Monthly Archives: December 2010

Kappad Beach, steeped in history …

A calm and clear seashore nearby the famous Kozhikode city (North Kerala)… that’s Kappad. But more than its golden sand-bed or swimming-friendly waters, what makes this ‘beach beauty’ well known is its crucial part in the history of India !

It was at Kappad (‘Kappkadavu’ in local) that the legendary Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama and his crew landed – for the very first time in Kerala – in 1498 (almost 510 years ago). This was incidentally the first sea route from Europe to Indian subcontinent.

Since ancient times Malabar’s (North Kerala region) immense spice wealth attracted traders from far and wide. Jews, Arabs, Chinese, Greek… all were trading partners of Malabar for long, and Europeans, after laborious exploration thru the seas, finally discovered a route to this lucrative land. Vasco Da Gama’s arrival at Kappad was a turning point in Kerala’s (and India’s) history. Arrival of more Naval powers, struggles for colonial supremacy, European domination in India’s sea-coasts for centuries .… all followed suit.

In spite of being a gateway to Kozhikode, at a time when Navy ruled the world, Kappad remains as a silent unscathed seashore town with just a simple memorial – depicting Gama’s arrival – about the place’s historical significance.

As ports like Kochi and Kozhikode took over the trading / commercial activities, Kappad now rivals other seashores in the state as a prime beach destination.

Description of Kappad’s beauty won’t be complete without mentioning its charming backwaters – a fact, little known for the outsiders…

Still not affected by urban modernization, Kappad’s backwaters are strong contenders with their counterparts in Alappuzha and Kollam (South Kerala) in terms of ‘visual treat’. A cruise – starting from backwaters, leading to the beach – is something special that only Kappad can offer.

Beypore, remembering a legacy

A humble unassuming port-town, located around 10 kilometres south of Kozhikode city (North Kerala), that’s Beypore for the new generations. But it was much more than that… In an era before Europeans set foot in India, when Arabs, Jews and Chinese were the major trading partners with India’s port cities, Beypore was a name to reckon with! In fact, more famous than Kozhikode or any other ports in Malabar. A port city, commercial / trade center, fishing harbour and maritime hub… all rolled into one, Beypore was like a ‘city state’ during its golden years. It was at Beypore that traditional ship / boat building flourished, before any other port centres in Kerala (An indigenous technology that continues to this day)!

However, changing times which saw the emergence of other ports (like Kochi) and the unification of Malabar, Kochi and Travancore to form Kerala state… all resulted in Beypore becoming a shadow of its former self. Afterwards it was reduced to more of a fishing center with occasional demands for its boat-building sector. With tourism gaining a new facelift in Malabar region, Beypore slowly started gaining attention too.

Though not in limelight for long, Beypore always retained its lovely landscapes and seashore. Now people are gradually flocking to watch Beypore’s charm. Its timeworn assets like the ‘sea-pier’, beach, … are renovated and the traditional boat-building industry also started improving. It seems the ancient port-town slowly regains its past legacy.

Some of Beypore’s assets…

The ‘Sea pier’ (known as ‘Pulimuttu’ in local), which extends about one kilometre into the Sea. For visitors it will be like a ‘walk thru the ocean’ ! Ideal place to experience the sea’s calm and fury alike; plus, rare glimpses of Dolphins.

Fishing Harbour – a busy fishing center in Malabar belt. Here one can catch the glimpses of bygone splendours.

Building of traditional wooden boat ‘Uroo’ – Beypore’s trademark ! This is a time proven technology where masterful skills & discipline score over modern sophistication! Uroos are still much in demand, especially in Arab / Gulf countries.

Beypore Beach – still retains its pristine nature… One of the best seashores in South India!

Beypore Lighthouse – another standing testimony of old legacy.