their small rowing boats entering the sea, fighting the waves and returning with their daily catch of fish.

Mananchira Square
View of Mananchira from ComTrust

Mananchira is at the heart of the city and many institutions like the Town Hall and the Public Library are situated around it. One of Kozhikode's oldest institutions, the Commonwealth Trust's office, is located here. The large pond and park are well-known landmarks. Once the main courtyard of the Zamorin Rulers palace, Mananchira Square has been developed into a beautiful park. Temples, mosques and churches surround the square along with numerous traditional Kerala houses and a large water reservoir.

Mananchira Square was formed by joining Tagore park, Ansari park and the large maidanam (grounds). The maidanam has a green carpet lawn and the whole complex is circled by a laterite (a kind of stone) sculpted wall. The entire complex is circled by 250 lamp posts that are designed in the colonial style. Mananchira Square also has an artificial stream, a musical fountain, an open-air theatre and a music stage.

Kappad Beach

On 27 May 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed in Kappad Beach (also known as Kappakkadavu) with three vessels and 170 men. Sixteen km north of Kozhikode by Kannurmarker road, a small road from Tiruvangoor leads to this beach of historical importance. A monument is here to commemorate the historical landing. An ancient temple on a hillock, facing the deep sea, is an added attraction.


Beyporemarker is a port city situated 10 km south of Calicut at the mouth of Chaliyar river. Beypore is famous for its ancient shipbuilding industry, which constructed uru, the traditional trading vessels of Arabs. The place was formerly known as Vaypura and Vadaparappanad. Tippu Sultan named the town “Sultan Pattanam”. It is one of the important ports of Kerala and naturally, an important trading centre. It is a major fishing harbour of Kerala. There are two man-made extensions to the sea to facilitate easy access for fishing boats. The 2 km breakwater made of stone is another attraction.

Other places of interest

  • Art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum at East Hill in Kozhikode
  • Lalitha Kala Academy: An art gallery adjacent to the Kozhikode town hall
  • Planetarium
  • Lokanarkavu Templemarker

Lokanarkavu Temple,dedicated to goddess Durga,is situated at Memundamarker ,The temple is 4 km from vadakara.
  • Thusharagiri: A waterfall situated about 55 km from Calicut Railway Station
  • Kozhippara waterfalls is located at the eastern side of the district and offers a good trekking experience
  • Peruvannamuzhi: [8911] dam site, boat service, bird sanctuary, and crocodile sanctuary
  • Kakkayam: dam site, hydroelectric project, famous for trekking


In the field of Malayalam language and literature, Kozhikode has made many significant contributions. The district is famous for folk songs or ballads known as Vadakkan Pattukal. The most popular songs among them are those which celebrate the exploits of Thacholi Othenan and Unniyarcha. One of the favourite past times of the Muslims of the district is singing Mappila pattu and Oppana. The songs are composed in a composite language of Arabic and Malayalam. The famous intellectual debate for Vedic scholars to win the coveted position of Pattathanam takes place at Thali temple during the month of Thulam. Kozhikode also has strong associations with ghazals and football.

The city has a strong mercantile streak to it. The main area of business was once 'Valiyangadi' (Big Bazaar) near the railway station. As time progressed, it shifted to other parts of the city. These days, the commercial heart has moved to Mittai Theruvu (Sweet Meat Street), a long street crammed with shops that sell everything from saris to cosmetics. It also houses restaurants and sweetmeat shops. The name Mittai Theruvu or S.M. Street comes from the famous Kozhikode Halwa which was often called Sweet Meat. The multicultural mix of Kozhikode ensures that Onam, Christmas and Id-ul-Fitr (the festivals of the Hindus, Christians, and Muslims respectively) are celebrated with equal pomp.


Kozhikode offers fare to suit every palate. Vegetarian fare includes the sadya. The non-vegetarian food offered in the city is a unique mix of Muslim and Hindu preparations. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, ghee rice with meat curry, seafood (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper-thin Pathiris to provide accompaniment to spicy gravy. Another well-known Kozhikode specialty is banana chips, which are made crisp and wafer-thin. The 'Kozhikode Halwa' is very popular, even overseas.



Kozhikode occupies a prominent place in the history of Malayalam journalism. The origin of journalism in this district can be traced back to 1880. The Kerala Pathrika is likely to be the earliest newspaper published from Kozhikode. Keralam, Kerala Sanchari and Bharath Vilasam are among the other newspapers that were published from Kozhikode before 1893. Kozhikode is also the birthplace of the top Malayalam dailies Mathrubhumi and Madhyamam.


Many prominent writers of Malayalam literature are from this city. Among them are M. T. Vasudevan Nair, S. K. Pottekkatt, and Thikkodiyan.


The Kozhikode station of All India Radio was commissioned on 14 May 1950. It has two transmitters, Kozhikode AM of 100 kilowatt power and Kozhikode FM (Vividh Bharathi) of 10 kilowatt power. A television transmitter has been functioning in Kozhikode from 3 July 1984, relaying programmes from Delhimarker and Thiruvananthapurammarker Doordarshan.

Private FM radio stations:91.9 Radio Mango (Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd.),93.5 S Fm (SUN Network)

Air FM Radio Stations:Kozhikode - 103.6,

Air AM/MW Radio Stations:Kozhikode - 684


Kozhikode is home to two of the premier educational institutions in the country; the IIMK, one of the seven Indian Institutes of Management, and the only National Institute of Technology in Kerala, the NITCmarker.

Some of the other major institutes in Kozhikode are Calicut Medical College, Calicut University Institute of Engineering and Technology (CUIET), Government Engineering College , Malabar Christian College, Zamorin's Guruvayurappan College, St. Joseph's College, Devagiri, Farook College, Government Arts and Science College, Providence Women's College, Government Homeopathic Medical College, Government Law College, Government College of Teacher Education, Kerala School of Mathematics, and CEDTI

Research institutes

There are a few research institutes located in or around the city.These include the Indian Institute of Spices Research, the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Western Ghats Field Research Station (Zoological Survey of India) and the Regional Filaria Training and Research Centre (a centre of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases).

See also


External links

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