Open main menu

Vatakara, also spelled Vadakara (formerly Badagara), is a coastal town in the Kozhikode district, state of Kerala, India. Spread over an area of 23.33 km2,[2] the municipality of Vadakara is bordered by Mahe in the north, and Payyoli towards the South. It is also the headquarters of Vatakara taluk, which consists of 22 panchayats. Historically, Vatakara has been known as Kadathanadu during the reign of Kolathiris and Zamorins, and later as part of North Malabar region of Malabar District in the state of Madras during British Raj.[3] The historic Lokanarkavu temple, which is also famous through the Vadakkan Pattukal (ballads of the North Malabar) is situated in Vatakara.[4][5]



Kunhali Marakkar Memorial, Iringal
Kunhali Marakkar Memorial, Iringal
Vatakara is located in Kerala
Vatakara is located in India
Coordinates: 11°34′2″N 75°36′2″E / 11.56722°N 75.60056°E / 11.56722; 75.60056Coordinates: 11°34′2″N 75°36′2″E / 11.56722°N 75.60056°E / 11.56722; 75.60056
 • Total75,295
 • OfficialMalayalam, English
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code0496
ISO 3166 codeIN-KL
Vehicle registrationKL-18
Nearest cityKozhikode
Lok Sabha constituencyVadakara


Jetty on the Moorad river

Vatakara is located at 11°36′N 75°35′E / 11.60°N 75.58°E / 11.60; 75.58.[6] It has an average elevation of 15 m (49 ft). Geographically, Vatakara is situated about 49 km[7] to the north of Kozhikode City, approximately 44 km to the south of Kannur City and it is proximate to Mahe. The town lies by the side of a river known by different names including the Moorad river, Kuttiady river, and Kottakkal river. Originally known as Vadakkekara (north bank) due to its position with respect to this river, the place came to be called as Vatakara due to increased usage of the latter. Towards the east, further to the panchayats of Nadapuram and Kuttiady, Vadakara is neighboured by Wayanad district along the Western ghat section. In the west, like many of the towns in Kerala, Vatakara is flanked by the Arabian Sea. The Kuttiyadi river drains to the sea in the south of Vatakara, forming small islands and sandbars near the river mouth.


Vatakara was the capital of the historical region called Kurumba Nadu and the inhabitants of the region were called Kurumbrar. During the pre-British era, major part of the current Vatakara taluk including the area currently under Vatakara municipality was ruled by a chieftain as a feudatory to the Kolathiri kingdom. The remaining part of the taluk was initially under the Polathiri kingdom and later under the Zamorins of Calicut. From the descriptions of regions in the documented history of the district, it can be interpreted that the boundary between these kingdoms were at the region in Vatakara known as Puduppanam, with the Moorad river forming a geographical boundary. It is documented that Kadathanad dynasty was established in the region with one of the Polathiri royals who were forced to cross over to Kolathunadu after long unsuccessful battles with the Zamorins marrying a Kolathiri princess and settling in the region. After some years the main person who looked after the town before the government took full charge was Bala Kurup. His descendants now live in vadakara.

Famous for the quality of its agriculture products like coffee, pepper, coconut etc., Vatakara became an important trade center in the region by the early 18th century. A group of ports with Vatakara as the main port and subordinate ports at Chombal, Muttungal and Kottakkal dealt with a considerable amount of trade and became one of the major centers of trade along with Cannanore, Tellicherry and Calicut. Building on a thriving economy led by strong trade through the seas, rulers of Kadathanad established of a strong naval force which was known as "Lord of the Seas", considering it was the strongest among the Malayalam speaking region.[8]

Another significant development which could have helped in this was the rise and subsequent fall of Kunjali Marakkars of Kottakkal. During the 16th century, Kunjali Marakkars were the admirals of the Zamorin's naval fleet. Known for their valiance and sea-fight tactics, the Marakkars established their stronghold in Kottakkal and even built a fort there. The later Marakkar, Kunjali IV was defeated in the beginning of 17th century by the combined forces of the Zamorin with whom he had a fallout, and the Portuguese who were disturbed with the interference of Kunjali and his followers in their trade route. The fort was completely destroyed with the bombardment from the sea. Documented history shows that it is with the help of group of fighters from this area of Vatakara, who most probably had the knowledge of ship handling and tactics passed over from their earlier generations, that the ruler of Kadathanad could establish his supremacy in the sea by enforcing a 'pass' system for trade ships.

In 1750, the chieftain, who was married to the Kolathiri Raja's sister took the title of "Kadathanad Rajah" under the privy of the ruling Kolathiri, presumably asserting the autonomy of the kingdom. During this period, there are records of frequent skirmishes between Kadathanad and the ruler of Kottayam as well as the foreign colonial powers of British based in Thalassery and the French based in Mahe.

Vatakara is known as the birthplace of Unniyarcha, Aromal Chekavar, Thacholi Othenan, the legendary heroes of the Vadakkanpattu (ballads of North Malabar). Thacholi Tharavadu (the original Thacholi family home) is still preserved and the birth anniversary of Thacholi Othenan is celebrated. Lokanarkavu is one of the famous temples in this area. Also the temple for the memory of legend Thacholi Othenan is located at Vatakara. This temple is named as Thacholi Manikkothu Kavu temple. The world-famous martial art 'Kalaripayattu' is Vatakara's own one. Kottakkal Bhagavathi Temple, the second richest temple in North Malabar is situated near Edodi Junction in the heart of the city.Also a temple resides near to Vadakara town named as Kalari Ullathil Temple.


Most of Vatakara inhabitants are labourers and farmers. Some are government employees. A large number of people, especially in the Malabar regions, work in Middle Eastern countries, and their remittances have a strong influence on the local economy. Some people work in nearby states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.

As of the 2011 Census of India, ref>"Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 November 2008.</ref> Vatakara had a population of 75,740. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Vatakara has an average literacy rate of 83%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 85%, and female literacy is 80%. In Vatakara, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Since Vatakara is a coastal town, fishing is one of the main commercial activities. The Moorad River flows into the Arabian Sea at a point close to the town. Sand Banks, a sunset spot and a place of tourist interest, are located at the river mouth.

Vatakara mainly consists of 2 commercial hubs -- the old and new bus stands. The old bus stand has commercial establishments as old as one hundred years. Recently, commerce has shifted to the new bus stand area and the road towards Kannur. Many new establishments including hospitals and flats on the rise along Nut street to PT Road highway junction are planned over the coming years. It is predicted that this will be the next commercial hub.

Nut Street is the largest market for coconuts, areca nuts, and other nuts. Produce flows to the collection outlets which are dried, packed, and transported to other states. As northern Kerala is well known for the production of coconuts, Nut street is always busy.

Hospitals include CO-OP Hospital, Asha Hospital, Janatha Hospital, Ceeyam Hospital and a new specialty hospital (Parco) at the PT road junction.

Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society is a unique labor cooperative initiative of Madappally area inspired by the Indian sage Vagbhatananda. The society was registered in 1925.[9]


Climate data for Vatakara, Kerala
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.7
Average low °C (°F) 21.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 2



Bhagavathy Temple, Lokanarkavu
The Lokanarkavu situated at Memunda, 5 km from Vadakara, is a popular temple of North Malabar. This temple is associated with the heroes and heroines of Vadakkanpattu. In the vicinity of the temple there are three rock-cut caves. There are candid murals and carvings adorning the caves. The main deity is Goddess Durga. The festival, locally called Pooram, is celebrated during March/April. There are two temples adjacent to the Lokanarkavu with Vishnu and Shiva as deities. Lokanarkavu goddess is named as Lokanarkavilamma which was the dearest god of Thacholi Othenan, a celebrated hero of Kadathanadu.
Payam Kuttimala Temple
Lord Muthappan temple situated in Memunda at scenic hill top which have been now taken care by Tourism department of Kerala Government. Temple opens only at evening. Lots of people come here to watch the sunset. 'Theyyam' is a legendary art performed at Payamkuttimala temple which attract people worldwide.
Chendamangalam Temple
Considered as one of oldest temples in Kerala, and also one of the very few temples which has Dhwaja Prathishta.This is situated 2 km from town and is near to Chorode.The main prathista is Lord Shiva and Lord Ayyappa.This temple is also known as second Sabarimala. Few years back there was a Big fire in Sabarimala and many people were not able to go there. At this time many people came to this temple.
Kozhukkannur Neyyamruth Madom
Kozhukkannur Neyyamruth Madom is located at Purameri, is said to have a history of more than 100 years. The madom relates to the Kotiyoor festival, and is a centre from where the Neyamruthu [Ghee] offerings are taken to the Kottiyoor temple by walk.
Kizhakkedathu temple
Sivapuram Sree Mahadeva Kshethram
Sivapuram[permanent dead link] temple is situated near the Onchiyam Grama Panchayath office in Vatakara Taluk, Kozhikode Dist.
Arathil Bhagavathi Kottakkal temple
Thuneri Sree Vettakkorumakan Kshethram
Thuneri Sree Vettakkorumakan Kshethram is situated near Tuneri town. Its glorious history says number of devotees got blessings of Vettakkorumakan. Vettakkorumakan, incarnation of lord siva with bhagavathi and adityan are the main moorthees of this temple.according to legend, vettakkorumakan came from balussery kotta, which is the aroodastanam of kirata moorty.
Ponmeri Shiva Temple
Kalleri Kuttichathan Temple(near villyapalli)
Kaliyampalli Temple(near Edacheri town)
Nagath Sri Muchilottu Bhagavathi Temple


Orkkatteri Kannukali Chanda (9 Km near by Vadakara)

Orkkatteri Kannukali Chanda (Cattle market) is a very famous festival in Malabar. It also known as Orkkatteri Thalappoli.[2] It is part of festival of the two temples. It starts from 12 of Makaram (January) and lasts for four days. People belonging to all castes and communities participate in the festival.

Kunjali Marakkar MemorialEdit

Kunhali Memorial

The Marakkars were admirals of the Zamorins, who valiantly resisted the Portuguese on the high seas. Kunhali Marakkar built a fort on the southern bank of the Moorad river.This fort was completely destroyed by the Portuguese at a later time. The place where the fort stood is known today as Kottakkal, 46 km south of Kozhikode. A small hut that belonged to Kunjali Marakkar with collections of ancient swords, cannonballs and knives can be seen here.

Sand banksEdit

Vadakara Sand Banks

A small peninsula with the Moorad river on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west is located approximately 3 km towards the south of the town. This area is known as the Sandbanks. The Peninsula has a building called the Sandbanks Bungalow, which was built by Mr Wilfred Vincent Reilly in the year 1946. This bungalow and the land it stands on was sold on 4 February 1966 to Grasim Industries Ltd a company of the Aditya Birla Management Corporation Ltd, and is owned by the company till date. Adjacent to the bungalow is an open area which was previously under lease with Grasim Industries Ltd but was returned to the Government of Kerala in 2002. This area is now developed by the Harbour Dept of Government of Kerala and has been handed over to Vadakara Municipality for maintenance.Construction work of coastal Police Station building is continuing there. Many tourists visit this place for a view of the sunset. This is where the moorad river merges with Arabian sea.

There is an island like beach close to Sand banks, in fact just opposite to it. Still, reaching there takes another 7 km journey.

Peruvannamuzhi DamEdit

Peruvannamuzhi Dam is situated near Kuttiady. This is an attraction for tourists and students.

Craft VillageEdit

Sargaalaya – The Arts and Crafts Village, established in 2011, is a permanent set up; the visitors can keep in touch with the artisans and place orders as per their requirement even from their homeland. The initiative by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, is managed by the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society Ltd. The Village is a craft cluster that was conceptualized as a tourism destination, developed and implemented on the Responsible Tourism model. It is an initiative to put Keralas traditional handicrafts on the tourism trail.

The strategy is to put Kerala & traditional crafts as an integral part of Kerala tourism experience with the provision of economic development of the artisans. The craft village is set up on 20 acres of land on the banks of the Moorad River, just 200 meters off Kozhikode – Kannur National Highway near Vadakara. The craft village has 27 cottages where, a hundred or even more artisans can work. Apart from showcasing crafts craftsmen from across Kerala, Sargaalaya has a Crafts Design & Technology development centre that provides training for craftsmen on the latest techniques of production and encourages innovation in the traditional system.

It is not that things come to an end once after a single visit to Sargaalaya. With new varieties of products after unique experiments, every time you visit, there is something new, awaiting you in the crafts village.

Villages in Vatakara TalukEdit

  • Azhiyur, Onchiyam and Chorodu
  • Eramala, vatakara, Villiappally and Kottappally
  • Ayancherry, Thiruvallur and Maniyur
  • Palayad, Nadakkuthazha and Velom
  • Chekkiad, Edacherry and Thuneri
  • Nadapuram, Purameri and Kunnummal
  • Narippatta, Kayakkodi and Kuttiady
  • Kavilumpara, Maruthomkara and Valayam
  • Vanimal, Vilangad and Tinur

Educational InstitutionsEdit

Government College, Madappally is a post-graduate campus affiliated to the University of Calicut.

Vatakara has many schools and colleges. Schools include government as well as CBSE. A list can be found at Educational institutions in vatakara

Also the 62nd IGNOU Regional Centre was inaugurated at Vatakara, Kerala, on 4 January 2011. With the opening of the Centre, students from Malabar region, including Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Malappuram district could approach the Vatakara RC for their course requirements. With the launch of the Centre, four Study Centres and 28 local support centres functioning in Malabar will come under its supervision.

Famous PersonalitiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Census of India: Search Details".
  2. ^ "ആമുഖം | Vadakara Municipality". (in Malayalam). Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  3. ^ Kadathanad Royal Dinasty
  4. ^ Lokanarkavu Temple
  5. ^ A shrine for the heroes of Vadakkan Pattukal - Lokanarkavu
  6. ^ "Maps, Weather, and Airports for Badagara, India".
  7. ^ "Vatakara". Keralata Tourism.
  8. ^ Logan, William (2009). Malabar manual. Low Price Publications. ISBN 8175364750. OCLC 946063221.
  9. ^ "ULCCS - Ulccs".
  10. ^ "CLIMATE: VATAKARA", Web: [1].

12. Vadakara Voice - Beyond the words