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Kozhikode District (Malayalam: കോഴിക്കോട് ജില്ല) is a district of Keralamarker state, situated on the southwest coast of Indiamarker. The city of Kozhikodemarker, also known as Calicut, is the district headquarters. The district is 38.25% urbanised. [224698]

Kozhikode district is bordered by the districts of Kannurmarker to the north, Wayanadmarker to the east, and Malappurammarker to the south.The Arabian Seamarker lies to the west. It is situated between latitudes 11° 08'N and11° 50'N and longitudes 75° 30'E and 76° 8'E.

The district is divided into three taluks; Vadakara, Koyilandymarker, and Kozhikode.

Administrative history

Present-day Kozhikode District was among the territories ceded to the British East India Company by Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1792, at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Mysore War. The newly-acquired British possessions on the Malabar Coast were organized into Malabar Districtmarker, which included present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkadmarker, and Wayanad. Calicut served as the administrative headquarters of the district. Malabar District was part of the Madras Presidency, a province of British India.

After India's Independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State.

When Madras state was divided along linguistic lines by the State Names Reorganisation Act, Malabar District was combined with the erstwhile state of Travancore-Cochin and Kasaragod Districtmarker to form the state of Keralamarker. This happened on 1 November 1956.

Malabar District was considered too large for effective administration. It was divided into the districts of Kozhikode, Kannur, and Palakkad on 1 January 1957. The district had five taluks, Vadakara, Koyilandy, Kozhikode, Ernad, and Tirurmarker. On 16 June 1969, Ernad and Tirur Taluks became part of the newly-created Malappuram District. South Wayanad, which forms the southern portion of present-day Wayanad District, was added to Kozhikode for a time, but in 1980 became part of newly-created Wayanad District.


Calicut is the anglicized form of ‘Kalikut’, Arabic for the Malayalam name Kozhikode. It is also called the Cock Fort, the term may came from kozhi (Rooster) kodu (fortified). According to the historian K.V. Krishnan Iyer, the term means koyil (palace) kodu (fortified).

The ports of the Malabar Coast have participated in the Indian Ocean trade of spices, silk, and other goods for over two millennia. Kozhikode emerged as the centre of an independent kingdom in the 14th century, whose ruler was known as the Zamorin.

Admiral Zheng He's navigation chart from Hormuz to Calicut, 1430

During the Yong Le era of the Ming Dynastymarker of Chinamarker, Admiral Zheng He and his treasure fleet visited Kozhikode. Their visits were documented by on-board Arab language translators Ma Huan, Fei Xin and Gong Zheng. Each one of them published a book documented their visits to various countries, including Calicut. Ma Huan’s book "Ying yai Sheng lan" (translated into English as The Overall Survey of the Ocean Shores) contains the following observations of Kozhikode:
  • Calicut was a large kingdom on the West Ocean, bordering Coimbatoremarker kingdom to the east, Kochimarker to the south, and Honavarmarker to the north.
  • The king of Calicut (Vana Vikraman) was a Brahmin and a Buddhist. His chiefs were Muslims.
  • The throne passes to the king's sister's son.
  • In the fifth year of Yong Le 1407, the emperor of Ming dynasty ordered Admiral Zheng He to deliver an imperial honor to King of Calicut, with grant of silver seal, and promoted the chiefs with titles and awards of hats and girdles of different grades.
  • Admiral Zheng He erected a pavilion with ceremonial stone tablet in Calicut to celebrate this event.
  • The king minted fanam coins of 60% gold and also silver coins as currency.
  • The people of Calicut were honest and trustworthy.
  • The people of Calicut made silk out of silkworm, and dyed silk into different colors.
  • The main produce of Calicut were turnips, onions, ginger, eggplants in four seasons; also red and white rice, but no wheat.
  • The king of Calicut ordered craftsmen to draw fifty ounces of gold into hair-like fine threads, and weaved them into ribbon to make a gold girdle embedded with pearls and precious stones of all sort of colors, and sent envoy Naina (Narayana) to present the gold girdle to the Ming emperor as tribute.
  • According to Ming dynasty Imperial Guard Recruitment Record, Nanking area town guard chief Shaban was a native of Calicut. He was recruited to join Zheng He’s expedition, and was promoted on his return. Another officer Shasozu from Nanking military division was also a native from Calicut, who joined Zheng He’s expedition and too was promoted.

Admiral Zheng He later re-visited Calicut several times. On April of 1433 during his 6th and last expedition, he died in Calicut. The ceremonial stone tablet erected by Zheng He stood at least another two hundred years in Calicut; Jesuit Godinho de Eredia wrote that he saw this tablet in 1613.

Vasco da Gama landed at Kappadmarker (18 kilometers north of Kozhikode) in May 1498, as the leader of a trade mission from Portugalmarker and was received by the Zamorin himself. During the 16th century the Portuguese set up trading posts to the north in Kannurmarker and to the south in Kochimarker.However,the Zamorin resisted the establishment of a permanent Portuguese presence in the city.In1509 the kingdom was forced to accept a Portuguese trading post in Chaliyar. The Zamorins later allied with Portuguese's rivals the Dutchmarker, and by the mid-17th century the Dutch had captured the Malabar Coast spice trade from the Portuguese. In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore captured Kozhikode and much of the northern Malabar Coast, and came into conflict with the British based in Madras, which resulted in four Anglo-Mysore Wars.


The district has a generally humid climate with a very hot season extending from March to May. The 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 3266 mm. The best weather is found in 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.


The centuries of trade across the Indian Oceanmarker has given Kozhikode a cosmopolitan population. Hindus constitute the majority of the population, followed by the Mopillas or Muslims and the Christians. The Muslims of Kozhikode District are known as Mappilas. Christianity is believed to have been introduced in Kerala in 52 CE, and the Christian population expanded with the presence of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British starting in the 16th century.

Legislative constituencies

Kozhikode North, Kozhikode South, Kunnamangalammarker, Koduvally, Nadapurammarker, Beyporemarker, Balusserymarker, Thiruvambadymarker, Elathurmarker, Perambramarker, Koyilandymarker, Kuttiyadimarker, and Vadakara.


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 published from Kozhikode before 1893. The two major Malayalam newspapers, the Malayala Manorama and the Mathrubhumi bring out Kozhikode editions. One of the major national dailies in English, The New Indian Express also has its edition in the city. Another national daily, The Hindu has its office in the city.

The Kozhikode station of All India Radio was commissioned on 14 May 1950 and it has two transmitters, Kozhikode A of 10 kilowatt power and Kozhikode B (Vividh Bharathi) of 1 kilowatt power. A television transmitter has been functioning in Kozhikode from 3 July 1984, relaying programmes from Delhimarker and Thiruvananthapurammarker Doordarshan. Cable and satellite television are also available throughout the district.

Places of interest

The temples and mosques of this district contain sculptures and inscriptions which are of considerable interest to the students of art. Kozhikode city itself has many temples, the most important of which are the Tali Temple, Thiruvannur Temple, Azhakodi Temple, Sree Valayanad Temple, Varakkal Temple, Bilathikulam Temple, Bhairagi Madam Temple, the Lokanarkavu Templemarker in Memundamarker near Vadakara, The Sidda Samajam, Sree Muthappan Payamkuty Mala, in Memundamarker, Sandbanks Vatakara.

There is an art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum located at East Hill in Kozhikode. Lalitha Kala Academy also has an art gallery adjacent to the Kozhikode town hall. There is a planetarium, situated in the heart of the city near Jaffer Khan Colony. Kozhikode Beach and Mananchira Square are other popular gathering spots.

Thusharagiri Falls, a very beautiful Waterfall is about 55 km from Calicut Railway Station. Thusharagiri is served by a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.

Culture and cuisine

In the field of Malayalam Language and literature Kozhikode has made 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.Mappilapattu and Oppana are cultural heritages of the Muslims. The songs are composed in a composite language of Arabic and Malayalam. The intellectual debate for vedic scholars to win the position of Pattathanam takes place at Thali temple during the month of Thulam. Kozhikode also has strong associations with ghazals and football. The football game has a huge fan following here, and the Football World Cup is followed great enthusiasm.

The city has a strong mercantile streak to it, with the major hub of commerce being the Mithai Theruvu, a long street crammed with shops that sell everything from sarees to cosmetics, and house hotels to sweetmeat shops. The name Mithai Theruvu or SM Street comes from the sweet Kozhikode Halwa which was often called as Sweetmeat by European traders. The multi cultural mix of Kozhikode ensures that Onam, Christmas, and Id-ul-Fitr (the festivals of the Hindus, Christians, and Muslims) are celebrated with equal pomp.

Kozhikode also offers a fare for every palate. Vegetarian fare includes the sadya (the full-fledged feast with rice, sambhar, papadum, and seven different curries). The non-vegetarian food offered in the city is a unique mix of Muslim and Christian preparations. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, Ghee Rice with meat curry, a whole host of seafood preparations (prawns, mussels, mackerel, sea-fish) and paper thin Pathiris to provide accompaniment to spicy gravy. Other well known Kozhikodan snacks are the banana chips and the Kozhikodan Halwa.

Educational institutions

Major educational institutions are Indian Institutes of Management, National Institute of Technologymarker (formerly known as Regional Engineering College) (REC), and the Calicut Medical College.


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