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Thrissur: The Cultural Capital of Kerala

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Submitted by prasanna prabhu on Sun, 2006-11-26 14:44.
TrissurBySreekumar K S(Photo: A scene grom Trissur By the great photographer Sreekumar K S Under a creative commons attribution Licence)
In this article let us continue our glimpse of some more beutiful places in kerala.Many of them also have historical importance.Do not forget to visit them when you come to kerala.

Thrissur
Thrissur is the cultural capital of Kerala. The town is sorrounded by hills and has the famous Shiva temple. The temple is believed to be founded by Legendary Parasurama. The temple is classical example of Kerala style of architecture and has several shrines. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya spent his last days here. The district has played an important role in the political hisotry of the Kerala state as well as the entire Southern India. The famous Vadakkumnathan temple is situated in the heart of the town it is here the Thrissur Pooram festival is celebrated.

The district is divided into three distinct regions they are the high lands comprising of extensive ravines and dense forets. The midlands or plains consisting of extensive paddy fields spread with rivers and canals. The low lands as a narrow strech bordering the coastlinewhich extends about 50 Kms coast line is made of the sand and rich alluvium brought down by the rivers. The district is watered by four major river. The district has more thatn 75% of its georgraphical area under cultivation. The most important crops include banana, cahsew, rubber, peper, turmeric, pulses etc. Though having more than 20 large and medium scale industries, Thrissur is an industrially backward district.

Thrissur is very famous for its Pooram.poorambyIcultistCCby.jpg(photo Trissur pooram By Icultist liscenced under creative commons attribution liscence)
The festival is sponsored by two prominent temples in the city namely Thiruvampady and Paramekavu. Each temple will parade 15 tallest and well-figured elephants beautifully decorated with goldcovered ornaments. The elephants will gracefully carry three priests who hold the colourful, handworked and long handled umbrellas. Both the temples compete to excel in sights, performance and fireworks. Many orchestra and music instruments, are played by experts during this festival to cherish the event. This is a event where most of the foreigners love to watch with excitement. In the evening a friendly competition on the back of elephants takes place. Major fireworks competion starts at 3 am and finishes at 6 am.

Guruvayur: Guruvayur is just 32 km away west of Thrissur is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centers of Kerala. The temple dates back to the 16th century. Lord Krishna known here as Guruvayurappan is worshiped here.It is believed that the idol in the temple is installed by Lord Guru and Lord Vayu on the Ekadasi day and thus fall the name of Guruvayur. The temple is renowned for its healing powers and devotees come here from far away. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum are inlaid with exquisite mural paintings and carvings The Hindus in general consider Ekadasi a very auspicious day. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Shukla Paksha Ekadasi which falls in the November/Decemberis observed as Guruvayur Ekadasi. This day is also observed as the installation day of the temple. During night thousands of oil-lamps are lit around the temple. There is a peculiar system of offering called ‘Thulabharam’ where a devotee can offer anything from banana, jaggery, sugar, coconut, flower to gold or diamond equal to his body weight. The devotee sits in one side of the balance and in the other side the offering material fills till the balance equalizes. The only odd thing about this temple is only Hindus are allowed to enter the temples.
Punnathoorkotta, is a place to watch near Guruvayoor temple. This is place where probably the largest single group of captive elephants in the world are seen. Approximately there are around 65 elephants. The elephants that are offered to the deity by the rich and the mighty are kept and looked after here.
Chavakkad: Chavakkad, a small coastal town, is located near Guruvayur. A 100 ft Lighthouse in the south end of the beach is an ideal spot to have a panoramic view of the sea at west and thick coconut plantations at the east.

Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy: The town is located 35 Km from Thrissur. In Kerala among many remarkable those who felt the cultural importance, poet Vallathol Narayana Menon is an immortal name. Besides being an outstanding poet and scholar, Vallathol was a passionate lover of Kathakali and other similar classical and traditional dance of Kerala. Against all odds he took up the task of saving Kathakali and other traditional art. The prestigious institution imparts training in various traditional art forms like Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Thullai and folk dances

Arattupuzha Temple: The famous Ayyappa temple at Aarattupuzha is just 14 kms south of Thrissur town the deity here is Dharma Sastha. The temple is 1500 years old. Arattupuzha Pooram is the oldest and the most spectacular of the Pooram festivals of Kerala. In its annual festival it is believed that a hundred and one gods and goddesses of 41 temples of the neighboring villages participate. 65 to 101 elephants beautifully decorated with goldcovered ornaments with the images of the deities on, march to this temple on the day of event.. It is strong belief that people attending Pooram festival will get rid of all the earlier sins. The entire route, stretches to 12-km, thousands of people from village and all around Kerala anxiously wait for the deity to passes through in the night.

Peechi : Peechi is a fascinating picnic spot. Established in the year 1958. The Peechi National Park is about 23km from Thrissur. The Sanctuary is spread in an area of 125 sq km is the natural sanctuary of tigers, leopards and wild dogs, besides the Sambar and the spotted and barking deer. Many species of medicinal plants are grown in wild. It is also well known for its Dam. Built across the Manali River, the dam is a vast area is of nearly 3200 acres with extensive botanical gardens and cascading fountains The dam started as an irrigation project, now offers boating facilities at the reservoir.

Thriprayar Temple: Thriprayar Temple, located south of Thrissur is one of the important temples of Lord Rama. The mandapam that faces the circular sanctum has 24 panels of woodcarvings and several ancient murals. The circular sanctum has several sculptural representations of scenes from the Ramayana. The seven day Pooram festival and the Ekadashi festival are mostly celebrated festivals of the temple.

Thairuvillamala Punarjani Noozhal (Rebirth Crawling): Thiruvillamala is about 28 km km away from Thrissur . There is a cave called Punarjani which is just 2.5 km away from Thiruvillamala. There are so many legends and rituals for the Puinarjani Noozhal and also people believe that Punarjani Noozhal puts a stop to one’s life time’s bad deeds. . The devotees commence their journey to Punarjani after touching and praying ‘Ganapthy Thirtham’ situated in the east side of the Villwadhinatha temple.
The Papanashini Thirtham enroute to the cave is believed to have been sanctified with Ganga water by Lord Parasuram. Prior to the Noozhal the devotees cleanse their body by bathing in the Papanasini Thirtham. After emerging from the cave the deovtees have to cleanse their body by bathing in Papanasini Thirtha and thereafter dip in Pathalathirtha located at the starting point of the Punarjani. The rituals end with the collection of Kombuthirtham and Ambuthirtham.

Thrissur Zoo: Spread over an area of about 13 acres complex have variety of animals. The lion-tailed macaque, beer, hippos, tigers, pink flamingoes, camel, mithun of the North-Eastern hills are some of the inhabitants. The Snake Park has king cobras, kraits and vipers among others. A National History Museum forms an attaction within the compound. It displays costumes of Kerala, Kathakil figures, a studded treasure chest of a Raja, swords, arms and chain mail armour. The zoo compound also accommodates an Art Museum. Collections include metal sculptures, ancient jewelleries, wood carvings, stone figurines, costumes of Kochi Rajas and Chinese and Japanese artefacts. Veerakallu or herostones are stone engravings and sculptures of figures and weapons belonging to the heroes of days gone by. Most of these were recovered from the forests of Wayanad and Thrissur. The megalith collection includes earthen pots, urns etc. The temple models cast in plaster of Paris are excellent representations of the ancient temples in the State.

Marthoma Mariam Big Church: The Marth Mariam Church was constructed in 1814 and in the year 1815 Abraham Cathanar of Palai dedicated the Church to King Ramavarma. This is the oldest church in Trichur and it was called as “Vyakula Mathavin Pally”. Since the Roman Catholics began to argue that this church was a Catholic Church, the authorities of this church changed the name to Marth Mariam, which is the Syriac translation of the name St. Mary, Vyakula Mathavu also referred to the mother of Jesus Christ. There is no idols or pictorial representation of Christ or anyone else inside the Chapel. The chapel has 15 altars. The prayer hall has chandeliers and colour glass balls hung from the ceiling. The ornate carving on wooden beams, pulpit and chor gallery are amazimg.

Oorakam: Oorakam is located 12 km south of Thrissur town. Oorakam is the abode of two famous temples – Peruvanam temple and Ammathiruvady temple. Peruvanam has a religious importance in Kerala. Here there many important Brahmin families who are Vedic exponents. Peruvanam is also the place of Kerala’s wellknown percussion music artists.

Kunnamkulam: Kunnamkulam town is located 25 km north west of Thrissur town. Kunnamkulam is a place well known for paper printing and book industry. Also, Kunnamkulam town is in a well growing stage in both retail and whole sale businesses like textile, hardware, electrical and stationary. Even when compare to other towns in Trichur district, the volume of business in Kunnamkulam is amazing in every sector. Because of the growth in Kunnamkulam it made a major part of the business for cellular operators. Kunnamkulam is equipped with well known hospitals, community halls, theatres, whole sale and retail shops and hotels. Kunnamkulam is surrounded by so many famous temples, churches and mosques.
Urakam Amma Thiuvadi Temple: This temple is on the way to Aratupuzha. The distance is about 12-km from the town. This is the oldest temple in the area. It was constructed by a reputed Namboodiri family, mainly to avert disasters that overtook the region. The idol here is cleaned by feathers of peacock, a custom not prevailed anywhere else.

Kodangallur: Kodangallur is just 36-km from Thrisssur. A town of immense historical importance and an ancient centre of trade. Kodangallur earlier when the Jews first set their foot was known with the name of Muziris. Followed by the Jews the Portugese, Arabs, Chinese and British came to enjoyed the treasure of trade in this place. Because of the Chrisitian rule since the time,Christianity dominated the town. It was then Kondangallur was considered as the Rome of East. St Thomas, the Appostle, landed here in 52 AD and built the first of his church at Palayur, which claims to be the oldest church in India. Kodangallur also add to its fame of having the India’s first mosque which was built in the year 629 AD by the king Cheraman Perumal after he converted himself to Islam.

The Bhagawati temple is of great importance. The image of Bhagawati is believed to have been carved out of a jack fruit three. The face of the image is covered with a mask, and the image is decorated with several pieces of jewels. There is a crimson cloth hung on the western wall of the sanctum and worship is offered here. There is also a secret chamber east of the Kali image, with an underground passage. Also is a shrine to Kshetrapala, the guardian deity and Vasurimala associated with small pox. The festivals of significance at Kodungallur are Makara Sankaranti and the Bharani Festival. Makara Sankranti festival lasts for 4 days with processions on elephants accompanying music and fireworks. In The final day's procession women carry plates of rice and coconutA grand reception os offered to this procession when it reaches the temple. The Bharani festival at the Kodungallur Bhagawati temple is one of the grandest in Kerala is celebrated in the month of March-April to symbolize the killing of demon. Traditionally the temple has been associated with a lot of animal sacrifices which continued upto 20th century which is now stopped.

Azhikode: Azhikode is located near Kodungalloor situated in Kannur district. Azhikode has a fishing port which is a busy port engaged in activities throughout. Azhikode gathers the fame of the Marthoma Pontifical Shrine here. This shrine is built on the model of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church was built to commemorate the landing of St Thomas in India in Kozhikode in 52 AD. The arrival of St Thomas is neatly depicted inside the shrine in painting. The bone of the right arm of St Thomas is preserved here as a relic. Irrespective of castes people come here for blessings.

Irinjalakuda: Irinjalakuda town is located 18 km south of Thrissur town. This town is famous for bell-metal and brass wares. The town is the abode of famous Koodalmanikyam temple. This is only ancient temple which dates back to 9th century. is perhaps the India dedicated to Bharatha, the brother of Sri Rama. The temple is situated 21 Km from Trissur. The temple is surrounded by four vast ponds The pond are known as "KULIPINI THEERTHAM". The Temple is also provided with an ancient drainage system which allows no water logging however heavy rain is, this shows the efficient engineering of the ancient time. Seventeen elephants are engaged for the daily ceremonial rounds to the accomplishment of Panchari Melam. It is also believed that in the ancient time, Chalakudy and Kurumali rivers is said to have flowed through this area and met together on the western side of the temple

Cheraman Juma Masjid: Cheraman Juma Masjid is located 1500 m from Kodungallur. The mosque is situated in the Methala village of Kodungalloor Taluk, around 20 kilometres from the Irinjalakuda railway station. Founded in the seventh century, this is the first Juma masjid in India and the second oldest in the world. The mosque is built seven years after the prophet Mohamed settled in Medina, Saudi Arabia. This mosque was designed and constructed in accordance with the Hindu art and architecture. Irrespective of caste and community people can visit this mosque. The festivals of Ramadan and Bakrid are celebrated with a lot of passion in this mosque.The mosque had the rare honour of a visit by the President of India, A P J Abdul Kalam, recently.

Chimmony Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary: 35 km from Thrissur town., The headquarters of the sanctuary is at Echippara, which is 28 kms away from the Amballoor village in the north direction. Amballoor is 12kms away from Thrissur town. The sanctuary with an area of about 100 sq. kms is on the Western slopes of the Nelliyampathi hills has Tropical Evergreen, Semi-Evergreen and the Moist Deciduous forests. Here the temperature varies from 15º C to 36º C. The Hottest period is during the month of March and April. These forests which were once extensive and extremely thick, have been reduced due to deforestation and by continuous over-exploitation.. The sanctuary beholds 39 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles, 14 species of amphibians, and 31 species of fishes.The common mammals found are Tiger, Leopard, sloth bear, Elephant, Sambar, barking deer, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri Langur, slender loris porcupine etc.The sanctuary also offers trekking paths for the adventure traveller.

Chalakudy: Chalakudy town is located 30 km south of Thrissur town. The name Chalakudy is derived from the word Shalakudy this means a place where sacrifices are done. This refers to the sacrifices, which were held on the shores of the river during the past, which are banned now. It is a commercial and trading centre and one of the best and cheapest tourist spot to vsit. Chalakudy river which is the 5th longest river in Kerala flows nearby. . The total drainage area of the river is 1704 km². out of this 1404 km² lies in Kerala and the rest 300 km² in Tamil Nadu. The total length of the river is 145.5 km. The famous waterfalls, Athirappilly Falls and Vazhachal Falls, are situated on this river The famous Hydro Electric Projects on Chalakkudy River are 'Sholayar Hydro Electric Project' and 'Peringalkuttu Hydro Electric Project'. Chalakkudy Dam is situated on this river. It merges with the Periyar River at the village of Puthanvelikkara North Paravur in Ernakulam District.

Athirappilly : It is located 60 km from Thrissur and 30 km from Chalakudy town. Athirappilly is famous among tourists. Athirappilly Water fall is one of the best places to visit in Kerala. From Athirapppily a 15 minutes way will take to the Vazhachal Falls is another place to visit. Athirappilly Water fall is a part of Chalakudy river and it has around 80 feet height. Getting down at Chalakudy Railway station and by hiring a vehicle for rent or by bus from the Chalakudy private bus terminal are easy accessible way for Athirapilly. It is not advisable to swim since the water current is very much. Proper provisions are done on the spot to prevent mishaps while swimming and a camp of police is always positioned there even then many had drowned the river. Especially during the monsoon time the rocks over there are very slippery and the water rises to the maximum. So one should not take it easy though he or she may be a good swimmer and end at the risk of their life. Government proposed a 160 MW Athirappilly hydro power project but Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samiti and other cultural societies are against this projects thinking about impact on the water falls.
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Azhikode is located near Kodungalloor situated in Kannur distric

Azhikode(Kodungallur) is not situated in Kannur district, It is in Trichur district

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