Calicut District

Monday, October 16, 2006

History of Calicut

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 in as early as the 14th century, by Chinese travellers such as Zheng He[1]. Kozhikode had emerged as the centre of an independent kingdom by the 14th century, whose ruler was known as the Samoothirippadu (often anglicised as Zamorin).Thus Calicut came to be called the 'City of Zamorins'

During the 16th century the Portuguese set up trading posts to the north in Kannur and to the south in Kochi, but the Zamorin resisted the establishment of a permanent Portuguese presence in the city, although in 1509 the kingdom was forced to accept a Portuguese trading post in Chaliyar[citation needed]. The Samoothirippadu later allied with Portuguese's rivals, the Dutch, 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 northern Malabar Coast, and came 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 Malabar District of Madras Presidency, and Calicut became the district capital.

After Indian Independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State. In 1956 the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines, and Malabar District was combined with the state of Travancore-Cochin into the new state of Kerala on November 1, 1956. Malabar District was divided into the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad on January 1 1957.

Calicut People

The centuries of trade across the Indian Ocean gave Kozhikode a cosmopolitan population. Hindus constitute the majority of the population, and next come the Muslim and the Christian communities respectively. The Muslims of Kozhikode District are known as Mappilas. A great majority of them are traditional Sunnis following the Shafi School of thought and the second majority is the followers of "Salafi" thoughts.They are known as Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen,who caused an accelerated growth in social development and education among Muslims.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.

Calicut Climate

The district has a generally humid climate with a very hot season extending from March to May. The most important 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 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.

Calicut : Media

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. The two leading Malayalam newspapers, the Malayala Manorama and the Mathrubhoomi bring out Kozhikode editions. Mathrubhoomi and Madhyamam, another important newspaper in Malayalam are having headquartes in Kozhikode. Recently two more dailies started publication from Kozhikode namely Varthamanam and Tejas. One of the major national dailies in English, the New Indian Express also has a Calicut edition. The Hindu also has its office in the city near Nadakkavu. Other major newspapers having Kozhikode editions are Kerala Kaumudi and Deshabhimani.

The Kozhikode station of All India Radio was commissioned on 14 May 1950. 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 Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram Doordarshan. Cable and satellite television are also available in many parts of the district.

Kozhikode is also the home ground for a number of periodicals. Most of them are literary magazines like Mathrubhumi Azchapathippu, Chilla, etc. Some technology magazines like Information Technology Lokam (IT Lokam} are also published from Kozhikode.

Calicut : 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 town itself has many temples, the most important of which are the Tali Temple, Thiruvannur Temple, Azhokodi Temple, Valayanadu Temple, Varakkal Temple, Bilathikulam Temple, Bhairagi Madam Temple, and the Lokanarkavu temple.

There is an art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum 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, a very beautiful waterfall is about 55 km from Calicut Railway Station. Thusharagiri is served by a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.

Calicut Culture and cuisine

In the field of Malayalam Language and literature calicut has made most 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. One of the favourite past times of the Muslims of the district is the singing of the Mappilapattu 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.
calicut also has strong associations with two things—ghazals and football. The game has a huge fan following here, and the Football World Cup is followed with even greater enthusiasm than the unofficial national sport of India—cricket. Local clubs even pick favourites among competing nations, and vociferously support their teams.
The city also has a strong mercantile streak to it, with the major vein 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 "S M Street" comes from the famous sweet 'calicut Halwa' which was often called as the Sweet Meat by European traders. The multicultural mix of calicut ensures that Onam, Christmas and Id-ul-Fitr (the festivals of the Hindus, Christians and Muslims) are celebrated with equal pomp.
calicut offers fare for every palate. Vegetarian fare includes the 'sadya' (the full-fledged feast with rice, sambhar, and seven different curries and pappadum). However, 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 sea-food preparations (prawns, mussels, mackerel, sea-fish) and paper thin Pathiris to provide accompaniment to spicy gravy. Another well known calicut speciality are banana chips, which are made crisp and wafer thin, and the 'calicut Halwa' .


University of Calicut