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Thrissur Guide

Thrissur , the cultural capital of Kerala is famous for at least a million things! From the grandeur of Thrissur pooram, which is world famous for its impressive congregation of caparisoned elephants to its many legendary temples and religious places around, this city  offers something special for everyone. Thrissur is well acclaimed for its cultural, spiritual and religious leanings and is a city where tradition and modernity blends perfectly.

Thrissur District

Area: 3032 sq. km Population: 2,733,311 Altitude: Sea level

Located in the middle of Kerala. Cultural capital of Kerala. Capital of gold jewellery trade in Kerala. Town is with many historical credentials.

Popular attractions in the Cultural Capital of Kerala.

Vadakkumnathan Temple:

A very big temple in 10 acres, said to have been built by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala. Here the deity is Shiva. The famous ‘Thrissur Pooram’, fathered by Shaktan Tampuran, is celebrated in the precincts of the temple. To facilitate the Pooram he cleared teak forests of 54 acres around the temple. The temple is enclosed by 15 ft massive walls....Click here to see more

Thrissur Pooram:

Once seen many of the oversea’s visitors to Kerala schedule their next visit to coincide with Thrissur Pooram. The Pooram venue is in the heart of Thrissur town and in the precincts of Vadakkumnathan Temple. The festivity is sponsored by two prominent temples in the city – Thiruvampady and Paramekavu. Vadakkumnathan temple has no part to play in the festivity. The sponsoring temples conduct the festivity at their own cost as an offering to the deity in Vadakkumnathan.....Click here to see more


Pulikkali means tiger-play. This is Thrissur’s own. This takes place on the 4th day of Onam in Thrissur town. Performed on competition basis by various cultural Clubs. Dozens of youngsters get transformed into tigers by getting their body painted tiger-like. The transformation process takes 7 to 8 hours. The Pulies descent in the Swaraj Round and perform tiger-like actions to the amusement of large spectators. Throughout the play the town will be literally surcharged with thrill.

Shakthan Tampuran Palace:

The palace exemplifies simple lifestyle of Kerala’s erstwhile rulers. There are several halls, including a performance hall for stage performance. The garden in the lawns is beautiful. A Shiva temple, a snake shrine and tank complete the list in the compound.

Archaeological Museum:

It is housed in the 200 year old Shaktan Tampuran Palace, the former residence of the Kochi Royal family. Huge burial pots, beheading axes, a massive iron studded treasury box, wooden models of grand old temples of Kerala, Harappan shards and menhirs are among the collections . The sati-stones, and heroin stones are exceptionally good collections. The 'palliyara' or the bed chamber flaunting a carved wooden four poster and vibrant ceramic tiles is of special interest. There is also a heritage garden next to a delightful lily pond where you can cool off in the shade listening to the chirping of exotic birds flitting through the greenery.


The 13 odd 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 is there within the zoo 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. A beaten silver Anantha (snake god) is a show-piece.

Marthoma Mariam Big Church:

This Chaldean Syrian Church is age-old and the headquarter of Chaldean Syrian Churches in India. Part of the Mass still conducted in Syniac. There is no idols or pictorial representation of Christ or anyone else inside the Chapel. The prayer hall has chandeliers and colour glass balls hung from the ceiling. The ornate carving on wooden beams, pulpit and chor gallery are amazing.

Dolores Basilica:

Located 2-km away from the town, near Jubilee Mission Medical College. The 1875-built Roman Catholic Church is locally called Puthen Palli. The 140 ft long steeple is visible from anywhere in the town. The chapel has 15 altars. It boasts of neo Gothic spires and the largest interior of any church in South India. services Mon-sat 7-9am & sun 7.30 to 9.30 am).this chaldean church is dedicated to Mary and is the most ancient of all Kerala Christian centres. However not much of the original structure remains as the church was extensively renovated in the nineteenth century.

There are two festivals here. One is on 1st Sunday of November and the second is on 15th September.

Lourdes Cathedral: The 3rd big church in Thrissur. Its uniqueness lies in the underground prayer chamber. The 80 metre Bell Tower is also open to visitors ( Tue- Fri 10am -1pm & 2-6pm. Sat & Sun 10am -1pm and 2-7.30pm) You can climb the 350 steps or take the lift to the top from where views extend across the palms to the foothills of the distant ghats. There is also a permanent exhibition of artwork depicting the life of Jesus which lines the tower staircase, ranging from beautifully detailed stained glass windows to garish frescoes and wood carvings.

The Culture Headquarters:

En-route to the Town Hall, Kerala Sahitya Academy functions in a spacious bunglow formerly used as District Court. A “Literature is Thriving” board greets the visitors to the Academy. An elaborate picture gallery of Malayalam littérateurs allows the visitors to know the writers in figure.

Few metres away there exists Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy, established to preserve and train the arts of music and dance. Expositions of dance, drama, theatre and folk arts are routine here. A library with elaborate tomes on these subjects also functions here.

Again few metres away Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy stands up. The Academy is housed in a simple but beautiful Laurie Baker building. Workshops, artists’ camps and exhibitions for the benefit of artists held here frequently.

Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy:

32 km north of Thrissur. This Institution was founded by famous poet late Vallathol Narayanan Menon. Training in the ethnic performing arts of Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Thullal and other arts form of Kerala is imparted here. There is an Art Gallery. This institution is world renowned where you can experience the awesome physical and spiritual dedication required to keep the torch of Kerala art forms burning...Click here to read more

Thairuvillamala Punarjani Noozhal (Rebirth Crawling):

Thiruvillamala is about 28 km km away from Thrissur town. There is a cave called Punarjani just 2.5 km away from Villwadhinatha temple in Thiruvillamala. There are so many legends and rituals for the Puinarjani Noozhal. The belief is that Punarjani Noozhal puts a deadly stop to one’s life time’s bad deeds.

Punarjani was carved out by Vishwakarmavu on the orders of Devendran following the pray of Parasuram, is the legend. 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. It takes about 45 minutes for a devotee to emerge at the other end of the cave which is unlighted and dark havimg a man’s high hole.

After emerging from the Guha (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 Pathalathirtham made by Parasuram is supposed to have the presence of Bhrahmakamandulu Thirtha.

The rituals end with the collection of Kombuthirtham and Ambuthirtham.

The Noozhal ritual is conducted on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi day of the Vrichikam (November/December).

There is a movement to make this place as a daily pilgrimage centre. This movement is however is seen by some devotees as negative as they fear the sanctity of Thirtha Bonds and Punarjani will be tarnished.

Arattupuzha Temple:

16 km away. The deity is Dharma Sastha. The temple is 1500 years old. In its annual festival 41 temples participate. The deities-seated elephants representing the temples march to this temple on Pooram day. 65 to 101 caprisoned panchyderms mesmerize the event. The temple orchestra flows from hundreds of temple instruments and the rhythmic sounds electrify the atmosphere and thousands of spectators ride to the peak of amusement. This sporadic event is in the night.The leadership of the festival is bestowed on the deity of Shree Rama Temple in Triprayar, about 12-km from Aratupuzha. This Pooram is a mega event and attending it will do away the sins of a whole year, it is believed. The entire route, stretching 12-km, of Shree Rama from Triprayar to Aratupuzha get make-up by the villagers and wait thousands in excitement to see the deity passes through in the night. The full stretch of the route is also thrilled by fireworks from one end to the other end.


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


Kunnamkulam town is located 25 km north west of Thrissur town. This town is famous for note book manufacture. Kunnakulam is smart enough to produce any product similar to the products available in the market at cheapest rate.

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.


Home of Sri Krishna Temple. 32 km away. The temple is very famous and the devotees come here from far away. Some days hours warrant in queue to reach the sanctum due to bulging devotees. During night thousands of oil-lamps lit around the temple and a dance form of Kerala, Krishnattom, kick-starts. The devotees believe that the presence in the precincts of the temple wards off the evils. Here there is peculiar system of offering called ‘Thulabharam’. 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. This is Thulabharam. The solemnization of wedding is an up-keep tradition here. In some days the solemnization crosses 150 marks. The architectural beauty of the temple is commentable. Unfortunately, in Kerala, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temples. The more enlightened and forward looking demand entry for all in all temples. Hope the things will change....Click here to see more

Punnathur Kota ( Elephant Sanctuary):

3 km away from Guruvayur temple. The elephants got as offering in Guruvayur temple are housed here. At present there are 65 elephants. Visitors allowed.

On the wayside of the south ring road of the temple a tall elephant stands stubbornly. The passers-by moor here to grab its beauty. The alive-like portrait is of Guruvayur Kesavan, a beloved pachyderm of the temple. This elephant was gifted by the king of Nilambur (Malabar). He was so obedient and loving, the whole Kerala wept on the news of his death due to old-age. He is garlanded daily.

The temple runs an institute of mural paintings. A museum in the office compound has showcased some of the offerings by devotees.

Palayur Church:

The oldest church in India and one of the seven founded by St Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD.The church is little away from Guruvayur. A silver statue of St Thomas on the roof and charming stone lamps are noteworthy. Each Tuesday a novena and mass held in hour of St Thomas. A boat is moored in a pond in commemoration of St Thomas’s arrival at Palayur. A multi-faceted museum in the name of St Thomas is coming up.


A small town with enveloping backwaters and the sea is located 36-km from Thrisssur. Kodungallur had a glorious past,which vanished with the pass of time. In the past it had a reputation as gateway to India. The Jews first set their foot in Kodungallur. The port of Muziris (ancient name of present Kodangallur) was bustling with activities then. Muzris was described in the 1st century AD by the Roman traveller Pliny as the most important trading post in India. Several vessels to carry pepper, sandalwood, teak, silks and other hill produces were berthed in the port. Jews were followed by Portuguese, Arabs, Chinese and British. Once considered as the Rome of East because of its Christianity and reckoning as a trade centre lost its prominence in 14th century. Following a devastating flood the port was chocked up and created a natural harbour at Kochi on the same time. St Thomas, the Apostle, landed here in 52 AD. St Thomas converted Brahmins to Christianity and built the first of his 7.5 churches at Palayur, near Chavakad (46-km north of Kodungallur) which claims to be the oldest church in India. Jews followed a decade after St Thomas arrived.

India’s first mosque was built in Kodungallur during 629 AD by the king Cheraman Perumal after he converted himself to Islam. St Thomas, Cheraman Perumal and Kodungallur Bhagavathy (the diety of the temple here) have influenced the life and culture of the people here....Click here to see more

Kodungallur Bhagwathi Temple:

The temple was built by Chera king, Chenguthuvan. The deity, Kannagi (also called Bhadrakali or Bhagavathi) possesses immense power, it is believed. The main festival called Bharani is celebrated in Meenam (March-April) to symbolize the killing of demon. The temple has an unusual system during its festival. During the seven-day long festivals obscene songs are sung by the devotees to appease the deity. The intensity of the songs has come down considerably following vehement protests from various learned sections. The government is afraid of banning it, fearing backlash from some sections. Yet another unusual ritualistic custom also prevails here – butchering of chicken during the festival. There is a marked venue and Kozhikallue (chicken-stone) for this purpose.

Believe it or not, thousands of pilgrims, mostly from Kasargode and Kannur districts (north end of Kerala – Thrissur is in the middle of Kerala) with swords in hands come during the festival. On 'Kavuthindal', the first day, the pilgrims run en masse around the temple three times at break neck speed, beating its walls with sticks. An important section of devotees are the crimson-clad village oracles wielding scythe-like swords.They agitate and dance before the temple or gash on their heads often drawing blood, to appease the goddess and earn her blessings for well-being.


Azhikode is located near Kodungalloor. Azhikode shot into fame due to the Marthoma Pontifical Shrine here. This shrine is built on the model of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was built to commemorate the landing of St Thomas the Apostle in India at Kodungalloor. 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.

Azhikode has a fishing port. It is a busy port engaged in activities throughout. Dozens of fishing boats are seen always in the port.

Marthoma Podifical Shrine:

Located at Azhikode, near Kodungallur. The shrine is built with colonnades and modelled as St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church was built to commemorate the landing of St Thomas in India (in Kozhikode) in 52 AD. St Thomas’ arrival is depicted in a painting inside. A relic (bone of the right arm of St Thomas) is preserved here and the same is deposited in a separate shrine. The church is of cosmopolitan nature. People from all castes come here for blessings.

Cheraman Juma Masjid:

Located at Methala, near Kodungallur. The oldest mosque in India, Cherman Juma Masjid, was built during 628 AD, that is, seven years after the prophet Mohamed settled in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The mosque wears Hindu architecture style as it was built by a Hindu convert to Islam, king Cheraman Perumal who emigrated Mecca. The present structure mosque is also considered as the second oldest in the world. The present structure has been partly rebuilt with only the original wooden interiors remaining intact.There is a large Kerala oil lamp in the centre and people from all communities bring oil on special occasions. In an anteroom, a small mausoleum is said to be the burial place of Habib Bin Malik, an envoy sent from Mecca by Cheraman Perumal. Women are not allowed into the mosque at any time.The mosque had the rare honour of a visit by the President of India, A P J Abdul Kalam, recently.


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 Kshetram (temple).

Koodalmanikyam Temple:

Located at Irinjalakuda, 16-km away from Kudungallur and 25-km from Thrissur. The deity is Bharat, the brother of Rama. The temple is of 9th century old. The temple has many structures which were repaired by during the rule of Shaktan Tampuran. There is a 10-day long festival during Medam (April-May). The staging of Kerala’s own art forms in each day forms the essential part of Pooram.

During Karkidakam (July-August) Anguliangamkoothu, Ramayanamkoothu and Koodiyattam (all the three are Kerala’s own performing arts) staged here....Click here to see more

Koratty Muthi Church:

Koratty is about 25-km away from Kodungallur and about 40-km from Thrissur on NH 47. If the Cheraman mosque was built in Hindu temple style, the shrine of Koratty Muthi (Mother Mary) is also on the same Hindu pattern. This shrine is very popular, attracting large number of pilgrims, mostly Hindus. Inside the shrine there are 12 Apostles carved in wood. The statue of Mother Mary is crowned by Holy Trinity and Mary’s life scenes are neatly painted on the walls. There is a Rosarya Village outside the church with 15 mini chapels. A statue of Christ is Padmasana pose, very rarely seen anywhere, at least not seen in Kerala, is an exclusive speciality of this shrine.


Chavakkad, a small coastal town, is located near Guruvayur. Its beach lies unattended with no shacks or food stalls. 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.


This small coastal town is located 14 km south of Guruvayur on NH 17. This coconut palm lined town and its side-walks are ideal for leisure walk. A 20 minute walk is enough to reach Vatanapilly beach which is ideal for strolling.


3 km south of Vatanapilly is Thalikulam, a coastal mofussil centre on NH 17. Thalikulam beach, a silent beach, is 20 minute walk away from Thalikulam centre. For hay-walk and leisure the beach with no crowd is ideal.


2 km south of Thalikulam on NH 17 is Nattika. This too is a mofussil centre. A 25 minute walk lands one in Nattika beach, a silent beautiful beach, ideal for strolling and leisure.


One kilometre south of Nattika is Triprayar, a small mofussil town on NH 17. This town is a commercial centre. The famous Sri Rama temple is located 500 metres east of the town in the banks of Canoli Canal. Ekadasi in the month of Vrischikam (November/December) is the main festival here. Hundreds of devotees daily visit this shrine. The deity of this temple, Sri Rama, occupies centre stage in the famous Arattupuzha Pooram which is in the month of Medam (April/May).

Shree Rama Temple:

Situated at Triprayar, in between Guruvayur and Kodungallur, with equal distance of 25-km to both the places. The deity here is Shree Rama in the form of Chaturbhuja - four arms with conch, disc, bow and garland (one item in one hand). The deity is considered as Trimurthi (three Gods) as there is a semblance of Shiva and Brahma to the idol of Rama. The leadership of the famous Arattupuzha Pooram is bestowed on this temple. Though 41 temples participate in Arattupuzha Pooram with dozens of elephants, only the deity of Shree Rama temple is given the right to carry the deity and Kolam on the elephant during Arattupuzha Pooram. The 7-day lasting Pooram in Shree Rama temple begins 5 days prior to Arattupuzha Pooram. During the 7 days the real show of festival is only on the 1st and last days. Rest of the 5 days, the deity on elephant goes out of the temple to visit his devotees in the neighbouring villages. This festival is in Meenam (March-April). Ekadashi in Vrischikam (November-December) is also celebrated here as a grand festival.

Chimmony Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary:

35 km from Thrissur town. Mountains are all around with various species of trees. The sanctuary beholds all types of animals. The mountains a jumbo trees battle for prominency. Most of the time the wildlife shy-away from open space, leaving behind their roaring sounds.. Here camping tents are there to gulp down the nature’s tonic. Wild Kerala Tour Co at Mattanchery, Fort Kochi organizes 1-3 days programmes in forests and trekking. They provide camping facilities with food.

Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary:

The sanctuary’s around there are Peechi-Vazhani twin reservoirs, north of Chimmony. A cruise in the reservoirs can amply enjoy the beauty of forests.


Chalakudy town is located 30 km south of Thrissur town on NH 47. It is a commercial and trading centre. Chalakudy River flows nearby...Click here to read more


35 km from Thrissur. The waterfalls in Athirapilly is highly attractive and a crowd puller. It is a shooting site for the filmfolks. The Falls from a fairly good height pierce through furious rocks down to the rock-beds, creating water-sparks. Across down the road, about 1.5 km away, the Chapra Falls nab the visitors to its fold. Move further about 5 km to the glamourous Vazhachal Falls. Further east, Akkayam Falls impatiently awaits to lure the visitors. ...Click here to see more

Enroute to Athirapilloy there are two water parks. Certainly, once in, the children will refuse to leave Dreamworld Water Park.


28 km from Thrissur town. The entire coast of Thrissur is revelling in beautiful beaches. There are several entry points to the beaches. All the beaches are palm-fringed.

Crow Habitat

For crow lovers the right place to enjoy is Kakkathuruth (Crow Island) in Kunnamkulam, about 25 km away from Thrissur town... Click here to read more

Potta Divine Retreat Center

The Divine Retreat Centre is the largest Catholic retreat centre in the world. Over 10 million pilgrims from all over the world have attended retreats here since 1990,till 2010. Weekly retreats in 7 languages are held non-stop every week of the year. It is truly an achievement possible only by the grace of God... Click here to read more

More Villages In Thrissur

Temples In Thrissur


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