The Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of about 35 km from Thalassery and 60 km from the town of Kannur. Headquartered in Iritty (20 km away), the sanctuary was set up in 1984. Lying along the thickly forested slopes of the Western Ghats, the sanctuary houses a wide variety of animals and birds. The highest peak of the region is Katti Betta, situated at an altitude of 1145 m.
The sanctuary serves as a true delight to nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts with its exciting variety of fauna that include elephant, spotted deer, gaur, bison, jungle cats, leopard, Hanuman langur, barking deer, sambar, Nilgiri langur and Malabar giant squirrel.
The best season to visit the sanctuary is from November to June, and monsoon season should be preferably avoided. It is a hotspot for those who are into bird watching as 215 kinds of bird species and 172 kinds of butterflies are recorded in the region.
Mopila Bay (also known as Mappila Bay) is situated a few kilometres away from Kannur town at Ayikkara village. A natural harbour known for its beauty and historical significance, Mopila Bay is bordered with Fort St. Angelo on one side and Arakkal Palace on the other.
The harbour has a long history dating back to the reign of the Kolathiris and still holds the glory of the bygone era. It was an active commercial centre of Kolathunadu and had established trade links with other neighbouring countries. It is recommended that travellers cover the bay, Fort St. Angelo and Arakkal Palace in a day’s trip.
A wall from the fort protrudes into the sea, separating the sea from inland water and allowing the safe arrival and anchoring of boats. Travellers can enjoy boat trips along the bay, but it is highly advised to check the climatic conditions prior to the trip. Moppila Bay was recently renovated as a local fishing hub under the Indo-Norwegian pact and has gained much popularity among tourists during recent times.
Muzhuppilangad Beach gathers its fame as the only drive-in beach in India as well as in Asia. Lying 8 km away from Thalassery and 16 km away from Kannur town, the beach is easily accessible by road. Located parallel to NH 17 that connects Thalassery and Kannur, this beach is frequented by thousands of people every year and is an ideal location for one day tours and family picnics.
Travellers can drive along the entire stretch of 5 km and enjoy the scenic beauty of sandy shores. The beach becomes crowded with youngsters and adventure seekers during the beach festival that falls in the month of April. Dharmadam Island, also known as Pacha Thuruthu, is situated about 200 m south of the beach.
Travellers can cover the shores of Muzhuppilangad Beach in cars and bikes. The coconut trees swaying in the wind and the rocks surrounding the ocean add to the beauty of the beach. The beach can be visited any time of the year, though monsoons should be preferably avoided.
Madayipara, a green hummock and a scenic stretch of laterite rocks, is situated at Pazhayangadi town (about 25 km away from Kannur) on the banks of the Kuppam river. The region is rich in bio-diversity and carries a long history which can be traced back to the reign of Ezhimala Kings.
Ruins of an ancient fort named Pazhi Kotta and its watchtowers can be spotted on the sides of the hill. Another chief attraction in the area is the Madayikkavu (also known as Thiruvar Kadu Bhagavathi Temple) where Goddess Bhadrakali is worshipped.
Vadukunnu Temple (the presiding deity of which is Lord Shiva) and Malik Ibn Dinar mosque (popularly known as Maday Mosque) are situated in the surroundings, attracting travellers with their historic significance.
Madayipara attracts nature lovers with its exciting variety of flora and fauna. According to records about 300 kinds of flowering plants, 30 types of grass, 100 species of butterflies and 150 species of birds are spotted in the region.
The area is best known for the wide variety of medicinal herbs it houses. Though not extensively explored by travellers at the moment, Madayipara holds within it the potential for becoming a booming tourist spot in the future.
Ezhimala, a cluster of hills with a height of about 290 m, attracts tourists with its stunning beauty and emerald surroundings. The region has considerable historical importance for it once served as the capital of the ancient Mushika dynasty.
As an ancient port and a commercial hub, Ezhimala was widely popular during ancient times and is believed to have been visited by Lord Buddha. Many believe that the story behind the origins of this hill is associated with some events depicted in the epic Ramayana.
The most popular attractions of the region are a temple where Lord Hanuman is worshipped and a lighthouse named Mount Deli Lighthouse. Ezhimala is under the administration of the Indian Navy and has been declared as a restricted area since the Indian Naval Academy started functioning here in 2009.
Located at a distance of 55 km from the town of Kannur, the restricted areas of Ezhimala can be visited with the permission from the authorities. The beach in Ezhimala is a serene as well as scenic place to hang out. Ettikulam bay lies closer to the region, and travellers get the rare opportunity to watch dolphins at the bay.
Arakkal Kettu, a palace which was converted into a museum, attracts tourists with its royal history and artifacts. Located a few kilometres away from Kannur town, the palace lies in the proximity of Mopila Bay. A few centuries ago, the palace served as the royal residence of Arakkal Ali Rajas (a Muslim Royal Family) who were the then rulers of Kannur and Lakshadweep islands.
The palace is an interesting piece of artwork carved out in wood and laterite stones that combine both traditional Kerala and classic English styles of architecture. The structure of the palace comprises of a vast courtyard, several independent units, mosques, long verandahs, durbar halls, wooden floors and windows with coloured glasses.
The durbar hall of Arakkal Kettu has been renovated and converted into a museum by the Government of Kerala. However, the entire palace complex is still under the ownership and administration of the Arakkal Family Trust which charges a nominal fee from visitors.
An excellent collection of royal heirlooms is exhibited in the museum including family seals, old pathayams (wooden boxes for storing grains), Holy Koran used by the members of the royal family, an old telephone, swords, bronze and silver vessels daggers, royal furniture and a telescope.
Cherukunnu, a small town located about 20 km away from Kannur town, is best known for its religious places. The name Cherukunnu means small hill in Malayalam and the town is believed to have derived this name as it is surrounded by several small hills.
Cherukunnu has a number of tiny islands (which are locally called Thuruth) which add to its picturesque beauty. Chief attractions of the town include the Thavam Church (an ancient Roman Catholic Church), Oliyankara Juma Masjid (where a renowned Sufi grave is located) and St. Martin de Porres Hospital (locally known as The Mission Hospital).
Annapoorneshwari Temple, better known as Cherukunnilamma Temple, is what attracts travellers and devotees to Cherukunnu. This is one of the few temples in India where Sree Annapoorneswari is worshipped. Annapoorneswari (literally translated as the Goddess of Meals) is a rarely worshipped form of Goddess Parvati and the temple is known for its unique ritual called Annadanam (food feast).
Holy Trinity Cathedral gathers its fame as one of the oldest Catholic churches of Kerala and is of great historical importance. The establishment of this cathedral was instrumental to the missionary activities in north Malabar.
The history of this ancient Roman Catholic Church dates back to the 16th century when a group of four Franciscan missionaries visited Malabar as a part of propagating Christianity. These missionaries, with permission from the then rulers, built a chapel in here in 1501, and it is believed that the current structure of Holy Trinity Cathedral lies on that spot.
Holy Trinity Cathedral is located in Burnassery, a few kilometres away from Kannur town and is easily accessible by road. The area around Burnassery was previously known as Kannur Cantonment.
Apart from the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the major attractions around Burnassery include St. Thomas Orthodox Church and Fort St. Angelo. The church has recently been renovated in 2010, and Roman-Gothic style of architecture adds to the beauty of this historic monument.
Fort St. Angelo, popularly known as Kannur Kotta or Kannur Fort is located at a distance of 3 km from the town of Kannur. The fort offers excellent vista of the surrounding regions as it lies facing the roaring waves of the Arabian Sea.
Constructed in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeid, who served his office as the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, the fort served as one of the major structures protecting the region from outside invasions. The fort has been seized and renovated by both the Dutch and the British and was a major military centre of British administration till India’s independence.
Today Fort St. Angelo is listed as a protected monument and is under the administration of the Archaeological Survey of India. As a heritage monument that shaped the history of the region, the fort attracts millions of visitors every year.
Open on all days of the week
Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Nil
Gundert Bungalow, a popular heritage building and a tourist attraction, is located about 20 km from Kannur. The bungalow lies on a beautiful hill named Illikkunnu, near Thalassery town, and a river passes through the area making it an absolute visual treat.
This bungalow was the residence of Dr. Herman Gundert who lived here from 1839 carrying out his literary, scholarly and missionary activities. Gundert was a renowned German missionary and scholar who brought out the very first Malayalam English dictionary. He is also credited with the publication of Rajyasamacharam, the first Malayalam Newspaper and another publication named Paschimodayam.
Gundert Bungalow, where Gundert lived for about 20 years, is considered as a place of historic and cultural significance. Nettur Technical Training Institute (NTTF), Gundert Memorial Church and a cemetery are located close to the bungalow. The building is an excellent piece of architecture built in typical English style and the surroundings of the bungalow are both serene and scenic.
Dharmadam Island is a tiny island separated from the mainland of Dharmadam by 100 m. The island is spread over an area of 5 acres and is filled with coconut trees and emerald bushes. It is commonly known as the Green Island, and the thickly grown trees of the island rightly justify that name.
Dharmadam Island is located at Dharmadam Township, a few kilometres away from Thalassery. The island can be spotted from Muzhuppilangad Beach and offers a picturesque view. The virgin beauty of the island is truly enchanting, and travellers can walk to the island from the beach when the tides are low.
However, it is highly advisable that those who plan to cross the sea by foot do it under proper guidance as it is very likely that the water level of the sea rises unexpectedly during high tide.
Dharmadam Island is privately owned, and travellers can enter the region only with prior permission from the authorities.
Kizhunna Ezhara Beach is a collective name given to Kizhunna and Ezhara, two scenic beaches that lie alongside each other. It is one of the most pristine and undisturbed beaches located on the Kannur coastal line which attracts tourists with its serene ambience and shallow waters. The twin beaches is located at a distance of 12 km from the town of Kannur and is easily reachable by road.
Vast stretches of sandy shores, surrounding rocks and mild waves touching the golden sands add to the beauty of the beach. The bay is shallow and calm making it an ideal spot for swimming and sun bathing.
It is a perfect leisure location for those who want to get away from the madness of hectic routines and an evening spent at the beach would prove truly unwinding. The beach can be visited any time of the year except during the heavy showers of monsoon.
Meenkunnu Beach, an annex of Payyambalam Beach, is situated in a village named Azhikode and is situated at a distance of about 10 km from the town of Kannur. The name of the beach is derived from two Malayalam words: meen (which means fish) and kunnu (meaning hill).
The beach is rich in natural beauty which is magnified by its long stretches of sandy shores and coconut trees lined along the shores. Unlike the other beaches of the region, Meenkunnu Beach is a less explored one and hence enjoys an undisturbed ambience.
Meenkunnu Beach is an ideal holidaying spot for those who want to spend their time in tranquillity. Travellers can spend their time strolling through the shores and enjoying the golden rays of the setting sun. The cleanliness and safety of the beach and its surroundings enable families and couples to visit it any time of the day.
Kizhakkekara Sree Krishna Temple is an ancient Krishna temple in Kerala which is believed to have been built almost 3000 years back. The temple is situated at Chrirakkal at a distance of about 7 km from Kannur town and is accessible by road.
With a history that goes back to several centuries, the temple kindles the interest of history lovers and archaeologists. The manuscript collections of the temple are estimated to be of 2500 years old by the Archaeology Department of India.
The presiding deity of Kizhakkekara Sree Krishna Temple is Bala Gopala, a rarely worshipped form of Lord Krishna. The temple is situated close to Chirakkal pond which attracts visitors with its 5 acres of magnificent water area.
The temple was held sacred during the reign of Chrirakkal Rajavamsham and served as the venue for a unique feeding ritual called Annadhanam. The surroundings of the temple are serene and an air of divinity lingers in the temple premises offering a sense of spiritual fulfillment to visitors.
Kottiyoor Shiva Temple, the collective name given to the twin temples of Akkare Kottiyoor and the Ikkare Kottiyoor, is a major attraction and a popular pilgrim centre of northern Kerala.
The temple is located in Kottiyoor, a small village which is popularly known as Varanasi of the South aka Dakshina Kashi. The temples of Akkare Kottiyoor and Ikkare Kottiyoor are located on the eastern and western banks of the river Bavali amidst the scenic stretch of thick forests.
Vaisakha festival is the chief celebration of the temple which is observed during the months of May and June. The festival lasts for 28 days, and millions of devotees make their way to this temple to participate in the rituals and ceremonies.
Ilaneer Veppu (offering of tender coconuts) and Ilaneerattu (consecration of the temple idol with coconut water) are the chief rituals conducted during the festivals. Travellers can access Kottiyoor Shiva Temple by road from Kannur (70 km) as well as Thalassery (60 km).