India on the Road

From Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram

Kottuvally sunset
Kottuvally sunset
4 JAN 2017
by

Route: Kozhikode – Malappuram Dist. (via Tirur) – Kottuvally – Alappuzha – Kottayam - Chengannur – Thiruvananthapuram.
Distance: 400 Kms.
Driving Time: 8 hours.

Kozhikode

Kozhikode is associated with Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India via the sea route. The history of this city after Vasco da Gama is dramatic. The Portuguese attempted to conquer, a centre of Malabar power under the Zamorins or “Lords of the Sea” but their attacks in 1509 and 1510 were both repulsed although in the latter assault the town was virtually destroyed. Later on the British arrived and established their rule in the year 1792. Despite its colorful past, Kozhikode doesn’t have a great deal to see.

What to See:
Pazhasirajah Museum, Dolphin’s Point, Kozhikode Town Centre, Lighthouse, Kozhikode Beach, Planetarium, Mananchira.

Where to Stay:
Kappad Beach Resort, Alakapuri Guest House, Sea Queen Hotel, Malabar Palace, Paramount Tower and Kalpaka Tourist Home are some of the most popular places to lay anchor at Kozhikode.

Where to Eat:
Chiking Restaurant, Paragon Restaurant, Arya Bhawan (Veg), AKK Restaurant, Aansy a, Aarathi, Abdul Rehman, Achus, Aiswarya Hotel & Bar, Alankar Fast Food, Ashok Tea Shop, Balan Restaurant are some of the popular eating joints of Kozhikode city.

What to Buy:
Printed Cottons or “Calicos” is a specialty of this city and can be purchased in the shops around S.M.Road.

Malappuram Dist. (via Tirur)

As you leave the winding streets of Kozhikode, take left (past Tata Motors on the right) onto Madras Calicut Trunk Road on NH17 past Beypore. Continue on the Feroke Railway Bridge (0.2 Kms), take 1st Right (0.2 Kms) and then take 1st Left to enter Malappuram District via Tirur at 33 Kms.
Malappuram Notes:
Malappuram is bounded by the famed Nilgiri hills to the east, the azure blue Arabian Sea to the west and the districts of Palakkad and Thrissue to the south. In the ancient times it sed to be the military headquarters of the Zamorins. It is also a seat of Vedic learning and has a rich virile past.

Tirur

Tirur is a municipal town and happens to be one of the most happening trade centres of Malappuram district. From Kozhikode the distance is a mere 41Kms. and the drive is beautiful. Fish and Betel Leaf are the major trading products.

What to See:
Tirur Beach, Thunjan Parambu, Garudan Kavu Temple, Hanuman Kavu Temple, Triprangode Siva Temple, Vyrankodu Bhagavathi temple, Trikkandiyoor Siva Temple.

Where to Stay:
Traveler’s Bungalow and Puthiyangadi Hotels & Resort.

Where to Eat:
Big Bun Bakes & Restaurant (Mob:04943217717) and Kavitha Catering Service (Mob: 0494 2423919 can be relied upon for quality food.

What to Buy:
Traditional Kerala handicrafts.

Kottuvally

From Tirur continue to drive on NH17 for via Ponnani, Perakam, Kodungallur and Paravur until you reach Kottuvally. This miniscule town is under the jurisdiction of Paravur Taluk in the Ernakulam district. This village is amongst the most literate in the whole of Kerala.

What to See:
Sri Kaleeswari Temple and Thrikkapuram Devi Temple.

Where to Eat:
Nondescript village motels that serve traditional Kerala cuisine.
Notes:
From Kottuvally you drive past Cheranallur (9.9 Kms), Ernakulam (12 Kms) on NH17 and after entering Ernakulam drive upfront on NH47 covering Aroor at 23 Kms. and Kanjikkuzhi at 47 Kms. to enter Alappuzha at 55 Kms.

Alappuzha

Alappuzha is renowned for its silvery beach and endless canals that are ideal for cruising. Boats can be hired from Alappuzha that cruise all the way to Kollam along the famed Vembanad lake, one of the most picturesque lakes in the world. Apart from truly exotic surroundings, Alappuzha is also the “Rice Bowl” of Kerala and scenes of lush green paddy fields have enchanted the discerning international traveler for ages together. This place is very special in the sense that agriculture and farming is done below sea level.

What to See:
Backwaters, Ambalapuzha, Arthunkal, Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Karumadikkutan, Krishnapuram Palace, Mannarsala.

Where to Stay:
The Park, Hotel Royal Park, Picasso Castle, Arcadia Regency, Prince Hotel, Silver Sands Residency, Ilona Lake Resort, Abad Turtle Beach Resort, Marari Beach Resort, Lemon Tree Resort, Lake Palace Resort.

Where to Eat:
Sree Durga Bhawan Udipi Hotel, Vembanad Restaurant, Kream Korner, Aryas, Hot Kitchen and Chakara Restaurants offer the very best of traditional Indian, Keralite and nouveau international cuisines. Try out the fresh sea food delicacies.

What to Buy:
Marine and coir products.

Kottayam

Leaving behind the salubrious climes of Alappuzha, drive past Mohammedan High School on the left and unto Palace Road on NH47. Go past the BP Petrol Pump also on NH47 and drive upfront on SH11 for 24 Kms. to reach Kottayam at 19 Kms. Kottayam used to be a centre of the Syrian Christians of Kerala and there are a number of their churches including Cheria Pallia and Vallia Palli, located about 5 Kms. north west of the railway station. Today Kottayam is also a centre for Indian rubber products. Kottayam is a lso a good base to the world famous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

What to See:
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, Thazhathangady Juma Masjid, Syrian Christian Churches, St.Mary’s Orthodox Church.

Where to Stay:
Muscat Residency, Orchid Residency, Windsor Castle, Hotel Aida, Pearl Regency, White Gate Residency. There is also the option of staying at heritage homes like Kanjirakkattu Heritage home and The Lake Village Heritage Resort.

Where to Eat:
All the star category hotels offer sumptuous multi cuisine dining options in their exclusive in-house restaurants.

Chengannur

From Kottayam take Right onto SH1 and drive 7.3 Kms. Enter Thiruvalla at 5.5 Kms. and then take Left on SH1 and continue driving until you reach Chengannur. Chengannur is a charming town and ideally located to the extreme east of Alappuzha district. The earliest mention of Chengannur was in the 1st millennium CE wherein Nammalwar highlighted Chengannur as a town where the smoke emanating from Vedic Yagnas enveloped the sky and its lush greenery consisting of Coconut and Banana trees. Thanks to Kerala’s pioneering tourism initiative, this charming town is amongst the fastest evolving towns of God’s Own Country.

What to See:
Chengannur Mahadevar Temple, Aranmula Temple, Parumala Church, Thiruchittaru Sree Krishna Temple, Pandaavan Para, Poomal Chaal, Chengannur Hatchery and Pazhaya Suriyani Pally.

Where to Stay:
Chengannur STD: 0479
Some of the most popular places to stay at Chengannur are - Anu Hotel(Tel: 2455661), Bhagavath Gardens (Tel: 2458495), John’s Hotel (Mob: 09847328014), Navratna Hotel (Tel: 2452526), New Arya Bhgawan (Tel: 3096353), Pournami (Tel: 2450707), Priya (Tel: 2452626), Raj International (Tel: 2452464), Santhi Palace (Tel: 2451778).

Where to Eat:
Apart from the In-house restaurants of quality hotels, one can also drop in at Taste Catering (Tel: 0479-2454382), Prince Restaurant & Catering (Tel: 0479-2454669) and John’s Catering (Tel: 09847328014).

What to Buy:
Traditional wooden and coir products.

Thiruvananthapuram

On the final leg of your journey from Chengannur, continue driving on SH1 via Adoor (35 Kms.)and on to Thirvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is unlike any other capital cities of India and strolling around this friendly, laidback city built over seven luxuriously forested hills, its hard to imagine this is a state capital. The “City of the Sacred Snake” has managed to retain the magical ambience that is so characteristic of Kerala in general. Low skyline, red tiled roofs, narrow winding lanes, intimate corner cafes, beaten up municipal buses are the trademark of this one-of-its-kind city. The city is spread out over quite a large area but most of the services and places of interest are located on or in close proximity to M.G.Road which is the principal road running through the centre of the city from Zoological Gardens to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

What to See:
Actually there isn’t a great deal to see in Tiruvananthapuram other than the museum, art gallery and zoological gardens. The famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, though a magnificent example of South Indian architecture, isn’t really an attraction as such, since it’s not open to Hindus. The primary reason visitors come to Tiruvananthapuram is to stay at the world famous Kovalam beach.

Where to Stay:
In case you intend to stay at Tiruvananthapuram some of the hotels that offer comfortable accommodation options are – Palmleaves Beach Resort, Keys Hotel, The Muthoot Plaza, Mascot Hotel (KTDC), Classic Avenue, Fortune Hotel The South Park, Saj Lucia, The Grand Central, Hotel Pankaj, Hotel Residency Tower.

Where to Eat:
Tiruvananthapuram offers an eclectic mix of fine dining options and some of the best places to dine are – the iconic Indian Coffee House, Chefmaster Family Restaurant (Tel: 0471-2445266), Zinc N Rock Restaurant (Tel:0471-3075500), Classic Avenue (Tel: 0471-2333555), Kalavara Restaurant (Tel: 0471-231362), Sindoor Palace (Tel: 0471-2314999), Square One Homemade Treats (Tel: 0471-2531445), Zam Zam Ice & Fruits Restaurant at Chalakuzhy Jn., Buhari Restaurant at Attukulangara.

What to Buy:
Locally manufactured handicraft items from SMSM Institute at Puthenchanthai, Kairali, Khadi Emporium, Co-Optex, both at M.G.Road are great places for shopping.