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KannurKannur or Cannanore is a district (and also the name of the town which is its headquarters) in northern Kerala, a state in India. Kannur district lies between Kasaragod district in the north and Kozhikode district in the south, It also shares its border with Karnataka state. The old name 'Cannanore' is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. It is one among the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. Kannur district derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town.

Kannur is known as the land of looms and lores, because of the number of looms functioning in the district and festivals held in Temples. Kannur has been since the olden days the place of ageless folk arts and music and even today, the number of Kavus (small shrines) places the district as one of major centres of the Theyyam.

¤¤ Origin of name

There are several myths and legends associated with Kannur. The name Kannur is said to have been derived from two Malayalam words 'Kannan' (Krishna) and 'Ur' (place). It is quite common in India that the names of villages and districts are associated with Indian mythological characters, even if there is no mention of such a village in the respective mythology. The name 'Kannur' also is not an exception. According to another version, 'Kannur' is a derivation of Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, 'Kannan' (Lord Krishna) and 'ur' (place) making it the place of Lord Krishna.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that the deity of the Katalayi Srikrishna temple was originally installed in a shrine at Katalayi Kotta in the southeastern part of the present Kannur town. It is said that the ships of Solomon had anchored along the coasts of Kannur to collect timber for building the Temple of the Lord. Kannur also finds mention as Naura in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek work of great antiquity.

¤¤ Facts and Figures

Area : 2997 sq km.

Altitude : Sea Level.

¤¤ Talukes

Thaliparambu, Kannur, Thalassery

¤¤ Muncipalities

Kannur, Thaliparambu, Koothuparambu, Thalassery, Payannur

¤¤ Tourist Season

August to March

¤¤ Tourist Attractions

Payyambalam Beach (2 km from Kannur): This beach is a local picnic spot.

Arakkal Kettu (3 km from Kannur): This was the residence of the former Arkkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala.

St Angelo Fort (3 km from Kannur): This seafront laterite fort was constructed in 1505 AD by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francisco De Almeda with the consent of the ruling Kolathiri Raja.  After changing hands from the Portuguese to the Dutch and then to the English, the fort became one of the important military centres of the British in Malabar. The fort, which is now under the Archaeological Survey of India, offers fascinating views of the Mappila bay fishing harbour.

Valapattanam (7 km from Kannur): The small town on the Valapattanam river is well known for its wood-based industries and timber trade.  The port of Azhikkal and Azhikkal Beach are located nearby.  Western India Plywoods Limited, the largest of its kind in South East Asia, is a major industrial concern here.

Kizhunna Ezhara Beach (11 km from Kannur): This beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in Kerala.

Meenkunnu Beach (12 km from Kannur): Uncrowded, the beach is a tourists' paradise, with golden sand and surf.

Parassinikadavu (16 km from Kannur town) Sri Muthappan Temple stands on the banks of the Valapattanam river.  This pilgrim centre is famous for the Muthappan Theyyam performed every morning and evening. The DTPC provides pleasure boating on the river near the temple.  Accommodation is available nearby.

The Snake Park is the only one of kind the in the State and perhaps the whole of India.  There are three snake pits, fifteen glass cases for snakes and two large glass houses for King Cobras in the park.  Snake demonstrations conducted every hour draw large crowds of visitors.  (Open 0900-1730 hrs everyday). There are frequent bus services from Kannur to Parassinikadavu.

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

Muzhapilangad Beach (15 km from Kannur and 8 km from Thalasseri) Black rocks protect this long, clean beach from the currents of the deep, making it shallow waters a swimmer's paradise.  Perhaps this is Kerala's only drive-in beach where you can derive down the entire length of 4 km.

Gudert Bungalow (20 km from Kannur, near Thalasseri town, on the National Highway at Illikunnu): 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.

Trichambaram Temple (20 km from Kannur, near Taliparamba town on the National Highway) A sacred place of Vaishnava cult, the deity of the tmeple is Sree Krishan.  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.

Thalasseri Fort (22 km from Kannur): The fort constructed in 1708 was the military centre of the British. It is now a historical monument.  The SAI Gymnastic Centre, an old Muslim mosque, the Jagannatha Temple and Thiruvangad Sree Rama Swami Temple are other attractions nearby.

Sree Ramaswami Temple Thiruvangad (23 km from Kannur): 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.

Madayi Para (25 km from Kannur): 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.

Malayala Kalagramam (26 km from Kannur): This renowned centre for arts and culture at New Mahe, conduct courses in paintings, sculpture, music, dance and pottery.

Thodeekulam Siva Temple (34 km southeast of Kannur):  Located 2 km from Kannavam on the Thalasseri-Mananthavady road, this temple is famous for its mural paintings.  It is believed to have been constructed 2,000 years ago and was closely connected with the Pazhassi Raja family of Kottayam (Thalasseri taluk).

Pazhazzi Dam (37 km east of Kannur): An ideal retreat for tourists, the dam site 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.

Ezhimala (55 km from Kannur) The beautiful beach here has a hillock nearby (286 m high).  Carved stone pillars and an ancient burial chamber can 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.

Pythal Mala (65 km from Kannur town) 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.

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary (33 km from Thalassery): Elephants, sloth bears, sambars, mouse deer etc. can be found in the 55 sq km sanctuary.

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.

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.

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

¤¤ How to Reach

Air :Nearest Airport : Kozhikode.(93 km)

Rail : Kannur is an important railhead of the southern Railways.

Road : An excellent road transprot system connects Kannur to all the major towns of South India.

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