Kannur, this place has always been a mystery unsolved to me, ever since I came across the 'theyyams' and the temple which gives equal importance to dogs as to the deity, the devotees given toddy and dried fish as 'prasadam' and not to forget the drive-in beach.
Kannur, earlier known as Cannanore, is one of the 14 districts in Kerala. It is bound by the Western Ghats, which forms the border of Karnataka state.
So I finally made up my mind to travel to the land of 'theyyams' and textiles. The day was set in the month of December, as winter mornings are boosted for the ones to head out of the city. I decided to make it a weekend trip because of its close proximity with Bengaluru, around 311 kms.
Bangalore - Srirangapattana - Hunsur - Gonikoppal - Virajpet - Iritty - Kannur.
The earlier the better. We decided to start as early as 4:30 AM and reach Kannur by afternoon with stops on the way. As we drove through the city roads onto the Mysore road, which was covered like a breeze, we decided to give our first stop to bring an end to our grumbling stomachs. We stopped at IndraDhanush on the highway and gobbled up some hot idlis and coffee and proceeded with our journey.
The roads are pretty much empty which gives you an urge to speed up, but a word of caution - the road passes through villages and one might have a sudden encounter with cattle, or people stray into the roads, so it is advisable to move at a safe speed.
We reached Virajpet and decided to slow down our pace to capture the beauty of Kodagu, after which we entered into a ghat section. Moving forward, you enter the Kerala state.
The roads in Kerala are smooth and in a very good condition unlike the ones in Karnataka. When we realise one of our friends is from Kannur we decided to head straight to her place.
After navigating through we finally reach our destination at around 1:00 PM, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant at the Caltex junction and head towards our friend's place, which would provide us with the shelter for the night and the next.
After some catching up, we decided to head towards Parassinikadavu, the much-famed temple dedicated to Muthappan and the dogs, and my dream comes true. The Parassinikadavu is around 20 kms from Kannur town and as you are nearing the temple the first sight is the backwaters and the temple tower at a distance in the background of the setting sun.
We enter the temple and (yes, it is true!) one would see dogs walking amongst the devotees freely in the temple complex. Muthappan is a 'theyyam' art form which is worshipped here, and as we wait, the dancer walks in full costume as Muthappan to listen to his devotees and bless them. After our turn, we decided to call it a night and head back to give our bodies a rest.
With all the energy after a good sleep and the powerful breakfast, we headed towards St. Angelo Fort. The fort is believed to be constructed in 1505 by Dom Francisco De Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy.
The next stop was the Payyambalam beach. The beach is well-maintained and has a path dedicated to people who jog, and also to just sit and relax. The beach is also famous for the tombs of famous communist leaders like E.K. Nayyanar, A.K.Gopalan (AKG) amongst others.
We decided to proceed further towards Arakkal Museum, the museum gives us information about the only Muslim Royal family in Kerala. The museum is housed in a part of the palace, which was used by the royal family.
Our next stop was Aralam wildlife sanctuary The sanctuary covers an area of 55 kms and is home to several animals that are seen commonly in the Western Ghats. We decided to return and call it a day as the next day we would be on our way back to Bengaluru.
We were up early, as we decided to go to the Muzhappilangadi beach on the way back. We started our return journey bidding adieu to our wonderful host and headed straight towards the drive-in beach. The drive-in beach is 15 kms away from Kannur and one can drive a good 4 kms in your own vehicle. After our adventure at the beach, we decided not to waste much time and head back to Bengaluru before nightfall.
Kannur truly is a must visit place for someone who would like to have a slice of history, spirituality and adventure.