Thrissur - A tete a tete with the city
Originally known as : Trichur
Location : Southern India, Kerala
Founded in : From Neolithic Age
Best time to visit : September to May
Local Transport : Auto, buses
Places to see : Vadakkumnathan Temple, Arattupuzha, Peech Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, Art Museum etc.
Souvenirs : Local Kerala handicrafts.
Thrissur - The Tale of the city
Thrissur got its name from “Thiru – Shiva – Perur” which means the City with the name of Lord Siva. Earlier known as Vrishabhadripuram and then Kailasam, Thrissur traces its origin to the Stone Age. Proof of this lies in the Ramavarmapuram monument where the remnants show the menhirs to be existing from Neolithic Age ie between 1000 BC – 500 BC. The history of Thrissur is linked to the Chera dynasty of the Sangam Age. Kodungallur was the capital of the Chera kingdom which was under Cheraman Perumal in the 7th century. Thrissur was the link between Kerala and the outside world. St. Thomas came in 52 AD and spread Christianity here. In 629 AD Cheraman Juma Masjid was constructed. Today it is the oldest mosque in India and the second oldest in the world. The history of Thrissur from the 9th to 12th centuries. In the 14th and the 15th centuries the Zamorins of Calicut took over Thrissur. Then the Portuguese took over and by the beginning of the 17th century, The Dutch and the English took over. In 1341 AD the Periyar River flooded and the river split into tow. In 1776, Hyder Ali captured Thrissur which was under the kingdom of Kochi. In 1790, Sakthan Thampuran ruled Thrissur district. By 1761, the Zamorin was expelled, and the control of Thrissur district was taken over by the Government. The Namboothiri illams were destroyed and Sakthan Thampuran thus contributed to the growth of Thrissur. In the 19th century, Thrissur was witness to a lot of freedom struggle.
Thrissur - Down the Ages
Thrissur, earlier Trichur, is the headquarters of Thrissur district. This is place around a 65 acre hillock, known as the Thekkinkadu Maidan. Down the ages, Thrissur has become the fifth most populous state in Kerala and the second largest city corporation in the state. Thrissur, the Cultural capital of India, is the host of the Thrissur Pooram festival. This is the most phenomenal and spectacular festival in India held in the Thekkinadu Maidan in the months of April or May. It is the place where there are a number of popular temples like the Thiruvambadi temple, Vadakkumnathan temple and the Paramekkavu temple. The churches Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours are also prominent here. Down the ages, Thrissur has come to be a progressive, successful town with a lot of past and the present in tandem.
Thrissur - A Rendezvous
Thrissur, the Neolithic age city has been the centre of learning always and has had the Sanskrit learning flourishing here. Apart from Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism also used to be prevalent here. The Hindu Guru Adi Shankara taught Advaita here. It is believed that the guru settled here after his travels all over India. The disciples of the guru established some religious centers in the north, south, in- between and in the centre. All the centers are extinct now except the in between one.
Thrissur - Travel kitty
With a culture to boast about and a heritage to be proud about, Thrissur, the land of Adi Sankaracharya is a city to reckon with when we tour the State of Kerala. The travel kitty here includes the culture that we can take back and the ambience that we can sense when we reach this place. The nostalgia of being in a city dating back to Neolithic age is a special bonus in the travel kitty. The green surroundings, the purity of the temples and churches around the distinct past simmering around gives a great sense of grandeur to the tourist and he goes back with the choicest of Kerala handicrafts and savories from this land of temples.
Thrissur - Joie de vivre in the city
Any place has a joie de vivre to feel and an entertainment factor to believe in when we visit it. Thrissur with its Pooram festival is an example of culture and tradition and a land to feel proud about. The joie de vivre here remains in enjoying the beauty of the place, its surroundings and understanding the land of Lord Shiva. One can see the following things here:
Vadakkumnathan Temple : This is one of the oldest temples in the State of Kerala. This is a magnificent example of the Kerala style of architecture. The murals and the exquisitely done works of art are proof of the city’s rich culture. This is the place where the world famous Thrissur festival, the Pooram takes place in the months of April May. The fireworks during this time are a sight to always cherish. Non Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
Arattupuzha : The great Thrissur Festival, the Pooram is held in the village temple with over 60 tuskers carrying the images of the Gods and the Goddesses from the neighbouring temples.
Guruvayoor : This lies around 29 km to the northwest of Thrissur. This is where the popular Sree Krishna Temple is located. It is considered one of the most sacred and important pilgrim spots. This temple is a mystery to many. Popular belief has it that the temple was created by “Guru” who is considered to be the preceptor of Gods and “Vayu” the God of Winds. There is the eastern gate which is the main entry to the temple. IN the outer area, there is a tall gold plated flag post which is called the “Dwajastambham”. There is a pillar of lamps which is a 7m high structure called the “Deepastambham”. The thirteen circular receptacles give a fantastic sight for tourists. The sacred sanctorum of the temple is the square “Sreekovil” which has the main deity. There are images of various gods and goddesses inside the temple. Again in this temple only Hindus are allowed.
Punnathoorkotta : This is located around 2 km from Guruvayoor. There are 50 temple elephants here and they offer very unusual magnificent scenes. Ritual offerings are given to the temple, and the elephants are groomed well at this fort. Tourists are not allowed into the hostel of the elephants.
Irinjalakuda Koodal Manikyam Temple: This is around 21 km from Thrissur. This is situated 10km from Irinjalakuda Railway Station. This is dedicated to Bharatha the brother of Sree Rama. There is an Annual Day Festival which has a pageant which has 13 caparisoned elephants. This is held in the months of April and May. This depicts the end of the festival season in the State of Kerala.
Ariyannoor Temple, Kandanissery : This temple has an entrance which has a carved gable. This has been compared to the works of the American artist Louise Nevelson. There is a Sree Krishna Temple at Thirukulashekarapuram, and also a Shiva Temple at Thiruvanchikulam. These temples belong to the 9th century.
Thripayar Temple : This is located to the South of Thrissur. It is one of the more popular temples which are dedicated to Lord Rama. There are intricate wooden carvings and sculptures besides Murals which are a magnificent sight. There is a temple festival which includes 17 elephants. There is the snake boat race during the Onam festival.
Art Museum : This is located in the zoo compound, and has a collection of woodcarvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewellery.
Archaeological Museum: This is a museum which has all the relics of the past and the sculptures and works which are preserved by the Archaeological department.
Town Hall : This is a beautiful building where there are huge lawns and gardens. This is a popular tourist spot as there is lot of art around. There is a gallery for pictures here called the “chitralayam”. The picture gallery has a lot of mural paintings that has been collected from the many parts of Kerala. This is a place where there are public meetings and various cultural programmes are held.
Cheruthuruthy : This is located 32 km to the north of Thrissur. This is the headquarters of the Kerala Kalamandalam that is famous for its Kathakali Training Centre. Vallathol Narayana Menon founded this music and dance academy. Training in other dance forms also takes place here. There are many cultural programmes too which are held here.
Wildlife Sancturay :
Peech Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary : This is a sanctuary that consists of the dense forests of evergreen trees in the catchment areas of the Peechi and the Vazhani dams. With its luscious green surroundings and magnificent view of the entire forest area around Thrissur, this is the location for a number of wild animals and the flora and fauna of this place is something to reckon with.
The Zoo : This is located around 2 kms from Thrissur. It has the facility of a greater expanse of land and the animals are being taken care of well here. Many reptiles and birds are preserved here. The zoo thus has a zoological Garden, Botanical Garden, Art Museum, and a natural history museum which preserves the socio cultural values of the past. Wildlife here includes the cobras, kraits, viper, pink flamingos, lion tailed macaque, monkeys, hippopotamus, camels and sloth bears. There is a special building for the snakes.
Peechi Dam : This lies around 20 km from Thrissur. This is a popular picnic spot with a lot of boating facilities. Buses take people to Peechi Dam from Thrissur. This dam is built across the River Manali. The dam has a catchment area of 3200 acres. There is a huge botanical gardens and magnificent cascading fountains that give a picturesque beauty to surroundings.
Vilangankunnu : This is situated around 7 km from Thrissur city. It is a hillock that has been converted into an amusement park. This beautiful scenic spot offers the best to the tourists and the grownups relax in the scenic beauty and the beautiful ambience, and the luscious surroundings, and the kol wetlands are a remarkable sight. The tourists come here to enjoy the beauty of the sunset here. The Vilangankunnu breeze renders the place very cool and beautiful.
Athirapally Waterfalls : This is located 65 km from Thrissur. The waterfall is 80 ft high. It is amidst the Sholayar ranges and is a famous picnic spot. The Waterfall is very famous with the tourists and is a mesmerizing sight. The greenery and the freshness adds to the ambience and there is a picturesque touch to this place which makes the place enthralling. The cascading waters, the rocky land and the surroundings make the tourist want to come back to this place.
Vazhachal : This is around 68 km from Thrissur. This short drive from Athirapally and the beautiful sight of the waterfall and the closeness of the green forests adds to the beauty of the sight.
Forts and Palaces :
Shakthan Thampuran Palace : This is also known as the Thoppu Palace. The campus area is around 6 acres. The three tombs or Shavakudeerams and the tomb of the lion of Kerala Shaktan Thampuran is found here.
Saint Thomas Memorial, Kodungallur : This is the church of St. Thomas the apostle. He is believed to have landed in Kodungalloor which was earlier known as Muziris. This was established by St.Thomas.
Christian Divine Retreat Centers : These are the places where the retreats are held every week of the year. There are more than 3,00,000 non Christians and many more Christians that meet here and enjoy the sessions on God and where the preaching are of Jesus Christ as the Savior.
Cheraman Juma Masjid, Kodungalloor : This is located around 2 km from the town of Kodungalloor and resembles a Hindu temple. It was built in 629 AD. This is the first mosque in India and the second in the whole world where the Juma prayers were started. It was designed and constructed according to the Hindu art and architecture. The present building has been built in the 16th century. Due to adverse climatic conditions, the mosque had to be reconstructed, still maintaining the interiors made of wood. There is a large Kerala oil lamp in the centre. It is believed locally, that King Cheraman Perumal went to Mecca and adopted Islam and got converted to Thajuddin. He handed over the letters which he had addressed to some other rulers to the King of Jeddah before he died. Cheraman Perumal had married King Jeddha’s daughter. These letters propogated the tenets of Islam in Kerala. King of Jeddha met the Rajah of Kodungalloor and helped in converting the Arathali temple into the Juma Masjid.
Thrissur, the land of Pooram is thus a place to visit and sense the freedom involved in these perfect surroundings. There are some fairs and festivals which are celebrated here:
As we leave the place we think “If wishes were horses, I would have taken Thrissur home!” .