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North Kerala

Nileswaram

The cultural centre of the district, this was the seat of the Nileswar Rajas. The Nileswaram palace today functions as the folklore centre of the Dept. of Archaeology. The town is also famous for its numerous kavus (shrines), temple festivals and the Kavil Bhavan Yoga and Cultural Centre which offers rejuvenation therapy and naturopathy treatments like mud and herbal baths. With the Western Ghats in the east (Coorg district of Karnataka State), Kozhikode and Wayanad districts in the south, Lakshadweep sea in the west and Kasaragod in the north, Kannur district is bounded by a wealth of natural beauty. The district itself which shares much of this natural splendour has been a key contributor to the cultural, religious, political and industrial heritage of the State. In addition, Kannur enjoys the credit of having been the cradle of many a colourful folk art and folk music of Kerala. Today it is known for it's handloom and beedi (native version of the cigarette) industries. Some of Kerala's industries come from this area, though they are not as much in demand, as before. Kerala Dinesh Beedi, the largest country's best- run beedi cooperative is located here. Being the cradle of ageless folk arts like Theyyam and folk music, Kannur has always remained a land of ageless charms.

How to reach

By Air
The nearest airport is Kozhikode Airport is at Karipur, 93 km away.Futher south is the Kochi Airport.

By Train
Kannur railway station is an important rail head of the Southern Railway and is well linked to major towns up country as well as within the State.

By Road
Kannur is accessible by road.

Distances from Kannur to :
Alleppy 381 km
Bangalore 350 km
Kochi 317 km
Kozhikode 93 km
Coimbatore 284 km
Madras 781 km
Mangalore 167 km
Trivandrum 227 km
Kannur at a glance :
Area 2997 sq. km
Population 2,251,727 (2001 census)
Altitude Sea level
Rainfall (Annual) 344 cm
Best Season August to March

Places of Interest

Beaches

Valapattanam
Payyambalam Beach
Muzhapilangad Beach
Meenkunnu Beach
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
Ezhimala
Dharmadam Island Beach

Picnic Spots
Parassinikadavu
Malayala Kalagramam
Pythal Mala
Pazhassi Dam

Wild Life
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Forts
St. Angelo Fort
Thalasseri Fort
Pilgrim centres
Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple
Thodikkulam Temple
Trichambaram Temple
Sree Ramaswami Temple, Thiruvangad
Kottiyoor
Cherukunnu
Madayi Para

Others
Arakkal Kettu
Gundert Bungalow
Kunhimangalam
Gymnastic Centre
Anjarakandy

Beaches

Valapattanam

Little hamlet on the banks of the river Valapattanam is a giant modern timber industry - Western India Plywood Ltd., the largest wood-based industry in South East Asia. The timber industry of Valapattanam thrive on the rich forest resources of the district. Teak, Iruli, Elavu, Karimurukku, sandalwood (Sandalum album) etc. are found in plenty in the forests here. In addition are cash crops like tea, coffee, rubber, tobacco, cashewnuts etc. Kannur is the only place in Kerala where Pukayila (tobacco) cultivation is carried on successfully. Valapattanam is also a famous fishing harbour as well as the main source of the irrigation project in the district. It is a fascinating experience to watch the traditional mode of timber transportation - by tying long pieces of timber together and allowing them to float down the stream. This place is about 7 km from Kannur town and about 100 Km from Karipur international airport, Kozhikode.

Payyambalam Beach

Quiet, secluded, this beautiful stretch of sand and surf is the best locale for a relaxed evening. The Payyambalam beach is a popular picnic spot of the local people. National Highway 17 passes through Kannur. This place is about 2 km from Kannur town and Karipur international airport, Kozhikode is 93 Km to the south.

Muzhapilangad Beach

The Muzhapilangad beach which stretches across four kilometres of sand is a drive-in beach where one can drive down the entire length. Calm and serene, the place is secluded and remains unexplored. Huge black rocks scattered here protect this long beach from the deep currents, and form a tranquil pool of shallow waters that is a swimmer's paradise. The palm groves fringing the beach is a cool hideaway from the tropical sun. Muzhapilangad beach is just a kilometre to the west of National Highway 17. This place is about 15 km from Kannur town and Karipur international airport, Kozhikode is 93 Km from Kannur town.

Meenkunnu Beach
Uncrowded, the beach is a tourists' paradise, with golden sand and surf. It is 12 Km from Kannur.

Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
This beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in Kerala. It is 11 Km from Kannur.

Ezhimala

The beautiful beach here has a hillock nearby (286 m high). Carved stone pillars and an ancient burial chamber can be seen at the foot of the hills. The hills are noted for rare medicinal herbs. A Naval Academy is being developed here. Permission is required for entry. It is 55 Km away from Kannur.

Dharmadam Island Beach

The small 5 acre island covered with coconut palms and green bushes is a beautiful sight from the beach. Permission is required to enter this privately owned island (100 metres away from the mainland at Dharmadam)

Picnic Spots

Parassinikadavu

The Parassinikkadavu Snake Park is committed to the preservation and conservation of snakes as most species of the reptile are on the verge of extinction. There are about 150 varieties of snakes including the spectacled cobra, King cobra, Russel Viper, Krait and Pit Viper living in the park. The park also has a large collection of non-poisonous snakes including pythons. A research laboratory to extract venom from snakes is proposed here. Parassinkkadavu is about 16 km from Kannur town and Karipur international airport, Kozhikode is 93 Km from Kannur town. Parassinikkadavu is also noted for the famous Muthappan temple.This is the only temple in Kerala where a Theyyam performance is a daily ritual offering.

Malayala Kalagramam

Malayala Kalagramam (MAKAM) is a centre for art and ideas which aims at providing children and youngsters a Kalari (stage) to practise and perform all forms of fine arts. The centre offers part time as well as full time courses in painting, sculpture, music and dance and art pottery. Yoga and Sanskrit are also taught here. The fraternity centre of the Kalagramam conducts seminars, symposia, extension lectures, in-service programmes and special projects in different fields of art and humanities. The studies helps to familiarise the trainees with classical and contemporary trends and techniques in the respective fields of art, to teach them art application and history of art and to enable them to utilise art better in their daily life. Spending a day here with the tutors, students and the exotic library is an enlightening experience for any art lover. It is located at New Mahe which is about 29 Km away from Kannur Town and Karipur International Airport Kozhikode, is about 64 km south.

Pythal Mala

This enchanting hill station, situated 4,500 ft. above sea level near the Kerala - Karnataka border, is rich in flora and fauna. It is a 6 km trek to the top of the hills. It is 65 Km away from Kannur town.

Pazhassi Dam

An ideal retreat for tourists, the damsite is famous for its scenic beauty. The DTPC provides pleasure boating facilities at the reservoir. Accommodation is available at the Project Inspection Bungalow and its dormitories. It is 37 km east of Kannur.

Wild Life

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

The Aralam Sanctuary is spread over 55 sq kms of undulating forested highlands on the slopes of the Western Ghats. The highest peak here - Katti Betta - rises to a majestic 1145 m above sea level. Covered with tropical and semi evergreen forests, the Aralam Sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats. Herds of deer, elephant, boar and bison are common sights. Leopards, jungle cats and various types of squirrels are also seen here. Aralam, a village in Thalasserry, is also noted for the Central State Farm, a 3060 hectare farm started in 1971 by the Government of India. This is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country. Thalasserry is 35 Km and Kannur town is 60 Km away from Aralam and Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode is about 71 km from Thalasserry town.

Forts

St. Angelo Fort

A massive triangular laterite fort, replete with a moat and flanking bastions, the St. Angelo's Fort also called Kannur Fort was constructed by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francesco de Almeida in 1505. In 1663, the Dutch captured the fort from the Portuguese and sold it to Ali Raja of Kannur. In 1790 the British who seized control over the fort, renovated and equipped it to be their most important military station in Malabar. Today, St. Angelo's Fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort offers a fascinating view of the Moppila Bay and Dharmadom Island. Dharmadom island, only 5 acres in area, is situated 100 metres away from the mainland in the Arabian sea. The Moppila Bay is a natural fishing bay. A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water. Today, the bay has turned into a modern fishing harbour, developed under the Indo-Norwegian Pact. This place is 3 Km from Kannur town and Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode is about 93 km from Kannur town.

Thalasseri Fort

22 km from Kannur is the small town of Thalassery. In this town stands an imposing historical monument the Thalassery Fort.The East India Company which had established its settlement on the Malabar Coast in 1683 built the monument as a testimonial of their colonial imperialism in 1703. The fort was once the nucleus of Thalassery's development. The imposing square fort has massive walls, huge, intricately carved doors and secret tunnels to the sea.

Pilgrim centres

Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple

This centre of worship and faith has in store many unique practices and rituals, and the temple architecture itself stands testimony to this aspect. Located 20 km away from Kannur, the Parassinikadavu Muthappan (Siva) Temple on the banks of the Valapatnam River attracts people from all sections of the society; irrespective of religion, caste and promotes the essence of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - The whole world is one family." The origin of the Muthappan temple is connected to the appearance of a child who roamed the region with a string of interesting incidents and later vanished without a trace. The incidents up to the point of his disappearance later made the denizens feel the divine presence of Muthappan (Siva) who immediately erected a place of worship, which today is popularly known as the Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple. The temple is also a popular destination for travellers and pilgrims to savour the charm of Theyyam, a ritual that is performed here on a daily basis. Men adorning masks and costumes with a riot of colours perform this temple art form and it represents conflict between good and evil, with good ultimately emerging victorious. This Place is about 20 Km from Kannur town and Karipur International Airport at Kozhikode is 93 km from Kannur town.

Thodikkulam Temple

Temples and palaces were the ancient galleries for mural paintings in Kerala. One such at Kannur district which has been attracting a large number of art lovers from all over the world is the Siva temple at Kannavam. Here there are nearly 150 mural paintings, on an area of 700 sq ft. in about 40 panels, drawn on the four walls of the sanctum sanctorum. Based on Saivic and Vaishnavic (myths related to Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu respectively) themes, the murals here portray the village life from the 16th to 18th centuries. These are depicted along with scenes like Rugmini Swayamvaram (Vaishnavic), Ravana vadham etc from the epics. The murals reveal the skill and perfection of the artistes who once lived in this land. In these times mural painting followed certain standards in the choice of colour, proportions, methods etc. Only natural pigments were used in the making of murals. The commonly used colours in the murals of Kerala are saffron-red, saffron-yellow, green, red, white, blue, black, yellow and golden yellow. The Thodikkulam Siva Temple, said to have been constructed 2000 years ago, has the sanctum sanctorum constructed in two-storeys and is rectangular in shape. The outer building and an incomplete Mukhamandapam (portico) in front of the central shrine completes the whole structure. Thodikkulam Siva temple is situated about 2 km from Kannavam near Thalasserry on the way to Mananthavadi. Thalasseri is about 34 Km from here and Karipur International Airport, Kozhikode is about 71 km to the south.

Trichambaram Temple

A sacred place of the Vaishnava cult, the deity of the temple is Sree Krishna. The sculptures on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum are in a class by themselves. The annual temple festival, usually held in March, is a colourful event. This place is 20 km away from Kannur, near Taliparamba town on the National Highway.

Sree Ramaswami Temple, Thiruvangad

This temple dedicated to Sri Rama is one of the most important temples in Malabar. The exquisite carvings in the temple are said to have been done nearly 400 years ago. It is 23 Km away from Kannur.

Kottiyoor
There is a Siva Temple here on the banks of the Bavali River. Thousands of devotees attend the annual 27 day festival during May - June.

Cherukunnu

Famous for its Anna Poorneswari Temple, the week long annual festival falls in April. There is a Kathakali-Panchavadya school called Asthikalalaya near the temple.

Madayi Para

The Madayi Kavu Temple, the Vadukunnu Temple and the 12th century mosque built by Malik bin Dinar with white marble imported from Arabia, are the major attractions here. There is also a dilapidated fort at Madayi which is supposed to have been built by Tipu Sultan of Mysore. The view from the fort is fascinating. It is 25 Km away from Kannur.

Others

Arakkal Kettu
This was the residence of the former Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. It is 3 Km away from Kannur.

Gundert Bungalow

Dr. Herman Gundert, the revered German missionary, scholar and lexicographer lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839. It was here that one of the first Malayalam dictionaries and the first Malayalam Newspaper - Paschimodayam - took shape. This place is 20 km away from Kannur, near Thalasseri town, on the National Highway at Illikunnu

Kunhimangalam
This place in Payyanur is famous for its unique bronze lamps and sculptures.

Anjarakandy

Anjarakandy 19 K.m. South east of Kannur, is famous for the Cinnamon estate located there, and the oil being extracted from it. The place has historical importance too as Pazhassi Raja and the British Army fought for the estate in 1903.

Gymnastic Centre

Thalassery is famous for having given birth to many famous circus artists. True to this tradition the first circus training centre has now started functioning in Thalassery, known as the Gymnastic Centre, under the Sports Authority of India. Experts from India and abroad work in this centre.