Kannur is located alongside Kerala’s northern coast and is bounded by the Western Ghats in the east and the Lakshwadeep Sea in the west. The famous explorer Marco Polo labeled it as the great emporium of the spice trade. This nature-rich city is famous for its scenic beaches, ancient forts, old shrines, weaving industry, spice markets, cashews and colonial history.
Development in Kannur has been influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. It was known even to the Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. If you enjoy traveling outside the tourist circuit and visit unexplored Indian cities, then this city has many attractions to keep you occupied for a long weekend.
1. Kannur Beach
Kannur Beach is actually the name given to a group of five beaches. These are Payyambalam Beach, Meenkunnu Beach, Adikadalayi Beach, Baby Beach and Thayyil Beach. Out of these, the Payyambalam beach is the most popular one amongst domestic and international tourists. It is the perfect secluded place to enjoy a peaceful stroll amidst the waves and sea breeze, tucked in the lap of nature, far away from the crowd. This beach has flat laterite cliffs and a massive sculpture of a mother and child.
Payyambalam Beach (Kannur Beach)
Address: Located on NH - 17, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Railway Station, 670001 Kannur, India
2. Muzhappilangad drive-in beach
As its name suggests, Muzhappilangad is Asia’s longest drive-in beach with a coastal stretch of 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles). It is featured amongst the top six beaches for driving in the world in a BBC article. The beach is wide and the sand is firm enough making it convenient for driving. This beach is located parallel to NH 66 and attracts mostly youth who come here to try stunts like drifting and wheeling in bikes by the seashore.
Also, from this beach, you can see a small private island, known as the Dharmadam Island. During low tide, you can actually walk 100 meters (330 feet) from the beach to reach the island. There are rock formations on the north end of the beach, where people prefer to sit down and bask in the natural beauty of this place. This beach is gradually gaining popularity amongst both Indians as well as foreign tourists.
Muzhappilangad drive-in beach
Address: Muzhappilangad Beach Road, Muzhappilangad, Kannur, Kerala
Website: Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach
3. Fort St. Angelo
The St. Angelo Fort is also known as Kannur Fort and is considered as a world heritage site. It was built on the coast of the Arabian Sea in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, Dom Francisco de Almeida. Currently, this fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
It offers scenic views of the sea, so you can sit and enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the rocks from this ancient fort. Recently, a musical fountain light and sound show has been introduced by the government, keeping you glued to the fort with the lighthouse at the backdrop. The show begins at sunset and lasts for 15 minutes.
Fort St. Angelo
Address: Near Cannannore Cantonment, Burnacherry, Kannur, Kerala
Website: Fort St. Angelo
4. Arakkal Museum
The Arakkal family was the only Muslim royal family in Kerala. This museum is a dedication to this 16th-century Kannur dynasty and is located inside the premises of their residence, Arakkalkettu (Arakkal Royal Palace). It is a harbor front museum which showcases heritage furniture, antiques, art, silver, weapons, and objects depicting their lives. For history and art lovers, this museum is a must-visit when you are in Kannur. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.
Address: Ayikkara Govt Hospital Rd, Near District Hospital, Ayikkara, 670013 Kannur, Kerala
Website: Arakkal Museum
5. Muthappan Temple
Muthappan Temple is located on the banks of the Valapattanam river in Kannur and has Sree Muthappan as its principal deity. Commonly known as Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple is a Hindu temple renowned locally for its unique worshipping style. You will not see the traditional Indian worshipping style in this temple because here the main mode of worship is a dance form known as Muthappan Theyyam. This traditional dance is a ritual enactment of two mythical characters called Thiruvappana and Vellattam which manifested into Sree Muthappan.
Tourists flock to this temple every day to enjoy this charming dance involving men adorning colorful masks and costumes depicting the conflict between good and evil with the good defeating evil to eventually emerge victoriously. Another thing that makes this temple unique is the offerings the devotees bestow here. This temple is frequented by people of all castes, religions, and nationalities.
Address: 670563 Kannur, Parassinikadavu, Kerala
Website: Muthappan Temple
6. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in 1984, the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is the northernmost wildlife sanctuary of Kerala and is located in the forested highlands on the slopes of the Western Ghats. This beautiful hilly forest terrain has altitudes that range from 60 meters (196.8 feet) at the base to Katti Betta, the highest peak at here 1145 meters (3756.5 feet) above sea level. Trekking here can be a delightful experience as you can find many varieties of butterflies here.
The sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna including elephants, deer, langurs, and squirrels. The sanctuary opens at 8 a.m. so make sure you go as early as possible for best exploration and pack food and drinks as you will not get anything in the forest. Enroute to the sanctuary you will come across a Central State Farm of the Government of India in Aralam village, Thalassery, which is the main production center for hybrid coconut seeds in the country.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Address: Aralam Farm, Valayamchal, 670673 Kannur, Kerala
Website: Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
Madayipara is a laterite hillock, located in Kannur, with breath-taking views of the Payangadi town on the northern bank of Kuppam river, with all its biodiversity and historical significance. This is a must visit place for those who like to walk and explore beautiful destinations. It was the administrative center of the Ezhimala kings, so walking around this place, you can find remnants of the past including the ruins of a fort (Pazhi Kotta) and an ancient Vadukunda Shiva Templer.
The fort also has four watchtowers, one at each corner. The lake near the temple is the lifeline of this place and doesn’t go dry even during summers. This region contains unique flora and fauna, more than 100 species of butterflies, birds, and insects and rare medicinal herbs.
Address: Kannur, Kerala
8. Kavvayi Islands
When in Kerala, the first thing that comes to your mind is backwaters. Any trip to this state is incomplete without enjoying a laid back day in the backwaters. Kavvayi is a group of small islands in Kannur which comprise the biggest wetland in north Kerala and are reachable from Payyannur by a small bridge on the Kavvayi River.
While the backwaters in Alappuzha & Kollam have their own unique offerings, Kavvayi has a charm which will leave you smitten in love! Unwind on one of the country boats while enjoying the cool breeze and let your eyes feast on the surrounding greenery. Need I say more?
Address: Kavvayi Islands, Kannur, Kerala
Feast amidst nature
Feast amidst nature in Kannur and tick mark another secluded charming Indian city on your travel diaries. It can be reached by public transport bus or train from major South Indian cities. The nearest airport is the Calicut International Airport in Kozhikode. Happy traveling!
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