In the footsteps of Vasco Da Gama / A short stint with Calicut

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As our flight to Kozhikode was scheduled to reach at 22.45 so we planned a night stay at Kozhikode. I decided to make the most of this opportunity. So the highlights of my list were- To taste Calicut Biryani & to visit Kappad Beach, the place associated with landing of Vasco Da Gama in India.
Calicut also known as Kozhikode is the city on Malabar coast of Northern Kerala. From historical times it is known as “The City of Spices”.  Till day it lives up to its name by being one of the biggest trade post for all types of spices. Due to this it had been a cultural melting pot for various cultures such as Arab, French, Dutch and British etc in the past. Calicut had been mentioned in their travelogues by greatest travellers such as Ibn Battuta, Abdur Razzak.
               Our flight landed on time at Kozhikode airport. After booking a prepaid taxi through Calicut Taxi counter, our Journey to Calicut started. Though it was already past 11, tonight’s dinner was the only opportunity to taste the Calicut Biryani. So I started making enquiries with Siddique, our cab driver. The problem of language barrier between us was sorted out by mobile application of Tripadvisor. After making some research we shortlisted Paragon Restaurant to try Calicut Biryani. I made a phone call to them & confirmed that they were open till late night.
               I had read somewhere that in Kerala as you travel from South to North, the people become more & more polite, cooperative. With due respect to all my Mallu friends from South, I must say that the people from North are extra helpful & polite in nature. Siddique took extra efforts for us to reach Paragon Restaurant but to our bad luck the biryani is served up to only 9 pm. So we took a parcel of Malabar pepper Chicken curry, Malabar Parothas, Rice & left for Hotel Marina Residency. The surprise came when instead of taking extra money from us, Siddique started repeatedly saying sorry for taking extra time to reach Paragon. So after having a sumptuous meal of Malabar food, we hit the bed.
 The skyline of Kozhikode
The skyline of Kozhikode
Arabian Sea on the horizon
Arabian Sea on the horizon
          In the morning we could see dark clouds above the shoreline of Kozhikode aka Calicut. As we finished our healthy Kerala breakfast & checked out, hotel staff informed us that one of us has forgotten wrist watch in the room. The series of surprises continued with our cab driver Mr. Shaiju (+917025981049) from Planet Green Plantation Resorts, Wayanad. As we told him that we want to see Mananchira square & Kappad Beach, he was very enthusiastic. Shaiju accompanied us during whole trip like an old friend cum guide cum photographer.
Historical Mananchira Lake
Historical Mananchira Lake
               So we first hit Mananchira Square & lake. Mananchira Lake is a historical place with a big ground which has been partly converted into a landscaped garden. This lake is named after the erstwhile King of Kozhikode, Manadevan Samoothiri. This lake still supplies most of the drinking water to city. We took few photos of the entrance, lake & old Comtrust building.
Mananchira Square
Mananchira Square
Closed down Comtrust building
Closed down Comtrust building
               Our next stop was Kappad Beach located at approximately 15 kilometres from Calicut Town. Every Indian has read about this place in history textbooks as it is associated with the landing of Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in India. I still remember the chapter about King Zamorin & his visit with Vasco Da Gama. Kappad Beach is significant in the history because Vasco Da Gama landed here in 1498 & established a permanent sea route to India from Europe. This expedited the spice trade from Calicut to all over the world.
7.Entering Kappad Beach
Entering Kappad Beach
               Our journey from Calicut to Kappad was very scenic with few creeks & lots of coconut plantation around. We could see a well constructed promenade along the stretch of beach. When we reached the Kappad Beach we were the only tourists there apart from a couple sitting on a big rock.
Couple on the rocks
Couple on the rocks
Mubarak taking the inspiration from the couple
Mubarak taking the inspiration from the couple
Few local fishermen were trying their luck with the age-old method of throwing the nets.
17. Traditional fishing
Traditional fishing
Fishermen doing their work
Fishermen doing their work
I thought for a while, when Vasco Da Gama had arrived this place 400 years back if he would have come across a similar scene. The only signs of modernisation were Kappad Beach Resort & few Thattukada style stalls selling everything from cold drinks to gooseberry in jars.
 Life at Kappad
Life at Kappad
Kappad Beach Resort
Kappad Beach Resort
Rocks projecting into the sea
Rocks projecting into the sea
19. Something for Instagram
Pickled fruits
The beach itself was very clean & beautiful with lots of seashells in the yellow sand. The life at Kappad or Kappakadavu   was going on with very slow pace. We picked few sea shells & clicked few photos on the beach. Then we moved towards the stall & enquired about the Vasco Da Gama memorial throne while having tea.
Sea shells
Sea shells
Hemant taking the position
Hemant taking the position
Selfie at Kappad
Selfie at Kappad
After asking for direction few more times we reached the location. This humble throne was nothing as compared to my expectation. We took few photos of this humble landmark near a compound wall & left for our journey onwards to Wayanad. I noted in my mind to come back to Malabar Coastline again for Kannur-Bekal-Kozhikode triangle.
Vasco-Da-Gama landed here Kappkadavu landed here 1498
Vasco-Da-Gama landed here Kappkadavu landed here 1498
The humble memorial about Vasco Da Gama's landing
The humble memorial about Vasco Da Gama’s landing
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17 responses to “In the footsteps of Vasco Da Gama / A short stint with Calicut

  1. What a humble marker of Vasco de Gama’s momentous arrival in Kappkadavu and Calicut. Thank you for the photograph. I am aware of Vasco de Gama from having lived with Ravi, my husband, in Mogadiscio during the early 1960s. The story I heard was that Vasco de Gama burned cities as he made his way by ship up the east African coastal and would have burned Mogadiscio, too, but the winds changed and he sailed away without doing damage. He would already have had the Indian from Malindi, further south, on board with him as his guide to India. On our way back to the States, Ravi, the kids and I stopped in Lisbon, to see the sights. And what a sight is the Belem Tower in the harbor!! Gorgeous building. I’d like to imagine Vasco de Gama sailing from there but it was built a bit after his voyage. In 1983 I was working in Indonesia and explored the harbor of Macassar, now Ujung Pandang, in Sulewesi, thinking of Vasco de Gama and his opening the way for Portuguese traders to sail to India and beyond for spices and other riches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice travel article Desi…. I am struck by how pretty and similar parts of India obviously are to Queensland, here I live in Australia.
    How totally awesome to stand upon a spot and think ….wow Da Gama landed here over 500 years ago … I often look at harbours around Australia and try to imagine it as the early explorers would have seen it
    Loved the photos, though am not sure whether it is my current slow internet ( and it may indeed be so) but they took a while to load when clicked on to see a better image.
    Well done I enjoyed visiting this place with you
    Adrienne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Adrienne,
      Thank you so much for dropping in and I’m very glad you enjoyed my article and the photos. Your words are inspiring me. Yes, usually the downloading delayed by Internet or the photo is too large. So, i usually keep it to the medium size. 🙂

      Rakesh Kapadnis

      Liked by 1 person

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