Kannur district derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town. The old name 'Cannanore' is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. According to one opinion, 'Kannur' is a derivation from Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur Municipality.
Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the , deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and Ur (place) making it the place of Lord Krishna. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the deity of the Katalayi Sreekrishna temple was originally installed in a shrine at Katalayi Kotta in the south eastern part of the present Kannur town.
Kannur District Map:
KANNUR TOWN – “Great Emporia of Spice Trade” in Marco Polo’s travel records. Capital of erstwhile Kolathiri Rajas.
Payyambalam Beach (2 km) – Popular picnic spot; clear stretch of sandy beach. Mortal remains of eminent persons from Kerala are laid to rest here.
Mappila Bay (3 km) – Beach with remnants of a temple and fort. A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water. Modern fishing harbour has been developed under Indo-Norwegian pact.
St. Angelo Fort (3 km) – A formidable triangular fort built of laterite, facing the Arabian sea, replete with moat and bastions. Originally built by Portuguese in 1505. Passed into the hands of Dutch, Ali Raja and British. Offers fascinating views of Mappila bay and Dharmadam island.
PARASSINIKKADAVU (18 km) - Sri Muthappan Temple - Only temple in Kerala where Theyyam, a ritual dance, is performed every morning & evening. Presiding deity is Muthappan, hunter incarnation of Shiva. Follows unusual ritual of offering fish & toddy to the deity. Situated on banks of Valapattanam river. Boating facilities available.
Snake Park (15 km) – Dedicated to conservation of snakes. Has 150 snake species scientifically maintained in pits and glass cages. Snake demonstrations conducted every hour draw large crowds. Located amidst scenic setting in a sandalwood park.
MUZHAPPILANGAD BEACH (15 km, enroute to Thalassery) - One of the longest (4 km) and cleanest beaches in Kerala. Highway runs along its entire length, thus making it a ‘drive-in’ beach. Beach is protected by black rocks from deep currents, thus making the shallow waters safe for swimming. Dharmadam island is visible from here.
DHARMADAM Island (17 km) – Small 5 acre island covered with coconut palms & dense bushes has a beautiful beach. Permission is required to enter this privately owned island.
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach (12 km) – This beautiful stretch of sand is one of the most secluded beaches in Kerala.
Malayala Kalagramam, New Mahe (29 km) – This is a famous centre for arts and crafts. Conducts courses in painting, sculpture, music, dance and pottery. Has art gallery.
Thodeekulam Siva Temple (34 km, on Thalassery-Mananthavady road) – Famous for mural paintings. Believed to be 2000 years old. Associated with the Pazhassi Raja family.
Madayi Para (22 km) – Ancient mosque originally built in 1124 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar, a Muslim preacher from Arabia. Has a block of white marble brought by him from Mecca. Nearby is a dilapidated fort, built by Tipu Sultan. There is also a fine beach.
EZHIMALA (25 km north) – Beautiful beach here has a hill nearby (286 m high). Atop the hill is a mosque having mortal remains of Sheikh Abdul Latif, a Muslim reformist. At the foot of the hill are a cave & an old burial chamber. Rare ayurvedic herbs are found in Ezhimala. Ezhimala was capital of the ancient Mooshika kings. Buddha is believed to have visited Ezhimala. Popular picnic spot. Naval academy is being developed here.
ARALAM Wildlife Sanctuary (35 km from Thalassery) – Tropical semi evergreen forest. Herds of deer, elephant, etc.
PYTHAL MALA (65 km) – This enchanting hill station (1370 m ASL) is rich in flora and fauna. It is a 6 km trek to the top of the hills. There is a proposal to establish a zoo here.
Thalasseri – Thalasseri Fort – Square fort with massive walls & secret tunnels into the sea, located near beach. Built by the British in 1708. Grand gateway intricately carved huge door and a lighthouse are major attractions.
Arrackal Kottaram (3 km from Thalassery) – Palace of Arrackal Ali Rajas.
Gundert Bungalow – Residence of German missionary & scholar Rev. Dr. Herman Gundert (1814-1893). He compiled first Malayalam-English dictionary, published one of the first Malayalam newspapers-Paschimodayam & also built a church on Nattur hill.