Kannur – the land of looms and lores – is a fascinating place to explore in Kerala. Being the cradle of looms and ageless ritualistic folk arts like Theyyam and folk music, Kannur has always remained a land of undying charms. It is an ancient city which served as an important trading centre of Kerala in the 12th century.
This historically important district in Kerala has a number of tourist attractions including beaches, temples, hills and other monuments.
Let’s take a sneak peek into some of them:
1. Choottad Beach
The Lesser known paradise!!!
This is a radiant, unexplored beach located in Pazhayangadi, 30 kms from Kannur town. The beauty of this place is nothing short of spectacular. With lush green Ezhimala on one side and clear blue Perumba backwaters and trees lined on the other, this place offers a unique view and experience.
Choottad beach also has a children’s park and offers boating facilities on the backwaters of Perumba. The beach stretches for long and extends into the Puthiyangadi beach.
2. Arakkal Museum
Arakkal Museum stands as a tribute to the only erstwhile Muslim royal family of Kerala.
The Arakkal family has played a notable role in the history of Malabar. The palace is situated in Ayikkara, at a distance of 3 km from Kannur town. The 200-year-old palace has been renovated and converted into a heritage museum in the year 2005.
The museum exhibits the history of the Arakkal house and the regional influence of the Arakkal ‘Rajas’ and ‘Beevis’ (the male and female rulers) in the time of their authority.
The museum displays old records, maps and drawings of surveys and many other manuscripts that throw light on the activities of the family, details about spices trade and relationship with European colonial powers. All these antiquate displayed makes it a must visit and interesting museum in Kerala.The Arakkal museum is administered by the Arakkal Family Trust.
3. Dharmadam Island
Image by Shagil Kannur via Wikimedia
Dharmadam Island (Green Island) is an enchanting paradise located at Thalassery. It’s a beautifully, secluded spot with coconut trees and dense bushes extending upto 5 acres. The island is just 100 meters from the mainland of Dharmadam.
The island is surrounded by the Anjarakandy river on three sides and by the Arabian sea on the fourth side. The island is a beautiful sight from the Muzhappilangad beach.
During low tides, the sea subsides making it possible for tourists to visit the island. Walking through the shallow waters to the island is an exciting experience. However, do not venture to the island alone, as the water can rise expeditiously during high tide. Get advice from a local guide as you travel to Dharmadam through the low tides.
An alternative way to reach Dharmadam is by taking a boat from the south end of Moidu Bridge which is close by on the Kannur-Thalassery highway.
Green Island is unoccupied, though a well is present which indicates human presence. The surprising fact about the well in the island is that the water is not at all salty. Fascinating right?
The best time to visit this island is between October and May. Since the island is privately owned, you’ll need permission to visit it.
4. St. Angelo Fort
Image by Rajesh Kakkanatt via Wikimedia
The St.Angelo fort is approximately 3 kms west of Kannur, the place where history stands still.
It was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and is strikingly silhouetted against the sea. The fort is a blend of different architectural styles, a remarkable piece of architecture with its triangular design and magnificent interiors. History says that the Dutch captured the fort from the Portuguese in 1663 and sold it to Ali Raja of Kannur.
The fort offers a captivating view of the Mappila Bay and Dharmadom Island. It also offers a fascinating view of a natural fishing bay and a sea wall projecting from the fort dividing the rough sea and inland water.
The beautiful location facing the sea, the well-maintained gardens inside the fort and the peaceful ambience is an enthralling experience for the visitors.
5. Payyambalam Beach
Image by Abhijith919 via Wikimedia
Just 2 km away from Kannur town, the Payyambalam beach is a large stretch of golden sand with a garden attached on its side. This is the favorite hangout spot for both locals and tourists. This beach is long, wide and extending upto 4 kms.
Payyambalam beach offers several activities like water skiing, parasailing and boat ride conducted by Kerala Tourism. There is also a beach garden on top of the cliff which forms the natural border on one side of the beach.
6. Meenkunnu Beach
This is a beautiful beach of golden sand and is surf tucked behind the thick lineup of tall coconut trees. It is about 10 km from Kannur town and also along the same stretch of Payyambalam beach shoreline.
Meenkunnu means the “hill of fish”, pointing out to the strong fishing tradition of beachside villages. There is a cliff on top of this beach which is a good view point. This beach is an ideal and refreshing spot for the people who feel Payyambalam beach is a bit crowded.
7. Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach
Muzhappilangad beach is the one and only drive-in beach in Kerala and the longest drive-in beach in India. You can drive along the 4 kilometres lengthy stretch of the beach without any fear of getting stuck in the sand.
Another interesting factor about this coastline is the black rock formations. The black rocks protect the beach from the strong currents of the sea. These rocks are also the home of blue mussel, a delicious seafood. Water splashes gently and enticingly around small clusters of rocks. This beach is also a swimmers delight!
Muzhappilangad Beach also draws bird-watchers from far off places as hundreds of birds flock here during various seasons.
8. Parassinikkadavu Snake Park
Parassinikkadavu Snake Park is one of the major attractions in Kannur. It is located in Anthoor Municipality about 16 kms from Kannur Corporation. The snake park was founded for the conservation and preservation of snakes in Kerala.
The snake park houses small animals and a variety of snakes, most of which are endangered species. There is a large collection of venomous snakes like Spectacled Cobra, King Cobra, Russell’s viper, Krait and various pit vipers and non-poisonous snakes including pythons.
Talks are conducted at the park by trained personnel to share and educate information about snakes and to create awareness that will help fight fears regarding these reptiles.
9. Aaralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Aaralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the western slope of the western Ghats covering an area of 55 sq.km.
When compared to other famous wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, Aralam sanctuary has a number of hill ranges that have an elevation between 50m to 1145m. A trek in these hill ranges requires high stamina because of the elevation levels.The highest peak is Katti Betta having an elevation of 1145 m.
The Aralam sanctuary is home to diverse flora and fauna and the wildlife includes animals like the Jungle Cats, Bison, Elephants, Boar, Leopards and different kinds of Squirrels.
The best time to visit Aralam is from June to October.
10. Thalassery Fort
Thalassery Fort, also known as Tellicherry Fort, is located 22 km from the Kannur in the small town of Thalassery. It was one of the most important European trading centres of Kerala. In 1703, the British East India company built the monument as a testimony of their colonial imperialism.
This monument lies amidst low wooden hills running down to the sea and protected by natural waters. The architecture of the Tellicherry fort, with massive walls, complex but beautifully carved doors, indestructibly flanking bastions, and secret tunnels to the sea make it an imposing structure of Kannur.
These are some of the best places to visit in Kannur. There are places like Parassinikkadavu Temple, Pazhassi Dam, Pythal Mala, Ezhimala, Mappila Bay and Madayipara that are not mentioned here, but nevertheless, definitely worth visiting!
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