Like a shining diamond in the centre of a bejeweled crown, Thrissur is situated right in the middle of Kerala. This “Cultural Capital” is a city whose heart is so stuffed with tradition and its warm inhabitants so very content with its past that it defies the cultural progress of this sylvan city. Covering an area of about 3032 sq. km, Thrissur is the fourth largest city in Kerala and has a rich cultural heritage and an interesting history. The name Thrissur originates from the word “Thriu shiva perur” which in the local language means “the abode of Lord Shiva”. The influential king Shakthan Thampuran is the architect of this beautiful city that is bedecked with ancient palaces, historic buildings, quaint temples and sprawling mansions. Built on elevated land around a 65 acre hillock on which the well known Vadakkumnathan temple elegantly stands, Thrissur attracts a flurry of tourists from the world over. Around 3.6 hectares of land called the Thekkinkadu surrounding the temple is bordered by a spacious circular road called the Swaraj Round. This Thrissur Round is the central reference point and is one of the largest roundabouts in India.
If the area around the Round is the hub of the city’s business activity, then the area within the Round is the core of the city’s cultural and religious activities. Thrissur Pooram, the most extravagant temple festival of Kerala is held at the Thekkinkadu grounds in summer. The Thiruvambady temple and the Paremakkavu temple are friendly competitors in this colourful festival. The Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica of Our lady of Dolours popularly known as Puthenpally are two historic churches in the heart of the city that attract believers. Spiritual experiences are further enhanced with an array of festivities that are religiously followed. The vibrant city comes to a stand still when the unique Pulikali is held as a part of Onam celebrations in the month of August or September. Thrissur is also an important commercial centre in South India and is famous for its traditional silks. Being the gold capital of India, it the clear favourite among wedding shoppers from across the state. Well connected by excellent roadways as well as rail, the nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery.
3000 year old Arattupuzha temple situated about 15 kms from the Thrissur town. More
The archeological museum is an architectural wonder located on the Town Hall road of Thrissur. The museum has an impressive collection of mural paintings and relics, which are brought for display from across Kerala. Another valuable and must see possession of the museum is the collection of old manuscripts. Its claim to fame is that the script is written on dry palm leaves and they are referred to as Olagrandhangal. Most of the artifacts and the spectacular show pieces that the museum proudly boasts of were recovered mainly from the dense forests of the Wayanad district in Kerala.
Athirapilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls
Athirapilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls are famous for its unbeatable beauty, lush greenery and breath-taking scenery, and the natural locations. Athirapilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls situated at the entrance of the Sholayar ranges, 5km apart. More
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple
The Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is about 5000 years old and is located in Thrissur district of Kerala. It is referred to as the “Dwarka of the South” and is one of the most important and sacred pilgrim centres in South India. The origin of this temple dedicated to Lord Krishna dates way back into the 16th century A.D. The best way to reach Guruvayur is by road. It is a belief that Lord Brahma himself had worshipped this idol when it was at Dwarka. The temple also houses the idols of Lord Ganapathi, Sri Ayyappa and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy.
According to Hindu legends, when the holy city of Dwarka got submerged in the sea, the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna was destroyed. Consequently, the preceptor of Gods, namely, Guru and the God of Winds who is Vayu, were honoured with the task of finding a similar holy site for constructing a new temple. The place that was finally selected was named Guruvayur and the deity was respectfully called Guruvayurappan.
Famous for its magical healing powers powers it is the most preferred sacred site and is probably the only temple that hosts the maximum number of marriages and annaprasanam ceremonies (the ritual first rice meal for infants). Though shrouded in mystery and legends, a visit to this historic temple will enlighten you about the religious beliefs of Kerala and enrich your knowledge about its traditions. The walls of the temple are decorated with exquisite paintings and large murals. The flagstaff is a single column of teak wood that is covered with bell metal and then plated with gold. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple. The great religious leader Adi Shankaracharya is said to have laid down the worship protocol that is followed here.
The Mummiyur temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is just a kilometer away from the Guruvayur temple. The temple is a splendid structure and its grandeur is enhanced by the holy paintings and exquisitely carved sculptures.
Devotees with a total belief in legend and mythology regard the pilgrimage to Guruvayur as complete and fruitful only if followed with a darsan at Mummiyur. Tourists may seek blessings any time between 4.30 a.m and 12.30 p.m in the mornings and from 4.30 p.m to 8.30 p.m in the evenings.
Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple. Though the Guruvayur temple is more famous and is considered to be the main tourist attraction, the Mummiyur temple manages to captivate its visitors with its quaint beauty, simple charm and serenity.
Paramekavu Bhagavathy temple
This temple is famous for being the biggest temple of Maa Bhagawaty in Kerala and is considered to be over a 1000 years old. Goddess Paramekavu Bhagawathy is the principal deity of the temple. An annual parade that takes place between the temples of Paremakavu and Vadakkumnathan is a great visual treat for any tourist.
An active participant in the Thrissur pooram celebrations, the temple is also credited with the traditional orchestra called ‘Palachottil Melom’.
Shakthan Thampuran Palace
The grand Shakthan Thampuran Palace is located well within the Thrissur town. The royal grandeur of the Kochi rulers can be witnessed in the architecture of the palace. The palace has interesting and detailed memorabilia that narrate the historic milestones of the Kochi kings. Initially known as the Vadakkechira Kovilakam, it was renovated and remodeled under the expert guidance of the king Shakthan Thampuran and has been preserved in that manner till date.
The palace is a two storeyed structure which is built in the traditional Kerala style called Naalukettu. Sarpakaavu, an ancient serpent grove where devotees offer prayers to the serpent gods forms an integral part of the palace complex.
Thrissur Museum and Zoo is a rare and interesting blend of History and wildlife watching.
Tomb of Shakthan Thampuran
The Tomb of Shakthan Thampuran present within the palace complex is now preserved by the Archeological department. The design of the tomb of the erstwhile king, Shakthan Thampuran is a fusion of the Dutch and Kerala style of architecture.
In a place famous for many state-of-the-art architectural temples, the Vadakkumnathan Temple takes credit for being one of the oldest temple complexes in Kerala and one of the largest in South India. The temple is a classic specimen of rich Kerala style architecture and possesses several decorative murals depicting Indian epics, art pieces and sculptures.
The temple stands atop a beautiful hillock in the heart of Thrissur, overlooking the town. The vast 64 acre expanse around the temple is called Tekkinkadu, meaning Teakwood forest. A massive stone wall encircling an area of nearly 9 acres provides strong protection around the temple. The temple has four majestic gopuras with intricate woodwork. These lofty pillars around the main shrine indicate the four cardinal directions – North, South, East and West. The temple encloses a central complex having three main shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva or Vadakkumnathan, Sankaranarayana and Lord Rama.
Being the venue of the world famous Pooram festival, the temple attracts devotees, visitors and tourists from all over the world. During this festive season, Thrissur, turns into a town of music and mirth. Celebrated annually in the month of April-May, this strikingly colourful temple festival combines the majestic pageant of decorated tuskers, the frenzied drumming and the rhythmic beat of the cymbals that reaches a sensual tempo. It concludes with a brilliant display of dazzling fireworks in the evening that continues till the wee hours of the next morning. Like many other temples in Thrissur, non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. The morning worship begins at 3.00 a.m and closes at around 10.30 a.m. It opens again at 4.00 p.m and closes at 8.30 p.m after the Trippuka, which is the last rite for the day. The temple has a serene atmosphere, associated with age and centuries of devotion.
Nestled in the middle of misty mountains, the Vazhachal Falls is located approximately 3 km from Athirappilly. This picturesque waterfall is spaciously settled along the boundary of the Sholayar forest range in Kerala and is a popular picnic spot as well. It off shoots from the Chalakkudy River and its crystal cascade of cool waters set against the backdrop of lush evergreen forest dotted with the rocky terrain is an awesome sight. As one travels from Athirappilly to Vazhachal a small waterfall midway through the route captivates the beholder.