Further down south of Kerala, just where the state meets its borders with Puducherry, you will come across the quaint and quiet settlement of Mahe. A former part of Kerala, this sea-town is now a part of the Union Territory of Puducherry. Locally known as Mayyazhi, or the ‘eyebrow of the sea’, Mahe is a delightful marriage of architectural aesthetics, scenic landscape, and postcard-like skyline. This cozy coastal locale on the lap of the Arabian Sea is replete with its French colonial heritage, which characterizes the town’s underlying essence.
How to reach Mahe
Mahe is enveloped by the scenic Kannur district on three sides and the magnificent Kozhikode on the fourth side.
It is located at a distance of about 10 KM from the Thalassery town. To reach Mahe, you can either fly down to Calicut and then book a Calicut taxi or take the train to Thalassery.
Things to do in Mahe
If you have never explored Mahe, then it’s time to discover the hidden treasures of this southwest coastal town.
Here are the best things you can do when you are in Mahe:
Drive through the town and get surprised by its elemental surprises. Or take a walk along the palm-tree lined Mahe beach, where the Mahe River meets. Catch a sight of the crimson sun, as it sinks in the evening sky, into the welcoming sea.
Take a morning walk or jog in the serenity of the Tagore Park. Explore and enjoy the greenery by the sea, with a stroll. Or, sit under the thick foliage and enjoy the solitude.
Soak in the charm of the colonial artistry. Traces of the French influence still exist in the town’s architecture and artistic displays. Like the statue of Marianne, which honors the French Revolution.
Take a cruise on the river from the Mahe Boat House at Manjakkal. The boathouse offers rides in a speedboat, paddle boats, and kayaks, on an hourly basis. If you are in for some thrill then dare the waves and head for a marine adventure.
If you happen to visit Mahe in the month of October, join the annual festival- Fete de Mahe at the St. Theresa’s Shrine. Because, nothing shows you the spirit of a place, more than a local cultural milieu. This Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches in the town and a prominent sight to see for eager travelers. For the faithful, this is one of the most sacred shrines of the country.
For the religiously inclined, a visit to the Puthalam Temple or the Shree Narayana Mandir might be worthwhile.
Visit the Malayala Kalagramam: This is a cultural learning center for Kerala’s traditional arts. From applied arts to fine arts and performing arts, this institute has been promoting local artists and aspiring talents.
Stop by the Mahe Lighthouse for a quick click. The news is, that this lighthouse will be repaired and restored to bring back the French architectural feel- a characteristic that defines the infrastructure of the town.
If you avail of a Savaari Car Rentals, you’ll be able to stretch your vacation a little head to some of the lesser explored parts of the region. At a few hours’ drive from Mahe, towards Thalassery, you can head to the Overburry’s Folly. It is a small sea-side park, which has a watchtower and offers great views of the Malabar Coast. If you happen to reach late afternoon, do stay back for the sunset, which renders a remarkable sight. Get a breath of fresh air, while you enjoy a cup of fresh filter coffee, at the sea-side, open air coffee shop.
Indulge in some local flavors at the Azadi restaurant, which is the only eatery in the neighborhood serving Kerala cuisine. The French Empire restaurant is a more contemporary option for fine multi-cuisine dining.
Though small, the mystical town of Mahe does emanate a feeling of the distant past, taking you to a place, where time has stopped.