A land that satiates an intelligent tourist, Indian, as well as foreign. For, this small land, its every nook and corner, has got its own wonderful story to tell, which keeps your eyes wild with awe and excitement.
If, as a French Tourist has once reveled in, there is any place in India that makes and keeps its own history as a
beautiful legend, that is Mahe fantastic blend of Myth and Mystery.
Mahe is a tiny point in the Geographical map of Kerala, the million earner for the distant Pondicherry Government,
630 kms away from Pondicherry. In this former small French Town which covers an area of 9 Sq. kms , over 36,000 inhabitants live in peace.
This petit French Town is situated on the West Coast of the Indian Peninsula between 11 Degrees 42' and 11 Degrees 43' Northern Latitude, and between 75 Degrees 31' and 75 Degrees 33' Eastern Longitude, just between Badagara and Thalassery, 58 kilometers from Kozhikode, 24 kilometers from Kannur in Kerala State and is a busy trade centre.
Route to Mahe from Pondicherry
Pondicherry -> Villupuram -> Salem -> Erode -> Coimbatore -> Calicut -> Mahe
Alternate Route to Mahe from Pondicherry
Pondicherry -> Cuddalore -> Neyveli -> Salem -> Coimbatore -> Calicut -> Mahe
Nearby Airport is in Calicut, Kerala State. Calicut is also called Kozhikode
On examination of the history of Kerala no concrete evidence is available mentioning the place ‘Mahe’ other wise called by the natives "Mayyazhi". It is only after the settlement of the French, the name Mahe (Mayyazhi) got a place in the geographical map of India.
Early in the 18 th century, the French set up a trading post at the Calicut. In 1701, Mollandin the representative of French East India Company made idea for setting up an attractive place for French trading post. As a result, during the year 1721 Mr.Mollandin & Vazhunnavar of Badagara entered in to an agreement to install a trade center at the side of an estuary of the river now known as Mayyazhipuzha. Within a spell of two years the relation between Vazhunnavar of Badagara & the French were strained & French were forced to retire to Calicut in a state of defeat in the fight . By December 1725 a French troupe led by De Pardaillan recaptured the French post at Mahe. There was a young captain serving under De Pardaillan, whose skill & enterprise was mainly responsible for this recapture. As his name was Mahe De Labourdannais and as the local name had a close similarly to his name, De Pardaillan paid the handsome tribute to this Captain by naming the place after his name.
In the annexure to Martineau’s book on the origin of Mahe refers to the place as ‘ Maye’ and only after the recapture of the place by Mahe De Labourdannais it is spelt as ‘Mahe’. Between English and French seven years war was faught which lasted till 1760, and the French has lost almost all settlements in the West coast , except Mahe.
In 1761 the English captured Mahe and the settlement was handed over to the Rajah of Kadathanadu. The Hyderali from Mysore made siege over Kadathanadu. But during this time English restored Mahe to the French as a part of treaty made in Paris. In 1779 as a result of the Anglo-French war broke out, the French lost Mahe .In 1783, when the English agreed to restore the French their settlements in India , Mahe also was handed over to the French in 1785. The reign of Mahe changed hands before it came into the final possession of the French during the second decade of eighteenth century.
When the Independence of India from the British was accomplished on the 15 th August 1947, there were similar freedom struggle movements in Mahe also . On 20 th October 1948, large scale movements aroused. An enraged crowd paraded the streets of Mahe, raided Government offices and buildings and pulled out the burnt records and furniture. On 23 rd October 1948 the Union Flag was hoisted over the administrative Office in the presence of thousands of people. During 1954 the struggle intensified with sporadic incidents of violence and finally on 1.11.1954 Mahe was handed over to the Government of India de-facto . The Dejure transfer took place on 16 th August 1962.
Twenty two kms south of Kannur, on the northern strip of coastal Kerala lies this bewitching beach strip. From Calicut, you will find this 75 kms north of the town, bordered by a luxuriant crop of tall palm. And dotted with numerous fishing hamlets.
Theresa's Church is a major tourist attraction in Pondicherry’s Mahes. In fact it is the most renowned Church: church in Malabar. Constructed during the French Reign, this church stands testimony to the legacy of the French rule. The annual feast of St. Theresa of Avila is celebrated in this church every year from 5 th to 22 nd October. People from all over Kerala and the neighboring districts of Karnataka flock to this place only to be a part of this festival.
During the first fortnight of every March, the Puthalam festival takes place where the Theyyam is enacted. Theyyattam is a renowned ritual art in North Kerala which is an amalgamation of art craft, choreography, dancing, painting, acting and singing. Puthalam draws a number of tourists for its ancient temples.
The Othenan's Fort remnants can be seen round the corner of the Kozhikode Kannur National Highway in close proximity to the Mini Civil Station. The construction of this fort is credited to Thatcholi Othenan, a renowned folk-lore hero.
Besides these Pondicherry Regions and mahe is also dotted with a number of Hindu temples that include Sree Venugopalalayam, Station Road, Sree Hareeswara Temple, Mundock, Sree Ayya Temple, Koyyoottu Theru, Keezhandoor Temple, Chalakkara, Sree Narayana Madam, Chalakkara and others.ESWARA (Saturn) at Thirunallar which is just 5 kms. away from Karaikal town. This is the only temple in the town dedicated to Lord Saturn and is well known throughout India.