A Visit to Calicut

Calicut, a.k.a Kozhikode, a bustling maritime city that once saw the likes of Vasco Da Gama and the Zamorins walk by its streets still has by lanes where one finds oneself lost in the sands of time. One can still feel the age old Calicut when one walks past the crowded SM Street which sells everything from the legendary Kozhikode Halwa to shirts.

A visit to the Beypore sea walk with its antique street lights and the age old port reminds one of how important this city was during the spice trade, thus becoming one of the most prosperous cities of the Malabar.

Quietly nestled, Calicut has lots to offer for the visual and gustatory treats. From the age old Mishkal mosque to the bustling Kozhikode beach, from the delicious Calicut Halwa to the Calicut biryani, its a city of varied flavours and fragrances.

As one walks into the gates of “Hari Vihar”, one is lost in time. The huge expanse of greenery greets one’s soul. Amidst all the greenery stands a lovely mansion dating back to 170 years. One surely enters a different world as the lovely staff opens the gate and you begin a time travel.

The house is impeccably maintained. The red oxide floors shine like a mirror. The wooden doors and windows look as fresh as ever. The lovely antiques spread across the house are spotless. Calling the house clean would be an understatement. 

Ever smiling Amit led me to my room which had lovely wooden windows overlooking the vast garden, a lovely wooden bed, a beautiful dressing table adorned with fresh flowers, a cupboard and a table and chair. Minimalist furniture is the essence of the place. The attached baths are huge with towels and ayurvedic toiletries. A cup of coffee greets me as I take you into the history of this beauty from the past.

The house was built around 1850 and was used by the Kadathanad family, once the royals of North Kerala. Dr Srikumar and his wife Neetha decided to show the world how beautiful their home was (it was inherited by Dr Neetha). Keeping the structure intact, the couple took the herculean task of converting it into Calicut’s only heritage ayurvedic retreat. It is also one of the few Green Leaf accredited Ayurvedic Retreats while others struggle to earn even an Olive Leaf! Saying that, it has well designed ayurvedic and yoga courses with a host of doctors available for consultation. Dr Srikumar, a man with a golden heart is a neurologist by profession and Dr Neetha, equally kind, is a dermatologist. 

On asking how they managed the two worlds together, they smiled and showered praises on their age old staff, who love the house just like their own and take extreme care of the same.

The flower laden inner courtyard leads to the dining area. Not swaying away from its Ayurveda theme, food served is extremely fresh, healthy and pure vegetarian. The meals are delicious, fresh and simple. Do try out the unique Madhura Dosa (a small pancake filled with jaggery and other fillings). The dining hall has the tallest ceiling in the entire house with beautiful wood work in the ceiling. It opens up to the backyard which has a beautiful pond for your early morning dip. Trust me, it's quite a relief from the swimming pools found in all resorts.

The first floor has a lovely living room with antiques, period furniture and paintings. It leads to a yoga room which has tiles from the Commonweath factory. For those who want to undergo therapies, there are separate rooms for treatments with large wooden beds.

As evening fell and the house was beautifully lit by diyas, Ramani Chechi started reciting verses from the palm leaves. The healing serenity is hard to describe. I urge you to visit this home stay. You are bound to fall in love with it!

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