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Kunjali Marakkar Memorial, Iringal
Kunjali Marakkar Memorial, Iringal
Vatakara is located in Kerala
Vatakara is located in India
Coordinates: 11°34′2″N 75°36′2″E / 11.56722°N 75.60056°E / 11.56722; 75.60056Coordinates: 11°34′2″N 75°36′2″E / 11.56722°N 75.60056°E / 11.56722; 75.60056
 • Total23.33 km2 (9.01 sq mi)
 • Total75,295
 • Density3,200/km2 (8,400/sq mi)
 • OfficialMalayalam, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code0496
ISO 3166 codeIN-KL
Vehicle registrationKL-18
Nearest cityKozhikode
Lok Sabha constituencyVadakara

Vatakara, also spelled Vadakara (formerly Badagara), IPA: [ʋɐɖɐgɐɾɐ], French: Bargaret, is a coastal town in the Kozhikode district in the state of Kerala, India. Vatakara is located between Kannur and Quilandy. The municipality of Vatakara covers an area of 23.33 km2 (9.01 sq mi)[2] and is bordered by Mahé to the north and Payyoli to the south. It is the headquarters of Vatakara taluk, which consists of 22 panchayats. During the reign of the Kolathiris and Zamorins, Vatakara was known as Kadathanadu. During the British Raj, it was part of the North Malabar region of Malabar District in the state of Madras.[3] The historic Lokanarkavu temple, made famous by the Vadakkan Pattukal (ballads of North Malabar), is situated in Vatakara.[4][5] A new tardigrade (water bear) species collected from Vadakara coast has been named after Kerala State; Stygarctus keralensis.[6]


Jetty on the Moorad river

Vatakara is located at 11°36′N 75°35′E / 11.60°N 75.58°E / 11.60; 75.58 and has an average elevation of 15 m (49 ft).[7] It is situated about 49 km to the north of Kozhikode City, approximately 44 km to the south of Kannur City, and adjacent to Mahé.[8] The town lies by the side of a river variously called the Moorad river, the Kuttiady river, or Kottakkal river. The town's position relative to this river led to it being called Vadakkekara (north bank), later contracted to Vatakara. Towards the east, near the panchayats of Nadapuram and Kuttiady, Vadakara borders the Wayanad district along the Western Ghats section. In the west, like many of the towns in Kerala, Vatakara is flanked by the Arabian Sea. The Kuttiyadi river meets the sea to the south of Vatakara, forming small islands and sandbars near the river mouth.


The Kolathunadu emerged into independent 10 principalities i.e., Kadathanadu (Vadakara), Randathara or Poyanad (Dharmadom), Kottayam (Thalassery), Nileshwaram, Iruvazhinadu (Panoor, Kurumbranad etc., under separate royal chieftains due to the outcome of internal dissensions.[9] The Nileshwaram dynasty on the northernmost part of Kolathiri dominion, were relatives to both Kolathunadu as well as the Zamorin of Calicut, in the early medieval period.[10]

Vatakara was the capital of the historical region called Kurumba Nadu, home of the Kurumbar people. In the pre-British era, a major part of the current Vatakara taluk, including the area currently constituting the Vatakara municipality, was ruled by a chieftain as a feudatory to the Kolathiri kingdom. The remaining part of the taluk was initially part of the Polathiri kingdom and later ruled by the Zamorins of Calicut. The boundary between these kingdoms is believed to have been in the region in Vatakara known as Puduppanam, with the Moorad river forming a geographical boundary. The Kadathanad dynasty was established when a Polathiri royal was forced to cross over to Kolathunadu after an unsuccessful battle with the Zamorins, settled in the region, and married a Kolathiri princess.

Vatakara became an important trade center in the region by the early 18th century, exporting agricultural products such as coffee, pepper and coconut. Together with smaller nearby ports at Chombal, Muttungal and Kottakkal, Badagara became one of the major centers of trade at a level with those at Cannanore, Tellicherri and Calicut. Building on a thriving economy led by a strong sea trade, the Kadathanad rulers established a strong naval force which became known as the "Lord of the Seas", since it was the strongest naval force from the Malayalam-speaking region.[11]

A significant factor in the rise of Vatakara as a trade center was the rise and subsequent fall of the Kunjali Marakkars of Kottakkal. During the 16th century CE, Kunjali Marakkars were the admirals of the Zamorin's naval fleet and were famous for their valor and sea battle tactics. The Marakkars established their stronghold in Kottakkal and built a fort there. The last Marakkar, Kunjali IV, was defeated at the beginning of the 17th century by the combined forces of the Zamorin, with whom he had fallen out, and the Portuguese, who resented the interference of Kunjali and his followers in their trade route. The fort was completely destroyed by a bombardment from the sea.[citation needed] However, the Marakkars' knowledge of ship handling and tactics continued to be passed down in the community of seafarers in this area of Vatakara, later allowing the ruler of Kadathanad to establish his supremacy in the sea and to enforce a 'pass' system for trade ships.[citation needed]

The region became a separate kingdom around 1750, when the then chieftain took the title of Kadathanad Rajah. During this period, there are records of frequent skirmishes between Kadathanad and the ruler of Kottayam as well as the foreign colonial powers of the British, based in Thalassery, and the French, based in Mahé.[citation needed]

In legend, Vatakara is the birthplace of Unniyarcha, Aromal Chekavar, and Thacholi Othenan, the heroes of the Vadakkanpattu (ballads of North Malabar). The Thacholi family home, Thacholi Tharavadu, is still preserved and the anniversary of Thacholi Othenan's birth is celebrated in the Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu temple.

Notable temples in the area include Lokanarkavu and Kottakkal Bhagavathi Temple, the second richest temple in North Malabar. Kalari Ullathil Temple is also situated near Vatakara town.The martial art Kalaripayattu originated in Vatakara.


Most of Vatakara's inhabitants are labourers and farmers, while some are government employees. A large number of expatriates from Vatakara work in Middle Eastern countries, and their remittances have a strong influence on the local economy. Some emigrants work in nearby states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

As of the 2011 Census of India,[12] Vatakara had a population of 75,740, with males constituting 48% of the population and females 52%. Vatakara has an average literacy rate of 83%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 85%, and female literacy is 80%. 11% of the population was under 6 years old.


Fishing is one of Vatakara's main commercial activities. The Moorad River flows into the Arabian Sea at a point close to the town.

Vatakara is organized around two commercial hubs, the old and new bus depots. The area around the old bus depot contains commercial establishments as old as 100 years. Recently, commerce has shifted to the area around the new bus depot and the road towards Kannur, with many new buildings, including hospitals and flats being built or planned.

Nut Street is the distribution center for nuts, including coconuts and areca nuts. Produce flows to collection outlets and is dried, packed, and transported to other states. Northern Kerala is well known for the production of coconuts.

Hospitals include the CO-OP Hospital, Asha Hospital, Janatha Hospital, Ceeyam Hospital and the Parco specialty hospital.

The Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society is a unique labour cooperative initiative centered in Madappally that was inspired by the Indian sage Vagbhatananda. The society was registered in 1925.[13]


Climate data for Vatakara, Kerala
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.7
Average low °C (°F) 21.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 2


Notable places[edit]


Lokanarkavu temple
Bhagavathy Temple, Lokanarkavu
The Lokanarkavu temple is located at Memunda, 5 km from Vadakara. It is closely associated with the heroes and heroines of Vadakkanpattu: Thacholi Othenan, the hero of Kadathanadu, was a devotee of the Lokanarkavu goddess, Lokanarkavilamma, an aspect of Durga.[15] Three rock-cut caves near the temple are decorated with candid murals and carvings. The annual festival celebrating Durga, locally called Pooram, takes place during March/April. Two temples adjacent to the Lokanarkavu temple focus on the worship of Vishnu and Shiva.
Payamkuttimala temple
The temple of Muthappan at Memunda is managed by the tourism department of the Kerala Government. As of 2018, plans were under way for a modernization of the surroundings of the temple.[16] The Theyyam form of worship is practiced here.
Chendamangalam temple
The Chennamangalam temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala, and also one of the very few temples which has Dhwaja Pratishtha. It is situated 2 km from Vatakara town, near to Chorode. The deities primarily worshipped are Shiva and Ayyappan. This temple is similar in nature to the Sabarimala temple. When pilgrimages to Sabarimala were impossible due to a fire, Chennamangalam temple served as an alternative destination.
Kozhukkannur Neyyamruth Madom
Kozhukkannur Neyyamruth Madom is located at Purameri. In the Kottiyoor festival, the madom forms a centre from which Neyamruthu (ghee) offerings are taken to the Kottiyoor temple on foot.

Additional temples in the region include Kizhakkedathu temple, Sivapuram Sree Mahadeva Kshethram, Arathil Bhagavathi Kottakkal temple, Thuneri Sree Vettakkorumakan Kshethram, Ponmeri Shiva temple, Kalleri Kuttichathan temple, Kaliyampalli temple and Nagath Sri Muchilottu Bhagavathi temple.

Thacholi Othenan

Thacholi Meppayil Kunjhu Othenan or Mepayil Tacholi Manikoth Kovilakathu Kunji Othena Kurup (Udayana Kurup of Thacholi Manikoth House) or more popularly Thacholi Othenan was a legendary hero who is believed to have lived during 16th century in North Malabar region of Kerala, India. He is praised in the Vadakkan Pattukal (ballads of North Malabar).[6][7] Thacholi Ambadi, another renowned martial arts expert, was Othenan's son

Kunjali Marakkar memorial[edit]

Kunjali Marakkar memorial

The location of the Marakkar fort on the southern bank of the Moorad river, 46 km south of Kozhikode, is now known as Kottakkal. A building in Kottakkal that belonged to Kunjali Marakkar serves as a small museum, with collections of ancient swords, cannonballs and knives.The Kunjali Marakkar or Kunhali Marakkar was the title given to the Muslim naval chief of the Inscriptions on the Kunjali Marakkar Memorial at Kottakkal, Vatakara.

Sandbanks recreation area[edit]

Vadakara Sandbanks

The Sandbanks recreation area is located on a small peninsula with the Moorad river on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, approximately 3 km towards the south of Vatakara town. The Sandbanks Bungalow, which was built by Mr Wilfred Vincent Reilly in 1946, stands on this peninsula. The area is owned by the Aditya Birla Management Corporation Ltd and managed by Vadakara Municipality. A coastal Police Station is being built on the peninsula.

Sargaalaya Kerala Arts and Crafts Village

(Aka Heritage Village)

Located amid the picturesque village of Iringal, a wonderful world of tradition in the form of finest handicrafts – this exquisite blend of tradition with culture, Sargaalaya has got it all to bestow a unique and joyful experience for every visitor. With highly skilled artisans from over 20 traditional villages across the state of Kerala brought together under one roof, the village builds a platform for their cultural and financial development. The art and craft products at Sargaalaya are not limited within Kerala however, the astonishing examples of exceptional skills range from various states across the country. Besides getting familiar with many works of art that take expression on different materials, visitors can satisfy themselves off the quality of the finished products. Sargaalaya offers a live display of craftsmanship providing a close look at every aspect of manufacturing for art and craft enthusiasts and even conducts workshops for people who desire to learn about it. Sargaalaya is expected to energize the traditional craft sector of Kerala, also to serve as a single source for visitors to appreciate and learn the traditional crafts and craftsmanship of Kerala.

Villages in Vatakara Taluk[edit]

The position of the Vatakara Taluk in Kozhikode district is given below:

The villages included in the Taluk are:

Educational institutions[edit]

There are many schools, colleges and tuition centers in Vatakara.

Vidya Prakash Public School, Rani Public School, Chorode ( and Gokulam Public School are the 3 main private schools in Vadakara.

Government College, Madappally is a post-graduate campus affiliated with the University of Calicut.

The 62nd Regional Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University was established at Vatakara in January 2011, serving students from the Malabar region, including the Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Malappuram districts.

Science center is a famous tuition center located in vadakara.More than two thousands of students are studying there.They provide entrance couching along with plus one,plus two tuition classes

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census of India: Search Details".
  2. ^ "ആമുഖം | Vadakara Municipality". (in Malayalam). Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  3. ^ Kadathanad Royal Dinasty
  4. ^ Lokanarkavu Temple
  5. ^ A shrine for the heroes of Vadakkan Pattukal - Lokanarkavu
  6. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Maps, Weather, and Airports for Badagara, India".
  8. ^ "Vatakara". Keralata Tourism.
  9. ^ Logan, William (2010). Malabar Manual (Volume-I). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. pp. 631–666. ISBN 9788120604476.
  10. ^ The Hindu staff reporter (21 November 2011). "Neeleswaram fete to showcase its heritage". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  11. ^ Logan, William (2009). Malabar manual. Low Price Publications. ISBN 978-8175364752. OCLC 946063221.
  12. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  13. ^ "ULCCS - Ulccs".
  14. ^ "CLIMATE: VATAKARA", Web: [1].
  15. ^ Meethal, Amiya (25 October 2015). "Rediscovering the historic Lokanarkavu temple". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  16. ^ Sree, K. M. (7 December 2018). "Kerala: Payamkutty Mala hill set for a makeover". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 November 2019.