Kerala Lit Fest: Top 10 experiences in Kozhikode

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Kerala Literature Festival hosts the biggest, brightest and most celebrated minds in the world every year to discuss the ever-changing tonalities of the contemporary world. Kerala Lit Fest is the biggest multilingual literature festival and the second largest cultural gathering in the subcontinent. Set along the shores of the Arabian Sea by the beaches of Calicut, the KLF offers something for just about every age and interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment, and discussion. Speakers include Ramachandra Guha, Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple, Shiv Khera and many more.

Date: 16-19 January 2020

Venue: Kozhikode Beach

While you’re in Kozhikode to attend the festival, here are some unmissable experiences:

Kozhikode Beach

Kozhikode Beach entices with its glorious sunsets today. Back in the 15th century the shores of Kappad Beach were witness to the most famous international traveller of the times, Vasco da Gama. Called the gateway to the Malabar region of north Kerala, the spices of Kozhikode brought Arab, Chinese and African traders to its seaport. Today Kozhikode (the Anglo tongue called it Calicut) is a mix of bustling bazaars, trading hubs, calm beaches and backwaters and an emerald countryside.

Mananchira Square

This large central park, was the former courtyard of the Zamorins or coastal rulers of Kozhikode and preserves the original springfed tank. South of the centre, the 650-year-old Kuttichira Mosque is in an attractive wooden four-storey building painted brilliant aquamarine, blue and white.

Church of South India

The central Church of South India was established in 1842 by Swiss missionaries and has unique Euro-Keralite architecture.

Boat Building Yards of Beypore

Beypore, an estuarine port, 11km from Kozhikode, had served an impressive line of international clients, boasting of building huge vessels for Cleopatra, Lord Horatio Nelson, among others on these boat building yards near the Chaliyar River. Today, massive dhows or urus (vessels) are crafted in two large yards for merchants in Middle Eastern countries.

Pazhassi Raja Museum

The eastern hilly area of Kozhikode is famous for a museum for the legendary brave heart, Pazhassi Raja. Built in 1812 the building was later converted into a museum to commemorate his historical battle against the British East India company. Its displays include sculptures of stones and bronze, coins and murals.

Mapilla Cuisine

The aroma of the 1000-year-old spice trade of the Malabar region finds its way into the famous Mapilla cuisine and Kozhikode is regarded as the foodie capital of northern Kerala. Mapilla cuisine has Portuguese, Dutch, English and Arab influences. The famous black pepper that finds its way into its curries made of coconut milk and yoghurt and the popular Telicherry biryani and flatbreads are must-eats.

Tali Shiva Temple

The 14th century Tali Shiva Temple has typical elements of Malabar architecture and is marked for its antiquity in Kozhikode.

Backwaters

Sail away on a houseboat on the quiet backwaters of Kozhikode ringed by coconut trees on its banks. Be it a cruise or a bird watching expedition, the backwaters don’t disappoint.

Theyyam in Temples

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The north Malabar region is known for Theyyam or ritual dances performed in kaavu or forests in and around temples. Dancers wear elaborate decorative headgears and painted faces. Kozhikode is dotted with many temples where a ritual Theyyam dance can be witnessed. The glowing crimson faces and dark eyes are a magical spectacle to watch.

Regional Science Centre & Planetarium

Graphic models of dinosaurs, mammoths and other educational exhibits are on display at the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium. The science section is particularly popular with kids (www.rscpcalicut.org).