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Theyyam or Theyyattam is a popular ritualistic folk dance form of North Malabar supported by a vast literature and folk songs. Theyyam or theyyattam means 'dance of the gods' (deyvam=god, attam=dance) and it invokes the presence of the deity in the body of the dancer. It is a native cult of spirit and hero worship that has survived and coexisted with more recent Aryan/Brahminical rituals.
Photo Courtesy - Vadakkante Theyyangal & Loving Theyyam Photographers
Theyyam also known as Kaliyattam, it is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala or the erstwhile Kolathunadu. Theyyam incorporates dance, mime and music and enshrines the rudiments of ancient tribal cultures which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors. Of the over 400 Theyyams performed, the most spectacular ones are those of Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaven, Gulikan and Pottan. These are performed in front of shrines, sans stage or curtains, by persons belonging to the Vannan, Malayan and other related castes.
'Thudangal' (the beginning) and 'Thottam' (the invocation) are the introductory rituals of theTheyyam or the Thira, as it is known in south Malabar. The headgear and other ornamental decorations are spectacular in sheer size and appearance. Karivalloor, Nileswaram, Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Ezhom and Kunnathoorpadi in north Malabar are places where Theyyams are performed annually from December to April. At the Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple in Kannur, Theyyam is preformed on all days.
Kerala’s only drive-in beach, the Muzhappilangad beach which stretches across four kilometres of sand where one can drive down the entire length. The drive is ideal for sampling the famed Malabar cuisine from the many eateries in the immediate hinterland. Black rocks protect this long, clean beach from the currents of the deep, making its shallow waters a swimmer’s paradise.
Adventure sports like paragliding, parasailing and microlite flights are possible at the Muzhappilangad Beach in Thalassery. Other attractions include water sports, power boating or a simple catamaran ride.
St. Angelo Fort, Kannur
A massive triangular laterite fort, replete with a moat and flanking bastions, the St. Angelo's Fort also called Kannur Fort was constructed by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francesco de Almeida in 1505.
In 1663, the Dutch captured the fort from the Portuguese and sold it to Ali Raja of Kannur. In 1790 the British who seized control over the fort, renovated and equipped it to be their most important military station in Malabar.
Today, St. Angelo's Fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort offers a fascinating view of the Mappila Bay and Dharmadom Island. Dharmadom Island, only 5 acres in area, is situated 100 metres away from the mainland in the Arabian Sea. The Moppila Bay is a natural fishing bay. A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water. Today, the bay has turned into a modern fishing harbour, developed under the Indo-Norwegian Pact.
The fort offers fascinating view of a natural fishing bay and a sea wall projecting from the fort separating the rough sea and inland water.
Payyambalam Beach, Kannur
Quiet, secluded, this beautiful stretch of sand and surf is the best locale for a relaxed evening. The Payyambalam beach is a popular picnic spot of the local people and holds much potential for development into a tourist resort.
The rest of the land - Kannur - is equally fascinating to explore. Being the cradle of ageless folk arts like Theyyam and folk music, Kannur has always remained a land of ageless charms.
However, if you decide to hide away at this beach destination, your stay should be arranged in the town 2 km away. Comfortable accommodation is available.
Parassinikadavu Sri Muthappan Temple, Kannur
This centre of worship and faith has in store many unique practices and rituals, and the temple architecture itself stands testimony to this aspect. Located 20 km away from Kannur, a northern district of Kerala, the Parassinikadavu Muthappan (Siva) Temple on the banks of the Valapatnam River attracts people from all sections of the society; irrespective of religion, caste and promotes the essence of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - The whole world is one family."
The origin of the Muthappan temple is connected to the appearance of a child who roamed the region with a string of interesting incidents and later vanished without a trace. The incidents up to the point of his disappearance later made the denizens feel the divine presence of Muthappan (Siva) who immediately erected a place of worship, which today is popularly known as the Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple.
The temple is also a popular destination for travellers and pilgrims to savour the charm of Theyyam, a ritual that is performed here on a daily basis. Men adorning masks and costumes with a riot of colours perform this temple art form and it represents conflict between good and evil, with good ultimately emerging victorious.
Meenkunnu Beach is located at the North Kerala village of Azhikode, 12 kilometers away from Kannur town.
Tourists reach here after spending time at the main beach at Payymbalam are happy to discover their preferred choice of escape - a beautiful beach of golden sands tucked behind the thick line up of tall palms.
The place has a slow pace. It is an area of fishing hamlets. It is interesting to watch people doing different types of fishing and catching fish right at the beach.
This beach is indeed a refreshing choice for those who find Payyambalam beach a bit touristy and crowded.
Meenkunnu beach is 10 kilometers north of Payyambalm along the same stretch of shoreline.
Meenkunnu means hill of fish, in local vernacular, indicating the strong fishing tradition of beach side villages.
Other than fishing folk, you may find very few people on the beach. That makes here the perfect spot to forget the worries of the world.
The cliff on top of this beach is a good view point. However, if you happen to arrive there in a vehicle, there is a better entry point to the beach. To get there, return and take the road to the north.
At this remote place, a new world is ready for a gentle takeover of your universe - a world of coconuts where the order of the sands is shells, fish, tiny crabs, pebbles and bubbles.
Chala beach is just a short stroll away from Meenkunnu beach. Appearing as a northern extension of Mennkunnu itself, Chala beach is narrower although cleaner.
It is also more visitor oriented with a beach garden and well laid out beach entrance.
This beach strip is remote and private, yet there is nothing much that could be done in this paradise of plain idling. Spending part of a day here could fit in well as Kannur coast has more to offer along the strip of Kadalai – Thottada and Kizhunna – Ezhara, all pristine beaches in convenient traveling distances from Kannur town.
You may also want to load up some of the local fun and excitement, especially at Parassinikkadavu temple and backwaters.
It is also a good idea to carry some drinks and snacks with you as you may not find them anywhere near the beach.
Located 37 km. East of Kannur and an ideal retreat for tourists, the dam site is famous for its scenic beauty. The DTPC provides pleasure boating facilities at the reservoir. Accommodation is available at the Project Inspection Bungalow.
This dam is situated around 11 km from the birthplace of Pazhassi Raja. The nearest railway station is Kannur and tourists can avail taxis and buses from the station to reach this dam. Accommodation is available at different dormitories available near this dam.
It is the only reservoir with a garden in Kannur district. The garden is a good attraction with sculptures. The added attractions of the place are the children's park., the Buddha's mountain at Pazhassi and the sculpture of Pazhassi Raja, which are visual delights. A visit to this dam is really worth it, especially for who are interested in boating.
Dharmadam Island, Thalassery
Dharmadom Island is an uninhabited island covered with coconut palms and dense bushes sits beyond the confluence of Anjarakandy and Thalassery rivers. It is just 100 metres from the sandy beach of Dharmadom, which is set off from the mainland by rivers that surround it on three sides and the sea on its western side. You can wade to the island at low tide.
Dr. Herman Gundert, the revered German missionary, scholar and lexicographer lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839. It was here that one of the first Malayalam dictionaries and the first Malayalam Newspaper - Paschimodayam - took shape.
Gundert Bungalow is large edifice built in the watch tower model. It is around 200 years old, still standing in its glory. This building is a typical model of traditional architecture found in those days. The building materials used here were sand bricks, granite stones and teak woods. On the inside there are many halls verandahs and small living rooms. There are many wooden pillars on the verandahs. Many of its major doors are built with well carved woods. All of its tops are covered with clay tiles, which give it a traditional looks. On the entrance there are two big pillared arches as a gateway to this Bungalow. It has very beautiful site out areas. The edifice is tiled in a pyramid shape on the top with wooden beam supports. There are also many wooden ceilings found, which are well polished and not ruined up till today. This bungalow is built on a vast woods area. Still there are trees of more than 300 years old around it.
Arakkal Kettu Museum, Kannur
Arakkal Kettu was the residence of the former Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. Protected by the Archaeological and Tourism Department, this palace complex is today a museum. The Arakkal Kettu Museum houses a splendid display of numerous artefacts and heirlooms belonging to the Rajas. The musuem is closed on Mondays.
Ezhimala is a hillock, which is 286 m high, rises above the beautiful beach here. Carved stone pillars and an ancient burial chamber can be seen at the foot of the hills. The hills are well known for its rare medicinal herbs.
Naval Academy Ezhimala (NAVAC), one of the largest of its kind in Asia, is located here. Permission is required for entry.
Madayipara in Kannur
Madayipara,a laterite hill, located at Pazhayangadi in Kannur District, which would soon get its due share of attention as a center of tourist attraction. Madayipara or Madayi para is a place worth visiting, especially for those who would like to walk and explore things own their own.
Madayipara is a significant spot owing to its bio-diversity as well as history. In the past, Madayipara was the administrative center of the Ezhimala kings. In and around Madayipara, one can find remnants from the past. At the southern side of the hill, stand the remains of a fort called Pazhi Kotta (kotta means fort in Malayalam). Here one can also find watchtowers at the four corners of the fort. Madayipara was used to be the site for the coronation ceremony of the rulers of the princely state of the erstwhile Kolathunadu.
The hillock of Madayipara, which carries several signs of historic relevance, is also a place important from a religious point of view. Here, a pond in the shape of a hand held mirror, connected to ancient jewish setllers is another historic attraction. Similarly, a temple at this site, called Vadukunda Siva Temple and the adjoining lake, about an acre in extension form yet another attraction at Madayipara. The lake near the temple will not go dry even in hot summer months and remains a source of nourishment to life forms at Madayipara. The pooram festival of Madayi Kavu (kavu - family temples and those in the midst of thick vegetation) held at Madayipara has been responsible for much of its fame.
With regard to the bio-diversity of Madayipara, it has been found that the region contains about 300 flowering plants, about 30 varieties of grass, and several insect-eating plant species. Madayipara is also home to several rare medicinal herbs, which are sought by people from near and far off places. Coming to avian life, Madayipara sustains about 100 species of butterflies and about 150 species of birds. Among the biggest butterflies in the world, the Atlas butterfly is a visitor to Madayipara.
The upcoming cultural village project of the state government is aimed to sustain and keep intact the physical as well as historic importance of Madayipara, and at the same time encourage visitors to savour the unparalleled attractions of this beautiful terrain.
Nearest railway station: Pazhayangadi, about 2 km; Kannur, about 25 km
The natural harbour of Mappila Bay (also Mapila bay, Mopila bay and Mappila beach) is a water inlet great for boat rides.
One of the attractions in Kannur town, it is located in a touristy spot right next to Fort of St. Angelo (Kannur fort) and Arakkal Palace. Proximity to such monuments brings in more visitors.
Although Mappila bay is a sightseeing spot in its own right, a lot need to be done to bring it at par with the best of local tourist spots.
A high wall extends into the sea from the adjacent Kannur Fort.
It separates rough sea and inland water, so that boats could arrive inward and anchor safely.
This wall has worked quite well for the fishing harbor and the port of Mapila bay.
Boating within the bay area is pleasant. However, if you are venturing away from the bay to inner sea, make sure the weather conditions will stay favorable.
The placid coastal waters of the region can suddenly turn violent if weather conditions deteriorate.
In its great past, Mopila bay served as a port. For several centuries it linked Malabar to foreign countries.
Today hectic activity of a thriving fishing harbour has taken over the coastal spot.
After a period of decline caused by neglect Moppila bay bounced back to brisk activity as a regional fishing hub. A trade Pact signed between India and Norway opened doors to assistance. Much needed makeover thus saved the fishing harbour.
No doubt Mappila bay is a scenic area of tourism potential. Unfortunately, nowadays it is more of a fishing harbour than a sightseeing spot.
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach
Often collectively mentioned as Kizhunna Ezhara beach, the twin beaches of Kizhunna and Ezhara lie side by side.
Kannur coastal belt has some fine beaches. At Kizhunna Ezhara, 12 Kilometers from Kannur town, crimson sands meet gentle waves to form an impressive beach strip.
Crimson cliffs and black rocks have teamed up to border the ends of beach crescents. People get absorbed in the protective feel of shallow natural coves, as mild surf keeps on socking sand and rocks at the seaside.
Ezhara, the southern side, has a splendid rocky shore where you will find it hard to take eyes off the coconut grove.
The tip of the cliff at the far south is Munambam.
In the tip of Munambam is a small building with tiled roof.
Its green colour and old style structure blends so well with the surroundings that you may wonder what takes the place of pride in such a serene setting.
It is a small mosque. On the other side of hte mosque is the entrance to Munambam.
Shallow calm bay is ever tempting for a swim and bath. By all means, be tempted, sparing the few weeks of peak monsoon:)
Beaches here get some visitors in the evenings and weekends. Those who seek it from their heart are left alone to enjoy it other times.
Day time stillness gets interrupted only by the splashing of waves and the waving of coconut palms. Occasional activities of fishermen of neighbouring villages are nowhere near a distraction.
Here you find one of the North Kerala beach strips where peace is in plenty.
Beauty of the place is beyond words, especially the Ezhara part of the beach. For those who feel tempted for a few days of true bliss, there is great news. There are home stays right alongside this remote beach strip.
It is surprising that one of the best beaches in Kerala lies here almost undiscovered, visited by very few locals and even fewer numbers of overseas travelers.
Paithal Mala, Kannur
Paithalmala, Vaithalmala or Vaithalmala is a hill station in the Kannur district of Kerala in India. Located near Pottenplave village, at a height of 1371.6 m above sea level, this is the highest geographic peak in Kannur. It is located at 40 km from Taliparamba and 65 km from Kannur. Nestled in the Kerala-Karnataka border near to Kodagu forests, it lies in the Western Ghats. It has become a favorite spot for the nature enthusiasts, photographers, trekkers and leisurely visitors.
There are two trekking seasons at Vaithalmala, falling in monsoon and summer. Monsoon trekking to Vaithalmala is a photographer’s delight as the mist blankets the hills and forest. One can indulge into the lush greenery amidst the showers throughout the day, especially in July. Practically, trekking is not as easy as in the summer because of the extreme climate. Watch out for leeches and occasional elephant visits.
Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 55 sq km of undulating forested highlands on the slopes of the Western Ghats. The highest peak here - Katti Betta - rises to a majestic 1145 m above sea level.
Covered with tropical and semi evergreen forests, the Aralam Sanctuary is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats. Elephant, gaur, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, Nilgiri langur, Hanuman langur, Malabar giant squirrel, etc can be seen here.
Aralam, a village in Thalassery, Kannur, is also noted for the Central State Farm, a 3060 hectare farm started in 1971 by the Government of India. This is one of the main production centres of hybrid coconut seeds in the country.
Kanjirakolly is a hill station that lies on the foothills of Western Ghats bordering the forest-clad hills of Coorg in Karnataka has always attracted ecologically sensitive people who are on the look out for nature in its prestine charm.The Scenic beauty Kanjirakolly is a tourist hotspot due to the lush green plains, blue hills, meandering rivers, gushing waterfalls, fresh and breezy air and the deep forest. Once the Sasipara hilltop is reached, a spectacular view awaits you where you cansee the Coorg forest on one side and the hilly terrains on the other.... These hills are blessed with greenery and the place has many wonders in store for travelers and nature lovers.
Sasipara,Kanjirakolly is an idyllic hill station in Kannur district of Kerala. It sits on the laps of the Western Ghats at a height of about 4000 ft above the sea level. This is a is a beautiful sight where you can spend hours and hours just admiring the nature.As monsoon sets, the place is all the more alluring with its floral hills and valley that turns into a flowing stream among these hills. The beauty of the valley and hills is beyond explanation.The scenic beauty of Kanjirakolly village in the district on the foothills of Western Ghats bordering the forest-clad hills of Coorg in Karnataka has always attracted ecologically sensitive people who are on the look out for nature in its pristine charm.Sasipara situated on a steep terrain offers a breathtaking panoramic view of undulating hills. From Sasipara one see Kanjirakolly Valley,Chittari Valley,Coorg Forests of Karnataka,exotic view of Western Ghats,Kanmadapara,Udumpe River, Kaimuttipara,Alakapuri Waterfalls,Elappara,Trekking Routes to Coorg and other nearby villages. All the tourism spots are situated at a height of 4000 feet above sea level.You can watching the sunrise from the Valleys of Western Ghats You should never give away an unfogettable experience....
Palakkayam Thattu is a hill station in Kannur. This lesser-known location is a misty mountain in the Western Ghats have an altitude of 3500 Ft from Mean Sea Level. Western Ghat Mountain Ranges are renowned for their rich bio-diversity. Paithalmala, Another famous hill station in Kannur District is just a few kilometers away from Palakkayam Thattu. It is a must-visit location for those who loves trekking and adventures. Several waterfalls (in rainy season) and mountain ranges adds the beauty of Palakkayam Thattu. We are sure, Your visit will be a memorable experience. If you are interested in Off Road driving, you are welcome with your beast.
Palakkayam Thattu is almost 56 Kilometers (34.8 Miles) away from Kannur Town. Nearest towns are Naduvil and Pulikurumba. To reach the top of Palakkayam thattu you can either trek uphill or hire a taxi Jeep which will cost almost ₹200. After the Jeep ride, we should walk another 500 meters to reach the top of the mountain.
Reaching there you will be witnessing one of the most picturesque spots in Kerala. The birds eye view of green hills around with the biodiversity of western Ghats attracts many tourists to here. At the top of the hill, walkways are set up by the Tourism Promotion Council, where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Kannur. This is one of the best spots for Photographers, Trekkers, and Nature Enthusiasts in Kerala. The view of sunset from here is magnificent.Palakkayam Thattu is located at 50 km from Kannur and 28.5 km from Taliparamba.
Kottiyoor or Kottiyur is an ancient Hindu pilgrim center devoted to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in Kannur district, Kerala. The temple is situated on the beautiful Sahya mountain range valley and is blessed with abundant natural beauty. The Bavali river with her medicinal waters flow from the Wayanad ghats on the banks of the temple. On the northern side of the river bank, there is a small lake known as 'Thiruvanchira' and here in the midst of this lake is this temple sans temple.
The temple has a Shiva linga believed to be a 'swayambhu'. Swayambhu means born on his own or not man made. The small heap where this Shiva linga is worshipped is known as 'Manithara'. The abhishekam for the Shiva linga is with milk, ghee (clarified butter) and karikku (tender coconut water). In the same lake, there is another heap 'Ammarakallu' where Sree Parvati Devi is worshipped. This way, at Kottiyoor you get the blessings of both Shiva and Shakthi.
Kottiyoor is also known by the names Kudiyoor, Dakshina Kashi. Thricherumana, Vdakkumkaavu, Kizhakkumkaavu and Vadakeeswaram.
At Kottiyoor, there are two temples - Akkare Kottiyur and Ikkare Kottiyur, located on the opposite banks of Bavali river. Akkare Kottiyur is open during the Kottiyoor Vaisakha Maholsavam festival only.
Daksha is son of Brahma and one of the Prajapatis. Sati, the consort of Shiva was the daughter of Daksha. Sati had married Shiva against the wishes of her father. The vain Daksha performed a great yagna/ yaga(with the sole aim of insulting Shiva), to which he invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son in law Lord Shiva. Against Shiva's wishes, Sati attended this yagna and was insulted by her father. Unable to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself in the yagna fire.
Enraged at the loss of Satidevi, Shiva opened his third eye. Then appeared Veerabhadra with a 1000 arms and carrying weapons in each hand. He destroyed Daksha's sacrifice and cut off Daksha's head.
Since the yaga was stopped, the Gods feared that many difficulties may arise in the future. The Gods along with Brahma and Vishnu went to Kailas and sought Shiva's help. Shiva was pacified and all of them reached the yaga place and restored the yaga. The dead were brought back to life. Daksha's head was destroyed in the yaga fire and was replaced by a goats head. Daksha pleaded to Shiva for his arrogance and was given Moksha.
After the yaga, every one went back and Lord Shiva took the form of the swayambhu linga next to where Sati immolated herself in the yagna fire. Since all the Trimoorthies or the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva met together at this place, it was known as Koodiyoor (Koodi in malayalam means meet or join). Koodiyoor became Kottiyoor.
So Kottiyoor is believed to be the spot of the ancient Dakshayaga. The auda flowers/ odapoo is considered as the beard of Daksha
One of the popular deities in Kannur District is Muchilot Bhagavathi. Last ten years witnessed Muchilot bhagavathi perumkaliyattams at Karivellur, Payyanur, Kunhimangalam, Valapattanam, Muyyam, Vellave, Karamel etc. Anustanangalum Samoohika Prasakthiyum describes the importance of Muchilot Bhagavathi in the social formation of North Kerala. There is a practice for supplying food to thousands of devotees in connection with Muchilot Bhagavathi. Another work 'Muchilot Bhagavathi' narrates the origin and establishment of Muchilot Kavu in different parts of North Malabar. Highly decorative figures of Muchilot Bhagavathi attracts the minds of devotees by its aesthetic appeal. In Cherukunnu and Kannapuram yearly Muchilot Bhagavathi Theyyam is performed.
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