Kannur District is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. The town of Kannur is the district headquarters, and gives the district its name. The old name ‘Cannanore’ is the anglicised form of the Malayalam name Kannur. Kannur is the most urbanised district in Kerala having more than 50% people living in urban areas. Kannur has an urban population of 1,212,898 which is second largest in Kerala after Ernakulam district.
Kannur District is known as the land of looms and lores, because of the number of looms functioning in the district and festivals held in temples. The district is a major centre of Theyyam, a ritual dance of northern Kerala, and small shrines known as kavus associated with the Theyyam dot the district. Kannur is also known for the relatively high level of political violence that occurs in the district, mainly involving CPI(M) activists against perceived rival political opposition and their supporters. The district is set to have a new international airport, the fourth in Kerala.
Kannur district derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town.The old name ‘Cannanore’ is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. According to one opinion, ‘Kannur’ is a derivation from Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur Municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the , deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, ‘Kannan (Lord Krishna) & Ur (place)’ making it the place of Lord Krishna. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the deity of the ‘Katalayi Sreekrishna temple’ was originally installed in a shrine at Katalayi Kotta in the south eastern part of the present Kannur town.
Kannur district came into existence as an administrative unit on January 1 1957, when the erstwhile Malabar District and Kasaragod taluk of Madras state were reconstituted into three revenue districts, viz; Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad. At the time of its formation, the district consisted of seven taluks, viz, Kasaragod, Hosdurg, Taliparamba, Kannur, Thalassery, North Wayanad and South Wayanad. Subsequently, the South Wayanad taluk was included in Kozhikode district with effect from 15th March 1957. Later, on first November 1980, Wayanad district was formed carving out South Wayanad and North Wayanad taluks. Two northern most taluks of Kannur district, viz; Kasaragod and Hosdurg were separated on 24th May 1984 for the formation of Kasaragod district.
Kannur is very well connected with the cities of Kerala via the roadways network. Some important distances from Kannur are: Cochin- 278 Km, Kasaragod- 66 Km, Calicut- 90 Km, Palakkad- 209 Km and Trivandrum- 465 Km
Kannur can be geographically divided into highland, midland and lowland regions. Highlands are the mountainous region forming part of the Western Ghats and are covered by rain forests, plantations of coffee, tea and different types of spices like cardamom. There are also timber plantations in this region. The midland region lies between the highlands and lowlands and is made up of undulating hills and valleys. The lowland is the narrow stretch comprising of rivers, deltas and the coastal region. Six rivers drain Kannur, the longest being the Valapattanam river with a length of 110 km. Other rivers flowing through Kannur district are Kuppam, Mahe River, Anjarakandi, Thalassery, Ramapuram and Perumba.
The district has a humid climate with an oppressive hot season from March to the end of May. This is followed by the South-West monsoon which continues till the end of September. October and November from the post-monsoon or retreating monsoon season. During the months of April and May, the mean daily maximum temperature is about 35 °C. Temperature is low in December and January and the minimum temperature is about 20 °C. On certain days the night temperature may go down to 16 °C , although this is extremely rare. The annual average rainfall is 3438 mm and more than 80% of it occurs during the period of South-West monsoon. The rainfall during July is very heavy and the district receives 68% of the annual rainfall during this season.
Hot season – March to May.
South-west monsoon (Edavappathi) – June to September.
North-east monsoon (Thulavarsham) – October to November.
Dry weather – December to February.
KANNUR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS/ PLACES TO VISIT
A cluster of mangroves on the banks of Vellikeel river in Taliparamba The Aralam Wildlife sanctuary is spread over 55 square kilometres of undulating forested highlands on the slopes of the Western Ghats. It was established in 1984. The headquarters of the sanctuary is near Iritty, a small town about 55 kilometres from Kannur. The sanctuary adjoins the Central state Farm at Aralam. Aralam wild life is situating in Muzhakkunnu panchayathu and Aralam panchayath. Muzhakkunnu is also a tourist spot. The elevation varies from 50 m to 1145 m. The highest peak here Katti Betta rises to a majestic 1145 m above sea level. Covered with tropical and semi evergreen forests, the Aralam Sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats. Herds of deer, elephant, boar and bison are common sights. Leopards, jungle cats and various types of squirrels are also seen here. The proposed Ranipuram wildlife sanctuary of Kasaragod district also has similar flora and fauna as that of Aralam wildlife sanctuary.
Parassinikkadavu Snake Park:
Snake Park is a famous landmark in the district of Snake Park at Parassinikkadavu, en route from Kannur to Taliparamba, 2 km from National Highway(NH) 17. Here one gets to see a large genre of snakes and other small animals and there is even a live show, where trained personnel play and ‘interact’ with a variety of snakes, including cobras and vipers, and seek to quell mythical fears and superstitions about snakes. The Snake Park set up by the Visha Chikista Kendra at Pappinisseri, has been a centre of attraction to both foreign and domestic tourists. This Kendra(center) offers effective treatment for snake bites with almost 100% cure. This is the only place, perhaps where Ayurveda and Allopathy are effectively combined for curing snake bites. The snake park here houses about 150 varieties of snakes including the Spectacled Cobra, King Cobra, Russell’s viper, Krait and various pit vipers. There is also a large collection of non-poisonous snakes including Pythons. A research laboratory to extract venom from snakes is proposed to be set up here. The park is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of snakes, many species of which are getting extinct gradually. It is located 16 km from Kannur. Parassinikkadavu is also noted for the famous Muthappan temple. This is the only temple in Kerala where a Theyyam performance is a daily ritual offering.
St. Angelo’s Fort:
St. Angelo’s Fort, built in 1505 by Sir Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, is situated near the sea coast and about 2 km away from Kannur town. This fort has a legendary past. Having witnessed several wars for seizing the control of the fort, the British flag flew over it finally in 1790. Even now, it is in a fairly good state of preservation, and is a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A painting of this fort and the fishing ferry behind the fort can be seen in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. St Angelo Fort is an important historical monument and tourist centre. Kerala Police has posted six Tourism Police Officers for protection and guidance to the tourists. Among them ,Sathyan Eddakkad has detailed knowledge about this fort and the surrounding places. He wrote and published a book in Malayalam named Vasco Da Gaamyum charithrathile kaanaappurangalum (Vasco Da Gama and the unknown pages of history) in which he describes the past and present of the Fort. The fort, though not as large as the famous Bekal Fort in Kasargod, is a treat to the eyes with lush greenery and well maintained surroundings. The Payyambalam and Government guest house are some of the other famous land marks near the fort.
Sree Ramaswami Temple:
Sree Ramaswami Temple, which is dedicated to Sri Rama, is one of the most important temples in Malabar. It is situated 23 km from Kannur, near Thalasseri fort. The exquisite carvings in the temple are believed to have been done nearly 400 years ago.
Parassinikkadavu Muthappan Temple:
Sree Muthappan is the most popular local god in the north Kerala especially in Kannur district. Muthappan is also the theyyam performed in the famous Muthappan temple 16 km north of Kannur town. Parassinikkadavu Sree Muthappan Temple is situated 18 km away from Kannur on the banks of river Valapattanam. The temple is dedicated to Lord Muthappan, believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. This is the only one temple in Kerala where the Folk art form of North Kerala ‘Theyyam’ is presented daily. Toddy and dried fish are the main offerings in this temple. Facility for boating is also available here. Parassinikkadavu Snake Park is situated near the temple.
Payyambalam Beach is a beach in Kannur district of Kerala in India widely admired for its beauty. This long secluded beach is situated around 2 km from Kannur. This beach is a local picnic spot. There is a well laid out garden and a massive sculpture of mother and child erected by the famous sculptor Kanayi Kunchiraman. Quiet, secluded, this beautiful stretch of sand and surf is the best locale for a relaxed evening irrespective of seasons.