Vadakkumnathan Temple, is yet another temple worthy of a visit. Also known as Tenkailasam and Vrshabhacalam, this temple houses the deity Lord Shiva. According to a legend, it is the first temple built by Parshuram, an avatara of Lord Vishnu. True to the legend, the temple radiates a serenity only the divine can bestow. The monumental towers on all four sides of the central sanctum are breathtaking and will give you a tangible feel to the architecture of Kerala.
Not only does the temple generously share with us stories from the past in the form of interesting vignettes artistically carved out in wood and the historic mural painting portraying snatches of the epic of Mahabharata, but also displays its penchant for art and culture through its Koothambalam. This is the area specifically built for patronising the performing arts. This dias is considered as sacred a platform as the inner sanctorum itself. The temple is situated in the Tekkikadu grounds, where the Pooram festival is held.
The Thiruvambady Krishna Temple is a spiritual haven for the devotees of Lord Krishna. Dating back to many centuries, this temple has maintained its popularity through many local legends and stories. It is situated close to the Swaraj Round and is open from 5 AM to 11 AM and 5 PM to 8.30 PM.
It is one of the two rival temples, most well-known for its participation in the Thrissur Pooram Festival representing the two divisions of Thrissur in the principal Pooram in the state of Kerala. They carry forward a legacy initiated by one of the founding fathers of the city over 200 years ago.
The spectacular show of gold-bedecked elephants and the elaborate show of fireworks has earned it the description of being “the most spectacular festival event on the planet” by UNESCO. This festival can fall anywhere between April and May and if you are willing to bear with the hot and humid weather, this is an experience that will make it worth it.
Thiruvilvamala is a serene village situated 50 km north of Thrissur. Known primarily as a temple town, it contains a horde of temples with presiding deities of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. There aren't many temples dedicated to Lord Rama in Kerala; Thiruvilvamala is unique in that it is the ground for Vilwadrinath Temple, with the presiding deity of Lord Rama.
It attracts many devotees from far and wide. Situated on the banks of the river Bhatahappuzha, this self-sufficient village offers the calm environment for a spiritual retreat. The village is also famous for the Parakkottukavu Thalappoli Festival, similar to the Thrissur Pooram festival.
Also, worth keeping in mind is the kasavu, or the brocade for a saree sold in the village. One can rent a car or take a bus from Thrissur to get to the village.
Sankara Samadhi is the resting place of the great Advaita philosopher Sri Adi Sankara. It is a commonly held belief that Sri Sankara attained salvation in Thrissur in 820 AD at the age of 32. An unassuming temple has also been built in the vicinity with a small but captivating image of Sri Sankara for the benefit of hordes of devotees who come to visit the great teacher.
Located amidst a picturesque setting, the place has attuned itself to the spiritual aura of the Sri Sankara, as it were. Even if not a believer, the place could be visited to experience an uncanny presence that calms the nerves.
The Peechi Dam, situated 15 km from the city of Thrissur was built as a project for irrigation for the adjacent villages of Thrissur. While catering to the need of the paddy farmers, over a period of time, the surrounding area of the dam has taken up beautification projects to accommodate a man-made splendour of cascading water and colourful plants.
Decorated, as it were, with neatly manicured botanical gardens and fascinating fountains, this place is a visual delight to the beholder. Built over the Manali river, this dam is entrenched in a synchronised beauty that is worth experiencing.
Peechi Wildlife Sanctuary is an extension of the soothing locales of the town of Peechi. It encompasses the forests of Palallilli and the Nelliampathy forests and spans about 125 sq km. Till the 19th century, the area was under private propriety. It was only in 1958 that it was deemed a sanctuary.
About 23 km from Thrissur, this sanctuary is visited for more its lush green forests than for a wildlife safari. Also recommended is a boat ride in the reservoir, which may also yield a lucky sighting of an elephant on the banks! The town is well connected to Thrissur; a number of private buses are available to and from Peechi.
The Bible Tower is an important symbol of the Roman Catholic Church attached to The Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours (Puthen Palli). It bears a large red cross which is said to light the way of the Roman Catholics.
Inaugurated in 2007, it is the tallest structure in Kerala. It is claimed that it is visible from any point in Kerala. Wooden carvings, glass paintings, depictions in brass convey the life of Christ, the apostles, St. Thomas, etc. The Tower echoes the spirit of the Basilica through its many conceptualizations of the life and times of revered Christians.
Puthen Palli, also known as The Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours articulates the city's lineage ravelled in multi-ethnicity through its splendid architecture influenced by eastern and western styles. Built over a period of many years, the construction of this structure changed many hands to stand today, as one of the few churches in India to flaunt an indo-Goth architecture.
An abode for the spiritual, this structure inspires awe in both the worldly and the other-worldly sense. Third tallest church in Asia, and the largest in India, this church is built over a sprawling area of 25,000 sq ft.
Charpa Falls is a lesser-known yet a spot worth visiting. It falls on the highway connecting Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Situated at a distance of 60 km from Thrissur, this isn't a cascading marvel but watch out if you are there in the monsoons. It is close enough to the roads for the water to come rippling onto the road when the state receives torrential rains.
At 25 m, the falls don't inspire awe in the height they descend from, but the flow of the water surging over the huge rocks in a turbulent, exhilarating streak, is a sight to watch. It is located on the Chalakudy river and is dubbed the “Niagara Falls of India”. It has been picturized in many movies such as Dil Se, Guru, Iruvar, etc.
Appan Thampuram Smarakam , a cultural Museum of sorts, is a tribute to the man who built the city of Thrissur, Ramavarma Appan Thampuran , also known as Saktan Thampuran, owing to his reputation as a powerful ruler. Built to commemorate his legacy, Appan Thampuram Smarakam was established by the Kerala Sahitya Academy in 1976 in Ayyanthole and has been maintaining it ever since.
It stores a repository of books, magazines, journals, etc., which contribute in spreading the life and thoughts of the erstwhile ruler. A quiet afternoon can be spent here pouring over the history and culture of Kerala before, during and post the colonial times. Ayyanthole is very close to the city of Thrissur and is easily commutable.
Kerala Kalamandalam is a centre truly steeped in the promotion and propagation of art and culture of Kerala. An educational institute catering to the fine arts, it is a residential campus aimed to allow its patron full commitment to their art. Founded in 1930 by the illustrious poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon, Kalamandalam has evolved into more than a centre for learning.
Opening its gates to the curious and the interested, Kalamanadalam has developed an accommodating spirit, in collaboration with the tourism of Kerala. The campus is a walk through the living and dying cultures of Kerala, re-created.
Features to note are the Vallathol museum, displaying the works of the great poet and pioneer and the portrait gallery, which holds a collection of many great artists who were instrumental in bringing about Kalamandalam. Vallothol's soul rests in the Samadhi situated in the old Kalamandalam campus.
The Archaeological Museum of Thrissur was established in 1938 but did not receive its form as it exists now until 1975 when the annex of the picture gallery and the archaeological gallery were eventually housed together.
The museum will prove to be an interesting historical trip, with its many ancient manuscripts, excavated materials and stone sculptures from as long ago as the 7th century. Although the museum covers artifacts from all over Kerala, most of them were recovered from Thrissur, Wayanad and Palakkad districts.
Many life-size statues of eminent personalities, miniature re-creation of historical buildings and a vast collection of murals are available for view. The building itself, is a pleasant blend of the East and the West. This is considered one of the most diverse museums in India, in terms of the various forms in which the relics are displayed. It is situated in the same compound as the Thrissur Zoo.
Chavakkad will make you realise that a trip to the landscape of a coastal region would be incomplete without a visit to its fishing town. Neatly tucked away on the National Highway, the town of Chavakkad runs parallel to the Western Ghats. Placed ashore the beauty of the Arabian Sea, it is situated 25 km west of Thrissur.
Known primarily for its beaches, the most famous beach is the Chavakkad beach situated a couple of kilometres from the main town. The Chavakkad Beach is famed to be relatively untouched by the spell of modernization. Bordered by an array of palm trees, the beach provides the scenic beauty for a pleasant evening.
The Church of Palayoor, the oldest church of Roman-Syrian descent, is said to be established by St. Thomas. Being situated on the National Highway, many private and governments buses provide easy transport to Chavakkad.
Kudakallu provides a unique experience of history, and quiet time with the family. Kudakkallu, literally meaning umbrella rocks, is a collection of rocks shaped as overgrown mushrooms or stunted umbrellas. The rocks date back to 4000 years, and it is believed that each of these umbrella-shaped rocks were installed as a memoir over the grave of the wealthy who were buried here.
It is a practice that has long ceased to be, but the place still maintains the calm of a graveyard. Before you let it turn you off, consider the exciting study in geology Kudakkallu offers with the variety of shapes and sizes of the rocks. It is situated about 25 km from Thrissur and is well-connected to it through the road.
Shaktan Thampuran Palace, earlier known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam, is the palace of Appan Thampuram Smarakam, the architect of the city of Thrissur. The palace which belonged to the Kochi dynasty was reconstructed in 1795 by Sakthan Thampuran in the present Kerala-Dutch style.
The palace was converted to the capacity of a museum in 2005. The museum displays some of the relics from the times of the ruler and even some of the evidences of visits to the palace by rulers such as Tipu Sultan.
Galleries include artifacts in bronze, granite sculptures, collection of ancient coins (Numismatics) and documents relating to the times of the Kochi Dynasty. Also, outside the palace is a Heritage garden, maintained to preserve certain unique plants and trees of Kerala.