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HiLITE City - Mixed Use Development Project in Calicut.jpg
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Kakkayam hills.jpg
Clockwise from top:
Calicut beach skyline, KSRTC bus stand complex,
Calicut mini bypass, Kakkayam Valley, Kozhikode Beach,
IIM Kozhikode, Hilite Mall.
City of Spices[1] (Other nicknames include City of Truth,Food capital of kerala[2] City of Sculptures[3])
Kozhikode is located in Kerala
Kozhikode is located in India
Kozhikode is located in Asia
Kozhikode is located in Earth
Coordinates: 11°15′N 75°46′E / 11.25°N 75.77°E / 11.25; 75.77Coordinates: 11°15′N 75°46′E / 11.25°N 75.77°E / 11.25; 75.77
Country India
 • TypeMunicipal corporation
 • MayorDr. Beena Philip (CPI (M))
 • CollectorSriram Sambasiva IAS[4]
 • Member of ParliamentM. K. Raghavan (Indian National Congress)
 • Metropolis118 km2 (46 sq mi)
 • Metro
518 km2 (200 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
 • Metropolis609,224
 • Density5,200/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
 • Metro2,028,399
 • Kozhikode District
 • OfficialMalayalam, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
673 xxx
Telephone code91 (0)495 , 496
Vehicle registrationKL 11, KL 18, KL 56,
KL 57, KL 76, KL 77, KL 85, KLD & KLZ (Historical)
Sex ratio1.093  /[7]

Kozhikode ([koːɻikoːɖ] (About this soundlisten)), also known as Calicut, is an Indian city, second-largest urban agglomeration in the State of Kerala and 19th largest in the country with a population of two million according to 2011 census.[8] Kozhikode is classified as a Tier 2 city according to Government of India.[9]

During classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikode was dubbed the City of Spices for its role as the major trading point of Indian spices.[1] A historical city, it was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris (Zamorins) in the Middle Ages. According to data compiled by economics research firm Indicus Analytics in 2009 on residences, earnings and investments, Kozhikode ranked as the second best city in India to reside in.[10]


The exact origin of the name Kozhikode is uncertain. According to many sources, the name Kozhikode is derived from Koyil-kota (fort), meaning fortified palace.[11] The name also got corrupted into Kolikod, or its anglicized version Calicut.[12]

Arab merchants called it Qāliqūṭ (IPA: qˠaːliqˠːuːtˤ).[13]

Although the city's official name is Kozhikode, in English it is sometimes known by its anglicised version, Calicut.[14] The word calico, a fine variety of hand-woven cotton cloth that was exported from the port of Kozhikode, is thought to have been derived from Calicut.[15] It is the historical capital of Kerala as the history dates back to 1498 AD when Vasco da Gama landed in Kappad, near Calicut.[16]


Kozhikode was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the samoothiris (Zamorins) in the Middle Ages and later of the erstwhile Malabar District under British rule. Arab merchants traded with the region as early as 7th century, and Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kozhikode on 20 May 1498, thus opening a trade route between Europe and Malabar. A Portuguese factory and the fort was intact in Kozhikode for short period (1511–1525, until the Fall of Calicut). The English landed in 1615 (constructing a trading post in 1665), followed by the French (1698) and the Dutch (1752). In 1765, Mysore captured Kozhikode as part of its occupation of the Malabar Coast. Kozhikode, once a famous cotton-weaving centre, gave its name to the Calico cloth.[17]

Vasco da Gama's arrival in Calicut in 1498 ushered in five centuries of rule of the Portuguese Empire in India, lasting until 1961.

It was ranked eleventh among Tier-II Indian cities in job creation by a study conducted by ASSOCHAM in 2007.[18]

Early Kozhikode in foreign accounts[edit]

Accounts of the city and the conditions prevailing then can be gleaned from the chronicles of travellers who visited the port city.

Ibn Battuta (1342–1347), who visited six times, gives the earliest glimpses of life in the city. He describes Kozhikode as "one of the great ports of the district of Malabar" where "merchants of all parts of the world are found here". The king of this place, he says, "shaves his chin just as the Haidari Fakeers of Rome do... The greater part of the Muslim merchants of this place are so wealthy that one of them can purchase the whole freightage of such vessels put here and fit out others like them".[19]

Image of Kozhikode, India from Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg's atlas Civitates Orbis terrarum, 1572

Ma Huan (1403 AD), the Chinese sailor part of the Imperial Chinese fleet under Cheng Ho (Zheng He)[20] lauds the city as a great emporium of trade frequented by merchants from around the world. He makes note of the 20 or 30 mosques built to cater to the religious needs of the Muslims, the unique system of calculation by the merchants using their fingers and toes (followed to this day) and the matrilineal system of succession.

Abdur Razzak (1442–43) the ambassador of Persian Emperor Sha-Rohk finds the city harbour perfectly secured and notices precious articles from several maritime countries especially from Abyssinia, Zirbad and Zanzibar.

The Italian Niccolò de' Conti (1445), perhaps the first Christian traveller who noticed Kozhikode, describes the city as abounding in pepper, lac, ginger, a larger kind of cinnamon, myrobalans and zedary. He calls it a noble emporium for all India, with a circumference of 13 kilometres (8 miles).

The Russian traveller Athanasius Nikitin or Afanasy Nikitin (1468–74) calls 'Calecut' a port for the whole Indian sea and describes it as having a "big bazaar."

Other travellers who visited Kozhikode include the Italian Ludovico di Varthema[21] (1503–1508) and Duarte Barbosa.[22]

The Samoothiri[edit]

The path Vasco da Gama took to reach Kozhikode (black line) in 1498, which was also the discovery of a sea route from Europe to India, and eventually paved way for the European colonisation of Indian subcontinent.

Kozhikode and its suburbs formed part of the Polanad kingdom ruled by the Porlatiri.[23] The Eradis of Nediyiruppu at Kondotty in Eranad wanted an outlet to the sea, to initiate trade and commerce with the distant lands.[24] and after fighting with the king Polatthiri for 48 years conquered the area around Panniankara. After this, Menokki became the ruler of Polanad and came to terms with the troops and people.[25] After this, the town of Kozhikode was founded close to the palace at Tali.[26] Then, the Eradis shifted their headquarters from Nediyiruppu to Kozhikode. The Governor of Ernad built a fort at a place called Velapuram to safeguard his new interests. The fort most likely lent its name to Koyil Kotta the precursor to Kozhikode. Thus the city came into existence sometime in the 13th century CE. The status of Udaiyavar increased and he became known as Swami Nambiyathiri Thirumulpad, and eventually Samuri or Samoothiri. Europeans called him in a corrupt form as Zamorin.

According to K.V. Krishna Iyer, the rise of Kozhikode is at once a cause and a consequence of Samoothiri's ascendancy in Kerala. By the end of the century, Samoothiri was at the zenith of his powers with all princes and chieftains of Kerala north of Kochi acknowledging his suzerainty.[27]


Kozhikode has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am). A brief spell of pre-monsoon Mango showers hits the city sometime during April. However, the primary source of rain is the South-west monsoon that sets in the first week of June and continues until September. The city receives significant precipitation from the North-East Monsoon that sets in from the second half of October through November.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.6
Mean maximum °C (°F) 33.4
Average high °C (°F) 32.2
Average low °C (°F) 22.8
Mean minimum °C (°F) 20.6
Record low °C (°F) 13.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 3.1
Average rainy days 0.2 0.2 0.9 3.5 8.9 23.3 23.8 19.3 11.7 11.4 6.0 1.4 110.6
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 65 66 69 71 75 85 87 86 82 78 73 65 75
Source: India Meteorological Department[28][29]


Pazhashi Raja Museum

Religion in Kozhikode city (2011)[30]

  Hinduism (57.37%)
  Islam (37.66%)
  Christianity (4.60%)
  Other (0.07%)

Total Population under Municipal Corporation limits is 550,440.[31] Males form 47.7% and females 52.3%.

Kozhikode has been a multi-ethnic and multi-religious town since the early medieval period. The Hindus form the largest religious group, followed by Muslims and Christians.[32] Hindus form the majority at 60.7% of the population with 315807 members.[31] Muslims form 37.6% of the population with 207298 members.[31]

The corporation of Kozhikode has an average literacy rate of 96.8%[7] (national average is 74.85%). The male literacy rate is 97.93% and female literacy rate is 95.78%.[7]

Pre-modern Kozhikode was already teeming with people of several communities and regional groups. Most of these communities continued to follow their traditional occupations and customs till the 20th century.[33] Brahmins, too, lived in the city mostly around the Hindu temples. Regional groups like the Tamil Brahmins, Gujaratis and Marwari Jains became part of the city and lived around their shrines.[34]

The Nairs formed the rulers, warriors and landed gentry of Kozhikode.[35] The Samoothiri had a ten thousand strong Nair bodyguard called the Kozhikkottu pathinaayiram (The 10,000 of Kozhikode) who defended the capital and supported the administration within the city. He had a larger force of 30,000 Nairs in his capacity as the Prince of Eranadu, called the Kozhikkottu Muppatinaayiram (The 30,000 of Kozhikode).[36] The Nairs also formed the members of the suicide squad (chaver).[37] The Thiyyas formed the vaidyars(Physicians), local militia and traders of Kozhikode.

The Muslims of Kozhikode are known as Mappilas, and according to the official Kozhikode website "the great majority of them are Sunnis following the Shafi school of thought.[32] There are some smaller communities among the Muslims such as Dawoodi Bohras of Gujarati origin.[38] Many of the Muslims living in the historic part of the city follow matrilineality and are noted for their piety.[39] Though Christianity is believed to have been introduced in Kerala in the 1st century CE, the size of community in Malabar (northern Kerala) began to rise only after the arrival of the Portuguese missionaries towards the close of the 15th century. A few Christians of Thiruvitankoor and Kochi have lately migrated to the hilly regions of the district and are settled there.[39]

The Tamil Brahmins are primarily settled around the Tali Siva temple. They arrived in Kozhikode as dependants of chieftains, working as cooks, cloth merchants and moneylenders.[40] They have retained their Tamil language and dialects as well as caste rituals. The Gujarati community is settled mostly around the Jain temple in and around the Valliyangadi. They owned many establishments, especially textile and sweet shops. They must have arrived in Kozhikode at least from the beginning of the 14th century. They belong to either the Hindu or the Jain community. A few Marwari families are also found in Kozhikode who was basically moneylenders.

Civic administration[edit]

The city is administered by the Kozhikode Corporation, headed by a mayor. For administrative purposes, the city is divided into 75 wards,[41] from which the members of the corporation council are elected for five years. Recently neighbouring suburbs Beypore, Elathur, Cheruvannur and Nallalam were merged within the municipal corporation.

Kozhikode Municipal Corporation
Mayor Dr. Beena Philip
Deputy Mayor Musafar Ahmed
Member of Parliament M.K.Raghvan
District Collector Shri. Seeram Sambasiva Rao IAS
Police Commissioner Shri A V George IPS

Kozhikode Corporation is the first City Corporation in Kerala after the creation of the state. Established in 1962, Kozhikode Corporation's first mayor was H Manjunatha Rao. Kozhikode corporation has four assembly constituencies – Kozhikode North, Kozhikode South, Beypore and Elathur – all of which are part of Kozhikode.[42]

Kozhikode Municipal Corporation Election 2015[edit]

S.No. Party Name Party symbol Number of Corporators
01 LDF Indian Election Symbol Hammer Sickle and Star.png 47
02 UDF 21
03 BJP BJP election symbol.png 07
04 Independents No flag.svg 0

Law and order[edit]

The Kozhikode City Police is headed by a commissioner, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. The city is divided into six zones each under a circle officer. Apart from regular law and order, the city police comprise the traffic police, bomb squad, dog squad, fingerprint bureau, women's cell, juvenile wing, narcotics cell, riot force, armed reserve camps, district crime records bureau and a women's station.[43] It operates 16 police stations functioning under the Home Ministry of Government of Kerala.



National highways[edit]

KSRTC bus terminal-cum-shopping complex in Kozhikode
Volvo 8400 at Calicut Bus Terminal
Thamarassery Churam is one of the popular tourist destinations in Kozhikode
Calicut Mini Bypass.
Kozhikode Railway Station is one of the busiest railway stations in South India

National Highway 66 connects Kozhikode to Mumbai via Mangaluru, Udupi and Goa to the north and Kochi and Kanyakumari near Thiruvananthapuram to the south along the west coast of India. This highway connects the city with the other important towns like, Kasaragod, Kanhangad, Kannur, Thalassery, Mahe, Vadakara, Koyilandy[44] Ramanattukara, Kottakkal, Kuttippuram, Ponnani, Kodungallur, North Paravur, Ernakulam, Edapally and proceeds to Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and terminates at the southern tip of India, Kanyakumari.

National Highway 766 connects Kozhikode to Bangalore through Kollegal in Karnataka via Tirumakudal Narsipur, Mysore, Nanjangud, Gundlupet, Sulthan Bathery, Kalpetta and Thamarassery.

National Highway 966 connects Kozhikode to Palakkad through Malappuram . It covers a distance of 125 kilometres (78 mi). At Ramanattukara, a suburb of Kozhikode, it joins NH 66. It passes through towns like Kondotty, Perinthalmanna, and Mannarkkad and Malappuram. This stretch connects the city and Calicut International Airport.

State Highways[edit]

SH 29 passes through the city. It connects NH 212, Malabar Christian College, civil station, Kunnamangalam, Thamarassery, Chellot, Chitragiri and Road to Gudallor from Kerala border.

SH 54 connects the city to Kalpetta. The highway is 99.0 kilometres (61.5 mi) long. The highway passes through Pavangad, Kozhikode, Ulliyeri, Perambra, Poozhithodu, Peruvannamuzhi and Padinjarethara. SH 68 starts from Kappad and ends in Adivaram. The highway is 68.11 kilometres (42.32 mi) long.

SH 34 starts from Koyilandy and ends in Edavanna which is 44.0 km long. This highway passes through Koyilandi, Ulliyeri, Balussery, Thamarassery, Omassery, Mukkam.


Buses, predominantly run by individual owners, ply on the routes within the city and to nearby locations. City buses are painted green. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs regular services to many destinations in the state and to the neighbouring states. The city has three bus stands. All private buses to the suburban and nearby towns ply from the Palayam Bus Stand. Private buses to adjoining districts start from the Mofussil Bus Stand on Indira Gandhi Road (Mavoor Road). Buses operated by the KSRTC drive from the KSRTC bus stand on Indira Gandhi Road. KSRTC Bus Stand Kozhikode is the largest bus stand in Kerala having a size of 36,036.47 meter square.[45] There are also KSRTC depots in Thamarassery, Thottilpalam, Thiruvambady and Vatakara. There are three routes available to Bangalore. Kozhikode–Sulthan Bathery-GundlupetMysoreBangalore is the preferred one and is very busy. Another route, is Kozhikode-Manathavady-Kutta-Mysore-Bangalore. The third one, less used, is Kozhikode–Gundlupet–ChamarajanagarKollegal–Bangalore.

Private tour operators maintain regular luxury bus services to Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Vellore, Ernakulam, Trivandrum, Ooty, Mysore. etc. and mainly operate from the Palayam area. These are usually night services.


The history of railways in Malabar dates to 1861 when the first tracks were laid between Tirur and Beypore.[46]


Calicut International Airport is 26 kilometres (16 mi) from the city at Karipur in Kondotty, which is in the Malappuram district. It began operations in 1988. Domestic services are operated to major Indian cities. It received the status of an international airport in 2006.[47] Kozhikode district formed in 1957 July 1 and Malappuram was part of it. Malappuram district formed in 1969 June 16.Since Malappuram wasn't a district when the discussions happened, it got the name Calicut airport.


KLF 2020 Sunset.jpg

Calicut is one of the biggest economic hubs in Kerala. Service sector dominates the economy followed by industries. Cyberpark, a Government of Kerala organisation, plans to build, operate and manage IT parks for the promotion and development of investment in IT and ITES industries in the Malabar region of Kerala. It would be the third IT hub in the state of Kerala. The two IT parks might create a total 100,000 direct job opportunities. The first project is the development of Cyberpark hub in Kozhikode with its spokes at Kannur and Kazargode IT parks.[48][49] Other planned projects include the Birla IT park (at Mavoor) and Malaysian satellite city (at Kinaloor) where KINFRA has plans to set up a 160-hectare (400-acre) industrial park. In 2012, Kozhikode was given the tag of "City of Sculptures" (Shilpa Nagaram) because of the architectural sculptures around the city.[50][51] Currently there are many IT companies running in UL Cyberpark, Government Cyberpark and Hilite Business Park.


The Focus Mall, the first shopping mall of its kind in the State

The city has a strong mercantile aspect. The main area of business was once Valiyangadi (Big Bazaar) near the railway station. As time progressed, it shifted to other parts of the city. The commercial heart has moved to Mittai Theruvu (Sweetmeat Street or S. M. Street), a long street crammed with shops that sell everything from saris to cosmetics. It also houses restaurants and sweetmeat shops. Today, the city has multiple shopping malls. Focus Mall (First mall of Kerala ), HiLITE Mall,[52] Address Mall and RP Mall are a few among them.[53] Few other malls like Gokulam Mall is ready for opening.


In addition to the Malabar Mahotsavam, the annual cultural fest of Kozhikode,[54] every year since 1981 the Tyagaraja Aradhana Trust has been conducting a five-day music festival in honour of Tyagaraja. The festival is complete with the Uncchavritti, rendering of Divyanama kritis, Pancharatna Kritis, concerts by professional artistes and students of music from morning to late in the evening.[55]

Kozhikode has a tradition of Ghazal and Hindustani music appreciation. There are many Malayalam Ghazals. The late film director and play back singer M. S. Baburaj, from Kozhikode was influenced by Ghazal and Hindustani.[56]



The Kozhikode radio station of All India Radio has two transmitters: Kozhikode AM (100 kilowatts) and Kozhikode FM [Vividh Bharathi] (10 kilowatts). Private FM radio stations are Radio Mango 91.9 operated by Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd. Radio Mirchi operated by Entertainment Network India Ltd. and Club FM 104.8 operated by Mathrubhumi group and Red FM 93.5 of the SUN Network. AIR FM radio stations are Kozhikode – 103.6 MHz; AIR MW radio station is Kozhikode – 684 kHz.


MediaOne TV Headquarters And Studio

A television transmitter has been functioning in Kozhikode since 3 July 1984, relaying programmes from Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram Doordarshan. Doordarshan has its broadcasting centre in Kozhikode at Medical College. The Malayalam channels based on Kozhikode are the Shalom Television, Darshana TV and Media One TV. All major channels in Malayalam viz. Manorama News, Asianet, Surya TV, Kairali TV, Amrita TV, Jeevan TV, and Jaihind have their studios and news bureaus in the city.

Satellite television services are available through DD Direct+, Dish TV, Sun Direct DTH and Tata Sky. Asianet Digital TV is popularly known as ACV telecasts daily city news. Spidernet is another local channel. Other local operators include KCL and Citinet.

The Calicut Press Club came into existence in 1970. It is the nerve centre of all media activities, both print and electronic. Begun with around 70 members in the roll, this Press Club, became a prestigious and alert media centre in the state with a present membership of over 280.[57][better source needed]


There are 1,237 schools in Kozhikode district including 191 highschools.[58]

Kozhikode is home to two premier educational institutions of national importance: the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), and the National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NITC). Other institutions include National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH),[59] Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR),[60] and National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) are also based in Calicut.[61]

Recently Kozhikode got Kerala's first residential I.B continuum school, 'The White School International' Located in Perumanna. The school was established in 2016.

The University of Calicut is the largest university in Kerala and is located in Thenjipalam, about 24 kilometres (15 mi) south of Calicut. This university was established in 1968 and was the second university set up in Kerala. Most of the colleges offering tertiary education in the region are affiliated to this university.[62] The Calicut Medical College was established in 1957 as the second medical college in Kerala. Since then, the institution has grown into a premier centre of medical education in the state. Presently it is the largest medical institute in the state with a yearly intake of 250 candidates for the undergraduate programme.

Main colleges in calicut city: Malabar Christian college, Devagiricollege, Providence college for women, Govt. Arts & science college, West Hill Engineering college, Poly Technic etc.

In 1877, a school for young Rajas was started in Kozhikode. This was later thrown open to all caste Hindu boys. In 1879, it was affiliated to the University of Madras as a second-grade college and with this, collegiate education in the district received a fillip. Secondary education recorded appreciable progress since 1915. The erstwhile Malabar district, of which the present Kozhikode district formed a part, holds a high rank among the districts of Madras Presidency in secondary education.[63]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lectures 26-27". 16 July 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  2. ^ M. G. S. Narayanan (2006). The City of Truth Revisited. University of Calicut. p. 350. ISBN 978-8177481044.
  3. ^ "Kozhikode to be 'city of sculptures'". The Hindu. 6 June 2012.
  4. ^ "District Collectors/ADMs/SPs". Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
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  6. ^ "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 million and above" (PDF). The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
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  21. ^ Varthema, Ludovico di, The Travels of Ludovico di Varthema, A.D.1503–08, translated from the original 1510 Italian ed. by John Winter Jones, Hakluyt Society, London
  22. ^ Gangadharan. M., The Land of Malabar: The Book of Barbosa (2000), Vol II, M.G University, Kottayam.
  23. ^ Sreedhara Menon.A, A Survey of Kerala History(1967), p.152. D.C.Books Kottayam
  24. ^ Bhāratīya sthalanāma patrikā (page 44) published by Place Names Society of India
  25. ^ Sewell, Robert (1884). Lists of inscriptions, and sketch of the dynasties of southern India. E. Keys at the Government Press. p. 197. The Samoothiri made Menokki ruler of Porallatiri and came to terms with the troops and people. After this follows an account of the founding of the town of Kozhikode, close to the Samoothiri's palace at Tali
  26. ^ K. V. Krishna Ayyar; University of Calicut. Publication Division (1938). The Samorins of Calicut: from the earliest times down to A.D. 1806. Publication Division, University of Calicut. p. 82. ISBN 978-81-7748-000-9. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
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External links[edit]

Kozhikode travel guide from Wikivoyage