The City of Lord Shiva
Thrissur is an abbreviation of Thiru, Shiva and Perur, meaning ' the city named after Lord Shiva', and for centuries has been an important religious and cultural centre. Widely regarded as Kerala's cultural capital, Thrissur District is famous for its temples and schools for south Indian performing arts.
Located at the western end of the Palakkad Gap, Thrissur formed a vital link between the coast and the interior of the peninsula. The Raja's of Cochin reigned from here before moving their capital to Kochi.
Thrissur has good road and rail connections to Trivandrum, Calicut and Cochin.
While the rest of Kerala has its fair share of celebrations, untouristy, bustling Thrissur is the cultural cherry on the festival cake. The region supports several institutions that nurse the dying classical Kerala performing arts back to health.
This buss bustling place is home to Christian community whose denomination dates to the 3rd century AD. The popular performing-arts school Kerala Kalamandalam and Sri Krishna Temple (Guruvayur) are nearby to Thrissur.
Sights and Activities
Thrissur is famed for its central temple, as well as for its numerous impressive churches.
One of the oldest in the state, Vadakkumnathan Temple crowns the hill at the epicentre of Thrissur. Finished in classic Kerala architecture, only Hindus are allowed inside, though the mound surrounding the temple has sweeping metropolis views and is a popular spot to linger.
(Admission: 9am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm Tue-Sun)
The Archaeology Museum is housed in the wonderful 200-year-old Sakthan Thampuran Palace. It is mix of artefacts includes fragile palm-leaf manuscripts, 12th-century Kerala bronze sculptures, earthenware pots big enough to cook children in, and an extraordinary 1500kg wooden treasury box covered in locks and iron spikes.
Lourdes Cathedral (Metropolitain Church)
Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral
This massive cathedral has an impressive Indo-European facade with soaring pink spires. The interior of the cathedral is notable for its attractive underground shrine.
About 1km out of the town centre towards Peechi
Tel: 0487 2333995
Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours (Puttan Palli)
Dolours Basilica (Puthan Palli)
Recognisable from its towering, pure-white spires. Asia's biggest and tallest church, the Indo-Gothic Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, or Puttan Pally is a riot of colour inside, with dazzling altars, excellent murals and Biblical scenes. Several other temples, churches and mosques can be found in and around the town if your appetite is whetted.
East of High Road
Tel: 0487 2420906
Festivals and Events
In a state where festivals are a way of life, Thrissur still manages to stand out for temple revelry. Highlights include Thrissur Pooram (April/May) - the most colourful and biggest of Kerala's temple festivals with wonderful till processions of elephants; Uthralikavu Pooram (March/April), whose climactic day sees 20 elephants circling the shrine: and Thypooya Maholsavam (January/February), with a kavadiyattam (a form of ritualistic dance) procession in which dancers carry tall, ornate structures called kavadis.
Eating and Drinking
Indian Coffee House
Swaraj Round South
Kerala's famous coffee cooperative started life in Thrissur, so a visit to the local branch will have a historical as well as a refreshment element. There is another outlet on Railway Station Road
Town Hall Rd
In the same building as the HDFC Bank, this is a bright, pure veg place, with a vintage reel, serving an unbeatable range of dosas, including jam, cheese and cashew versions and uttapams (thick savoury rice pancakes, Tamil Nadu-version of a pizza).
A little cafeteria-like, this atmospheric place is popular with families for lunch and has a sweet counter downstairs.
10am - 11pm
A little way off the street, this dark-brown place is a huge hit with families tucking into several different varieties of set meals. With some outdoor seating, Ambady does a roaring trade serving set-menu South Indian cuisine to local families.
Swaraj Round South
Near Ragam Theatre
If you're suffering from curry fatigue, go gastronomically eastwards to Ming Palace, a Chinese worthy of the name which even comes with red lanterns. The Chinese and Thai dishes here are decent enough and the prices reasonable.
Swaraj Round West
Diner-style booths add to the sophisticated ambience here, where vegetarians are particularly well catered for with North Indian standards.
Cool dark and intimate, this is the classiest dining joint in town, with seating on raised platforms and piped music. Expect lots of veg and non veg dishes from North India, plus a few Kerala specialities, served in a/c surrounds.
Getting There and Away
DTPC office (District Tourism Promotion Council)
Tel: 0487 2320800
KSRTC buses leave around every 30 minutes from the KSRTC bus stand bound for Trivandrum (7hrs 30min), Ernakulam (Kochi, 2hrs), Calicut (3hrs 30min), Palakkad ( 1hr 30mins) and Kottayam (4hrs). Hourly buses go to Coimbatore (3hrs). There are buses to Ponnani (1hr 30mins, four daily) and Perumbavoor (2 hrs), where you can connect with buses bound for Munnar.
Regular services also chug along to Guruvayur (1hr), Irinjalakuda (1 hr) and Cheruthuruthy (1hrs 30mins). Two private bus stands (Sakthan and Priyadarshini) have more frequent buses to these destinations, though the chaos involved in navigating each station makes it difficult in using them.
Services run regularly to Ernakulam (1hr 30nsmi) and Calicut (3hrs). There are also regular trains running to Palakkad (1hr 30mins) via Shoranur.
A little more than thirty minutes' drive southwest of Thrissur, Nattika village stands at the centre of a vast sandy beach backed by stands of coconut palms and scattered fishing settlements.
A handful of luxury resorts look like to alter the complexion of the village over the coming years.
Koothamablam at Kalamandalam
32km north east of Thrissur at Cheruthuruthv, is a champion of Kerala's traditional-art renaissance. Using an ancient Gurukula system of learning, students undergo intensive study in Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattam, percussion etc.
Natana Kairali Research and Performing Centre
Irinjalakuda's Natana Kairali Research and Performing Centre is dedicated to the performance, preservation, documentation and promotion of Kerala's performing arts, particularly Koodiyattam (theatre), Nangiar Koothu (solo performance) and Puppetry. Performances are held here from time to time, especially during the centre's 12 day annual festival.
The Hindu-only Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur, 33km northwest or Thrissur, is the most famous in Kerala and all over India. An annual and spectacular Elephant Race is held here in February or March.
Punnathoor Kotta (Anakotta)
2km from Guruvayoor, the palace ground of the erstwhile Raja of Punnathoor is today home to elephants offered by devotees and is the only one of its kind in the world. Here you can see a large number of elephatns.
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Located 2km from Kodungalloor Town at Methala, this mosque resembles a Hindu temple in appearance. Built in 629 AD, this is the first mosque in India and the second in the world Juma prayers were started.
The oldest church in India, this was founded by St. Thomas who is believed to have come to Kerala in 52 AD. Other highlights include Thaliyakulam-a pond where St. Thomas baptized the local people, replica of Little Mount in Chennai where he died and a historical museum.
Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary
20km east of Thrissur, established in 1958, this is one of Kerala's oldest wildlife reserves. Formed around the twin reservoirs of Peechi and Vazhani, the sanctuary is a rich repository of bio-diversity with several endangered herbs, shrubs, rare medicinal plants and innumerable variety of orchids.
Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary
37km from Thrissur, with its dense forests, a variety of birds and butterflies and innumerable trekking trails, this is a sanctuary that provides a heady experience for nature enthusiasts. The forest Department organises trekking and bamboo rafting programmes in and around the sanctuary. But the highlight of all excursions is the Moonlight Sonata, which involves rafting of full moon nights.
60 km from south east of Thrissur, at the entrance of the Sholayar Ranges, this 80 ft high waterfall is a popular picnic spot.
Just a short drive from Athirapally, this picturesque waterfall is close to dense, green forests and is part of the Chalakudy River. Athirpally and Vazhachal are the most famous waterfall of Kerala, attracting in plenty.
More Pages About Thrissur and Palakkad
Hotels in Thrissur
The neighbouring city of Palakkad or Palghat is influenced heavily by the proximity of Tamil Nadu. The Palakkad pass takes you qickly to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Here is a list of Palakkad Hotels and accommodation in Parambikkulam Wildlife Sanctuary.