Experience Beypore Beach Destination in Kerala
To experience Majestic Kerala with a multitude of choices ranging from Backwaters, Beaches, Hills, Wildlife, and Waterfalls, we continued our journey towards the exploration of Beypore!
The day started with Beypore fishing market. Fishermen were back with their catch and were busy packaging it. There was a huge ice crusher being used to pack fishes for transfer to fish markets. Fishes of all sizes Prawns small and giant, Mussels, Lobsters and Crabs; everything was there. Many Egrets and Crows were hovering around for some leftovers. Very near to fish market is the workshop of famous boat makers of Beypore. It is an age-old art, probably the biggest handicraft work making “Uru”, the Dhows made out of Teak wood. This art passed through generations has survived the modern shipbuilding yards. There are no formal blueprints, drawings or sketches; it is all in the mind of craftsmen who entrust the daily work to assistants maintaining the secrecy. Wood is now imported from Malaysia and the buyers are mainly rich Arabs. Waterproof frames are made here and engines and customization are done elsewhere. Arabs and royalty of the Middle East use it as luxury yachts. It is expected that the Soccer World Cup 2022 in Qatar will bring in many more orders for Urus. Not far from it is Beypore beach with a 1-kilometer long pier (Beypore pulimuttu) in the Arabian Sea. On the left side of the pier is breakwaters with many fishing vessels parked and on the right side is beach which is poorly maintained and is full of garbage and unorganized stalls. Thikkodi lighthouse can be seen on the left side of the pier. This place is overcrowded on weekends. Lighthouse is open to the public only for a couple of hours in the evening and gives a good view especially at sunset time.
Our next stopover was Kuttichira which is predominantly a Koya Muslim area. The most interesting place here is Mishkal Mosque. On first appearance it doesn’t look like a mosque, resembling more to a Hindu or Buddhist temple. This impressive wooden structure was built by Yemeni trader Nakhoda Mishkal in 1510. It is painted blue, white and aquamarine covered by typical sloping tiled roofs and is supported by wooden pillars. Originally it was a five-story structure but part of it was destroyed by Portuguese. There is a strong unmistakable influence of Chinese and South India architecture. Mosque overlooks a huge pond Kuttichira. Houses in the area are old traditional joint family large houses (Tharavadus), often with 40 bedrooms adding new room (maniyara- wedlock room) after every marriage. There is a matriarchal system and the girl lives in the mother’s house. Husbands are allowed only in the night to complete their assigned work and a closed window indicated the presence of husband. Children were taken care of by other relatives. These properties are in the name of women as traditionally men were mostly out of town being traders and sailors.
Muchundi mosque (Kuttichira Jummah Masjid) nearby is one of the oldest building here. It is believed that it was the residence of the earlier king and gifted to Muslims by Zamorin in the 12th century. It can accommodate about 5000 people for prayers. These mosques are without the traditional dome and minarets and indo-Chinese influence can easily be seen. The new mosque in the area is a modern structure with a dome and minarets. The road along the pond has offices of Congress party, Communist party and the Muslim league. There are many bakeries in the area making classical banana chips and other sweets; one looked something like Karachi Halwa. The seashore on beach road is well kept, tiled and beautified with carved stone structures. Just around the colony is Gujaratis street with many Gujarati and Jain traders living here.
The Mother of God Church (Matri Dei Cathedral) locally called as Valliyapalli is a 1513 AD structure built by Portuguese on a place given by Zamorin. It is built in Neo-Roman Gothic architecture designed by Italian architects. Awesome carved doors, curvaceous arches, and windows, colonnades, and pillars make it an alluring piece of art. The altar is stunning with statues of Jesus on the cross, Joseph, Mary and Jesus. A 200 years old portrait of St. Mary adorns the walls. The church was renovated in 1599, 1724 and again in 2008 and is Cathedral of the diocese of Kozhikode. It is located near the beach and is surrounded by three schools. Mother Teresa also adorns one of the walls.
Tali temple or the Shiva Thalikkunu temple is the oldest Hindu temple, reputed to be older than Calicut city. It is believed that the Sanctum Sanctorum, a Shivling was established by Lord Parasuram. There are smaller temples of other deities inside. Non-Hindu is not allowed inside and men have to wear just a dhoti to go inside. Women have to wear a Saree or a Salwar Kameez. Temple was destroyed by tyrant Tipu Sultan in 1792 along with other Hindu temples and restored later. There is the temple pond along with another temple which was believed to be accessible by lower caste Hindu folk. This is the family temple of Zamorins and the royal family is now a managing trustee. There is a school nearby, also managed by the Zamorin family.
Sweet Meat Street is a popular place in the heart of Kozhikode. In Malayalam, it is called as Mittayi Theruvu. Initially, British thought that it is a street for meat/flesh and they were relieved to see only Halwa and other sweets in the market. This is a popular market selling almost everything from handicrafts to snake boat toys. Vehicles are not allowed inside. Wide varieties of shakes and fruit drinks are very famous here. It dates back to the time when Zamorin invited Gujarati sweet makers and gave them shops just outside the palace. A bust of Malayalam author SK Pottekkatt is placed at the entry of SM Street and the walls on entry have beautiful artwork depicting old Kerala culture.
Mananchira square is a large park in the center of the city to spend evenings in a silent relaxing space. There is a small park and a large pond in the area. It was built as a bathing pool by and for royal family by Zamorin Mana Vikram around 14th century. Now pond is reserved only for the drinking water supply. There are shade trees, flowering trees, walkways, benches, statues of dinosaurs and a man in exercise position; a place to unwind and relax. There is an impressive modern building opposite it, housing the city library. Another old depilated building (Dutch tiles factory) still stands there and reminds of Dutch occupation.
In the city of so-called Gods, there was a complete strike as communist party workers had hacked and killed two Congress workers. All food joints were closed and our team leader Mr. Mohan took us to a railway station canteen. That was an experience and a great story. We spent the very hot afternoon in the tree shades on the banks of brack waters. Tried to photograph few Kingfishers and Brahmini kites but results were not very fruitful. Lovely cool wind in the shades had a strong sedative effect and it was a decent rest.
We reached Kappad beach in the evening to see and enjoy the evening activities on the beach and the sunset. This was a better-maintained beach but the communist party had defaced many of the rocks advertising their student bodies. It was a nice and enjoyable evening. Clicking some silhouettes with setting sun and capturing joyful activities of children, it was time to move back to the hotel for some local food and a hard drink after a satisfying tiring day.