Kannur, also known by its Portuguese name Cannanore, is renowned for its native art form “Theyyam”, which is unlike any other dance form, a ritual performed in ancient shrines. Kannur is also famous for its serene and curved beaches and has some exotic backwater spots like Kavvayi which is clean and untouched. It was the military headquarters of the British in the west coast of India till the first half of the Nineteenth century. Asia’s largest and the worlds third largest Naval Academy is situated at Ezhimala, Kannur. There are some massive historical monuments like the Thalassery fort and the St. Angelo Fort, reminding us of the long forgotten European colonialism in India.
Kannur is gifted with some of the great folk art forms, like the spirited and vibrant “Theyyam”. It is not just any other folk art but a lively combination of ritual, vocal, instrumental, dance, painting, sculpture and literature. “Theyyam” means God in Malayalam. The concept of this energetic art form is that men transform into God at certain ritualistic and divine moments. The beating of “Chendas” [drums], blowing of pipes, rhythmic dance steps, bright coloured costumes, and vivid face paintings of different styles, depicting various Hindu deities, all adds to the energy of this 2000 year old ritualistic art form. Witnessing Theyyam is believed to be an enlightening moment of an individual’s life. As Theyyam is not meant to be performed as a stage performance, people who wish to experience Theyyam will have to visit “Kavus” or old shrines which provide arena for the Theyyam performers. December to May is the period of harvest and festivals when this ritual is conducted in Kannur.
Drive along the longest drive-in beach in India, the Muzhappilangad beach of Kannur. It is located 15 kms away from Kannur, lies parallel to National Highway 17 [NH-17] connecting Kannur town and Thalassery. It stretches across 4 kms on the coastal line of Kannur. There are various food joints by the side of the beach, where you can taste some famous Malabari cuisine. Power Boating, Paragliding, Parasailing, water sport and various other adventurous and fun activities are the main attractions of Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach.
St. Angelo fort is a 510 year old Portuguese built sea side fort, facing the Arabian Sea near to the Kannur town. The first Portuguese viceroy of India Mr. Dom Francisco de Almeida was the man behind the construction of this historical monument which is now under the Archaeological Survey of India. Certain additions were made by the Dutch when they captured this fort from the Portuguese in 1963. The bastians Hollandia, Zeelandia and Frieslandia are some of the Dutch modernized features that you can see now. After the Dutch rule, the fort became a major defence centers for the British. The monument is just 2 kms away from Kannur town and is easily accessible by Kerala Government Bus Service.
The Thalassery fort, 22 kms away from Kannur at Thalassery town was built by the British to establish their supremacy in Malabar. It was built in 1708. The fort was a major military base of the British then. The structure is massive and impressive and has secret tunnels leading to sea, possibly used as escape routes during the time of an outbreak or an unexpected attack.
A picturesque sea side 55kms North of Kannur. A 286 m heigh hillock is a distinctive landmark here. Ezhimala is of great historical importance and is even referred in some chapters of the Puranas [Ancient Indian texts]. It has seen the famous Chola-Chera war during the 11th century. It is also renowned for many medicinal herbs growing in and around. It was also a major seaport and trade center at the start of the Common Era. It is now a Naval Academy one of the largest in the world.
Soon to be another Backwater hotspot in Kerala, Kavvayi backwaters is at the Sangam [joining] or convergence of 5 rivers namely Kavvayi, Kankol, Vannathichal, Kuppithodu, and Kuniyan. It is unpolluted and untouched, clean and verdant countryside. Cruising along you may feel as if you have entered a private island designed for you. There are various houseboats available as per your demands. Day cruise and night cruise are available. Fresh Malabari cuisine is cooked and served inside the houseboat. You may even witness toddy tapping, and on request can taste some fresh toddy, a natural alcoholic drink tapped from palm trees, another speciality of Kerala.
Kalaripayettu is believed as the most oldest and scientific martial art form in the world. It is regarded as the mother of all martial arts, as all the modern martial art forms are said to have been evolved from this ancient science of war. “Kalari” means arena and “Payattu” means combat, therefore it is an art of fighting practiced inside an arena. Kalaripayattu not only teach to defend oneself and fight, but also trains a person to master himself, and gain self control. You can watch this traditional art form by visiting any Kalari Training center in Kannur and seek permission to witness students practicing Kalaripayattu. Other than bare hands, the students use spears, swords and wooden staff in combat training.
Summer - Summer season starts by March and lasts till May. As Kannur lies on the coastal area of Kerala, summer is too hot and humid. It is not the best season to visit Kannur as some people may find it harsh. Normally the temperature ranges from 31°c to 38°c.
Monsoon - This is also not a recommended period to visit Kannur, yet it is true that Kannur looks no less than beautiful even during the Monsoon showers. June to September Kannur experiences South West Monsoon and during October and November months it is North East Monsoon.
Winter - Possibly the best suitable time to pack your bags and head to Kannur. The temperature would be averaging 24°- 26°. The pleasant climate is inviting, and helps in easy movement in and around Kannur.
By Road - There are frequent Kerala State Bus services from all cities in Kerala as well as from some major cities in South India. The neighboring cities are Calicut [91 kms] to the South, Mangalore [148 kms] to the North and Mysore [180 kms] to the East.
By Air - The nearest International Airports are Calicut and Mangalore. There are regular flights from cities in India to these above mentioned airports. Though there are not many direct International flights to these destinations, you can connect these airports from any part of the World.
By Rail - Kannur is well connected by rails with regular trains from all the major cities in India passing through Kannur. The railway station is in the heart of the city and can be easily accessed.
Drive along the longest Drive-in Beach in India, sail across the virgin backwaters of Kavvayi, make a visit to some old European style forts, taste some famous Kannur special “Thalasseri Biriyani”, last but not the least, lose yourself and experience the ecstatic natural trance of transcendental Theyyam performance. For all these vivid experiences, visit the land of Kannur and enjoy some incredible time at the God’s own country.
Chinese Fishing Net
St. Francis Church
St. Angelo Fort
Rock cut cave
Koratty Muthy Feast
Fort Kochi Beach
Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa
Sree Parasurama Swami
Ponmudi Hill Station
Munnar Hill Station
Vythiri Hill Station
Lakkidi Hill Station
Vagamon Hill Station
Eravikulam National Park
Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary