Why Calicut is the Best City to Visit in Kerala

Calicut can act as a gateway to the pleasant Kerala region when we start a great trip through southern India and as a starting point for an expedition to Wayanad, further north. The only reason for my trip to Kozhikode was to experience authentic Malabar cuisine in the most authentic way. Local restaurants, although invariably full, are the best places to do this.

We arrived in Calicut at dawn, after a long train ride from Goa. We were welcomed by the sun and a brand new property on our great trip through India. I advise you to stay in Calicut at least one day to give you time to explore the neighborhood of the old mosques. The surroundings of the station do not have much interest, with its crowded streets and without small restaurants (not even bars) in which to eat.

What needs to be done is to move away a little towards the mosque district, to discover a very picturesque life in Kerala. Get on a rickshaw to tour the city and stop at the main points.

things to do in calicut

The first stop was at the Rahmath Hotel for lunch, famous for its Biryani varieties; the slightly spicy Biryani meat is without a doubt the best bet here. A long but patient queue is the mark of this small and basic restaurant! But forget about the atmosphere and immerse yourself in the delicious Biryani.

Kozhikode beach is the ideal place to be during sunset. Because here is some fantastic street food from the mobile counters bordered by the pavement. Having Sulaimani black tea, and watching the sun go down is a great experience. Kaada Mutta (boiled quail eggs coated with chili) and Ari Kadukka (fried mussels with a layer of rice served with the shell) are recommended.

Adaminde Chayakkada, one of the most talked about additions and the latest additions to long list of restaurants in Kozhikode, was the destination for dinner. The atmosphere and decoration are, like the food they serve, tasteful and full of soul. Also, the local names of the dishes served will certainly bring a smile to your face!

things to do in calicut

The next morning, I skipped the luxurious breakfast at the hotel and instead chose a heavy but delicious brunch at the iconic Paragon restaurant. Beware of its fluffy appams best accompanied by the magnificent Fish Mango Curry. And if you have room for more, try its characteristic Mutton Biryani marked by its unique aroma, flavor and short variety of rice used.

An older man made an impromptu guide when we arrived and made a visit to the main monuments, such as the wooden mosque of Kuttichira with more than 600 years old. Not far from there, the men come at dawn to bathe.

We finished our visit to Calicut by the water's edge , where we took the opportunity to take a picture with the most smiling fishermen in Kerala. It was time to resume our way to the jungle of Wayanad, located just an hour by bus from here.

Calicut or Kozhikode as it is called now is among the best cities for residing in India. Which technically means that it is the best city to reside in Kerala. This claim was substantiated by the research and data collected by Indicus Analytics, a reputed economics research firm, in the year 2007. Ironically, none of the cities lauded as the best places to earn a living, made it to the list of the best places for residing.

The metros were out of the list, and so were Gurugram, Bengaluru, Pune, Surat and a whole lot of other cities. Among the most preferred cities for residing, five were in Kerala. Calicut was one, and the others were Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kannur. What made Calicut and the other cities favourite destinations in Kerala for staying?

The key factors that tipped the scales in favour of Calicut and the other cities were better education, environment, healthcare, safety, entertainment and civic amenities. Based on the results of the above analysis, Calicut grabbed the number two position for the best places in India, to reside.

Around the same period, ASSOCHAM published a report that placed Calicut at the 11th position, among the Tier-2 cities in India, in terms of generating employment. ASSOCHAM is a leading trade association in the country, and a validation from the organisation, classifying Calicut among the top employment generators points towards the city’s growth and development and its potential for further advancement and expansion.

Social Infrastructure

Kozhikode has since witnessed an evolution of a kind, growing into a self-contained city, with a great infrastructure and amenities. Today, it is recognised as a major economic centre in the state. The service sector is the mainstay of Kozhikode's economy, followed close on the heels by various industries.

The growth is evident, with the State Govt., pushing to create a Cyberpark for IT and ITES businesses. This would further enhance the city’s growth and employment quotient. Apart from that, other similar projects are on the anvil, such as the Birla IT Park.

Development is also accepted at Kinaloor, where the Malaysian Satellite City is set to come up, with the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp., proposing to build a 400-acre Industrial Park. Put together, these new setups will generate more employment opportunities in Kozhikode.

The city is known to be a trading hub. The Valiyangadi (Big Marketplace) area was once the centre for trade. However, over the passage of time, with the growth of the city, the business areas moved and spread across the city. The old-style bazaars coexist with the new era shopping malls.

Interestingly, Kozhikode has the second-largest shopping mall in the state – the HiLITE Mall. There are other malls too, with retail outlets, entertainment and restaurants. In that aspect, Kozhikode is like any other big city.

The city is beautiful, with an old-world charm and yet, modern, ticking all the boxes in terms of infrastructure. It is nicknamed Shilpa Nagaram or City of Sculptures because of the many architectural sculptures that adorn the city.

The positive growth has boosted real estate development in the city. Major players in the real estate industry have ongoing projects. You can also avail Luxurious flats for sale in Kozhikode, by reputed builders in Calicut. Gated communities make living safe, comfortable and a pleasure.


Kozhikode is well-connected by road, rail and air. Private bus operators and the state-run transport corp., (KSRTC) run buses to different cities and towns within the state and the other Southern states. A fleet of luxury coaches owned by private bus operators plies between Kozhikode and cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ooty and Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram etc.

National Highways 66, NH766 and NH 966 connect Kozhikode to distant places, in neighbouring states. State Highway 29 cuts through Kozhikode and connects to NH 212.

The city’s railway station has train service linking the Kozhikode to cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vellore and Visakhapatnam, and many more.

The Calicut International Airport has flights operating to different airports within the country as well as to international destinations. The international flights are mainly to the Middle Eastern region, covering countries like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Muscat, Riyadh, Salalah and Sharjah. Domestic sector flights operate between the city and Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Premier Educational Institutions

The city boasts of NITC (National Institute of Technology, Calicut) and an IIMK (Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode). NITs across the country were formerly known as Regional Engineering College (REC). All NITs are recognised as Institutes of National Importance, by Govt. of India, and are among the most prestigious engineering institutes in the country.

Admission into NIT is based on JEE ranking, the Joint Entrance Examination. The Govt. proposes to add the IIMs to the list of institutions recognised as Institutes of National Importance. IIMs are the top B-schools of the country, and admission into these premier Business schools is based on CAT (Common Admission Results) exam.

Other leading educational institutions in the city are –

NIELIT – National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology

NIRDESH - National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH)

IISR – Indian Institute of Spices Research

Calicut Medical College (has the distinction of being the second medical college in the state

University of Calicut
Kalyan Panja