Travel Bucket List: India – Kerala Part 2

Our first stop in Kerala is the Kasaragod district which is situated in the rich biodiversity of Western Ghats and is known for the Chandragiri and Bekal Forts, Chandragiri River, historic Kolathiri Rajas, the natural environment of Ranipuram and Kottancheri Hills, historical and religious sites like the Madiyan Kulom temple, Madhur Temple, Ananthapuram Lake Temple and Malik Deenar Mosque. Located close to the Kerala-Karnataka border and closer to Mangalore than the capital of Tiruvanthapuram, Malayalam, Kannada and Tulu are the most widely spoken languages here, along with others like Beary, Konkani are also used by some people. The Malayalam spoken here is influenced by Tulu and Kannada and vice versa.

Bekal Fort: The 300 years old defensive mechanism which is the largest and well-preserved fort makes it one of the best places to view the Arabian Sea from the fort’s observation tower which was once used to fire the cannons. The impressive strength of the fort as well as an old mosque near this fort beings tourists here. Open from 8 am to 5 pm daily, the entrance fee is INR 5 per person for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.

Chandragiri Fort: Built-in the 17th century by Sivappa Nayak of Bedanore, today only a remnant of its original majestic form of the Chandragiri Fort remains which is protected under State Archaeology Department. The Chandragiri Boat Club nearby offers boat trips to the nearby islands and palm groves, and on some of the islands you can get down and camp. The local fishermen will accompany you in the boat rides, so you will get to know the unabridged stories of the locales, and any compelling story, legend or folklore about the fort, if there is any. Full of artistic and historical significance, this place is visited by locals as well as tourists for the breathtaking view of the estuarine that Payaswini river forms with the Arabian Sea. The fort is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm and entrance fee is INR 5 for Indians and SAARC nationals while foreigners pay INR 100.

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Hosdurg Fort: Also known as Kanhangad Fort, the Hosdurg Fort is a majestic fort which can be seen from distance and was established by the Ikkeri dynasty king Somashekhara Nayaka. Located about 30 km south of Kasaragod. The unique feature to this fort are its round bastions. Today, this fort houses a school and a few government offices. If you are visiting the fort, also visit the popular Nityanandashram which is comprise of nearly 45 caves. Another major spot lying in the proximity to the fort is the Poonkavanam Karpooreshwar Temple. Open 24 hours a day, entrance fee to the fort is INR 5 per adult.

Ananthapura Lake Temple: The only lake temple in Kerala, the Ananthapura Lake Temple is a serene Hindu temple built in the middle of a lake in the village of Ananthapura, with the main deity being that of Ananthapadmanabhan Swami. It is believed that Ananthapadmanabhan settled down here first and then moved to Thiruvananthapuram through a cave which lies to the right-hand side corner of the lake. The cave is said to be a natural structure that separates Ananthapura and Thiruvananthapuram and therefore, these two temples retain the name of the same deity. Carved with mythological tales of Puranas the Ananthapura Lake Temple is a perfect example of nature living in total harmony with each other and it is said the presence of a crocodile named Babiya, believed to be a protector of the lake, never attacks humans even when they use the tank for taking a bath and humans also never treat it differently. Located 12 km north or central Kasaragod, the temple is open from 5:30 to 12:30 pm and again from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and there is no entry fee.

Mallikarjuna Temple: Located in the heart of the town, the Mallikarjuna Temple is considered to be one of the oldest temples here and is renowned for its fascinating musical theater and festival of Yakshagana. Dedicated to Lord Shiva in form of Mallikarjuna, the annual festival which is held in March or April each year for five days at a time, the festival consists of cultural programmes with the last day reserved for the Yakshagana. Built by the Iyer kings, the walls of the temple are adorned with spellbinding paintings and the temple is open 24 hours a day, every day and has no entry fees.

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Trikkanad and Pandayan Kallu: Popularly known as the Dakshina Kashi, Trikkanad and Pandayan Kallu is a temple sitting near the Bekal Fort. Located about 2 km from Trikkanad is the Pandayan Kallu, a rock ascending from the sea which is popular for swimming. The legend behind this rock is when one of the Pandya kings attempted to attack the temple, Lord Shiva changed the temple into a rock. A place nearby known as Palakkunnu Bhagavathi Kshetram is flocked by visitors during the festival of Bhurani held every year.

Bela Church: Believed to be the oldest church in the district, the Bela Church was constructed in year 1890 and is also referred to as ‘Our lady of Sorrow Church’, and is currently managed by the Mangalore Diocese. The church is built in a gothic style and is open daily from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Nellikunnu Mosque: Housing the tomb of Thangal Uppappa, the Nellikunnu Mosque is famous for its Nercha fest which lasts for a week in the month of November. Known for its hypostyle structure, it is known for its Uroos, a ritual celebrated by the local people to remember the demise of the saint Thangal Uppapa. It takes place once every two years and usually in the month of Dul Hajj. Open evert day, all day, there is no entry fee to visit this mosque.

Parappa Wildlife Sanctuary: A paradise for nature lovers, the Parappa Wildlife Sanctuary offers visitors not just nature’s beauty and tranquillity, but also the chance to see many wildlife creatures such as turtle, porcupine, pig, Malabar Hornbill, slender loris and jungle cat in their natural habitats. Blessed with thick cover of evergreen forest and many plants with medicinal value, this sanctuary is a paradise for nature lovers. Located approximately 50 kms southeast of Kasaragod, the sanctuary is open from 8 am to 4 pm daily and does not charge entry fees.

Malom Wildlife Sanctuary: A popular tourist in the Kanhagad region, the Malom Wildlife Sanctuary is all about lush green tropical green forest and variety of wildlife. The sanctuary has a variety of animals and birds including peacock, the Malabar hornbill, wild pig, flying squirrel, rhesus monkey and porcupine etc. If you are lucky, you may also get to see the king Cobra and the Python. A blend of magnificent tropical fauna and wildlife, this sanctuary is home to animals like Elephants, Tigers, Bison, Deers and about 200 species of vivid birds, in case bird watching is your forte. The flora comprises of some rare herbs and other medicinal plants. The sanctuary is about 64 kms southeast of Kasaragod and is open from 7 am to 4:30 pm with an entry fee of INR 20 per adult.

Kammadam Sacred Grove Wildlife Sanctuary: Considered to be the biggest holy plantation in Kerala and linked with Bhagavathi Temple, the Kammadam Sacred Grove Wildlife Sanctuary represents a fascinating blend of sacredness and nature. Adorned with evergreen forests, medicinal plants, shrubs and orchids, one can also witness animals like fox, snake, bat, monitor lizard and civet etc. The sanctuary also houses various types of birds and butterflies.

Kareem’s Forest Park: A paradise for nature lovers, scientists, biologists, environmentalist and students of Ayurveda, Kareem’s Forest Park is believed to be the country’s leading private sanctuary. Situated about 48 kms from Kasaragod, this place is packed with plethora of medicinal plants, flora and fauna. In fact it is like melting pot where different species of animals, insects, reptiles, birds, wild animals, micro-organisms and amphibians inhabits. Holding a collection of exotic flora with a variety of endemic plants, shrubs, and medicinal plants. This place is also home to vivid fauna offering magnificent visuals of nature at its best and all of it created by a single man Abdul Kareem, who turned a barren land to this paradise, what it is today. Open 24/7, there is no entry fee as such, but you can book the tour packages to the forest which start from INR 1300 per person.

Manjeshwar: A beautiful coastal town famous for cashew nuts and a pilgrimage site, Manjeshwar is located about 30 km north of Kasaragod, close to its border with Karnataka. Manjeshwar has a rich history of unity in diversity and today houses about 15 mosques and several temples. This beautiful little coastal town sits over an area of 24 sq kms and is home to about 8500 inhabitants. The official language of the town is Malayalam and Tulu however; most of the locals also speak Kannada due to its proximity to Karnataka. The clean and fresh air, the natural surroundings and the simple lifestyle of the locals are worth experiencing at least once. The town is situated on the southern banks of River Manjeswaram at Bengara Manjeswar are two old Jain Bastis. Bengara Manjeswar is the fishing village of Manjeshwar which also houses the memorial a great poet of Kannada literature, Sri Govind Pai. The Kanwatheertha Beach is a local favourite which was formed as the sea settled in a formation that looks like a swimming pool.

Madhur: Famous for an ancient Srimad Anantheswara Vinayaka Temple, Madhur is located about 8 km northeast of Kasaragod. This temple with striking architecture and admiring turrets and gables is situated in front of the flowing River Madhuvahini giving the temple a mystic charm. The temple is dedicated to Srimad Anantheswara and is also referred to as Madhur Temple or Lord Shiva Temple. The sculptures and wooden carving in the temple depicting the epic Ramayana are awe-inspiring. According to local legend, Tipu Sultan who wanted to attack this temple changed his mind after quenching his thirst after drinking the water from the temple well. One can still witness the mark which is believed to have come from Tipu Sultan’s sword at the temple.

Kumbala: The ancient town of Kumbala situated about 26 km from Kasargod once served as the seat of power for Raja of Kumbala. Today, this place is famous for the temple of Lord Gopalkrishna which is quite popular among the devotees. Previously, this place was named Kanipura, but later it got the name, Kumbala, as the kings of this dynasty ruled the region and have a great influence on the region. This port of the era gone by holds the relics of history and is famed for its tranquility.

Ajanoor: The most striking feature of this small village of Ajanoor, located about 30 kms from Kasaragod is its Madiyan Kulom Temple. If you are looking for spirituality and tranquility amidst nature, the Madiyon Kulom temple is dedicated to Lord Bhadrakali and also houses the idols of Bhagavathi, Kshetrapalan and Bhairavan. The prayer is performed three times in the temple, in noon by the priest while in morning an d evening by a local sect called Maniyanis. A festival organised in May, June, December and January attracts devotees in large numbers.

Nileshwar: Also known as Nileshwaram, Nileshwar is a major town that is located about 42 kms south of Kasaragod. Nileshwaram is also referred to as the cultural capital of the Kasargod district and lies nestled between two rivers, the Nileshwaram Puzha and Thejaswini Puzha. With the Arabian Sea to its west, the town is breathtakingly beautiful and a spectacular site to be at. The name Nileshwaram comes from one of the names of Lord Shiva, Neelakanteshwaran, which means the blue-necked one. The name denotes that Nileshwaram is a land of Lord Shiva. Another story that is related to the name of the place is of Sage Neela, who mounted the deity of Lord Siva thousands of years ago. Nileshwaram once served as the seat of the Nileshwar Rajas of the Kolathiri family and was also associated with the war between the Nileshwar Rajas and the Bednore Nayaks. The town is particularly famous for housing numerous ancient temples that have significant meaning and importance attached to them. In fact, Nileshwar is the perfect place to be for those who wish to explore the rich culture and traditions of Kerala, as well as witness some age-old architectural masterpieces with their near and dear ones. A major town, this town is considered to be a wellness retreat with its own set of backwater stretches, a beach, and a hermitage not yet ruined by tourist influx. You can also go on a houseboat tour and cruise for a few days.

Cheruvathur: A small cosy town about 47 km south of Kasaragod and only 10 kms south of Nileshwaram, Cheruvathur is known for being the birthplace of great 19th century poet Mahakavi Kuttamath of Kerala. His work on musical drama and poem compilations is an excellent source of literary inspiration in Cheruvathur. Though the name was changed to Kuttamath Nagar, it is only officially and most people still call the town Cheruvathur. The etymology of the name has its origin in the Malayalam words “cheriya pathu ooru” which means ten small places. Cheruvathur is a peaceful suburban retreat for a short weekend trip.

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Valiyaparamba: Believed to be one of the most gorgeous backwaters in Kerala, Valiyaparamba is the perfect backwater resort to push your cares away. The lush green groves and emerald green waters add on to the mesmerising pictures. Located about 50 km south of Kasaragod, this coastal island can be visited anytime, but the best time is during the sunrise or sunset time.

Moving on south, our next destination is the district of Kannur. Formerly known as Cannanore in English and Cananor in Portuguese, Kannur was part of the Malabar district in the Madras Presidency during the colonial British rule. The largest city of North Malabar region and 6th largest urban agglomeration in Kerala, Kannur was an important trading centre in the 12th century with active connections with Persia and Arabia. It served as the British military headquarters on India’s west coast until 1887.

Kannur was mostly ruled by the famous Kolathiri Rajas or kings and part of the original city of Kannur was under Kerala’s only Muslim Royalty called the Arakkal. The guerrilla war by the Pazhassi Raja, the ruler of Kottayam province, against the British had a huge impact on the history of Kannur.

Payyambalam Beach: The highlight of Kannur, the unspoiled Payyabalam beach has golden sand and foamy white waves with an incredibly peaceful and inviting aura. The approach to the beach is through a small crossover bridge that is built over a narrow canal. To the right of the bridge are the memorials of Kannur’s important political personalities who have passed away in the recent decades. Palm trees and casuarinas dot the shores in various shades of green and the beach is also a great place to relax and revitalise and spend time in boating, swimming and adventure activities.

Kannur Lighthouse: Being Kerala’s first lighthouse and Kannur’s only one, the Kannur Lighthouse is a pretty big deal. Standing tall at the height of 75 feet, this lighthouse was first built in the early months of 1903. Fully functioning for over a century, this cylindrical concrete tower has managed to withstand the attacks of the Arabian Sea. In the balcony of the lighthouse, there is a light which is lit during the evening as a beacon to sailors. From the lighthouse, you can see panoramic views of the town of Kannur as well as the Arabian Sea, Baby Beach and even parts of the Payyaballam beach. As you go up the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse, you can see a variety of ancient navigational equipment. There is a musical fountain show in the evenings and a small auditorium where you can see documentaries about the lighthouse. There is a Lighthouse Museum next to the lighthouse where exhibits include ancient and rare lights, lenses and lamps that were used in the 18th century and a whopping five-ton full-fledge lighthouse equipment display shipped over from the Kutch Strait in Gujarat. There are intricate and immaculate models of different ships and vessels on display here, as well as a giant optic lens used in Minicoy from 1885 to 1962 weighing more than 6 tonnes. The lighthouse and the museum are open from 9 am to 6 pm and there are no entry fees.

Baby Beach: As its name suggests, Baby Beach is a tiny yet attractive beach along the shore of the Arabian Sea with a panoramic view of the azure Arabian Sea. Baby Beach is actually an extension of the Payamballam Beach and is one of those rare rocky beaches where people can sit on the giant rocks and just stare at the waters. Sunrises and sunsets are very popular here.

Muzhappilangad Beach: Also known as the longest drive-in beach in India and the best in Asia as well as the one of the cleanest beaches of Kannur, the Muzzhapilangad Drive-in Beach is Kerala’s only drive-in beach. The concept of drive-in beaches means that you can drive right to the sandy shores of the beach and it is not very often that you get to drive along a 4 km long shoreline that offers an open road with no traffic and a stunning view. You can also go paragliding, parasailing, powerboating and many other water sports at the beach. There is no fee charged to enter the beach but if you want to drive a vehicle on the beach, you are charged INR 10.

St Angelo Fort: The focal point of interest for many dynasties of domestic as well as the international origin and has seen many bitter battles in the quest to conquer it, St Angelos Fort is a popular tourist spot enjoying a panoramic and unobstructed view of the Arabian Sea and also overlooks the mesmerising Mopilla Bay, a natural harbour. The magnificent stone fort was built by the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, Dom Francisco de Almeida, in the early 1500s who then imprisoned his successor, Alfonso de Albuquerque because he did not want to give up the reins of his power, leading to a series of bitter events and conspiracies. Walking around, you can almost picture the battles that this fortress has seen. There are tombstones of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the fort, barracks and an old chapel here that you can explore. Kannur’s first ever lighthouse also stands next to the fort. About a century later, the Dutch took over the fort and had it restored and renovated. Bastions were built in and around the fort and the structure brought up to date. St Angelos Fort was eventually sold to the Arakkal royal family during the 18th century. At present, the palace of the Arakkal family stands right next to the fort and has now been converted into a museum. The last known holders of the fort were the British and they did their part by building Kannur’s first lighthouse near the fort. St Angelos is not in its best condition right now, having been destroyed in many areas, the effect of the many wars and years that have passed. The fort is open from 8 am to 6 pm and there is no no entry fee to explore the fort. However, INR 20 is charged as a parking fee, and a toll of INR 20 is levied for using the Cantonment Road.

Arakkal Museum: Celebrating the memory and grandeur of Kerala’s only Muslim royal family – the Arakkal Ali Rajas, the Arakkal Museum was previously a majestic palace of the royal family and their actual place of residence. Today converted into a museum, the palace is an example of muslim architecture and design. The Durbar Hall of this palace, which was once the official venue of gathering for the kings and their nobles, has now been converted into the Arakkal Kettu Museum and is managed by the Arakkal Family Trust. Many artefacts dating to the rule of the Arakkal Dynasty and various relics of the royals are on display at this museum. The Arakkal Dynasty had gained the limelight because of their dominance and monopoly in the spice trade, cultivating excellent relations with Hyder Ali, the Dutch and even emperor Tipu Sultan. The Arakkal Museum does a great job at throwing light on these amazing achievements of the Arakkal Dynasty. There are exhibits on display that evidence the glory of the Arakkals in the maritime trade, including many of their equipment. A lot of the artefacts on display here also evidence trade relations of the Arakkals with the European colonial powers. Apart from the family heirlooms and heritage items, other interesting items on display include the royal copies of the Holy Quran, an old-fashioned telephone, swords, daggers and other artillery used by the royals and even a telescope. Personal items like the Pathayam, which is a chamber used to store precious items and valuables, an Adhara Petti – the royals’ document holder and even the family’s royal seal is also on display here. The museum is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and the entry fee is INR 10.

Sundareswara Temple: A very popular temple in South India, the Sundareswara Temple’s main diety is Lord Shiva who is worshipped and adulated as Lord Sundareswara, the ‘God of Beauty’. Naming the temple Sundareswara was an attempt to remind every visitor that ‘Everyone is beautiful’ and that one should look for the beauty in everything. Famed as one of the largest temples in the district, this majestic temple was built in 1916 with the interiors designed and decorated by the renowned artist and ardent Shiva devotee, Sri Chaithanyaall Swami. Sree Narayana Guru, a social reformer in Kerala, came up with the initiative to build this temple with the idea that people from the lower classes no longer barred from entering places of worship. The Sundareswara Temple also organises an eight-day annual festival between April and May each year, and it stands to be one of the most celebrated festivals in the south. The dates of this festival follow the Malayalam calendar and start from ‘Pooyam Nakshatram’ during the ‘Meenam’ month. The celebration of this festival is quite a pompous affair with lights, decorations and cultural programmes. On the last day of the festival, the ritual of Arattu or the holy bath is held at the Payyambalam Beach where devotees worship the lord and take a bath in the waters of the beach. After this, a celebratory procession is carried out with elephant rides and fireworks, marking the end of the festival. The temple is open from 5 am to 12 noon and then again from 5:30 to 8 pm.

Mridanga Saileswari Temple: Located in Muzhakunnu, the Mridanga Saileswari Temple is a revered Hindu temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is believed to be among among the top 108 Durga temples in ancient Kerala, the deity here being installed by Lord Parshurama, who is considered to be the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Enshrined as Mridanga Saileswari, a four armed Goddess Durga, she holds a conch and a disc in the arms behind, while one front arm is blessing a devotee and the last one rests on her waist. The temple which was in ruins for a long time has currently been restored to its original royal form. The most important festivals celebrated in the temple are Navratri and Pooram Mahotasavam. The idols at the temple were stolen thrice from the temple premises, but each time, the thieves experienced strange paranormal activity and were forced to return the idols and after these instances, people started believing in the powers of the temple even more. The temple is open from 6 am to 12 noon and then again from 5:15 to 8:30 pm.

Mappila Bay: Also called Mopila Bay, Mappila Bay is a natural harbour which used to serve as a major port connecting the Malabar Islands to faraway lands in its past. The Bay is surrounded by some colonial-era architecture, in the magnificent Fort St. Angelo, built by the Portuguese in the 15th century. There’s also the Arrakulam Palace and Museum on the other side of the harbour, dedicated to the Arakulam kingdom that ruled the Cannanore city-state in the 1500s. There are boating facilities that will take you around the harbour. However, it is advisable to stay only in the inland waters and avoid the coastal waters, that can turn unfavourable as the weather changes.

Parassinikkadavu Snake Park: Regarded as one of the finest snake sanctuaries of Asia, the Parassinikadavu Snake Park is the pride of the south. It is one of the most prominent reptile preservation centres in the country and is the only one in Kerala. Home to over 150 different species of reptiles like crocodiles, monitor lizards and snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, the Parassinikadavu Snake Park also goes a long way to preserve and protect many wild mammals, marine creatures as well as rare avifauna, both endemic and migratory. Established by the Visha Chikista Kendra, a medical institution that offers diagnosis and treatment of snakebites, the main idea behind establishing this park was to explain superstitions about snakes, educate the common man about these species and create the right awareness among them. Each enclosure of the different species of animals has a brief description of their habitat, moods, peculiarities and interesting titbits that educate the visitors about these exotic and truly extraordinary species. The park boasts of housing one of the most venomous snake in the world, the infamous King Cobra with a few of the king cobras here who are adult males having grown to their maximum capacity of 30 feet! Other striking and magnificent snakes include the Spectacled Cobra, Russel’s Viper, Pythons, Pit Viper, Rattlesnake and even Kraits. There are many different water snakes and rat snakes here too, both venomous and non-venomous. The Parassinikadavu Snake Park also boasts of a healthy population of amphibians like crocodiles and monitor lizards, including both- full grown males to newborn hatchlings. Apart from reptiles, you will also find porcupines, jackals, foxes, eagles, storks, peacocks and monkeys here. There are statues of different animals dotted along the entire park, but the most famous figure here is Steve Irwin’s statue holding a crocodile. Since the park also aims at dispelling unjust and false superstitions regarding these creatures, the staff at this park are trained to explain with demonstrations how these superstitions are void and meaningless. There are some shows conducted here by professionals who acquaint the laymen with the amazing capabilities and skills of many of these astounding creatures. Open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, entrance fees to the park are free for those below the age of five and above the age of 80 while those between the ages of 6 and 17 pay INR 20, adults between the ages of 18 and 79 pay INR 30.

Pallikunnu: Another major town close to Kannur is Pallikunnu which is best known for its ancient temple, the Shree Mookambika Temple, dedicated to Goddess Mookambika. As per belief, this temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya who first installed the idol in this temple. The presiding deity of the temple is believed to be representing three goddesses namely Saraswati, Mahalakshmi and Shakti. During the months of October and November the temple attracts a large number of devotees during Navratra Festival. Another main attraction of the city is the Kanathoor Maha Vishnu temple.

Pappinisseri: The Moonu Pettumma Palli is a famous mosque which is located in the town of Pappinisseri. Popularly known as Kattile Palli, the mosque is popular for its Kattile Palli Nercha festival. The Aaron church, Shree Vadeswaram Shiva temple of Aroli Village and Keecheri Paalottu Kavuis Temple are the other major attraction of the town.

Parassinikkadavu: About 16 km away from Kannur, Parassinikkadavu is a town popular for its Muthappan Temple and Parassinikkadavu Snake Park. The Muthappan temple, dedicated to Sree Muthappan is the only Hindu temple in the state which witnesses a Theyyam performance daily as per ritual.

Peralassery: At a distance of about 15 km from Kannur is the town of Peralassery, known for its Peralassery Subrahmanya Temple. It is believed that on their way to Lanka to free Goddess Sita, Lord Ram and Lord Laxman, stopped at the temple for a while and they left a bangle here. A significant religious and spiritual site, do visit this one if you find yourself in the town of Peralassery.

Madayipara: Perched upon a hillock near Pazhayagandi, Madayipara is renowned to have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire state. Often compared with the famous Tulip Gardens of Amsterdam, Madayipara is better known as ‘the land of flowers’ and changes its appearance with the seasons. Spring decorates the entire hillock in a spectacular gown of vivaciously coloured flora and as summer approaches, the hillock shapeshifts into a glamorous golden field filled with knee-high grass. Come autumn, the place is dotted with leaves that paint the field a raging crimson red while the monsoons decorate the whole 700 acres in striking shades of green. Decorated with a luxuriant variety of 300 flowering plants and more than 30 species of thick grass, Madayipara’s rich ecology draws the attention of 150 different species of stunning butterflies, including the Atlas butterfly, the world’s biggest butterfly. Over 100 species of birds, both endemic and migratory, call Madayipara their home and make this hill station a bird lover’s paradise.

Ezhimala: A 286-meter high hill, located surrounding a pristine beach, Ezhimala is situated at a distance of 38 km from Kannur in Payyanur. Ezhimala has a few carved stone structures, and the herbs found in this location are famous for their unusual medicinal properties. The term Ezhimala is an amalgam of the words ‘ezhu’ and ‘mala’, which mean seven and peaks respectively. A popular hill station in the region of Kerala in southern India, this site also has a rich history as it is believed that the seven peaks have been dropped here by Lord Hanuman while he carried the Sanjeevani herb to Lord Lakshman in Lanka. The Naval Academy Ezhimala (NAVAC), which is the largest in Asia, was inaugurated here in 2009. Ezhimala holds religious value for the Buddhist community, as it is believed that Lord Buddha had graced Ezhimala with his holy presence.

Taliparamba: A small town situated about 25 km from Kannur, Taliparamba is surrounded by lush green fields all around along with ancient tile-roofed houses which together make the place appear so much more beautiful. The Valapattanam and Kuppam rivers flow through this town which is full of temples, mosques, and churches. However, the most frequently is the Taliparamba Sree Krishna Temple which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. A saint named Maharshi Shambara meditated here, and he is the one after whom the temple is named. The front elevation of the temple is simple, but as one gets inside the temple, the main chamber of the temple is filled with exquisite sculptures belonging to the 15th and 16th centuries. The Kanjirangad Vaidyanatha Temple, St. Mary’s Forane Pilgrim Church and the Syed Nagar Mosque are some other tourist attractions in the city. Taliparamba is an important trading centre of hill produce and spices. History has it that the original inhabitants of Taliparamba were the Perinchalloor Brahmin community and initially, there were 2000 Brahmin families who settled down there, but eventually all of them moved out leaving only 45 families today. The District Agricultural Farm, which was started in 1905, and the hanging bridge at Kuttiyeri and Kooveri are famous landmarks of the town.

Kavvayi Islands: Recorded in the travel writings of scholars and explorers Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo, Kavil Pattanam, now called Kavvayi, has been recreated into a beautiful island. Spread over the districts of Kannur and Kasaragod, the Kavvayi islands, also called Kavvayi Kayal are the largest backwater island group in north Kerala. Historically, Kavil Pattanam used to be the hub for the spice and gems trade, through the port of Malabar, which also brought in precious Damascus steel. The port, however, was closed after it was banned by the British in the 17th century and the name Kavil Pattanam was changed to Kavvayi by Sir William Hogan. The backwaters are fed by four rivers and streams – the Kavvayi, Kankol, Vannathichal, Kuppithodu and Kuniyan rivers. The largest island of the island group is Valiyaparamba, and the backwaters near it are also known by the same name. The Payyannur municipality, in an attempt to draw in more tourists, organises kayaking events and has developed a park near the ferry at Kavvayi, which has a breathtaking view of the entire backwaters. Visitors can sit and watch the boats go by, and also avail boating facilities. One of the most popular adventures sports here is water zorbing, where one has to get inside a large inflated plastic ball, to be able to “walk” on the water without getting wet

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary: Being the northernmost wildlife reserve in Kerala and the only wildlife sanctuary in Kannur, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is quite a big deal. Amidst these sky-touching trees and mesmerising greenery, many exotic wildlife species have marked their territory. Taking a safari through the thick verdure and venturing deeper into the forests, you will encounter many striking and remarkably extraordinary species of animals as well as birds. There are nature camps organised at the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary that attempt to bring people, especially students closer to wildlife. The sanctuary also has a few trekking locations that have attracted the attention of many tourists. The landscape of the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is an interesting one that ranges between a depth of only 50 metres above sea level to an altitude of 1145 metres in the skies at Katti Betta, its highest peak. Dotted with towering trees and dense foliage, this sanctuary is adorned with a beautiful mix of a diverse forestation- evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous. The diversity in the forestation and the tropical climate makes the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary an ideal home for more than 23 species of mammals. Going on a safari will get you close to the native residents of the sanctuary like the Sloth Bear, Mouse Deer, Elephant, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar and Gaur. If you’re in luck, you may also be able to spot leopards, tigers and other wild cats in all their majestic glory. Another interesting resident of this incredible sanctuary is the Malabar Giant Squirrel or the Flying Squirrel, a rare species, and it is an absolute delight to watch these wonderful creatures in action. There are also about 22 species of reptiles and 23 species of amphibians that will make your visit to the sanctuary all the more exciting, like the rare and lethal, King Cobra. The main water body around this sanctuary is the Cheenkannippuzha river, a haven for ornithologists and avifauna enthusiasts. The sanctuary is has more than 188 different species of birds, including scores of endemic and endangered species, including the Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Blue Winged Parakeet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Broad Billed Roller and Nilgiri Wood Pigeon as well as 144 beautiful species of butterflies. The sanctuary waters now support over 39 species of fish and are on the way to expand a lot more. Entry to the sanctuary is INR 15 per adult while children below the age of 12 pay INR 7 per child. Foreigners pay INR 150 per person and heavy vehicles need to pay INR 150 while light vehicles pay INR 75 per vehicle and other vehicles pay INR 20. You will need to pay INR 50 for a guide while a video camera will set you back by INR 150 and an ordinary camera will cost INR 25 to take inside. Also note that that smoking, liquor and polythene bags are not allowed within the premises of the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary which is open from 8 am to 4 pm.

Palakkayam Thattu: Tucked away in the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats and soaring at a dizzying altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, Palakayyam Thattu is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Kerala. Adorned with luxuriously dense greenery, sky-touching trees and majestic hillocks, the view that Palakayyam Thattu enjoys is one that you will rarely find. Owing to its considerable altitude, this hill station is often visited by low hanging clouds that render the entire atmosphere misty and fresh, making it a popular trekking destination.

Paithalmala: A small hill station tucked in the forest of Kodagu, Paithalmala has one of the most beautiful peaks in the Western Ghats. Standing tall at 4500 ft, Paithalmala is the tallest peak in the district and a very popular trekking destination. A 6 km long trek from the base to the top of the hill takes you through dense forests and grasslands, ultimately leading to a watch tower at the top. The watch tower is the highlight of the whole trek as one get to see breathtaking scenery of the Kodagu forests, Coorg Forests and the adjoining areas. Small detours to the nearby ponds or lakes located via the help of the local people can add to your experience of Paithalmala.

As we go southwards, the next district we will be visiting is Kozhikode.

Also known as Calicut, Kozhikode is the second-largest urban agglomeration in Kerala and the 19th largest in the country. 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. A historical city, it was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris or the Zamorins in the Middle Ages. The exact origin of the name Kozhikode is uncertain, but according to many sources, the name Kozhikode is derived from Koyil-kota, meaning fortified palace. The name also got corrupted into Kolikod, or its anglicized version Calicut. 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. It is the historical capital of Kerala as the history dates back to 1498 AD when Vasco da Gama landed in Kappad, near Calicut.

Kozhikode was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the samoothiris or the Zamorins in the Middle Ages and later part of the erstwhile Malabar District under colonial British rule. Arab merchants traded with the region as early as the 7th century and the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kozhikode on 20 May 1498, opening a trade route between Europe and Malabar. A Portuguese factory and the fort was constructed in Kozhikode for short period between 1511 and 1525, until the Fall of Calicut. The English landed in 1615 by constructing a trading post in 1665, followed by the French in 1698 and the Dutch in 1752. In 1765, Mysore captured Kozhikode as part of its occupation of the Malabar Coast.

Backwaters: Kozhikode has always been a popular for its backwaters which are a distinctive feature and have been generously blessed with abundant natural beauty, dense greenery and exotic flora and fauna. The palm-fringed rivulets, lakes and canals of Kozhikode are decked with engaging beauty. Unlike most rivers that flow towards the direction of the seas and oceans, backwaters are a part of the river that has little or no current and so boating in the backwaters allows you to move against the river’s natural current. Canoli River and Kallai River are blessed with these wondrous backwater streams, and they provide a great opportunity to explore the scenic landscapes of this town. Cruising along the placid backwaters of the Canoli River and Kallai River along the paddy fields, coconut lagoons, narrow canals and coir villages is a treat to everyone looking for a break from the monotony and hurry of our fast-paced lives.

Kozhippara Falls: Easily accessible by roads, the Kozhippara Falls are situated on the borders of Kakkadampoyil on the Malappuram -Calicut District divide in Malappuram. Providing a stunning sight, these falls are best known for its swimming, bird watching and jungle trekking. Also known as Kakkadampoyil Waterfall, the Kozhippara waterfall is located on Kuthradampuzha river area.

Thusharagiri Waterfall: Lying in the Western Ghats, Thusharagiri Fall cascades down as three waterfalls. Located in a small tribal village, the name of the falls means snow covered mountains. It is a trekking and rock climbing haven and the trekking trails towards Lakkidi Ghat passing through thick foliage & lush, green surroundings offers its visitors sheer delight.

Beypore Beach: Located about 10 kms from Kozhikode, Beypore Beach is a beautiful beach on India’s western coastline. The beach is located at the mouth of River Chaliyar and the beautiful skies over the pristine sea and the long stretch of golden sand and the tall coconut trees make for a fabulous vacation destination. Sunsets are a special treat to the eyes and early morning joggers find it a wonderful place to run. Beypore or Beypur port was a bustling trade port in ancient India and the 1500 year old shipbuilding yard in the beach is famous. There is a 2-km long stone bridge leading to the sea which is a major attraction. Beypore is also famous for its water sports. You can also find dolphins swimming in the sea at Dolphin Point which is lined by tall and lush-green coconut trees. One can go boating in the sea as well to spot some friendly dolphins in the sea.

Kozhikode Beach: Also known as Calicut beach, Kozhikode Beach is located on the Malabar Coast and the beach road was named as Gandhi Road after Mahatma Gandhi paid a visit to Calicut in 1934. The place has always been prominent for hosting public meetings and has a long drive from Beypore in the south to Kappad in the north. The beach is ideal for witnessing the orange sunsets in Calicut. It is the most visited beach in Calicut as it is the central beach of the place. As a result of the 28 km long drive; Beypore, Payyanakkal, and Marad; Kallayi, Kuttichira and Thekkeppuram; Vellayil, South Beach and Valiyangadi; Kamburam, Putiyappa and Elathur, all beaches are a part of the Calicut Beach or the Kozhikode Beach. This entire stretch is known as the Beach Road. Located on the western side of Kozhikode town, the beach is easily accessible through 4 roads over bridges in the city. Kozhikode beach has ample illumination and paving stones. The other attractions here include a Lion’s Park and an aquarium, which serve as excellent spots for children visiting the beach. It is open on all days of the week from 8 am to 8 pm and the beach is home to two piers, situated towards the middle of the sea. Each of these piers dates back to a century ago. In the early hours of the morning, people can even spot some dolphins.

Kappad Beach: Famous for being the landing point of Vasco de Gama, Kappad Beach is lined with palm trees and sedimentary rocks. Also known as Kappakkadavu, the beach is perfect for swimming, boating, beach games and other water activities as well as activities like Paragliding, Snorkelling and Surfing. Along with the Pookat Lake and Kadalundi Bird Santuary, Kappad makes your visit to Kozhikode complete.

Thikkoti Light House: Said to be built on the remains of a shipwreck, the Thikkoti Lighthouse is a major attraction and is located on a rocky shoreline. Best known for the scenic views it offers as well as several species of nomadic birds, the lighthouse is a must visit when you are in Kozhikode.

Mananchira Lake and Manchira Square: Spread over 3.49 acres, Mananchira Lake is a freshwater man-made lake in the heart of the city and is fed by a natural spring and was originally the bathing pool of the 14th century ruler Zamorin Mana Vikrama. Manchira Square was opened in 1994 and previously was known as Manachira Maidan and was famous for the football matches played here. Today, it is an architectural wonder in the middle of the city with its open theater, fabulous landscaped lawns, and musical fountains. There is an artificial hill and has been kept as a reminiscent of the ancient times due to its traditional architectural style.

Peruvannamuzhi Dam: Situated 60 km off Kozhikode, the Peruvannamuzhi Dam is a beautiful place surrounded by verdant greenery. The reservoir here offers speed boats and row boats to ride across the Smaraka Thottam, a garden built in the memory of freedom fighters in the region. There is also a crocodile farm & bird sanctuary located a close to the dam for the wildlife lovers. The Dam is easily accessible by bus from Kozhikode.

Tali Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Tali Temple is one of the oldest temples in the region. It is popular for its five different religious ceremonies performed every day. The Malayalam New Year is the best time to visit the temple.

Lokanarkavu Temple: Situated in Memunda, the Lokanarkavu Temple is a revered Hindu temple and an ancient heritage site. The name Lokanarkavu is a derivation of the Malayalam word Lokamalayarkavu; lokam meaning world, mala meaning mountain and kavu meaning grove. The shrine is a subtle memorial for the valiant heroes of Vadakkanpattu of the bygone era and associates itself with Kalarippayattu, the local martial art. According to lore, the local martial hero, Thacholi Othenan used to worship here everyday. The temple is replete with fascinating murals, frescos and sculptures which are a wonderful depiction of the heroism of those days. Believed to be the official family temple of 500 ancient Aryan Nagariks who migrated to Kozhikode along with their ancestors, the temple enshrines Goddess Durga. There are two adjacent shrines dedicated to the gods Vishnu and Shiva and in addition, a quaint water tank in the centre of the premises accentuates the beauty of the temple built in the spectacular Kerala style architecture with traditional patterns. Pooram is an important festival at Lokanarkavu and it is also the only temple where the unique folk dance Poorakkali is performed during the annual festival. The temple is open from 4 to 9 am and then again between 5 to 7 pm.

Azhakodi Devi Temple: Situated in the heart of Kozhikode city in Thiruthiyadu, the Azhakodi Devi Temple which is also known as the Azhakodi Devi Mahashekthram, is an ancient and renowned Devi temple. The presiding deity Bhadrakali poses in a calm disposition; the other seven maternal incarnations being Brahamani, Maheshwari, Kowmari, Vaishanavi, Vaarahi, Indarni and Chamundi. A Shivalinga is also present in the temple premises and is highly revered. The shrine is the only existing place of worship in Kerala which has two Devis as the chief deities. The majestic idol of Lord Shiva installed in the temple complex symbolises the very famous sensuous dancing sequence of Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvathi at dusk as Anthimahakaalan. The idol of Nataraja symbolises the rhythmic tandava danced by Lord Shiva. However, the major attraction of the Azhakodi Devi temple is the Kizhakkekavu or the kavu on the east. The Goddess Kali enshrines the Kizhakkekavu and the shrine is thronged by pilgrims day in and day out. Navratri Mahotsav and Vijaydashmi are the main festivals of the temple and are celebrated with grandeur. The temple is open from sunrise to sunset.

Valayanad Temple: Situated in Valayanad near Kozhikode, the Sree Valayanad Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagvathy or Goddess Parvathy. Believed to have been built in the 14th century by the Zamorins, the temple has a unique architecture and is different in plenty of aspects from all other Devi temples in the area. The shrine faces north and has four magnificent gopurams which each face a direction. The poojas performed in the Shatheya temple are based on the Saktheya injunctions and are in accordance with the practice of Ruruji worship. The Moosads practice the Kashmiri way of prayers and worshipping. Built in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, the Sreechakra is a major attraction of the temple. Designed by Sivayogi Thayyavur Sivasankar, this sreechakra is placed in the sanctum sanctorum which is believed to be the permanent place of residence of the Goddess. The sanctum sanctorum also has carvings of the Sapthamathrukkal or the seven mother Goddesses on its southern walls. Besides this, the temple also enshrines idols of Lord Shiva, Godess Thevaara Bhagavathi, Lord Ayyappa, Lord Vigneswara and Ksethrapaalan or Lord Subrahmanya and is open between 4 to 9 am in the morning and then again between 5 to 7 pm in the evening. A legend of the temple goes that Valayanad Bhagvathy was the family deity of Zamorin and he believed that she favoured Valluva Konathiri, the king of Valluvanad. To get to the truth of the matter, Zamorin prayed to the Goddess to appear before him, which she did. Zamorin requested her to follow him to his kingdom, the Devi agreed but had one condition. She said she will follow Zamorin only till the time he doesn’t doubt her but if he turns back to look, the Devi would retreat. Zamorin did as was told; however, some time later he couldn’t hear the tinker of Devi’s anklets so he turned to look. As per the condition, the Devi decided to go back but as a present to Zamorin’s devotion she said she would throw her bangle to Kozhikode. The place where the bangle would fall would have her presence forever and always. The bangle fell is the spot where the temple stands today.

Varakkal Temple: Located at the West Hill area, the Varakkal Temple is the 108th and also the last Devi Temple built by Lord Parshuram, the legendary founder of Kerala. A common myth states that Lord Parshuram ploughed this area in order to make the Devi appear in front of him. Popular for promoting cultural arts in the ancient era, the temple is thronged by thousands of devotees annually to perform Vaavu Bali, a local ritual performed for the departed souls. Enshrined by Goddess Bhagvathy, the temple has smaller shrines of Ganapati, Dakshinamoorthy and Sree Ayyappan. Another major festival of the temple is Navratri which is celebrated with a lot of zeal and fervour. Legend goes to say that Lord Parshuram prayed to Goddess in the Threthayuga, an ancient period of time when the Devi appeared before him and promised to be present at a particular place on the Vaavu day or the full-moon night to bless his followers. On hearing this, Lord Parshuram established the temple at the spot and over the years, the was abandoned. The Zamorin then took responsibility of the temple, got it renovated and started the traditions again and till today, the temple is managed by the successors of Zamorin. The temple is open between 5 am to 12 noon and then again from 5:30 to 8 pm.

Mishkal Palli Mosque: Believed to be constructed around 700 years ago at Kuttichira, the Mishkal Palli Mosque was named after Nakhooda Mishkal, an Arab merchant who established this mosque, which doesn’t have any minarets making it unique.

Muchundi Palli: This 13th century mosque with beautiful wooden carved ceilings and double tiled roofs is built in the unique temple style of architecture. The mosque is well known as Sheikh Zainuddin Makhdoom II’s mosque, who is the author of the famous book Tuhafat Ul Mujahideen. The mosque houses a stone slab inscribed in Arabic and an earlier form of the Malayalam script which depicts the story of the Zamorin king of the area.

Juma Masjid: Located at Kuttichira, this mosque can be traced back to 14th century with the capacity to accommodate around 1000 worshipers at a time. Built in Kerala style of architecture, it has beautiful wooden carved ceilings. Among the mosques in Kerala, this mosque has the largest floor area and is open to Muslims only.

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Matri Dei Cathedral: B uilt in Roman style of architecture, the Matri Dei Cathedral is one among the older churches of Malabar, tracing back its history to 1513 AD and housing a 200-year old portrait of St. Mary. It is also referred to as Mother of God Cathedral.

Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village: Located near the beautiful backwaters of Iringal near Vadakara, the Sargaalaya Kerala Arts and Crafts village is a wonderful initiative by the Department of Tourism, Kerala. An exquisite blend of brilliant hand crafted designs and age old traditions, the centre boasts of rich craftsmanship displays and some incredible handiworks of local artisans. Sprawling over a vast 20 acres of land, the village was inaugurated with the objective to promote tourism along with encouraging the local arts and crafts. Boasting over 60 stalls, the village also houses The Crafts Design and Technology development centre which facilitates training for enthusiastic craftsmen and helps them learn new techniques and skills in traditional handicrafts. The village hoists the annual Sargaalaya Iringal International Festival between December 20th and January 5th every year where artisans and craftsman from all over the world are invited to display their talents and skills. The village is open from 10 am to 6 pm and entry fees for adults is INR 30 while children pay INR 15.

Pazhassiraja Museum: Located on East Hill, the Pazhassiraja Museum has been named after the great Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma of the Padinjare Kovilakom of the Kottayam Royal Family. The museum is famous for its various archaeological remains such as antique bronzes, ancient paintings and the historical umbrella stones etc.

Regional Science Centre & Planetarium: Situated in the JafferKhan Colony, the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium sprawls over 4,000 sq m and aims at encouraging and propelling science along with spreading awareness of intimidating science techniques and methodologies in everyday lives through active interaction and participation. The gallery showcases umpteen experiments and models with an objective to inculcate scientific temper in the society. The premises house a quaint well-maintained dome-shaped planetarium with a seating capacity of 250 people and airs an absolutely spectacular hybrid show of the stars and movement of the planets. The 3D show puts up another enthralling show and the centre has three permanent galleries as well as an audio-visual auditorium, science demonstration section, children’s activity nook, library and a telescope corner for star gazing. The centre is open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. The 3D show timings are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm. The planetarium show timings are 12 noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Entry fees are INR 25 for adults and INR 15 for children.

Art Gallery: If you are a Raja Ravi Varma fan, then this museum is definitely up your alley. And if not, you can still appreciate the Indian themed paintings using western style techniques of oil on canvas and the life-like form of European Art.

Indian Business Museum: Inaugurated in 2013 and sprawling over an area of 23,000 sq ft, the Indian Business Museum was opened with the objective to safeguard and perpetuate the rich business history of India. The museum showcases the business history over the years and was constructed by spending INR 1.5 crores. Today many Indian business giants including the Tatas, Godrej, Reliance, Reserve Bank of India and Infosys have set up their gallerys inside the museum and also has a Malabar Pavillion. The museum is closed on weekends and during the week is open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Deepanjali Lamp Museum: Possibly the only lamp museum in India, the Deepanjali Lamp Museum is located in Puthiyangadi and houses an extensive collection of lamps dating back to the 19th century including primitive brass lamps, wick lamps, indian heritage lamps, gas lamps, cart lamps etc.

KIRTADS: Located seven km from Kozhikode, the Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes or KIRTADS, is a museum that chronicles tribal lives of Kerala. It exhibits tools and devices used by tribal communities and have a good library with books on Anthropology and Sociology.

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Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary: Spread over a cluster of islands, surrounded by beautiful hillocks lies the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary which is located on the Kadalundi River. This virgin land, 200 m above sea level, is home to 60 migratory and more than hundred native birds. The river flowing inside forms a union with the Arabian Sea at a point called Kadalundi Nagaram. This river houses a variety of fish, crabs, and mussels. You must visit the sanctuary between December and April when the forest seems no less than a green blanket and most of the birds are visible. The sanctuary is open 24 hours and there is an entry fee of INR 25 per person.

Sarovaram Bio Park: Located in Kottooli near Kozhikode, Sarovaram Bio Park is a venture by the government to conserve the rich mangrove forests and wetlands of Kerala. Situated adjacent to Canoly Canal, the bio reserve has been developed on an eco-friendly theme and it aims to preserve and protect its rich ecosystems and biodiversity. Abounding in natural beauty and blooming with verdant greenery and wildlife, the park is a wonderful break which allows visitors soak in the rejuvenating environment. Spread over 200 acres of protected land, the Sarovaram Bio Park is a part of the extended project undertaken by the Government of India to protect the identified 27 wetlands. Other attractions in the park include a canal walkway, boating facilities, otter park, butterfly park, bird sanctuary, aquarium, amphitheatre, floating rafts, musical fountains and a children’s park. Built in the traditional Kerala style architecture, the park is especially popular among locals especially morning and evening joggers. The park is open between 10 am and 7:30 pm with an entry fee of INR 30 per person.

Beypore: A cosy coastal town tucked away near Kozhikode, Beypore is located at the mouth of the Chaliyar River and the town is covered in vibrant shades of green and surrounded by mystic shades of blue. When this area was under the reign of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, it was named Sultan Pattanam. In spite of being a small town, it is very famous for ship-building. The shipbuilding yard here is renowned for the construction of Urus and Dhows, the traditional Arabian trading vessel. This craft is over 1500 years old now and is carried out carefully by the expert craftsmen. The flagship vessel of Lord Horatio Nelson, the British admiral who defeated Napoleon Bonaparte in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was made in Beypore along with numerous other vessels of his celebrated fleet. It is said that the wooden barges that sailed during the reign of Cleopatra were also said to have been made at Beypore. No matter how big the ships are, they are made without a formal plan or design without any sketches ever made. The Beypore Port is a prominent port and active fishing harbour. In fact, there is evidence that suggests direct trade links between Beypore and Mesopotamia. The Beypore Port holds a great historical significance, it acted as a major maritime trading centre for Arab, Chinese and European travellers. Soon after prospering as a marine trading centre, ship building activities started growing to cope with the increasing demands for ships in Western Asia. Beypore was ruled by the family of the Beypore branch of the Parappanad family. It was first visited by Romans and then by Chinese, Syrians, Arabs and Europeans for trade. During the early 19th century it was further expanded under the East India Company and it is believed that the Beypore Siva Temple protects the whole kingdom.

Elathur: Surrounded by a lake on one side, and a river on the other, Elathur is a quaint little village with serene surroundings. The place is also a paradise for seafood lovers as you will be served with some of the best seafood, fresh-water fishes and toddy to complete the beach-side experience.

Payyoli: Located 36 km north of Kozhikode and renowned as the hometown of the famous athlete P. T. Usha Payyoli was first recognised when Vasco Da Gama, the famous Portuguese traveller, discovered a sea route to India and arrived at Kappad Beach, 21 km from Payyoli. The entire village is cradled in the laps of nature and has been blessed with scenic beauty like nowhere else. The palm-fringed Payyoli Beach is a major attraction here and is the getaway relief for many travellers. During December, thousands of Olive Ridley Turtles crawl onto the beach and lay eggs and many visitors throng the beach to see this phenomenon. The beach is also very close to an estuary of the Moorad River which is an absolute haven for bird watchers. Other crowd pullers at Payyoli are the Kunjali Marrrakar Museum, Velliyamkallu and the Trikkottur Perumalpuram Temple.

Kakkadampoyil: Located about 48 km from Kozhikode, Kakkadampoyil is a small village at an elevation of more than 2000 feet and is has dense forests surrounding it with pristine waterfalls and deep valleys, adding to the village’s charm and is often referred to as Malabar’s Ooty.

Moving further south, our next destination is the Wayanad district which hugs Kerala’s eastern border.

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