The town of Thalassery on the coast of Kerala state, for locals is the 'mussel capital' of the country - with one of the largest bivalve catches. The town was also nicknamed 'Paris of the Malabar' due to its proximity to the French colony of Mahe, part of the Pondicherry state though located in Kerala, and Thalassery was the French military base years ago. The city's history is a rich tapestry of events, from Portugal to Dutch, from French to British occupations, and suffered the repercussions after every rule. The town was a hub for the spice trade, and the Thalassery Fort's intricately carved doors, massive walls and secret passages open onto the Arabian Sea. Once a centre of learning, Thalassery still has prevalent traditions of art-drama like the Theyyam and martial arts like Kalari Payattu, as also several temples that make it an important location for tourists.