Welcome back to the final in my three (3) part article series on Exploring North Kerala India, in the most recent posts I covered North Kerala sightseeing adventures and holiday ideas,today I will continue to the Kannur District and more:
4. KANNUR DISTRICT
Identified as Naura, it was from here that it is believed King Solomon’s ships collected timber to build the grand temple at Jerusalem. Kannur which was formerly called Cannanore is located 93 kilometers from Kozhikode. Home to one of the oldest forms of martial art in existence called Kalaripayattu and the oldest ritualistic art and dance form called Theyyam, Kannur intrigues its visitors to return for more.
The Payyambalam beach is known for its flat laterite cliffs jutting into the sea. The landscaping around the beach attracts many locals and tourists to this place. The Muzhappilangad beach is Kerala’s only drive-in beach and one can also witness people thronging here for the adventure and water sports like paragliding, parasailing, etc. The shallow waters are ideal for swimmers and sunbathers.
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ST AGNELO FORT
Constructed in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy, the fort was besieged by the Dutch, sold to a local Royal family and then taken over by the British until India won its independence. It stands today preserved by the Archeological Survey of India offering a spectacular view of the fishing harbor and silently narrates tales of an era gone by. Kannur’s first lighthouse was built here by the British in 1843 and then renovated and moved to its current location near Sea View Park almost a century later.
PARASSINIKADAVU SRI MUTHUPPAN TEMPLE
Situated on the river banks, the temple is famous for the oldest ritualistic form of worship called Theyyam, especially the Muthuppan Theyyam that is performed here every day. A Kathakali club in the temple arranges shows after 11 pm on request.
Theyyam is an invocation dance performed before the shrine and sometimes on ancestral worship grounds. There are about 400 different deities that are worshipped and the dancer metamorphoses gradually into the particular deity of the shrine. The attire, the make-up, the head-dress and the rhythmic beats of the drums, all add to the tempo of the dance and worship.
Kathakali is a 17th century traditional Indian dance and drama form noted for its highly stylized forms of gestures, costumes, well defined body movements, elaborate make-up of characters and the background music. Traditionally it began in the evening and carried on through the night until the next morning. However, nowadays, the performances do not exceed 2 hours.
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Located 65 kms from Kannur, this is a beautiful hill station 4500 ft above sea level, near the Karnataka and Kerala Border. A 6 km trek is also organized to the top of the hill.
This wildlife sanctuary apart from showing off its exotic collection of reptiles, mammals, fish and amphibians, comes packaged with nature walks, stay in tree houses, soft trekking, coracle boating and bamboo rafting.
5. KASARAGOD DISTRICT
This is the northern most district in Kerala and the threshold between the Kerala and Karnataka borders. Hence the influences of both states on the cuisine, language and customs here are very noticeable. Its beaches, forts, temples, attractive picnic spots and 2000-year old caves beckon many tourists to this place.
This 17th century Fort is one of the largest and best preserved forts in the state. The fort seems to have been built up from the sea and was strategically and exclusively meant for defense purposes. The adjoining beach with its shallow waters can be seen from above and invites sunbathers and swimmers alike.
Chandragiri Fort and River
This fort offers a stunning view of the river and the sea, the sandbanks separating the two and the river’s convergence into the Arabian Sea.
Boat cruises and canoe rides are offered near the fort.
Ananthapura Lake Temple This 9th century temple is the only lake temple in Kerala having a crocodile to guard it in its temple pond for the last 150 years! Kottancherry and Ranipuram are two locations popular with trekkers, nature lovers and eco- tourists. The latter is 750 m above sea level and 85 kms from Kasargod town. Nileswaram This present day cultural hub has a Palace that functions as a Folklore Centre. The town is famous for its shrines and temple festivals and the Kavil Bhavan Yoga Centre.
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Ummichipoyil and Varikulam are rock cut caves that date back to 2000 years.
Kottappuram Some of the oldest coir and handloom factories of Kasargod are situated along the backwaters here. The longest walking bridge in Kerala is located here. Thalankara An interesting town that rose to fame because of the unique shaped caps they make which were once exported to African and Arab countries.
Today handmade products have no match against their machine made counterparts and hence the art is struggling to keep alive with the few cap makers who still make a living out of it. Kerala truly is one of the ‘50 best places in the world to see while you live’ and National Geographic does not exaggerate in giving Kerala the status.
Come, experience and engulf yourself in Kerala’s wealth of natural beauty, tradition and culture.