WORDS: AMIT GAIKWAD
PHOTOGRAPHS: JYOTHY KARAT
GREAT FROM: Bangalore, Chennai
GREAT FOR: A holiday of quiet and peace
The soothing sound of waves crashing in the distance as you lie tucked in comfortably under the sheets is the perfect wake-up call. This is how mornings should be – pure and gentle without the daily chaos of the city buzzing in your ears the minute you wake up. This is exactly what Kozhikode promises – peace.
The luxury of waking up to the sound of waves is only possible if you’re somewhere close to the beach, of course. The idyllic Renai Kappad Beach Resort fits the bill perfectly. The expansive property with its beach-facing rooms is a popular stay option among travellers, and with good reason. Barely 15 minutes away from the property is the famous Vasco Da Gama Memorial. It is believed that, after numerous attempts to find a sea route to India, the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed here, on Kappad Beach, in May 1498. This, of course, opened the doors to trade relations between India and the rest of the world.
For lovers of history, a visit to the Pazhassi Raja Museum & Art Gallery is a must. Named after the great Pazhassi Raja of the Kottayam Royal Family, the museum is home to a vast collection of valuable objects including stunning mural paintings, antique bronze items, ancient coins and much more. If you have time to spare, drop by the art gallery that lies adjacent to the museum. Home to paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, one of India’s most celebrated artists, the gallery is ideal for whiling away entire afternoons.
Another favoured tourist destination in the city is the Mananchira Square. Built around Mananchira Lake, the square is home to a beautiful park with lush green lawns, fascinating sculptures, an open-air theatre and a musical fountain. Often thronged by locals who enjoy its potential for long, leisurely walks and picnics, the park is also home to an odd assortment of sculptures including those of renowned statesman and diplomat VK Krishna Menon and Polish artist Jacek Tylicki.
After a walk in the park, make your way to SM Street. Located to the north of Mananchira Square, it is home to numerous shops specialising in an assortment of sweets. Popular for its Kozhikodan halwa and freshly-fried banana chips, this lane is one of the busiest streets in town. Go walking down the street and, soon enough, you’ll find a staggering variety of halwas available in many, many flavours and colours. If you’re unsure about which to pick, just opt for the box with the assortment. Further down the road, you’ll find a lane dedicated exclusively to brassware. Walk into one of the many stores selling traditional brass utensils and accessories, and you will certainly not walk out empty-handed. If markets and shopping interest you, Big Bazaar Road should be on your itinerary. A popular shopping destination, the road is home to a wide variety of spices – name the spice and you’ll find it here.
Kozhikode’s greatest allure lies in its ability to blend a rich, cultural past with its new, modern avatar – all the while promising its visitors a unique sense of calm that’s tough to say goodbye to.