A Travel Guide to Kozhikode

Kozhikode Airport Directory (CCJ)
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Hailed as the ‘Jewel of the Malabar’, the old port town of Kozhikode is derived from koyil (palace) kotta (fortified), after a 16th century fort built by the Samoothiri rulers. Seafarer Vasco da Gama landed at nearby Kappad beach on May 27, 1498, discovering a direct sea route to India. It marked the entry of European powers like the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British to Kerala’s coveted spice coast, which waged bitter trade wars. Today, the old warehouses, ancient temples, mosques and churches dotting the city, coupled with the exceptional regional cuisine, make Kozhikode a fascinating getaway.

Best time to visit Kozhikode

The ideal time to visit Kozhikode is during winters, between October to February. If you visit during the cooler months, you can explore the attractions and the city at ease without letting a drop of sweat stream down your cheeks. 

Most spoken languages in Kozhikode

  • Malayalam

How to reach Kozhikode

  • By air: You can book flights to Kozhikode at the Calicut International Airport is located in Karipur at a distance of 28 km away. IndiGo operates more than 50+ non-stop weekly flights to all key destinations in India and abroad.
  • By train: The Kozhikode Railway Station connects the city with several major cities across the country through regular trains.
  • By bus: Kozhikode has a vast network of government and private buses, connecting the city to most areas of southern India.

Getting around Kozhikode

Kozhikode’s local bus service is economical and the best way to travel within the city. Other preferred modes of transportation include auto-rickshaws and taxis.

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Places to visit in Kozhikode

  • Marine Aquarium and Research Museum: Kozhikode tourism has a lot to offer everyone. Take the Beach Road to Kozhikode Beach, lined with pushcarts and beachfront eateries. Continue past the Thikkoti Lighthouse to the Marine Aquarium and Research Museum run by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
  • Madre de Deus Cathedral: Sailors to Kozhikode recognised the fabled port town by the lofty dome of the Madre de Deus (Mother of God) Cathedral, visible from afar. It is the only Latin cross-domed church in neo-Roman style built by the Portuguese in Kerala. Worth noting here are the images of the Virgin Mary and the Crucifixion. Also, check out the 1860 St Mary's English Church and the CSI Church near DTPC office, set up in 1842 by the Basel Mission – don’t miss the lovely pipe organ from England. Thanks to Kozhikode corporation that has kept the old charm of years old buildings still intact. 
  • Mananchira Square: At the heart of town is Mananchira Square, named after the large chira (spring-fed tank) built by the last Zamorin Mana Vikrama. Its architectural design will leave you spellbound and remind you of ancient brilliance. The Kozhikode Public Library and Research Centre, made of laterite, Malabar tiles and glass, has a charming façade that blends with the entrance arch of the Mananchira maidan, guarded by Tipu Sultan’s cannons.
  • Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery: Among the other places to visit in Kozhikode is the Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery, named after a legendary local chieftain who fought the British, was built in 1812 as the British Collector’s residence. Ancient murals, bronzes, coins, excavated earthenware, models of temples and megalithic monuments like crypts, dolmens, burial urns and umbrella stones are on display. The art gallery next door exhibits paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and his uncle Raja Rama Varma. While the nearby Krishna Menon Museum, dedicated to the late diplomat, VK Krishna Menon, displays his personal belongings, memorabilia and souvenirs gifted by world leaders.
  • Mishkal Mosque: Overlooking Kuttichira is the five-storeyed Mishkal Mosque built in 1300 by a wealthy Arab ship owner Nakhooda Mishkal. Initially a seven-tiered structure (the Portuguese destroyed two floors), it was once the tallest building in Kozhikode and the it’s historical landmark. Built-in traditional Kerala style, the laterite superstructure, is supported on 24 solid wood pillars with 50 doors.
  • Muchundi: Walk to the city’s oldest mosque Muchundi, constructed 1,100 years ago. Kuttichira Juma Masjid, another thousand-year-old mosque, has intricate wood panels on the underside of the ceiling and verses from the Quran etched in Arabic on the rafters. Walk to the city’s oldest mosque Muchundi, constructed 1,100 years ago. Kuttichira Juma Masjid, another thousand-year-old mosque, has intricate wood panels on the underside of the ceiling and verses from the Quran etched in Arabic on the rafters.

Places to eat in Kozhikode

Paragon Restaurant, Kannur Road
Paragon Restaurant, Kannur Road

An old-time favourite that offers a fine-dine experience spread over three levels, it blends superb food, a wide range of cuisine, presentation and ambience. Try their appam with chicken stew, excellent biryani, coconut-grilled prawns, chilli beef, Chuttulli Meen and mango fish curry.

Zain’s Hotel, Convent Cross Road
Zain’s Hotel, Convent Cross Road

Run by Zainabi Noor, who whips up authentic Moplah (local Muslim) fare, this tiny yet popular eatery is behind the fire station. It is famous for unnakaya, kozhi nerchadu, ari kaduka, chatti pathiri and chicken or fish biryani.

Hotel Sagar, Mavoor Road
Hotel Sagar, Mavoor Road

For appam, parotta and idiappam in the morning and meals or biryani at lunchtime. Wash it down with some Sulemani tea or the layered Biryani chai.

Bombay Hotel, South Beach
Bombay Hotel, South Beach

A well-known city landmark it has been serving Moplah snacks and biryani since 1949. Renovated recently, go there for puttu and stew early in the morning, biryani for lunch and snacks like chatti pathiri, unnakaya and neracha pathiri throughout the day.

Alakapuri Hotel, MM Ali Road
Alakapuri Hotel, MM Ali Road

This centrally located hotel offers simple, old-world hospitality with excellent fish, served with local Kerala rice.


Shopping in Kozhikode

  • Focus Mall
  • Emarald Mall
  • R P Mall
  • Gokulam Galleria
  • Surabhi Mall
  • Lan-Ship Mall
  • HiLITE Mall

Markets in Kozhikode

The markets of Kozhikode offer a number of things to buy. Visitors should not miss buying banana chips which are a specuality here. The best places to buy these are Kumari Chips on Kannur Road or Sankaran Bakery on SM Street. Another must-buy/try is the Kozhikode Halwa, a soft glutinous brownish-black delicacy made of flour, molasses and oil. Let us see below more markets you can explore.

  • SM Street: Once an avenue of sweetmeat shops, it has several stalls stacked with multi-hued lumps of halwa where friendly shopkeepers cut up slices for a free taste. Choose from 20 flavours – orange, banana, pineapple, tender coconut, date and dried fruits – at Malabar Bakery on SM Street or Cochin Bakery, Bank Road.
  • Kalyan Kendra and Kalpala Bazaar: For silks, saris and ready-made textiles, visit Kalyan Kendra and Kalpaka Bazaar. Buy handicrafts from Kairali, Nutan Handicrafts, Mriganayani and Surabhi.
  • Oity Road: This road is packed with brass shops, while Olavanna is an excellent place to pick up pottery.

Nightlife in Kozhikode

Kozhikode is not known for its nightlife, though there are some places where you can spend a lively evening.

  • Bottoms up Bar: Located inside the Malabar Palace Hotel has a nice ambience and a lovely view of the lawns. It hosts regular DJ and theme nights.
  • Rocks Lounge Bar and Infinity Poolside Bar: These two bars are located inside the Hotel Copper Folia. It serves delicious beverages, an assortment of drinks in their luxurious lounge bar. It also has an open-air area for smoking.

Where to stay in Kozhikode


Beach Hotel, Beach Road The oldest hotel in Kozhikode, it was built in 1890 to house the Malabar English Club. Set against a beautiful lawn, it has just six rooms with sea views so book in advance. The multi-cuisine restaurant Salkara serves a mean Kozhikode biryani.


The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Calicut Located in the heart of town 500m from the sea, the five-acre property was designed by architect Christopher Pook, integrating modern comforts with old world charm. The hotel’s focal point is the swimming pool, visible from the restaurants, rooms, lobby and the Ayurveda centre.


Harivihar Wellness Retreat The 150-year-old-house built by the Kadathanad royal family is run as an Ayurveda heritage homestay by Dr Sri Kumar and his wife. Tucked away in a manicured garden with a traditional bathing pond in the corner, the burnished woodwork, smooth plastered walls, red terracotta floors and period furniture take you back in time, with the delicious vegetarian fare.


The Raviz Kadavu Resort and Spa Kadavu, literally ferry pier, in Malayalam, is a riverside resort by the Chaliyar River built atop a hill. The Nallukettu inspired architecture boasts gabled roofs, wooden rafters, intricate balustrades and rustic tiles. Stay in independent cottages, with a thatched coffee shop, a bar next to the swimming pool with Jacuzzi, Ayurveda centre and an open-air amphitheatre for cultural performances.

More reasons to visit Kozhikode

  • Kuttichira: Kuttichira, or ‘little pond’, is the heart of the Muslim settlement where locals sit on laterite benches for chats beside 200-year-old Koya houses.
  • Valayanadu Devi Temple and the Tali Mahadeva Temple:The 14th-century Valayanadu Devi Temple and the Tali Mahadeva Temple at Chalappuram, are much revered Hindu shrines; the latter perfectly blends wood and laterite and has elaborate carvings. The eight-day Tali festival in April marked by flag hoisting and processions of the temple deity. Revathi Pattathanam, a seven-day cultural event in Oct-Nov, features panchavadyam performances, Vedic chanting and special pujas.
  • Commonwealth Handloom Weaving Factory: Just across is the Commonwealth Handloom Weaving Factory (COMTRUST), dating back to 1844, when pioneering German missionaries from Basel Mission set up tile, brick, weaving, printing and other industries in the Malabar region. With 400 looms in two weaving units, COMTRUST is the single largest handloom centre in India.
  • Kalipoika: Despite being a trading town, there’s a fun side to the city. Enjoy boating at Kalipoika, go to Kadalundi to spot birds from a country boat and visit the boat making centre of Beypore to watch dhows or pick up small souvenirs.
  • Tasara Centre For Creative Weaving: Drop by at Tasara Centre For Creative Weaving, named after the Sanskrit word for ‘shuttle’. A unique centre that offers training in painting, designing, weaving and block printing, Tasara is a meeting point for artists and produces handloom rugs, dhurries, wall hangings and bedspreads.
  • CVN Kalari: Catch a kalarippayattu performance at CVN Kalari at Nadakkavu, which offers hour-long performances every morning and evening showcasing the fighting techniques of this ancient martial art.
  • Ethnological Museum: Visit the Ethnological Museum run by the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies (KIRTADS) on Golf Link Road, where tools and ceremonial paraphernalia of various tribes offer insights into the region’s ancient communities. Before you go, try local specialities such as Nannari Sherbet (sarsaparilla root extract) and Dweep Unde (coconut jaggery sweet wrapped in palm originally from Lakshadweep).

Festivals in Kozhikode

  • Malabar Mahotsavam: This 5-day cultural festival is organised by the Kozikhode District Tourism Promotion Council once every year in January. The festival focusses on bringing to life the cultural heritage of Kerala - traditional folk art, classical music and dance, drama, etc. Popular scholars and artists from across the country participate in this festival.
  • Jalotsavam: As part of the Onam festival, traditionally the biggest festival in Kerala, Jalotsavam (water-fiestas) is organised at Korapuzha, Moorad and Pongilodippara. The water sports organised by the local sports clubs attract a number of locals and tourists.

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