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Thrissur Cultural Capital of Kerala

Thrissur, with its rich history, cultural heritage and archaeological wealth, is rich in cultural activities.

From ancient times, this district has played a significant role in the political history of south India. Thrissur, the name derived from 'Tiru-Shiva-Perur' (the town with the name of Lord Shiva) is the cultural capital of Kerala.

Thrissur is a city situated in the centre of Kerala state, India. It has a population of around 5.2 lakhs. It is an important cultural centre, and is known as the "cultural capital" of Kerala. The name Thrissur is derived from "Thiru-Shiva-Perur", which literally translates to "The city of the Sacred Siva:. In ancient days, Thrissur was known as Vrishabhadripuram as well as Kailasam (Mount Kailas, the abode of Lord Siva in South). From very early times Thrissur has been a centre of learning. With the decline of Buddhism and Jainism due to the growing supremacy of Brahminism and the revival of Hinduism, Thrissur became an important centre of Sanskrit learning. It is believed that the great Hindu Saint, Adi Shankara, was born in answer to the prayer made by his mother at Vadakkunnathan temple. Sankara's disciplesHastamalaka, Thotaka, Padmapada and Sudhachara established four Madhoms (mutts) in the city, namely the Northern Madhom, the Middle Madhom, the In - Between Madhom and the Southern Madhom respectively.

Other festival of this city "Puli Kali" (Tiger Play) and "Kummatti" (Mask Dance) that form part of Onam celebrations, the national festival of Kerala (Aug-Sept). They consist of enthusiastic processions of men painted and made-up as tigers, all members of different clubs that organize the event. Thousands gather to watch the 'tigers' dancing to the beat of drums. Kerala Sahithya Academy, Sangeetha Nataka Academy and Kerala Lalithakala Academy (State Academies of Literature, Fine Arts and Theatrical Arts) are head quartered at Thrissur making the epithet 'cultural capital of Kerala' really significant. The internationally acclaimed Kerala Kalamandalam, a state academy for the promotion of classical arts is also situated at Cheruthuruthy, around 30 kms from Thrissur town.

Geography and Climate

Thrissur is situated in south western India 10.52A^o N 76.21A^o E and is at sea level. It spans an area of about 66.15 Sq. km. The center of the city is the Vadakkunnathan temple located on a small hillock. Thrissur Round (Swaraj Round) is one of the largest roundabouts in the world. The city enjoys a tropical climate, and the monsoons start in June. Although the months of April-May can be very humid the famous Thrissur Pooram makes it a rewarding time to visit the city. The best weather is from October to February. Thrissur is well connected to other cities in Kerala by both Rail and Road. It is within 55 km of the new Kochi International Airport and 80 km from Kozhikode Airport. Thrissur Railway Station is on the artery of the railway line connecting the Southern part of Kerala to the rest of India. Thrissur also lies on the National Highway NH-47. It is well connected to nearby cities and towns like Kochi, Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Palakkad.

Thrissur the heritage

The legend: Lord Parasurama after reclaiming kerala divided 64 gramas (domains) and the sivapuram gramam was the origin of Thrissur. The puram turned to peroor and Thrissivaperoor . Thiru is honorary, may be to lord "Vadakumnathan"

Town planning

During the flood of 1924 A.D( the biggest flood thrissur have ever seen), the locals of thrissur town went to neighboring places to see the "flood" as per the elders!!!!!!!!. Thrissur was having such a natural drainage system. The planning of the "gods own town" was immaculate. Prof. Gaddis, the renowned town planner from London illustrates about "vadakunnathan" and the Swaraj round. The temple is over a small hillock. The temple premise is large and plain having a strong & gigantic compound wall. The ground surrounding the temple is the heart of the town and the works as lungs to the people. The boundaries of the rounded ground are like a belly belt. And from this belt, exactly like the blood vessels the roads start to different directions. Lavishly praising to the natural drainage system Prof. Gaddis adds "To me this is the dream model. Instead of the temple, I would design a market in the center"

Some 100 + Years Ago - Thrissur had/was

Chiras (small lake / large pond) - Erattachira(Double chira). Earlier it was "southern chira" covering a vide area. After the completion of small road connecting mission quarters to "puthenpetta"( 5 lamps) it become erattachira . One far end of Pattalam and other one eastern side. The present Sakthan vegitable market was the first one and the second one was present manorama traffic island and the west end of "Ikkandawarrier road" Eastern chira was filled by natural erosion and part of it was turned to paddy field and Pattalam chira was filled by municipal authorities in early 1960's Western chira and Northern chira are still there. But adjacent to Northern chira there was another chira "kachery chira" ( theendary chira) (kachery means office) where present North Bus stand is built. There was east fort and west fort in thrissur but there are few "kulams" (ponds)surrounding the town. Kannankulam (south), Achenkulam (south west) changarankulam (west) kuttan kulam (north west) and keeramkulam(east). The surrounding places turned "kara" viz "kannamkulamgera". keeramkulengara etc.

Pattalam - A company of British army was stationed near the northern side of the "erattachira Siva temple" for some years. Hence the name Pattalam road and Pattalam. These army men (most of them were south Indians) used to take drill at the vacant space near present stadium and the British caption was staying at near by bungalow. This ground was called as "aniparambu" and the bungalow was called "aniparambu bunglow" which is the present Ramanilayam old block. Most of these jawans were Muslims and they practiced "pulikali"(mask dance) inside camp during their festival. Of course there were local help. This was the origin of "pulikali"

The present town hall was built at then famous "hanigton park", near aniprambhu Sakthan Thampuran(1751-1805) invited few tamil bramins and they settled at "ponganam"( pookunnam) and started textile business. The commencement of Sitaram Textile Mill gave a facelift to this area. Sakthan also brought 64 Christian families from suburbs (kattoor, kallor, chettupuzha etc) who settled at thrisuur town. (family names ending "karan" may be denoting were a they came from ) That settlement turned a business center called "puthenpetta".( anjuvilakku - 5 lamps - high road). The "Friday market" was famous and commodities are traded here and shipped to various places through "Aranattukara" port. Aranattukara was 24*7 port at that time. During the tenure of Diwan Sankunnimenon, a new canal was built (puthen thode) and the present "vanchi kadavu" near poothole (west to railway line near to goods shed) was formed. Gradually it turned to a mini port.

The corporation office was built in "vandipetta" (parking place to bullock cart) to "havalock" (the main market of thrissur that time) market. The arch shaped entrance to market and near by chowka (police station) was there till early 60's. This was demolished and "jaihind market building" was constructed.

The first multi storied building was3 storied "nadakavukaran buiding" (the corporation building at hospital-high road corner?). There was only one church in thrissur town - the chaldian Syrian church. The Lourdes and New church was built latter. The model girls high school was "Victoria Jubilee Cast Girls School". The CMS School was at mission quarters. The round south was the only business area and the rest were residential area. Pazhaya Nadakkavu mostly Bhramins Naduvilal to naikanal and Model high school to Paramekkavu (with round about) mostly Nair houses. There were two peepul trees (alumaram) in naduvilal and the road was in between. There was a peepul tree in front of Thiruvambady temple at the center of the road.

Night Mares: In northern round about in front of the present banerji club there was a "kanjiramaram" and thara. It was a "yakshi thara" as per legend. however pedestrian avoided this area after 8 p.m till 1940's.

Today, Thrissur is world famous for its Pooram Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals of Kerala. Built around a hillock top, Thrissur houses the Kerala Kala Mandalam, the Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Nataka Academy.

Prime Attractions In Thrissur


Vadakkumnathan Temple

One of the oldest temples in the state, the Vadakkumnathan Temple is a classical example of the Kerala style of architecture and has many decorative murals and works of art. This is the venue of the world famous Pooram festival, celebrated annually in April - May. The fireworks at the Pooram are a spectacular sight. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. (Open: 04.00 - 10.30 am & 05.00 - 08.30)

Its most prominent feature is the Vadakkumnathan Kshethram or temple, which has Shiva as its presiding deity. Many rulers and dynasties beginning with the Zamorins of Kozhikode, Tipu Sultan of Mysore and Europeans including the Dutch and the British have had a hand in moulding the destiny of this region. Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran was the architect of the present Thrissur town.

Guruvayoor Temple

The historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple was created by 'Guru' - the preceptor of the gods and 'Vayu' - the god of winds.

The eastern 'nada' is the main entrance to the shrine. In the Chuttambalam (outer enclosure) is a 33.5 m tall gold-plated 'Dwajastambham' (flagpost). There is also a 7-M high 'Deepastambham' (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly brillant spectacle when lit.

The square 'Sreekovil' is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deit.

Arattupuzha Temple

The Pooram Festival at the village temple in March / April features a ceremonial pageant of over 60 tuskers carrying the images of the deities of 23 neighbouring temples.

Arattupuzha temple is open 05:00 - 09:30 Am & 05:00 - 07:00 Pm


Art Museum

Located in the zoo compound, the art museum displays collections of woodcarvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewellery.

Open 10.00 am - 05.00 pm on all days except Mondays.

Archaeological Museum

Located on the Town Hall Road, the museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays and national holidays.


Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary

Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary The Peechi-Vazhani Sanctuary comprising of the dense, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests is situated in the catchment area of the Peechi and Vazhani dams.



Situated 2 kms from Thrissur town, it is open from 9.00am - 05.00 pm on all days except Mondays.

Town Hall

Houses the picture gallery where mural paintings from all parts of Kerala are on display. Aquarium: Close to the Nehru Park. Open 03.00 - 08.00 pm.

Peechi Dam

20 km east of Thrissur, this picnic spot offers boating facilities. There are frequent private buses from Thrissur. Built across the Manali River, the dam is a vast catchment area of nearly 3200 acres with extensive botanical gardens and cascading fountains offer numerous inviting avenues for tourists.


(7 km from Thrissur) The Children's Park on this beautiful hillside picnic spot offers amusement rides. It remains open from 07:00 am until 07:00 pm.

Excursions Of Thrissur


Punnathoor Kotta

(2 km from Guruvayoor) This home of 50 temple elephants offers unusual spectacles of the gentle pachyderm. Brought as ritual offerings to the temple, these elephants are groomed at this fort. Visitors are allowed into this elephant hostel.


(32 km north of Thrissur) Cheruthuruthy is the seat of the Kerala Kalamandalam, renowned the world over for its Kathakali Training Centre. This music and dance academy was founded by the famous poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon. Training in Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Thullal and other traditional art forms is imparted here. Cultural programs are also arranged.

Bible Tower, The Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral and The Our Lady of Dolors "New Church" Basilica (the biggest in South Asia).

Cheraman Masjid

The foremost Muslim mosque in India is in kodungallore. The earlier names of Kodungallur were musris, muchiripattanam, shingali, kodumkaliyoorr etc. Besides the main temple - Sree Kurumbha bagavathy temple - mele thali,kezhe thali, nediya thali and ara thali - temples were also here in Kodungallur. Musris was "Nalanda" of kerala and biggest sea port of this continent. When muslims requested a place for worship the Chera king Perumal gave ara thali temple to them. The deity was shifted to adjacent "Thiruvanchikulam" temple . That deity is called "arathali thevar". Muslim's built the first mosque in India at the original ara thali temple.


Athirapally Waterfalls

(65 km from Thrissur) This 80 foot high waterfall at the threshold of the Sholayar ranges is a popular picnic spot.


Vazhachal Waterfall (68 km from Thrissur) Just a short drive from Athirapally, this picturesque waterfall is close to dense green forests and is a part of the Chalakudy river. Athirapally and Vazhachal are the most famous waterfalls of Kerala that attract tourists in plenty.

Forts & Palaces

Shakthan Thampuran Palace

Also known as Palace Thoppu, the campus covers an area of 6 acres. Here one can see three tombs (Shavakudeerams) including that of Shakthan Thampuran, the greatest ruler of the Cochin dynasty.

Fairs & Festivals of Thrissur

  • Thrissur Pooram
  • Aarattupuzha Pooram
  • Peruvanam Pooram
  • Irinjalakkuda Ultsavam
  • Kodungallore Bharani - Thalapoly
  • Uthralikkavu Pooram
  • Machattu Mamangam

Nearby Cities of Thrissur

  • Coimbatore (114 km)
  • Kozhikode (Calicut) (102 km)
  • Kochi (79 km)
  • Dindigul (237 km)

How to Get to Thrissur

  • Air
    Nearest international airport is at Nedumbassery, 58 kms away.
  • Rail
    Thrissur is an important railhead of the Southern Railways.
  • Road
    The place is well connected with almost all the major towns and cities of India.