Thrissur

Thrissur, with its history cultural heritage and archaelogical wealth is called the cultural capital of Kerala. From ancient times, this district had played a significant role in the political history of South India. 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 Ram Varma popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran was the architect of the present Thrissur town. He ascended the throne in 1790. Cochin state was captured by the Zamorians of Calicut in the 15th Century and the later by Tipu Sultan in the 18th Century.

Kerala has no dearth of occasions to celebrate. The fairs and festival form an integral part of the rich cultural heritage.

Thrissur is famous for its 'Pooram Festival' which is celebrated at the Vadakkunatha Temple annually in April-May every year. This is a mammoth spectacle with arrays of thirty carparisned elephants bedecked with gold ornaments. Each elephant is ridden by three matouts holding objects symbolizing Royalty - the 'Alavattom, Venchamaram and Muthukkuda'. The beats of drums and cymbals -Chenda Melam adds spice to the festival.

A cultural center, The Kerala Kalamandalam, The Kerala Sahithya Acdemy and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy are located here. The Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Training Center at Cheruthuruthy is of wide reputed. The other dance forms like. Mohiniyattom, Thullal etc. are also taught here. 
  
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 pieces of art. This is the venue of the world famous Pooram festival celebrated annually in April-May. The fireworks at the Poaram are a spectacular sight. Non Hindus are not allowed entry into the temple. 
 
Archaeological Museum - Town Hall Road.
 
Open from 1000 - 1700 hrs on all days except Mondays and national holidays. 
 
Zoo - 2 km from Thrissur town.
 
Open from 0900 - 1700 hrs on all days except Mondays. 
 
Art Museum
 
Located in the Zoo compound, the art museum displays collections of wood carvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewellery. (Open 1000 - 1700 hrs on all days except Mondays) 
 
Town Hall
 
Houses the Picture Gallery where mural paintings from parts of Kerala are on display.
 
Aquarium
 
This is near Nehru Park (open 15:00 - 20:00 hrs). Vilangankunnu (7km from Thrissur): This is a beautiful hill which is a good picnic spot. 
 
Arattupuzha
 
This village is known for the annual Pooram festival at the temple in April/May. The uniqueness of this festival is the ceremonial processions carrying the images of the deities of 41 neighbouring temples to this village. 
 
Peechi dam - 20 km east of Thrissur.
 
This picnic spot offers boating facilities. There are frequent private buses from Thrissur to Peechi dam 
 
Christian Divine Retreat Centres
 
They are located at Muringoor and Potta near Chalakudi, on the Kochi - Thrissur route.

Guruvayoor - 29 km west of Thrissur
 
Guruvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Kerala. Its main attraction is the Sree Krishna temple. This historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple is the creation of 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 the tall 33.5 m high gold plated Dwajathambam (flag post). There is also a 7 m high Dipastambham (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly gorgeous spectacle when lit. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple there are also the images of Ganapathy, Lord Ayyappa and Edathedattu Kavil BhagaVathy. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
 
Guruvayoor is connected by road with several important cities of India. (KSRTC enquiry: 5564150) 
 
Punnathoorkotta - 2 km from Guruvayoor
 
This place is home to the temple elephants numbering over 40. Visitors are allowed. 
  
Irinjalakuda Koodal Manikyam temple - 21 km from Thrissur.
 
Situated 10 km away from Irinjalakuda railway station, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Bharatha, the brother of Sri Rama. It is perhaps the only temple in India with Bharatha as the deity. The colourful eleven day annual festival with a pageant of thirteen caparisoned elephants is held in April/May. The festival in this temple marks the end of the Hindu temple festival season in Kerala. 
 
Cheruthuruthy - 32 km north of Thrissur.
 
Cheruthuruthy is the seat of the Kerala Kalamandalam, renowned the world over for its Kathakali training centre. The music and dance academy was founded by the famous poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon. Training in Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Thullal and other art forms of Kerala is imparted here. 
 
Ariyannoor temple, Kandanisserry
 
This temple has a carved entrance gable which has been compared to the wooden sculptures of American artist Louise Nevelson. The Siva temple at Thiruvanchikulam as well as the Sri Krishna temple at Thirukulashekharapuram are believed to be monuments from the 9th century. 
 
Athirapally - 63km from Thrissur.
 
At the entrance to the Sholayar ranges, this 80 foot high waterfall is a popular picnic spot. 
 
Vazhachal - 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 and favourite destinations of tourists.
 
Shakthan Thampuran Palace
 
Also known as Palace Thoppu, the campus covers an area of 6 acres. Here you can see 3 shava kudeerams (tombs) including that of the renowned Shakthan Thampuran. 
 
Saint Thomas Memorial, Kodungalloor
 
St. Thomas is believed to have landed in Kodungalloor (formerly called Muziris) in 52 AD. The St. Thomas Church established by the apostle houses holy relics from the olden days. 
 
Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungalloor
 
Located 2 km from Kodungalloor town, this mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance. Built in 629 AD, this is the First mosque in India and the second in the world where Juma prayers were started. Other places of interest nearby include Cheramanparambu, the ancient Thiruvanchikulam Temple, the Bhagavathi Temple and the Portuguese fort.