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December 22, 2015

Forgotten Colonies #3: Cannanore

Text by Huzan Tata and Zaral Shah. Illustration by Hemant Sapre

Here’s why you should visit these lesser known former colonies in India

THE BREEZY COASTS OF CANNANORE

Formerly called Cannanore — Land of Lord Krishna — the city of Kannur in Kerala is located along one of the most scenic coasts of the Indian Subcontinent. The quaint city has to its west the Lakshadweep Sea — known for its corals in vibrant hues and blue waters — and to the east are the mighty Western Ghats. Cannanore’s rich culture and heritage are evident as you walk past its ancient forts, old shrines and literary and educational institutions.

Any holiday to the city is incomplete without a visit to one or more of the beaches that line the expansive coast. From its many sun-kissed seashores, Payyambalam beach is where you can play some beach volleyball or just soak your feet in the mild waves along a four-kilometre stretch; Muzhappilangad, the only drive-in beach in the state, has pristine waters taking a swim in which rejuvenates your mind and body; Mappila Bay is famed for its scenic boat rides along the harbour; and the crescent-shaped twin beaches of Kizhunna and Ezhara are formed by perfect natural coves. If you feel like staying in and indulging, put your name down for a relaxing spa session at any of the Ayurveda-inspired spas.

The local industry creates some fine handlooms, which can be worn in many ways. Called the Land of Looms and Lores, various folk dances too are part of the city’s lifestyle. A unique blend of dance and music with a history dating back several centuries, the Theyyam performance is like an open-theatre where different patterns of face-painting can be seen. Vadakken Pattukal, a collection of Malayalam ballads, is a treat to the ear and shows strong connections with Kalaripayattu, another essential ritual.

Monuments of Time
Built in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, Dom Francisco de Almeida, St Angelo Fort stands by the Lakshadweep Sea. In 1663, the Dutch captured this Portuguese fort and gave it its present appearance.

TRAVEL LOG
Stay: among the coconut trees and lush green spaces at the Amban Heritage where traditional facilities like the Kalari Treatment, an authentic breakfast native to Kerala, and a prompt concierge make you want to re-visit the city. Relax: with a body massage and unwind with some self-pampering at a wellness centre. Encounter: diverse sea life in the crystal-clear waters while walking along one of the many beaches. Visit: November to February. Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, 125 kilometres away, a two-and-a-half hour drive.

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