|The traditionally and culturally rich village of Thekkepuram, near Kozhikode town, is unique in that it is able to retain its identity despite the thriving modernity all around.
Nature has bestowed the village of Thekkeppuram with many water bodies that contribute greatly to its beauty and charm. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west, River Kallayi on the south, the city of Kozhikode on the east and the fishing village of Vellayil on the north.
Places of interest
The things that first attract you in Thekkepuram will be the ancient buildings there which stand in testimony of the medieval Kerala architecture. The mosques and tharavadus or ancestral homes and other buildings will surely capture your attention. A large chira or pond can be seen here with stone-paved steps leading to the water. The region adjacent to the chira is known as Kuttichira. Old laterite benches can be seen around the tank and the area was once the centre of activities with people gathering around the pond and it was where the Zamorin made his state proclamations. The nearby Mishkal mosque, Jama pally and Muchundipally were some of the ancient mosques in the area and they are known for their architecture and historical significance.
The Kallayi River that borders the village on one side adds to the place’s scenic beauty. The British constructed a railway bridge across the river and it is worth watching. The two major Bazaars in the city, Big Bazaar and Copra Bazaar, were the ancient trading centres in Kozhikode and you can visit these markets too. Another tourist attraction will be Thekkepuram beach, where you can watch a tranquil sunset and experience the cool breeze. The Port lighthouse is also accessible from here.
Social life and economic activities
Most of the inhabitants in Thekkepuram belong to the Muslim community and prominent among them are Kozhikode Koyas. They were mainly involved in trade and commerce activities related to timber, copra and rice and contributed much to the commercial activities of the district.
They also traded with Arabs and could extend their business roots to Middle East during the ancient times. A large group belonging to the Koya community is now in Middle East and other foreign countries and is still involved in various businesses. Thekkepuram Muslims were so adept in trading and commercial activities that they once monopolised the Big Bazaar, the trading centre of Kozhikode.
Qasis are the religious leaders in Thekkepuram and it is the only region in Malabar where two Qasis supervise the religious ceremonies. The place is known for its religious amity; the Qasis were members of the Zamorin’s durbar and the Muslims and Hindus lived in harmony in Thekkeppuram.
Tharavadus and the matriarchal system
The aristocratic, ancestral homes of Thekkepuram are one of the most interesting things about the place. Some of them are centuries old and have around 40 bedrooms in order to accommodate all members of extended families who prefer to stay under one roof. The values and customs of the joint family system are preserved intact in the tharavadus of Thekkepuram.
The families here follow the matriarchal system and the lineage is traced through the daughters. In these families, the girl continues to live with her parents after marriage and her husband either stays with her, at his in-laws, or visits occasionally. Whenever a marriage takes place in the family, a room is constructed for the newly-wedded couple. Thus, huge mansion-like houses inhabited by very large families have become a salient feature of the village.
The tharavadus here are fine examples of Kerala architecture. They have slanting, tiled roofs, inner courtyards, wooden folding window cum benches and wells. Mulsim women of the older generation here
Old Muslim women here wear the kachi, which is worn around the waist and covers the lower part of the body, the kuppayam and a headdress.