Posted by rocksea on 14 Jan 2009
A few days at kozhikode opened up a myriad of reasons in our heart to say that it is one of the best places we have been, so far. The varied cultural/historical/architectural diversities which it still preserves, the astounding friendliness rendered by the people, the geographical beauty along with the beaches, all made kozhikode a place close to our heart.
Kozhikode was supposed to be only a ‘stop by’ during our kerala trip. It ended up as one of our major destinations. One reason could be the contrast in the regions within kerala. Though we belong to the pala (specifically bharananganam) nazrani achayan clan, boasting a rich cultural and traditional backup, much of it is on the fading route. This could be one of the reasons that kozhikode, less influenced by westernization and still preserving a lot of its unique culture, came up as a heaven on earth for us.
The city centre itself is filled with a lot of smaller localities surrounding mosques and temples. One of our first venture was the Kuttichira community, specifically the Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira Tank and the Juma Masjid. Though we started off as enthusiastic tourists, we ended up researching the history, culture, architecture and the community of the area. The local community were a lot enthusiastic to provide information, which showed their friendliness.
Mishkal Mosque at Kuttichira, Kozhikode, was built by Nakhuda Mishkal in the 14th century. Nakhuda Mishkal was a renowned trader and ship owner from Yemen. The title Nakhuda is of persian origin, meaning Captain of the ship; from nÄv = boat + khudÄ = master. As you can see, the mosque was designed in the traditional kerala architecture of that period.
The Mishkal Mosque at Kuttichira stands as a symbol of communal harmony. In 1510 AD, the Portuguese had attacked the mosque and partially destroyed it. Supposedly, their mission was to divide and rule, breaking the harmony between hindus and muslims. The Samoothiri (Zamorin), the local ruler at that time, didn’t fall for this and helped in defending and repairing the mosque.
The mosque was 5 storeyed, but after the destruction, it remained as a 4 storeyed structure. The walls of the mosque, except the ground floor are made of wood. Remnants of the portuguese destruction can still be seen on the upmost floor.
Do you know that the burka/purdah came to Kerala as part of the fashion and modernity, which was Arab influenced?
The kids in the locality actively involved in performing before our video/still cameras too.
As per the local residents: the area surronding this vast pool is a place akin to the Piazzas (Squares) of Italy, where the locals meet and the day/nightlife activities are carried out.
Shoal of fishes at the Kuttichira Tank…
Thanks to all Kuttichira residents for opening up a new world for us! We will surely visit you again.
More photographs on the Kuttichira Mishkal area are available at http://www.rocksea.org/images/kerala/
Geographical Location of the Kuttichira Mishkal Mosque is given below. Zoom In, and you can see a temple like mosque in front of the large rectangular tank! Easily accessible by road from the Beach Road.
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