Asia > South Asia > India > Southern India > Kerala > Central Kerala > Thrissur
Thrissur (originally Thirusivaperoor, formerly Trichur) is a popular city and district in the central part of Kerala in Southern India.It is known as the cultural capital of Kerala, with numerous cultural institutions, art centers, museums, etc.
Thrissur is one of the oldest cities in Kerala. The legend says that the city was the town created by Lord Parasurama (6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) soon after formation of Kerala, by creating a large Shiva temple. The entire city is formed around the grand Shiva temple known as Vadakumnathan Temple. The temple is in the center of a mega roundabout that is 64 acres (26 hectares) in area. This roundabout is known as Swaraj Round. All roads connect to this.
Perhaps when Indians think of Thrissur, the first image would be the famous Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. This is also known as largest festival in Kerala. The festival is at the Vadakkumnathan temple grounds, in April or May. The city is equally famous for the final celebrations of the Onam festival, which is the national festival of Kerala. It hosts the famous Pulikali during Onam celebrations in August or September (depends on Malayalam calendar). Apart from festivals and culture, Thrissur is also well known as one of the best shopping centers in Kerala for silks and gold ornaments. The city is also known as Entrepreneurial City, due to presence of large number of entrepreneurs working in various trades.
The word Trichur is the anglicized form of the Malayalam name of the town Thrissur which in turn a shortened form for Thiru-Siva-Peru-Uur, meaning 'Place named with Lord Siva'. The name is appropriate, for Thrissur derives its main glory from Vadakunnathan Temple, (Vadakum Nathan, Lord of the North) that dominates the topography of the town. Trichur is of hoary fame, and the origin of Vadakkunnathan Temple is ascribed to Parasurama, the legendary hero who is said to have reclaimed Kerala from the sea by throwing an axe across the sea from the north. In historical times it was a suburb of Musiris port of Chera Kings mentioned in Silapathikaram of Sangam Tamil Period.
From very early times Thrissur has been a centre of learning and, with the decline of Buddhism and Jainism and the establishment of the supremacy of Brahmanism during the revival of Hinduism, Thrissur became an important centre of Sanskrit learning. The great Adi Sankara had taught Advaita here. After his travels in different regions of India he is believed to have come back and settled in Thrissur and died here. Sankara Acharya's disciples Hastamalaka, Thotaka, Padmapada and Sudhachara established in the town four Madams, namely the Northern Madam, the Middle Madam, the In-Between Madam and the Southern Madam respectively, all of which are extant except the In-Between one.
Thrissur occupies a prominent place in the history and culture of Kerala and is said to be the cultural capital of the state. It is also one of the main trade centers in the state. The present Thrissur District was carved out of a bigger District of the same name on 1 Apr 1958. It derives its name from the location of its headquarters at Thrissur. The town is built around a hillock atop which is the Vadakkumnathan Kshethram or temple which has Shiva as the presiding deity.
Thrissur rose in importance due to Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran who ascended the throne of Kochi in 1790. Large areas of Thrissur were captured by the Zamorins of Kozhikode in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the latter half of the 18th century, Tipu Sultan held sway over Thrissur until the European domination began under the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English.
Long ago, the vast open area around the temple was a magnificent teak forest called Thekkinkadu. Today, the forest has given way to one of the most important examples of Kerala's architecture which often does away with the imposing gopurams of South Indian Temples. This temple features low, tiled roofs, an abundance of woodwork, and the famous koothambalam or theater hall with sloping roofs of metal plates within which is performed the dramatic art form chakiar koothu. The Vadakkumnathan temple is also well known for its murals depicting scenes from the Mahabharatha as well as exquisite paintings and carvings.
The south east corner of the district is bounded by Tamil Nadu. The Periyar, Chalakudy, Karuvannur and Ponnani (Bharatha Puzha) are the main river systems in the district.
A place of great antiquity, Thrissur was also known by such names as Vrishabhadripuram and Then Kailasm in ancient days. The famous Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthi, founded by the late poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, is in Thrissur District. The Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy are situated in Thrissur town.
Kochi International Airport (COK IATA) is 51 km south of Thrissur City with direct flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Maldives, Europe and Sri Lanka. Kozhikode Airport is 80 km north of Thrissur City. Alternatively reach Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, or other Indian cities and then by train.
Thrissur City is well connected and serviced by rail to all major cities in India. Thrissur Railway Station is an major railway head in South India and is the busiest railways station in Kerala in terms of train halts. Daily trains are available to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Mangalore and Hyderabad. Google is providing free wifi facility in association with Railway in Thrissur Station.
- Bus: Private bus service system and Government-run KSRTC is a good choice for travelling.
- Autorickshaw: Auto rickshaws are the main form of local transport, if you don't have your own means of transportation. Autorickshaws running in the city limits are to use fare meters, while the ones from the adjacent areas need not use them. However it is a rule that such autorickshaws without metres should not pick up passengers within city limits. There is a pre-paid auto rickshaw counter at Thrissur Railway Station.
- Taxi: Local taxis are also available at cheap rates. Please note that there are no local taxis (yellow cabs or the one's having yellow roof and black body). The taxis known as 'Tourist taxis' are meant for long travel or one day trips.Uber taxi services are available in Thrissur with basic fare 40₹
- Car: There are many car rental companies offering cars with drivers or self-drive.
- Bike: Bikes are available for rental in Thrissur City. This is available for a week or more than that.
- Walk: Many places of attractions are near by each in the city limit other so you could walk between them.
- Appan Thampuran Smarakam. Established in 1976 at Ayyanthole where Sri. Ramavarma Appanthampuran who lived the Kumarapuram Palace. This is also a cultural museum.
- 1 Archeological & Art Museum. It has the best collection of wood carvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewelers of the Cochin dynasty.
- 2 Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours (Our Lady of Dolours Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica). The Roman Catholic Minor Basilica built in 1875 is locally called Puthen Palli. The 140 ft (43 m) long steeple is visible from anywhere in the town. The chapel has 15 altars. It boasts neo-Gothic spires and the largest interior of any church in South India with a lot of mural paintings on the walls and ceilings. The church houses the tallest church tower in Asia at 79 metre (260 ft) height called the Bible tower.
- 3 Shakthan Thampuran Palace. Named as Vadakkekara Palace, was reconstructed in Kerala-Dutch style in 1795 by Sri. Ramavarma Thampuran of the erstwhile Princely State of Cochin, well as Sakthan Thampuran(Greatest ruler of the Cochin dynasty) is preserved by Archaeological Department.
- 4 Thrissur Zoo (Thrissur Zoo and Museum). It is a major attraction for children and students with a variety of animals. There is a special building which houses snakes.Two beautiful niches with majestic seating are arranged for senior citizens to take rest while their children enjoy the sprawling zoo campus.
- 5 Vilangan Kunnu (Vilangan Hills). This hillock has been converted by the tourism department as an amusement park. While grown ups relish the scenic splendor from the hill top. Children can relax and play to their hearts. Lot of people use this place for their morning walk. Early in the morning walking to the top of hillock is a good exercise. View from top of the hill is really good especially at the time of sun rise and sun set. Now this place is under control of Thrissur District Tourism Promotion Council and they charge nominal fee for admission to amusement park and parking the vehicle.
- Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda Museum (Ayurveda Museum Thrissur), Ollur. Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda Museum is a museum showcasing the richness, the variety and the evolution of the Ayurveda traditional medicine of India. The museum is located in Thaikkattussery, near Ollur in Thrissur in Kerala, India. The museum was inaugurated by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, on 28 December 2013.
- 6 Nehru park, Round North, Thrissur (5 km). Nehru Park, Thrissur, is a children’s park named after first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and is owned by Thrissur Municipal Corporation in Thrissur City of Kerala, India. Park is located in the heart of the city with great scenery spread across 8.5 acres. The park was inaugurated by the first Vice President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in 1959
- 7 Valiyalukkal Temple, Kanimangalam (5 km). Beautiful Bhagavathy Temple in a photogenic sprawling sylvan compound.
- 8 Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral, East fort, Thrissur (5 km). Our Lady of Lourdes Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Kerala, is located in the heart of Thrissur City in the state of Kerala, India. The main attraction is an underground shrine, considered a masterpiece of architectural design. Fr John Maliekkal is said to have planned and constructed this church.
- 9 Athirappilly Falls (63 km from Thrissur). This 80 ft (24 m) high waterfall at the threshold of the Sholayar ranges on the Western Ghats is a popular picnic spot. Two amusement parks, DreamWorld and SilverStorm, are located nearby. The falls are referred to as the Niagara Falls of India - you can spot two large falls reminiscent of the bridal veil and Horseshoe Falls at Niagara, and a smaller falls nearby.
The falls are most famous for being shooting locations for popular Indian movies such as Ravan, Punnagai Mannan and Guru.
From the entrance, a 5-minute walk leads to the head of the falls. From there, a walking path criss-crosses downard to the foot of the falls. The water falls into a deep well, making the location unseemingly dangerous, so the water area is off-limits to tourists. ₹15.
- 10 Kallayikkunnu (Kallayi Hills) (30 km away, near to Kunnamkulam, exactly 2.5 km from Kunnamkulam on Kozhikode road). This hill station is also known as narimadakkunnu. This is a beautiful place. Many newly married couples prefer this place for still and moving photography, while many film makers also prefer this place for song scenes. Its a place of natural beauty.
- Kerala Kalamandalam (30 km). It is in Cheruthuruthy and was founded by the Poet Sri. Vallathol Narayana Menon, to encourage the study of the ancient arts of Kerala such as Kathakali and Mohiniyattom.
- 11 Peechi Dam (20 km from city). It is a good picnic spot. Buses from Thrissur and by taxi. Boating is permitted in the reservoir and occasionally you can see wild tuskers on the forested banks, part of which forms a reserved forest.
- 12 Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary, 23 km from city. It is unique in being the largest elephant park in the world with over 60 elephants.
- 13 Vazhachal Waterfalls (a short drive from Athirapilly). Close to dense forests and a part of the Chalakudy river.
- 14 Snehatheeram, Thalikkulam, 25 km. A favorite beach picnic spot for local people with essential facilities, good restaurants and life guard on duty. This is similar in concept to Cherai beach; but a lot less crowded. This facility won a state tourism award in 2011.
- 15 Chavakad Beach (Chavakkad Beach), 36 km. A seashore of rare scenic beauty. Acknowledged as one of the best beaches along the west coast.
Annual festivals or events
- Aanayoottu (Feeding of elephants): It's a festival held in the precincts of the Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur C, The festival falls on the first day of the month of Karkkidakam (timed against the Malayalam calendar), which coincides with the month of July.
- Feast of Saint Raphael, Ollur: This is an annual festival held in Ollur, near Thrissur City, since 1839. It draws thousands of pilgrims.
- Puli Kali:Puli Kali literally means 'tiger play'. This event happens on the fourth day of Onam, where Puli Kali troupes from all over the Thrissur City assemble to display their skills.
- Thrissur Pooram: The Pooram of all Poorams, is the most spectacular festival of this cultural capital celebrated at Vadakkumnathan Temple every year during April–May. Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, Kerala’s grandest temple pageantry, which includes colourful processions of caparisoned elephants and a midnight fireworks display, parasol exchanges, drum concerts can be witnessed from the crowded streets of Thrissur City. The two devaswams- Thiruvampadi and Paramekkavu- explore and exploit every source at their command to make this annual festival a memorable one.It is celebrated with a colourful procession of caparisoned elephants, parasol exchanges, drum concerts, display of pyro-techniques and refreshing scenes of public participation. During the festival season, Thrissur, popularly known as the temple town turns into a town of colour, music and mirth.
- Tourists (with passport), can sometimes get special tickets to this event offered for free which allow them entry onto a 'Guests' viewing platform which has a great view of the whole event. To get these tickets you'll meed to take your passport to the tourist office, which is about a 10 minute north of the central temple where the festival takes place. If you do get these tickets, arrive early as the seating is unassigned and often over sold. The main festivities of elephants and the parasol showdown run from about 5PM to 7PM.
- If you are only in town for a day, don't take your backpack with you, it's much too crowded. You can leave it at the train station coat check securely. To do so you will need locks on all parts of your bag (needed by the guard to accept your bag, and easily bought for about ₹30 from a small corner store seller just up at the top of the steep railway road), a train ticket (₹28 to erankulam worked fine), and ID for them to write down.
There are many small houses in the small lane near Dolors Basillica which specilizes in selling fresh vellayappams and other delicacies. One should definitely try the delicacies from there.
- Bharath Hotel, Round South. 8AM-10PM. Vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner. North Indian dishes served after 6PM. Famous for their Masala Dosai.
- Central Hotel, Chembukkavu.
- Copper Spoon, Poothole Road (Near Jayalakshmi Silks), ☏ . Continental and Indian restaurant
- Dass Continental, Sakthan Stand. Multi cuisine restaurant.
- Hotel Ambadi, Round West.
- , Round West (near Khadi Gramodhyog show room). This hotel provides good North Indian food.
- Indian Coffee House, Round North, Vadakke Stand.
- Joys Palace Hotel, Sakthan Stand. Multi cuisine restaurant.
- LuLu Garden Hotels, Lulu International Convention Center, Puzhakkal Padam, ☏ . Multi cuisine restaurant.
- 1 Ming Palace, Round South (Near Ragam Theater), ☏ . 24/7. Chinese restaurant with international and Indian cuisine.
- Mithila Vegetarian Restaurant, Round North, ☏ .
- Mothimahal, MG Road (Near Over bridge), ☏ . 24/7. Hotel and multi cuisine restaurant.
- Pathans, Round South (Near Ragam Theater). Vegetarian restaurant
- Trichur Tower Hotels, Sakthan Stand. Multi cuisine restaurant.
- Alukkas Bar, Chettiyangadi.
- Apsara Bar (also known as Parvattani Pottakulam Bar), East Fort.
- Aramana Bar, Chettiyangadi.
- 1 Ashoka Bakes (Near railway station). Juices, shakes.
- Ashoka Inn (Near Shakthan Thmapuran Stand).
- 2 Bini Bar & Restaurant, Round North.
- Calcutta Bar & Restaurant, Kuruppam Road (Near Railway Station). An old lodge converted bar, it is today one of the best bars in Thrissur, The food is very good and priced reasonably for bar standards. You have options such as rooftop, air-conditioned, or a room would be made available for more personal conversations.
- Central Hotel Bar & Restaurant, Chembukkavu.
- Delite Bakery (Near Sakthan Stand).
- Flavors (at City Center shopping complex). Good shakes and ice cream.
- Getha hotel, Near railway station.
- Hotel Krishna (near Vilangan hills).
- Hotel Merlin International (near Thrissur Railway Station).
- Hotel Prince, West Fort.
- J. P. Bar (West Fort).
- Joys Palace (Near Shakthan Thmapuran Stand).
- Kavitha Bar, Punkunnam.
- Kovilakam (Near Patturaickal Junction).
- Kolkata Bar & Restaurant (Off Round South).
- MingPalace, Round South.
- Mothimahal (Near Over bridge, MG Road).
- Peninzula (restaurant/bar), near ramdas theartre.
- Spoon, (East fort).
- Yatri Nivas, Chembukkavu.
Much of the budget accommodation is on the southern streets coming away from the temple. Some hotels charge only ₹300 per night. During peak times like the yearly Poorum, expect accommodation prices to skyrocket to ₹3000+ and many places have to be booked out in advance.
- Casino Hotel, TB Rd, ☏ . This hotel is located near to the private bus station (Shakthan Stand).
- Coconut Island, Vettakharan Kadave, Thoyakkave, ☏ . An exclusive island guesthouse in the backwaters.
- Dass Continental, Sakthan Nagar, ☏ .
- Elite International, Chembottil Ln, ☏ . This is one of the best hotels in thrissur offering quality accommodation at reasonable prices. They also have a hotel and bar facilities. The most distinguishing feature from other hotels is that it is located in the heart of the town yet offer great car parking space.
- Krishna (Near Vilangan Hills).
- Love Shore Inn (near the railway station).
- Merlin International, Poothole Road (Opp. Railway Station), ☏ . Located near to the Thrissur railway station. Parking can be an issue during the peak seasons as theu don't have a large parking ground
- Pathans, Round South, ☏ .
- Sidharth, Railway Station Road, Chalakudy, ☏ .
- Soni's Lodge, Chettiyangadi Junction (Near the railway station, there are a few signs at road crossings nearby (maybe highway 22, or municipal office road)), ☏ . Rooms may be available even on the main night of the Poorum for ₹500 per 12 hours. Budget.
Other alternatives during peak times are to stay at Guruvayoor, connected by 40-minute train, which has ample accommodation.
- A/c Dormitory (Railway Retirement Room). ₹240.
Thrissur City is generally a safe city for a regular tourist. Take the precautions which you would be regularly taking in various other small cities in India. Beware of pickpockets. Certain areas near the bus stands and railway station may not be a good place for women moving around alone in the nights.
Thrissur City has three police stations. The East Police Station located in between the Municipal Bus Stand and 'Sakthan Thampuran' Bus Stand. The West Police Station is located at the suburb of Ayyanthole next to the District Collectorate (HQ of the civil administration). The Traffic Police Station is just opposite to the East police station quite close to the Police Club and the Fire Station. Regular patrols of the law and order and the traffic police are present in various parts of the town.
For help dial:
- 100 - Police Control Room
- 101 - Fire Brigade Control Room
- Amala Medical College, Amala Nagar
- Aswini Hospital, Karunakaran Nambiar Road, Thrissur
- Balya Hospital for Children, S.T Nagar
- C.A.M Hospital, Olarikara
- Co-Operative Hospital, Shornur Road
- Daya Hospital, Thrissur
- District Hospital, Round East
- Elite Hospital, Koorkenchery
- E.S.I Hospital, Kanjani Road
- E.S.I Hospital, M.G.Kavu
- GEM Hospital, Convent Road
- Govt.Medical College Hospital, Mulankunnathukavu
- Jubilee Mission Medical College, Mission Quarters
- Lakshmi Nature Cure and Yoga Center, Viyoor
- MAcare Medical and Dental Clinic Valapad, Thripayar
- Metropolitan Hospital, Kokkalai Road
- Mother Hospital, Kanjani Road
- St.Joseph Mission Hospital (a.k.a Choondal Hospital), Choondal
- Sunethri Ayurvedic Hospital &Speciality centre, Chiyyaram
- Trichur Heart Hospital, S.T Nagar
- Vaidya Ratnam Ayurveda Hospital, Ollur
- West Fort Hospital, West Fort
- West Fort Hightech Hospital, Guruvayur Road
Thrissur Railway Station is a major station in the Southern Railway network and all important trains stop here. Regular train services are there to Cochin and Palakkad are available from here. Thrissur also has a suburban station Punkunnam, but only local passenger trains and a few express trains stops here.
The 'Sakthan Thampuran' Bus Stand located at the southern part of the city is the origin point of buses proceeding towards Palakkad.The 'Municipal Bus Stand' located at Round South caters to the local bus transport. From North bus stand, there are buses which goes to Shoranur and Palakkad. The bus station of the state owned Transport corporation (KSRTC) is located at Chettiyangadi and is quite close to the Railway Station.