Distance : 310km from Kochi
92km from Kozhikode
Population : 464,000
Sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Lakshadweep Sea is one of the most important coastal towns of Kerala – Kannur.
KannurKannur is quite important historically. In the old days, it was one of the principal ports of Kerala. According to Marco Polo, the 13th century European traveller, this place was a 'great emporium of spice trade'. Kannur was then ruled by the Kolathiri Rajas. In 1498, the Portuguese arrived here, spearheading Kannur into political limelight. They built a fort in 1505, and named it the St. Angelo Fort.
It is in the form of a massive triangular structure. The fort had strong defences like a moat on one side and flanking bastions on the other.
The history of Kannur is synonymous with the history of the fort. In 1663, the fort was captured by the Dutch and sold to the Arakkal family in 1772. The Arakkal Ali Rajas were the only Muslim royal family in Kerala. In 1790, the fort was captured by the British, who rebuilt it and made it their military station. Presently, the fort is under the authority of the Archaeological Department of the Government of India. Arakkal Kettu is the palace of the Arakkal Ali Rajas of Kerela.
Places of Attraction
Kannur has some important temples, churches and mosques. The Sundareswara Temple was established in 1908 and is dedicated to Lord Shiva (the Destroyer in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer).
Apart from a linga (the symbolic phallus representing Lord Shiva), the temple also has idols of Lord Ganesha (God of Wisdom and Prosperity) and Subramonia.
The annual temple fair that lasts seven days is held in the month of Meenam (March-April).
The ancient Mavilakavu Temple is located at a distance of 5 miles from Kannur. A five-day festival held in the month of Medam (April-May) attracts many visitors because of the interest generated by the customs and rites associated with it. One particularly interesting feature is the Ati or Thallu performance wherein there is a free exchange of blows between different parties who gather at paddy fields outside the temple for the purpose.
Another important temple in the nearby Edakkad is the Urpazhachivaku. The temple has beautiful woodcarvings on the Ramayana and Krishnaleela. Ramayana is an ancient Hindu epic and Krishnaleela depicts the playful antics of Lord Krishna (8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver).
The presiding deity of the temple is Shankaranarayana, but there are idols of other deities like Bhagavathi and Vettakorumakan as well.
The temple fair is held annually for seven days in the month of Kumbham (February-March) in Kerala. Another interesting practice in this temple is the daily ceremonial dancing called Vellattam.
The Sasta Temple at Chalat is also a very ancient temple. The temple fair, held in the month of Thulam (October - November) attracts thousands of visitors.
Near the temple is a mosque called the Chalat Sheik Palli. Animals are not killed in the mosque out of respect for the Hindus. The Old Juma Masjid is another important mosque in the town. St. John's Church is one of the well-known churches in the area.
There are many good beaches in and around Kannur. The Payyambalam Beach (2km from Kannur) is a favourite picnic spot of the locals.
The shining sand on the beach coupled with the dancing, frolicking waves provides an enchanting experience for the visitors travelling to Kerala.
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
The Kizhunna Ezhara Beach (11km from Kannur) is one of the most secluded beaches of Kerala.
The golden sand and surf of the Meenkunnu Beach (12km from Kannur) makes it very popular among tourists.
The Muzhapilangad Beach (15km from Kannur and 8km from Thalasseri) is dotted by black rocks which protect this long beach from strong, deep currents. Shallow water makes the beach an instant hit with swimmers. This is reportedly Kerala's only drive-in beach. One can enjoy a cool and exciting ride along the entire 4km stretch of the sea.