Kerala has about 14 districts, and each district has some distinguishing features that set it apart from the rest. Planning a trip to the various districts in the state is an exhilarating experience, a magical one even, as you get to experience one new thing after the other.
Today, we can explore Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala and go on an exhilarating, whimsical ride. Thrissur, a beautiful district located right in the middle of Kerala is the cradle of culture and hence, known as the cultural capital.
Thrissur is also home to several colorful festivals and events, the most important being the Thrissur Pooram. The people of Thrissur are friendly and will always regale you with interesting stories of the past.
While exploring Thrissur, make sure you include the following in your itinerary:
1. Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple
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Guruvayoor, located 30 kms from Thrissur, is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrim centers in Kerala. This is where the famous Sree Krishna Temple is situated. Known as Dwaraka of the South, this temple attracts lakhs of devotees every year. The main deity here is Lord Krishna whose form resembles Lord Vishnu.
The astonishing feature of the temple is the 33.5 m high gold plated Dwajasthambam (flag-post) . The temple is crowded most of the day with people visiting for wedding rituals and Thulabarams. People who visit the temple always comment on the peace and serenity they feel while in the abode of the Lord.
When you are in Thrissur, do pay a visit to this sacred shrine; but only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
2. Kerala Kalamandalam
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You may want to pique your interest on what makes Thrissur so culturally important. In that case,head to Kerala Kalamandalam, a residential, premiere learning institute where you have veteran teachers teaching various performing arts unique to South India.
Founded in 1927, it was the renowned poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon who discovered the immense potential in performing arts and heralded the starting of this institution. If you are looking for serious insight into the various art forms of Kerala, then this is where you go.
3. Shakthan Thampuran Palace
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Shakthan Thampuran, the great Maharaja of Cochin was the person responsible for the progress, commerce and trade of Thrissur. He is also known for maintaining cordial relationships with the Europeans.
Shakthan Thampuran Palace is one of the most impressive palaces in Kerala. You can walk around the well-maintained museum and its grounds, as those would help you draw insight into the annals of the ruling dynasty and erstwhile princely states of a bygone era.
4. Athirappilly Waterfalls
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Athirappilly waterfalls in Chalakkudy, Thrissur is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kerala. Located right at the entrance of Sholayar ranges, the waterfalls at Athirappilly has soothing melodious rhythmic sounds that makes it so relaxing and rejuvenating.
The natural greenery of the place, combined with the possibilities of entering into the waters and splashing about makes it extremely attractive to the visitors.
So if you don’t mind getting wet or do a teeny weeny bit of walking uphill, then venture down towards the waters and enjoy its coolness, it will be so much fun.
5. Vazhachal Falls
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Vazhachal is a few minutes from Athirappilly, and is the most important waterfall after Athirappilly. The waters come cascading down from the high ranges and joins the Chalakudy River.
You can gaze yonder into the greenery of the dense forests and explore the rich wildlife. Watching these waterfalls cascading down would be the perfect respite for a person seeking refuge from work and life pressures.
6. Chavakkad Beach
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One of the must visit beaches of Kerala, Chavakkad Beach is where you can hang out and watch the waves crashing against the rocks. It’s absolutely peaceful, quiet and you can blissfully enjoy the sunset sitting on the golden sands . The beach lies on the coast of Arabian Sea and is just 6 kilometers from Guruvayoor temple.
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Vilangankunnu is a small hillock situated just 7 kilometres away from Thrissur town. This place is a favourite picnic spot and amusement park among visitors who prefer to go for a weekend trip. An interesting fact about Vilangankunnu is that it is one of the best places in the city to enjoy sunset and to get a bird’s eye view of Thrissur.
Visiting time is from 7 am to 7 pm.
8. Thrissur Zoo and State Museum
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Thrissur Zoo and State Museum, located right in the heart of Thrissur is a place worth visiting when you are in the city. Within the 13.5 acres of a well-maintained compound, you can see so many different kinds of flora and fauna while making friends and faces with the monkeys, playing hide and seek with the crawling reptiles, marveling at the king of the jungle, and enjoying the incredible grace of the deer.
Image by Rameshng via Wikimedia
After touring the zoo, you can head to the state museum and research on the various ancient artefacts and jewelry that mark Indian culture and lifestyle. The museum houses excavated items from the Indus Valley Civilization, big statues of famous personalities, bronze sculptures and manuscripts to name a few.
Visiting time is from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except on Mondays and national holidays.
9. Our Lady of Dolours Basilica
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This is believed to be the first Catholic Church in India, and the biggest and tallest church in Asia. Also known as Puthan Palli or Bible Tower, this church is situated right in the heart of Thrissur city and is well known for its Gothic style architecture.
Walking into the church will have you gaping with wonder at the beautiful statutes and paintings. When you sit in silence and gaze at the altar, you get the feeling that the divine presence is right there with you and can hear your thoughts. It is so exhilarating and must definitely be experienced.
10. Vadakkumnathan Temple
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Vadakkumnathan Temple is the abode of Lord Shiva and has a long history that traces back to the beginning of Thrissur. Being a very famous temple in Kerala, you can see devotees paying their respects to the Lord of Destruction all year through.
As it is one of the oldest temples in Kerala, it displays the most classic example of Kerala style architecture as well. When you walk inside you can marvel at the exquisite murals that depict scenes of Mahabharata.
11. Punnathur Kotta
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Punnathur Kotta is an elephant sanctuary, located just three kilometres away from the Guruvayoor temple. You can head to the sanctuary after visiting the temple or sit in sweet surrender at the temple premises.
At Punnathur Kotta, you can watch the fascinating animals in their natural habitat. These animals actually belong to the Sree Krishna temple, so it would be fun watching them and how they are taken care of.
These are some of the best places to visit in Thrissur. There are places like Thiruvambady Sri Krishna Temple, St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Viyyur Jail Park, Chimmini Dam and Peechi Dam that are not mentioned here, but definitely worth visiting, nevertheless!
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