Kannur district popularly called as the Land of Looms and Lores is a main centre of Theyyam which is a ritual dance form of North Kerala. There are lots of small temples called Kavu in Kannur district. There are numerous pilgrim centers in Kannur for Hindus, Muslims and Christians. The major temples in this district are Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple, Raja Rajeshwara Temple, Kottiyoor Mahadeva Temple, Peralassery Sri Subramanya Temple, Katalayi Sreekrishna Temple etc. There are many other temples also and these are visited by thousands of pilgrims. Some of the important churches in Kannur are Holy Trinity Cathedral, St Theresa’s Church popularly called as Mahe Church, St John’s Anglican Church, Thavam Church etc. There are a large number of Muslims in Kannur district and so there are a large number of mosques also in this district. Some of them include Oliyankara Juma Masjid, Madayi Palli, Odathil Palli, Stadium Juma Masjid etc.
Temples in Kannur
Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple
Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple is located in Kannur district. It lies on the bank of river Valapattanam. Here the deity is Muthappan who is a local God in Kannur. He is in the form of a hunter with a bow and an arrow. He has a dog as companion. People irrespective of caste and religion visit this temple. At the entrance of the temple two figures of dogs made of bronze are kept. They are considered as the guards of God. Theyyam is conducted here daily and is the only temple in which Theyyams are performed daily as a ritual. In this ritual, men who wear mask and wearing colored costumes perform the Theyyam.
Raja Rajeshwara Temple
Taliparamba Raja Rajeswara temple is located in Kannur district. This temple was constructed in the 11 th century and is an example of Chola architecture. The deity here is Lord Shiva and is in the form of Jyothirlingam. It is said to be around 1000 years old and was believed to be installed by Maandhata who considered it as a sacred spot for installing the Shivalinga. The deity here is 3 times more powerful than any other Shiva temple. The idol is kept in a sanctum sanctorum which is quadrangle in shape. There is no flag staff in this temple which is usually uncommon.
Thodeekalam Siva Temple
This is an ancient Siva temple located in Kannavam near Thalassery. This temple is believed to be around 2000 years old. The sanctum sanctorum is double storied and is rectangle in shape. This temple is very famous for the mural paintings that attract numerous people to this temple. The main offerings done in this temple are Shankabhishekam, Pushpanjali, Sarpabali and Dhara. There are no major festivals celebrated in this temple as there is no flagstaff in front of it. Some of the small festivals celebrated here are Sapthami and Ashtami conducted in the Malayalam month Vrischika and Sivarathri. The elephants are not permitted in the temple during the festivals.
Trichambaram Sree Krishna Temple is located in Trichambaram near Taliparamba. It is built in the 11th century and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The walls of the temple are beautifully decorated with mural paintings of the 15th and 16th century depicting scenes from Mahabharata and the sculptures on the sanctum sanctorum are also very attractive. There are 3 ponds surrounding the temple and there is a shrine for Goddess Durga in the middle of the pond. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham and it lasts for a fortnight. During the festival, the ritual Thidambu nirtham which is a type of dance with the idols of Lord Krishna is performed for 11 days. A sweet that is offered in this temple is the Aayiram Appam which is very famous. It is the only temple where Namboothiri women prepare the offerings.
Cherukunnu Annapoorneswari Temple
This Devi temple located in Cherukunnu is among the 108 Durga temples in Kerala and is the only Annapoorneswari temple. The main deity here is Goddess Annapoorneswari and Lord Krishna also is located here. There are separate Sreekovil for Goddess and Lord Krishna and both are given equal importance. The entrance of the temple is to the Sree Kovil of Lord Krishna and there is no direct entrance to the Sree Kovil of Annapoorneswari. People believe that earlier this temple was a Krishna temple. The Prathishta of Goddess was done by Avittam Thirunal Raja Raja Varma. One of the main features of this temple is that the temple is built in a single type of rock. There is a large pond near the temple. The main festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Medam and lasts for a week.
Kottiyoor Mahadeva Temple
Kottiyur temple is a famous pilgrim centre in North Kerala and is popularly called as the ‘Varanasi of the South’ or ‘Dakshina Kashi’. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy. There is a Sivalinga which is self made. There are 2 temples here in the middle of deep forests and are called as Akkare Kottiyoor and Ikkara Kottiyoor. It is located on the banks of the Bavali River and lies amidst a lake called Thiruvanchira. It is believed that it was at this place that the famous Yaga of Daksha was conducted. Akkare Kottiyoor is opened only during the Vaishaka Mahotsavam. This is the main festival celebrated in this temple during the mid of May and lasts for 28 days. An important ritual performed during the festival is the Elaneer Veyppu where devotees offer tender coconuts to the Lord. Another ritual performed only in this temple is the Rohini Aradhana.
Thiruvar Kadu Bhagavathi Temple which is popularly called as Madayi Kavu is located in Madayi near Pazhayangadi. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali called Madayi Kavu Amma and it is believed that one who worships this Goddess with faith is said to be free from black magic of the enemies. This is an ancient temple.
Thiruvangad Sree Ramaswamy Temple
This Rama temple is located in Thalasssery and is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Rama in Kerala. This temple is popularly called as Thiruvangad temple. There are beautiful carvings in this temple which is around 400 years old. An important feature of this temple is the roof made of copper sheets and so is famously called as the Brass Pagoda. The annual festival of this temple is held on Vishu. As part of the rituals, Chakyar Koothu is performed in this temple.
Kunnathoor Padi is considered to be the original abode of Sree Muthappan who is a manifestation of Lord Siva. It is located near Sreekandapuram in Taliparamba and lies at a height of 3000 ft above sealevel. There is no temple for this Lord here and a temporary Madappura is built during the festival season. It lies in the middle of a forest and there is a cave. The art forms Theyyam and Thira are performed in this temple as part of the rituals. The famous festival celebrated here called the Kunnathoor padi festival starts on 2nd of Malayalam month Dhanu and continues up to 2nd of Makaram.
Sree Vaidyanatha Temple
This temple is located in Kanhirangad near Taliparamba and is dedicated to Lord Siva. The deity is Sivalinga which is self made and is an Ayurvedic physician. The sub deities include Parvathy, Ganapathy and Ayyappa. It is believed that those with eye and skin diseases will be cured if they worship the Lord in this temple. The main festival conducted here is Sivarathri and is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham. Another celebration done here is the Aaru Njyayar which is conducted if the 6th day of any Malayalam month falls on Sunday. Ksheeradhara and Jaladhara are the main offerings done in this temple. The ceilings of the temple are decorated with beautiful wooden carvings.
Peralassery Sri Subramanya Temple
This temple is located in Mundallur and is dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is one of the most important Subrahmanya temples in Kerala. The sub deities include Lord Ganesha and Ayyappa. The legend of this temple is related with Ramayana. It was believed that Sri Rama and Lakshmana, on their way to Lanka in search of Sita Devi, halted at this place and consecrated the idol of Lord Muruga. The main offerings made in this temple are Subrahmanya Pooja and Mutta Oppikkal which is the offering of eggs to the snake. Naga is important deity in this temple and many devotees come to this temple to get rid of Naga Kopam. The main festival is the Kodiyettam festival and lasts for a week.
Sree Suryanarayana Temple
This is one of the oldest and second largest Surya temples after Konark temple. It is dedicated to Lord Suryanarayana and has Ganapathy and Lord Siva as the sub deities. It is located in Kadirur in Thalassery. The temple is associated with Ramayana. The idol here was believed to be consecrated by Lord Rama. The main festivals celebrated here are Rohini Aradhana, Mandala Utsavam, Devi Pooja etc.
Katalayi Sreekrishna Temple
This is a temple located in Chirakkal in Kannur which is devoted to Lord Krishna. This temple is popularly called as the Guruvayur of North Malabar. It is believed that the idol of this temple was the one that was originally worshipped by Sathyabhama who was a consort of Lord Krishna. Initially this idol was consecrated at temple Kadalayi. Later when it was ruined a new temple was built in Chirakkal with the installation of the same idol. The temple even though is in Chirakkal is named as Kadalayi temple. There is a tank called Chirakkal Chira near the temple which has an area of 14 acres and is the largest in India. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Makaram. Other important days celebrated in this temple are Ashtami Rohini, Guruvayur Ekadashi, Mandala Pooja etc.
Some other main temples in Kannur are
Sree Andalur Kavu at Thalassery, Sree Raghavapuram Temple popularly called as Hanumarambalam at Cheruthazham, Velam Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple at Mayyil, Mamanikkunnu Sree Mahadevi Temple at Irikkur, Sree Vithobha Temple, Ramanthali Sankaranarayana Temple, Payyannur Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple, Pallikunnu Mookambika Temple, Kalarivaathakkal Bhagavathy Temple at Valapattanam, Sundareswara Temple, Sree Jaganantha temple at Thalassery, Muchilot Bhagavati Temple, Muzhappilangad Bagavathi Temple, Sree Chala Bhagavati Temple, Aneekkara Poomala bhagavathi temple at Kunhimangalam, Kannadiparamba Sree Siva Temple, Sri Makreri Ambalam etc.
Churches in Kannur
Holy Trinity Cathedral
In 1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut and had a treaty with the Kolathiri Raja of Kannur in 1501. The first Portuguese viceroy was allowed to build a fort and church in Kannur. Later in 1506, his son constructed a church at the end of the fort which is at present called the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The fort is still present here called the St. Angelo’s fort. The church is situated in Burnassery in Kannur. On February 1999, the Holy Trinity Church was given the status of the Cathedral of the Kannur diocese. Later in 2010, a new Cathedral was consecrated. This church was visited by two saints St. Francis Xavier and blessed Mother Teresa.
Thavam Church which is situated in Cherukunnu is a famous Latin Catholic Church of North Malabar. It is an old church which indicates that the Christians were present in the Malabar area since a long time back. This church is considered as a heritage place for the North Malabar Latin Catholic Society. It is a church under the Diocese of Kannur.
English Church is an important old church located in Thalasseri in Kannur. In this church, there are excellent stained glass works made in London which increases the beauty of the church. Near to this English Church was the Catholic Rosary Church. The church is at present abandoned but still retains its English beauty.
St Theresa’s Church
It is a famous Roman Catholic Church in Malabar and is located in Mahe in Kannur. It lies on the main road along the NH 17. This church was constructed during the reign of French in India. It was erected by an Italian priest in 1736. The festival of this church is held from 5th to 22nd of October. It is the biggest feast of Mahe and the major fest is on 24th and 25th of October. A procession carrying the statue of St Theresa is taken around Mahe. People of Mahe irrespective of caste and religion participate in this festival. Lots of vendors put up their shops near the church during the festive season. This church popularly called as Mahe church is a famous pilgrim centre of the Christians in Malabar.
St John’s Anglican Church
This is an Anglican church built in 1869 and is situated within the Thalasseri fort. An European official named Edward Brennen had made donations for constructing this church. This church was modified by the Archaeological Department in association with the tourism department and was then made open to the public. This church is now considered as a heritage building by the states Archaeological department.
Some other churches in Kannur are
Nettur Hill Church, St. John’s Anglican church at Thalasseri, Aaron Church in Pappinisseri, St. Thomas Orthodox Church at Burnacherry, St Mary’s church at Taliparamba, Tiruhridayam Church, St.Francis Assissi Church at Melechovva, St. Antony’s Church at Thayyil, St. Cornelius Church at Kolayad, St. Joseph’s Church at Payyannur etc.
Mosques in Kannur
Oliyankara Juma Masjid
This is a famous mosque located in Pallichal near Cherukunnu and is an ancient mosque. It was believed that the priests of the olden times gave importance to the Hindu Gods here. This is an important pilgrim center of the Muslims of Malabar area.
Moonnu Pettumma Palli
Moonnu Pettumma Palli which is also called as the Kattile Palli is an important mosque in Malabar. This mosque was built in memory of the mother who gave birth to the three. The annual festival held in this mosque is called as “Kattile Palli Nercha” and people irrespective of caste and religion attend this festival. The communal harmony of the people can be clearly seen during this festival. This mosque is located in Pappinisseri.
This is an ancient mosque located in Pazhayangadi and was constructed in the year 1124 by Malik Ibn Dinar who was an Islamic preacher. There is a block of white marble in this mosque which is believed to have been bought from Mecca. It was considered to be bought by the people who reached India to spread Islam. Next to this mosque lies a fort that was built by the Kolathiri rulers.
This is an old mosque located in Thalasseri. It was constructed in 1806 and is around 200 years old. The mosque was built in a place which was the sugarcane garden of the Dutch. This mosque was built by Moosakka who worked as a contractor of the British East India Company and the plot was gifted to him by the company for his loyalty. The mosque is built in the typical Kerala style of architecture. The roof of the mosque is made of copper sheets and there is a golden dome. Muslims come here to offer prayers and is also an important pilgrim center of the Muslims. There is a graveyard nearby where the bodies of the people of Keyi family of Thalasseri are buried.
Stadium Juma Masjid
It is an ancient mosque located in Thalasseri which is around thousand years old. It is built in Indo – Saraconni style of architecture. It is believed that it was from the ground of this Stadium Juma Masjid that the Eid – Gaah for the namaz conducted on Eid – ul – fitr was arranged. This mosque was renovated and is at present one of the most beautiful mosques of Kannur.
This is a beautiful mosque believed to be built in the 12th century by Malik Ibn Dinar who was an Islamic preacher. It is located in Thalassery Town and is one of the famous mosques of North Malabar.