During the 13th century AD, the Udaiyavar of Ernad, whose headquarters was at Nediyiruppu wanted an outlet to the sea. After going to war with the Polatthiri King for 48 long years he conquered the area around Ponniankara (Panniyankara) and build a fort at a place called Velapuram. Thus the city of Calicut came into existence sometime in the 13th century AD. With the conquest of Calicut, the status of the Udaiyavar increased and he came to be known as Swami Nambiyathiri Thirumulpad. This title gradually shortened to Samoothirippadu or Saamoothiri or Samuri over the years. The Europeans called him Zamorin.
In 1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kappad, about 25 km from Calicut city. This was a major event in the era of European exploration because the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India gave the Portuguese a significant advantage in the control of international trade. Portuguese control of the sea route lasted for almost a century.
It was during the 16th century that the Portuguese set up trading posts to the north in Kannur and to the south in Kochi, The Zamorin, however, resisted the establishment of a permanent Portuguese presence in the city. In 1509, the kingdom was forced to accept a Portuguese trading post at Chaliyar.
In 1604 the Samoothirippadu allied with Steven van der Hagen, representing the Dutch East India Company and by the mid-17th century the Dutch had captured the Malabar Coast spice trade from the Portuguese.
In 1766 Hyder Ali of Mysore captured Kozhikode and much of the northern Malabar Coast. This bought him into conflict with the British based in Madras, which resulted in four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Kozhikode and the surrounding districts were among the territories ceded to the British by Tipu Sultan of Mysore at the conclusion of the Third Anglo-Mysore War in 1792. The newly acquired possessions on the Malabar Coast were organized into the Malabar District of Madras Presidency, and Calicut became the district capital. After Indian Independence in 1947, Madras Presidency became the Madras State. In 1956 when the Indian states were reorganized along linguistic lines, Malabar District was combined with the state of Travancore-Cochin to form the new state of Kerala on November 1, 1956. Malabar District was split into the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad on January 1, 1957.
Kozhikode is located at 11°15N 75°46E / 11.25°N 75.77°E / 11.25; 75.77. It has an average elevation of 1 metre (3 feet). There are a number of rivers and lakes in the district. Chaliyar puzha, Kallayi Puzha, Korapuzha, Poonoor puzha, and Iravanjhi puzha are some among them. The district has a generally humid climate with a very hot season extending from March to May. The main rainy season is during the South-West Monsoon, which sets in the first week of June and extends up to September. The North-East Monsoon extends from the second half of October through November. The average annual rainfall is 3,266 mm. The best weather is found towards the end of the year, in December and January –the skies are clear, and the air is crisp. The highest temperature recorded was 39.4 °C in March 1975. The lowest was 14 °C recorded on 26 December 1975.
The economy of Kozhikode is mainly dependant upon agriculture and fishing. A large proportion of its male population are employed in the Middle Eastern countries, and their remittances home are an important part of the local economy. The main export is coconuts. Apart from coconuts, other products exported are spices, coffee and tea. Major industries also include saw mills, tile-making and coffee curing.
As of 2001[update] India census, Kozhikode had a population of 436,530. Sex ratio : Females/1000 - 1,057. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Kozhikode has an average literacy rate of 92.24%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 96.11% and female literacy is 88.62%. In Kozhikode, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Kozhikode has been a multiethnic and multi-religious town since the early medieval period, as it was an important trading port in the Indian ocean. Hindus form the largest community, followed by Muslims and Christians respectively. The Hindu community is organized on the basis of caste and sub-castes as elsewhere in the State. They worship all the major Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon as well as several minor deities. Vishnu and Shiva are the major Gods worshipped. The temples, like the others in Kerala, are in many respects different from those of the East Coast. Elaborate rules prescribed by the Sastras are followed in their construction. The Kavu dedicated to the Bhadrakali is a typical example. They have their own oracles called Velichappad. There are also temples devoted to such deities as Ayyappan, Hanuman, and Garuda. Serpent worship has been widely prevalent here. Ancestor worship is also practised by the Hindus.
Muslims of Kozhikode are known as Mappilas. The great majority of them are Sunnis following the Shafi school of thought and are known as Mappilas. There are also some smaller communities among the Muslims such as Dawoodi Bohras. Many of the Muslims living in the historic part of the city follow matriliny. In fact, Mappila is a Dravidian word, meaning a newly-wed husband coming to his wife's house. The argument is that the infant Muslim community in Malabar adopted it as a convenient arrangement that they were familiar with, owing to the increasing number of marriages between West Asian traders who visited the area for business and Malabar women belonging to trading families.
In the field of Malayalam language and literature, Kozhikode has made many significant contributions. The district is famous for folk songs or ballads known as Vadakkan Pattukal. The most popular songs among them are those which celebrate the exploits of Thacholi Othenan and Unniyarcha. One of the favourite past times of the Muslims of the district is singing Mappila pattu and Oppana. The songs are composed in a composite language of Arabic and Malayalam. The famous intellectual debate for Vedic scholars to win the coveted position of Pattathanam takes place at Thali temple during the month of Thulam. Kozhikode also has strong associations with ghazals and football. The city has a strong mercantile streak to it. 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. These days, the commercial heart has moved to Mittai Theruvu (Sweet Meat Street), a long street crammed with shops that sell everything from saris to cosmetics. It also houses restaurants and sweetmeat shops. The name Mittai Theruvu or S.M. Street comes from the famous Kozhikode Halwa which was often called Sweet Meat by European traders. The multicultural mix of Kozhikode ensures that Onam, Christmas and Id-ul-Fitr (the festivals of the Hindus, Christians, and Muslims respectively) are celebrated with equal pomp.
Kozhikode offers fare to suit every palate. Vegetarian fare includes the sadya. The non-vegetarian food offered in the city is a unique mix of Muslim and Hindu preparations. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, ghee rice with meat curry, sea-food (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper-thin Pathiris to provide accompaniment to spicy gravy. Another well-known Kozhikode specialty is banana chips, which are made crisp and wafer-thin. The 'Kozhikode Halwa' is very popular, even overseas.
The beach at Kozhikode is not yet overdeveloped. It remains a popular retreat for local people. There are two sea piers, almost 125 years old extending well into the sea. There are some nearby parks like the Lions club, and children’s park. It is possible to watch fishermen with their small rowing boats entering the sea, fighting the waves and returning with their daily catch of fish.
Mananchira is at the heart of the city and many institutions like the Town Hall and the Public Library are situated around it. One of Kozhikode's oldest institutions, the Commonwealth Trust's office, is located here. The large pond and park are well-known landmarks. Once the main courtyard of the Zamorin Rulers palace, Mananchira Square has been developed into a beautiful park. Temples, mosques and churches surround the square along with numerous traditional Kerala houses and a large water reservoir.
Mananchira Square was formed by joining Tagore park, Ansari park and the large maidanam (grounds). The maidanam has a green carpet lawn and the whole complex is circled by a laterite (a kind of stone) sculpted wall. The entire complex is circled by 250 lamp posts that are designed in the colonial style. Mananchira Square also has an artificial stream, a musical fountain, an open-air theatre and a music stage.
Vasco da Gama landed here at Kappadu in 1498On 27 May 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed in Kappad Beach (also known as Kappakkadavu) with three vessels and 170 men. Sixteen km north of Kozhikode by Kannur road, a small road from Tiruvangoor leads to this beach of historical importance. A monument is here to commemorate the historical landing. An ancient temple on a hillock, facing the deep sea, is an added attraction.
Beypore is a port city situated 10 km south of Calicut at the mouth of Chaliyar river. Beypore is famous for its ancient shipbuilding industry, which constructed uru, the traditional trading vessels of Arabs. The place was formerly known as Vaypura and Vadaparappanad. Tippu Sultan named the town “Sultan Pattanam”. It is one of the important ports of Kerala and naturally, an important trading centre. It is a major fishing harbour of Kerala. There are two man-made extensions to the sea to facilitate easy access for fishing boats. The 2 km breakwater made of stone is another attraction.
Other places of interest
Lokanarkavu Temple : Lokanarkavu Temple,dedicated to goddess Durga,is situated at Memunda ,The temple is 4km from vatakara.
Art gallery and Krishna Menon Museum at East Hill in Kozhikod
Lalitha Kala Academy: An art gallery adjacent to the Kozhikode town hall
Thusharagiri: A waterfall situated about 55 km from Calicut Railway Station
Kozhippara waterfalls is located at the eastern side of the district and offers a good trekking experience
Peruvannamuzhi: dam site, boat service, bird sanctuary, and crocodile sanctuary
Kakkayam: dam site, hydroelectric project, famous for trekking