A couple of months back we had a chance to visit Kozhikode (or Calicut) for the weekend. The place is mostly known thanks to Vasco Da Gama for he first landed here when he found India. While boarding the flight, I kept flipping through an imaginary checklist for the tour. Would I get a chance to visit the port through which Vasco da Gama entered India? Would the city of spices, inhabited by the Arabs, Portuguese and Dutch through various phases of history, live up to the charm it evoked in my school textbooks? How would the food be, etc, etc? All these musings were somewhat disrupted as we landed in the city, because Kozhikode is abundantly green. The extra-verdant lustre in its vegetation, fringed by rivers (the city has quite a few of them) assured us that this was the kind of therapeutic experience we were looking for.
Our stay was arranged at the IIM-Kozhikode campus where an event was to take place. Built across the rocky terrains of Western Ghats, this sprawling campus is a greener extension of the main city. Though we had a busy schedule, we managed to complete the other things on our agenda : visiting Kapad beach (where Vasco da Gama landed in 1498) and tasting Malabari cuisine. However, the most memorable moments arrived unexpectedly: together we explored the beauty of the campus during long walks; kept posing and re-posing on the beach looking for fellow tourists to take our group photograph; and not to forget the brief stopover at a roadside shop, where we tasted hot and crisp banana chips right from the oven. Highly recommended is to try the coconut water at least once a day and you are assured of a refreshing day.
The beaches are nice and clean, the water warm and salty. Do carry a sun blocker with you if you decide to take a swim. Visit the old town where the beautiful Portuguese churches and monuments stand tall. Anyone who goes to Kozhikode must try and arrange a visit to the IIM campus. Its the heart and lifeline of the city.