The Ancient Port known as the"Jewel of The Malabar"
Kozhikode (also known by its Anglicized name of Calicut), is a port city in the north of Kerala and the third largest city in the state. At one time Kozhikode was the capital of an independent kingdom, and later became the headquarters of Malabar District. The ports of the Malabar Coast have been important trading centres for over two millennia and Calicut was a major centre for silks and spices.
There are documented visits from as early as the 14th century CE by Chinese travellers such as Zheng He.
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 exploraton because the discovery of the sea route from Europe to India gave the Portuguese a significant advantage in the control of international trade. Portugese control of the sea route lasted for almost a century.
Calicut today is a busy, modern city but the links with its past are strong and the spice trade as well as silk-weaving are still among its most important commercial activities. Sights here for the visitor include the historic Kappad Beach, site of the first European landing in India by Vasco de Gama, the markets of the old part of town near the waterfront and traditional old homes built of dark woods and possessing a character which is uniquely Keralan.