I sat there on the old pier of Thalassery, holding back my tears! I don’t know if it were the heartwarming comradeship stories that Farhan narrated or the heart-filling gorgeous orange-purple sunset, or the fact that I’m utterly grateful for the outdoors after spending ten months indoors during the lockdown. Water filled my eyes, and I controlled them, so it doesn’t get overwhelming for others around me!
All I had in mind – Questions of Gratitude – 1. What have I done to deserve this? In a far land away from home, a stranger who’s become a friend inspires me by telling stories of that very land 2. what did we humans do to deserve sunsets?
Exploring Kannur with Tyndis Heritage
Kerala has them all – beaches, hill stations, forests, culture, cuisine – Its called god’s own country for all good reasons. While Kerala is a tourist hotspot, the tourism income hardly found its way to the local economies.
That is when Naveen from Tyndis heritage wanted to do setup something to benefit the local artists and the communities.
“I was born and raised in North Kerala. Culture is something that is very unique to this land. I grew up watching the artists perform on open stages, witnessing Theyyam rituals, going to vaynashalas (community libraries), and playing on the serene beaches. Fortunately, not much changed here. I wanted people to see the Malabar region the way I did, and I was sure they would love it,” Said Naveen from Tyndis heritage. ”Tyndis is one of the oldest ports now forgotten but thrived once upon a time and welcomed people from different countries. It was the gateway to the Malabar region, and I thought it was an apt name for our Organisation. Though we started in the Malabar region, today, we have heritage and culture tours all over Kerala.”
Ten months into the lockdown, I rarely stepped out of my apartment in Hyderabad. I wanted a change in the place, and Kannur sounded to be the best place, for it’s not on the tourist map, and social distancing will be a breeze. I’ve not been writing for a long, long time. I precisely remember Naveen saying, ”The beach is only 100 meters from where you’ll stay, it’s very peaceful, and only a handful of people visit there. You can work from there, read, and probably write some good stuff.” One week after this phone call, I got a COVID test done and headed to Kannur – A laidback beach town on the coasts of Malabar.
Kannur’s entire coastal line is just serene. The palm-lined beaches with golden sands look untouched as the locals keep it very clean.
Politics is one of the significant part of Kannur’s culture. Even children are politically well aware, which is why Kannur records the highest voter turnout in any elections.
One cannot miss the communal harmony that exists in this place. They are very hospitable and peace-loving people. After all, Malabar has always been victorious in subsuming the invaders and making them an integral part instead of repelling them!
Exploring In and Around Kannur with Tyndis heritage made my visit more meaningful. They have local storytellers, compensate the artists and locals for their time, and benefit the local communities.
Kannur Walking Tour
I didn’t know many facts about Kannur and realized how underrated this place is. Kannur has an interesting history and holds a prominent position when it comes to social reforms. Farhan, from Tyndis heritage, is a practising lawyer but took a storyteller avatar while I was in Kannur.
We started at the palace of the Arakkal Dynasty, went to the port, climbed up the forts, hogged on street food, and visited a local weaving centre, in between so many other stops of historical importance.
Kizhuna Beach -I stayed at the Bodhi Beach house, which was less than 100 mts from Kizhuna beach. Its’ a private beach accessible only to a handful of people. Warm water makes it best for swimming or a sunbath. One of the best beaches I’ve ever visited in South India. Muzhappilangad is a Drive-in Beach where you can drive along the shores. Cycling can be perfect here. Thottada town has access to many named and unnamed beaches, which are all great.
Dharmadam is another beach where Tyndis heritage can organize ocean kayaking. I couldn’t do it, but it’s on my wishlist.
Visiting Thalassery and Mahe
Thalassery is about half an hour’s drive from Kannur main town. It’s an old port town, a glorious place for the spice trade back in the day. Thalassery is not one of those greatest places per se, but if greatness could be defined by all those moments during which we forget the reasons to be great, then Thalassery is the greatest place. For me, those moments were:
Knowing about how school kids protected a tree from getting cut down by the govt; Visiting my storyteller’s school and laughing about all the nostalgic, silly school time things; Trying the craziest street food ever; Hanging out at seaside cafe (Mind-blowing view) and paying just 40 bucks for three chais; Settling down on the old pier of Thalassery right above the Arabian Sea for some gup shup with a cup of tapioca fries and watching the sun go down, and getting all philosophical as the nightfall took over the dawn.
They say a place is only as good as the people in it.
About Mahe: It’s is a small french colony that is about an hour’s drive from Kannur but is not part of Kerala. It’s under the administration of Pondicherry. From Thalaserry, you cross the English channel, and you are not in the Kerala state anymore. It’s even more interesting that this little piece of land was once an international border because it was under the french, while the rest of the country was under the British.
I left Kannur, knowing it a little better. On my last day, it didn’t feel new; I knew those streets and their stories. I felt as if I’d been there for a long, long time.
Categories: Offbeat Kerala, Ordinary humans, extraordinary lives, Human by nature, Kerala tourism, North Kerala, Kerala tourism map, Kerala tourism places