A travel Guide to kannur

Kannur Tourism

Located on the Malabar Coast of the southern state of Kerala, Kannur is a lovely city famous for its extraordinary weaving industry and its unique ritualistic local dance form, Theyyam. These have bestowed upon Kannur, the title of the ‘Land of Looms and Lore’. It is also called the ‘Manchester of Kerala’ because of the quality of its handlooms.

Just 80 kms north of Calicut and 518 kms north of the state capital, Trivandrum, Kannur tourism attracts travellers from all across the nation. Formerly known as Cannanore, Kannur is said to have got its name from being the land of Kannan, or Krishna, the Hindu God. Having been ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch, Mysore Sultanate and British empires, it has a rich colonial history.

Kannur used to be a major international trading port and was named ‘Great Emporium of Spice Trade’ by none other than the explorer Marco Polo. Today, Kannur tourist attractions include a multitude of sightseeing options like pristine beaches, imposing monuments, ancient temples and scenic picnic spots. There are many budget-friendly hotels in Kannur where you can easily stay during your Kannur tour.

Places to Visit in Kannur

1. St. Angelo Fort

Situated at a distance of 3 kms from Kannur, the magnificent St. Angelo Fort, also called Kannur Kotta was built in 1505 AD by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India. Standing on the banks of the Arabian Sea, this prehistoric fort offers panoramic views of the azure waters. One of the most frequently visited Kannur attractions, it overlooks the enthralling Mopilla Bay, a natural harbour. The fort has been a witness to many bitter battles fought to establish supremacy over it as is evident from the tombstones of many soldiers who lost their lives in these battles. It has now been renovated and is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.

2. Kannur Lighthouse

The first lighthouse in Kerala, the 75 feet tall Kannur Lighthouse was constructed in the year 1903 and has been fully functional for over a century. Among Kannur tourist places, it is a major attraction and draws scores of visitors all the time. As you climb up the spiral staircase of the lighthouse, you are greeted by stunning views of the Arabian Sea, the entire city of Kannur, the Baby Beach and even parts of Payyambalam Beach. A fascinating collection of ancient navigational instruments are also on display at the lighthouse which leaves you quite impressed with their flawless engineering and designs. In the evenings you can go for a leisurely stroll in the green lawns of the lighthouse and even enjoy the sight and sounds of a colourful musical fountain.

3. Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach

Among the many beaches that Kannur tourism offers, Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach is the cleanest one. It is also the longest drive-in beach in India and is considered to be one of the very best in the entire Asian continent. You can drive your vehicle along the entire stretch of 4 kms sandy shoreline. The refreshing sea breeze rejuvenates the soul as you get to capture amazing shots of a glorious sunset over the Malabar coastline. Adventure sports enthusiasts can also get an adrenaline rush by enjoying various water sports like paragliding, parasailing, powerboating, etc. Foodies can gorge on the authentic Malabar snacks that are sold on the beach.

4. Palakkayam Thattu

Nestled in the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats and rising to an altitude of 3500 metres above sea level, Palakkayam Thattu is among the most loved Kannur tourist places. It is an alluring hill station of Kerala with dense forests and breathtaking views of the Western Ghats which is famous for its rich biodiversity. Adorned with small hillocks, this picturesque hamlet is a trekker’s paradise. During monsoon, low- hanging clouds drape over the hill-top lending a fresh and misty feel to the area. You would forever cherish your memories of sipping on your refreshment with your loved ones standing amidst the tranquillity here. So if you wish to escape the monotony of city life and take a short relaxing break in the lap of nature, do not forget to include Palakkayam Thattu in your Kannur travel guide. From here, you can also visit Paithalmala, another popular hill station, located just a few kilometres away.

5. Madayipara

Stretching over 700 acres, Madayipara is a green hummock situated in Pazhayangadi town, about 25 kms away from Kannur on the banks of the Kuppam River. This spectacular laterite plateau has one of the most dramatic landscapes in entire Kerala and is a top Kannur attraction not only because of its biodiversity but also for its historical significance. Madayipara used to be the administrative headquarters of the Ezhimala kings. At the southern side of the hill, you can see the remnants of a fort called Pazhi Kotta, which has four watchtowers at its corners. Here, the Vadukunda Shiva Temple and the Jewish pond, shaped like a handheld mirror are notable for their tourist appeal. Often compared to the beautiful Tulip Gardens of Amsterdam, Madayipara is also known as the ‘Land of Flowers’. It is always a riot of vibrant colours and changes its appearance from one season to the next thanks to around 300 species of flowers and plants. Botany enthusiasts are lured by more than 100 species of butterflies, which are found here including the Atlas butterfly, the world’s largest butterfly. Many rare medicinal herbs and several insect-eating plants are also found here.

Things to do in Kannur

Kannur tourism offers its visitors plenty of options for having an enjoyable vacation. In this Kannur travel guide, let’s explore a few things to do in Kannur.

Visit Arakkal Museum

Arakkal Museum is part of the Arakkal Kettu or Arakkal Palace which was formerly the residence of Kerala’s only Muslim royal family - the Arakkal Ali Rajas. This museum bears testimony to the immaculate Muslim architecture and design. The Durbar Hall of the palace has been renovated and converted into a museum by the government and is managed by the Arakkal Family Trust. The museum displays many artefacts and heirlooms including the royal family seal, bronze and silver royal vessels, swords and daggers of the kings, a telescope and royal copies of the Holy Quran. It is a significant part of Kannur tourism for history buffs and offers a glimpse of the heritage of the royal Arakkal Family who had an important role in shaping the history of the Malabar region.

Trip to Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is another popular Kannur attraction. Consisting of tropical and evergreen forests spread over 55 square meters, it is situated at a distance of 60 kms from Kannur and was built in 1984. As you venture deeper into the wilderness, you come across a diverse variety of endangered fauna that includes elephants, spotted deer, gaur, bison, sambar, barking deer, leopard, Nilgiri langur, Malabar giant squirrel, etc. Wildlife aficionados and bird watchers can find more than 215 species of birds and 172 kinds of butterflies here. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary also organizes nature camps for students and there are trekking routes here for nature lovers. The landscape of the sanctuary is interesting to note as it ranges from barely 50 metres from sea level to an altitude of 1145 metres at Katti Betta, its highest peak.

Explore Parassinikkadavu Snake Park

One of the best reptile preservation centres in Asia, Parassinikkadavu Snake Park was built upon the initiative of the Visha Chikitsa Kendra, a medical institute that offers diagnosis and treatment of snake bites. It aims to clarify superstitions and spread mass awareness regarding snakes. It hosts over 150 different species of reptiles including crocodiles, monitor lizards and snakes as well as many species of endemic and migratory water birds. As you wander among the enclosures, you get to read interesting information regarding each reptile’s habitat, moods, peculiarities, food habits, etc. This sanctuary is truly a wildlife explorer’s ideal destination.

Joyrides at Vismaya Water Park

Inaugurated in August 2008, the Vismaya Water Park is a water-themed amusement park in Kannur that is managed and maintained by the Malabar Tourism Development Co-operative Limited. Spread across 30 acres, the park attracts adults and kids alike with its many amusing joyrides and exciting water sports. The park boasts world-class splash pools, restaurants, trendy shops, prayer halls, conference rooms, etc. Virtual waterfall and laser show are two of the chief attractions here. The cosy infrastructure and superb interior décor add to the beautiful ambience of the park and one can enjoy some refreshing moments with close friends here.

Best Time to Visit Kannur

Being a coastal city, Kannur has a tropical humid climate. Summers can get unbearably hot with temperatures soaring to nearly 40-degree centigrade at times and are thus not the best time to visit Kannur. Monsoon months can be ideal for nature lovers as the lush greenery comes out during this season but you should always carry umbrellas and mosquito repellants. As such, the winter season is considered the best season to visit Kannur. Weather is quite pleasant during the months of October till February with the temperature hovering between 13 degrees to 25 degrees centigrade. If you are visiting in winter, make sure to book your hotel in advance to get a better deal.

How to reach Kannur

Kannur is well–linked with the rest of the country through a wide network of airways, railways and roadways. It can be easily reached by tourists throughout the year.

By Airways

Kannur International Airport, located 28 kms east of Kannur, commenced commercial operations very recently in Dec 2018. A few national and international carriers have also started operating flights to Kannur. This number is expected to rise manifold in near future.

The Calicut International Airport situated at a distance of 85 kms from Kannur has served the region so far with flights operating to and from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Mangalore, Chennai as well as a few international locations. Passengers can avail regular cab or bus services to reach their destinations from the airports. 

By Railways

Kannur is a major railhead of the state of Kerala and has its own railway station. It is quite well connected to the important cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, etc., via trains like Mangalore Express, Chennai Mail, West Coast Express, etc. Besides, daily trains run between Kannur and Trivandrum that connects the town with other parts of the country. From Kannur, there are trains to Yeshwantpur, Ernakulam, Mangalore, Mysore, Alappuzha and more.

By Roadways

Kannur has a well-developed road network with many private and state-owned bus services. NH-66 connects Kannur with Kozhikode and Kasaragod, two of the major nearby cities. People can take buses from the Central Bus Stand as well as Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Bus Stand to go to cities like Mysore, Coimbatore, Thrissur, Ooty, Bengaluru, etc. Delux, as well as AC and Non-AC buses, are available for a comfortable journey.

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