KANNUR – The Land of Forts and Beaches
On to the North of Kerala, sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, lies Kannur, anglicised as Cannanore. This stretch of land, with every inch in history, has been a melting pot of races, religions and cultures from time immemorial. Relics, right from the Neolothic age through the Aryan invasion, Cheran Conquests, Arab and European inroads, stand testimony to this.
Apart from greenery and beaches, Kannur invites tourists to these monuments of Time-to feel the grave quietness and the tranquility of the past and to share the warmth and cordiality of its peaceful and soft spoken people.
A place of historical importance Ezhimala ( Elimala) was the seat of Mooshika kings in the early periods. Ezhimala has found a place in the travelogues of Iban Bathutha and Marcopolo. Ezhimala is also considered to be a treasure chest of medicinal herbs, situated 286m, above sea level, it is a landmark to mariners, and is blessed with a long beautiful beach. The place is shortly going to find strategical importance in the Naval map of India. Ezhimala is situated 45 Km. north of Kannur.
Thalassery Fort 20 Kms away from Kannur was built on 20th August 1708, on a small hill called Thiruvallappad kunnu. This fort was a formidable stronghold in the past. There are several important tourist centres in Thalassery. The Church built beneath the Walls of the Fort with funds left by the Master attendant Mr. Edward Brennen and the large mosque known as Odathil Palli atracts several people. The Thiruvangad temple other wise known as brass Pagode, is dedicated to Sree Rama, Sree Jaganath Temple is next in importance. This temple dedicated to Siva was consecrated in February 1908 AD by the great religious reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
Muzhappilangad beach is situated about 5 k.m. north of Thalassery and 15 k.m. from Kannur. There is an unpaved road winding through coconut groves, leading to the beach. The beach is about 5 k.m. long and curves in a wide area providing a good view of Kannur beach on the north. To the South and about 200 metres away from the beach there is a beautiful island called the “Green Island” which adds to the allure of the beach. Such a conjunction of beach and island is rare.
St. Angelo’s Fort
This historical fort, built in 1505 AD by Sir Fancisco DeAlmeiyda, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India,, is situated near the sea coast about 2 KM away from Kannur town. This fort has a legendary past. Having witnessed several wars for seizing the control of the fort, the British flag flew over it finally in 1790.
Now this fort is under the control of the Archaeological department. It attracts a large number of tourists.
Situated near the St.Angelos Fort, the Mopila bay has a historical background. Centuries ago, it was the seat of Kolathiri Kings. The Kadalayi Fort and Sree Krishna Temple were quite famous. The remnants of the fort and the temple are still seen in Mopila Bay. A fishing harbour, built with Indo Norvegian project assistance, is there in this bay. Boating in the sea, if the weather permits, will be an unforgettable experience.
Malayalees cannot forget Herman Gundert and his contributions to the Malayalam Language.
A German by birth Gundert resided at Illikkunnu Bungalw near Thalassery which was his workshop for 20 years from 1939 for his research actitivities.
On the way to the Parassinikkadavu Temple, 16 Kms from Kannur, is the Snake Park, the only one of its kind in the state.
The snake Park set up by the Visha Chikista Kendra at Pappinisseri, has been a centre of attraction to both foreign and domestic tourists. This Kendra offers effective treatment for snake bites with almost hundred per cent cure. This is the only place, perhaps where Ayurveda and Allopathy are effectively combined for curing snake bites
Famous for timber trade, Valapattanam, situated about 8 k.m north of Kannur has a pride of place in the world map for its wood based industries.
Valapattanam was once considered third in the world for timber operations. Having to depend only on imports of logs, the place today wear a deserted look with Western India Plywoods being the only exception.
Azhikkal port, an all weather medium port, is situated very near to Valapattnam.
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.
Sixty four K.Ms away from Kannur and 44 K.Ms north east of Thaliparamba lies Pythal Mala the beautiful, calm hillock near the Kerala – Karnataka boarder. 4,500 Ft. above sea level; this hill is abundant in flora and fauna. Trekking 6 Kms would take one to the top of the hill.
Kannur is the centre of ‘Theyyam’ the famous temple flok art form of Northern Kerala. The word Theyyam is a corrupt form of ‘deivam’ in Malayalam which means God. Theyyam is generally performed in front of the village shrines. Performance of a particular deity according to its significance and heirarchy in the shrine continues for 12 to 24 hours in the intervals. There are a large number of temples in Kannur where Theyyam is performed.
Clad in, colourful traditional costumes, masks, face paintings, head gear, weapons and decorations of tender leaves of coconut the performance of Theyyam is a rare combination of dance and music which reflects the important features of a tribal culture. Theyyam provides a rare cultural treat in the ritual tradition which no tourist can afford to miss.