Sightseeing places of Thrissur

Kerala’s cultural capital – Thrissur (Trichur) or ‘Thrissivaperur – the place of sacred Shiva’ is a town built on small hills about the ‘Vadakumnathan; Temple. Knows as Vrishabhadripuram” and “Then Kailasam” in ancient days, Thrissur was trade centre between Kerala and the rest of the world. Thrissur has had its own place in the history and was an important witness to each juncture in the evolution of Kerala. With many temples, and prominent art and cultural centres, Thrissur attracts visitors from all over the world. There are many of interesting and well known places near Thrissur like Guruvayur, Kodungalloor, Athirapally, Vazhachal etc. but the following are some attractions in and around Thrissur.

Vadakkumnathan Temple

One of the oldest temples in South India and one of the largest in Kerala, Vadakumnathan Temple is the first Shiva temple created by Lord Parasurama. The temple is built in Kerala style of architecture and has beautiful murals outlining the Mahabharata. The wall around temple encloses around 9 acres and has 4 gopurams in the four directions. Inside are the three shrines for Shiva, Shankaranaryana and Rama. Shiva is also worshipped here in another of his incarnation – Vettakkaran (hunter). When one looks into the shrine of the Vadakkumnathan one sees a huge thirteen feet mound of ghee covering the Lord. This is the result of daily abhisheka by ghee which has been going on for decades. This temple has some order in which the worship is to be done which is to be followed.

Vadakkumnathan Temple

Shakthan Thampuran palace

Shakthan Thampuran Palace

It is the palace of the erstwhile ruler of Kochi King Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran. Believed to be one of the eminent rulers and an excellent administrator, he renovated Vadakkechira Kovilakam for his use. It is a combination of Dutch and Kerala style of architecture and has some unique features rarely found in such structures. It has the traditional nalukettu in a two storied building and its rooms are spacious with high roofs and thick walls. The floors are fine smoothened Italian marble. History has it that Tipu Sultan was a guest here and see his flag near the compound wall. There is a Sarpakavu – Serpent Grove wherein traditionally the serpents were worshipped, and recently a heritage garden has been devised exhibiting and preserving native plants and trees of Kerala. An archeological garden too is on the north eastern part of the palace where relics of stone age which were found at the outskirts of Thrissur.

Thiruvambadi Temple

One of the two rival temples participating in Thrissur Pooram, Thiruvambadi temple is the largest Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala. The procession from Thiruvambadi taken to the Vadakkumnathan Temple during the Thrissur Pooram is called Madathilvaravu and is a very colourful spectacle. The temple was originally built in the 16th century, later the Kochi king Raja Rama Varma aka Sakthan Thampuran rebuilt it in 18th century. This is the only temple in Kerala where there are 3 Shiveli’s (taking the lord atop the elephant and circumambulate the temple) and the flag mast is made of gold.

Thiruvambadi Temple

Lady of Dolours Basilica

Lady Dolours of Basilica

One of the tallest and biggest church in Asia Our Lady of Dolours Basilica is a fine specimen of Indo-Gothic style. The original structure was built in 1814 as Thrissur’s first Catholic Church. But later when a group followed the Chaldean Catholic bishop Elias Mellus and separated from Catholic group the new building was constructed in 1929. The big structure was constructed in parts with expertise from different artisans and the architect who completed the church was Ambrose Gounder. The Bible tower at the back of the church stands at 260 feet and is the first Christian art gallery with life and times of Jesus adorning it walls. The front towers of the church are 146 feet and the church is about 25,000 sq ft area. It was in 1992 that the church was elevated to Minor Basilica.

Cheraman Jum'ah Masjid

The first mosque in India The Cheraman Jum’ah Masjid is in Kodungalloor in Thrissur dist. and built in the 7th Century by a group of Arabs led by Malik Bin Deenar and Malik bin Habib. It was named after Cheraman Perumal, the Chera king, who after meeting the Prophet had embraced to Islam. One of the attraction here is the centuries old lamp which is kept burning eternally. Oil for the lamp is offered by other religion believers too. Similarly initiating children to the world of education is done here by other religion parents too. Cheran Juma masjid and Kodungalloor has played a significant role in enriching the Muslim heritage in Kerala.

Cheraman Juma Masjid

Koodalmanikyam Temple

Koodalmanikyam Temple

The deity here is the Chathurbahu Vishnu with Conch, Chakra, Gada and Japamaala. Also devout brother of Lord Ram, Bharata is worshipped here too. This is the only temple where there is only one Prathishta (consecration of the deity). The deity is also called Sangameshwara –‘ lord of the union’ which might be attributed the confluence of two rivers, Kurumali river and Chalakudy river. There are 4 ponds around the temple and the water from Kulipini Theertham is believed to be sanctified by the sage Kulipini Maharshi, is used for the rituals in the temple. Koodalmanikyam is one of the temples in the nalambalam ( 4 temples) yathra. Nalambalam yathra is visitng the 4 temples of Sri Rama and his brothers Lakhmana, Bharata and Shatrugna at a go.

Viyyur Jail Park

A recreational park inside the prison compound is a unique attraction one can see in Thrissur. This park was created by the wife of erstwhile king Maharaja Rama Varma XVI queen Parukutty Nethyar Amma in 1875. Later when the prison was shifted it was decided not to close down the park. As it was neglected over time and became disused the local administration rebuilt it. Now it is a recreational facility that can be a pleasant experience. The park has all facilities to keep the visitors entertained and the food that is being catered there are the ones prepared by the prisoners of Viyur Jail.

Viyyur Jail Park

Thrissur Zoo

Thrissur Zoo

About 2 kms from the city centre is the State Museum and Zoo. Spread over 13.5 acre it was opened in 1885 and is one of the oldest in the country. The zoo has animals like the lion tailed macaque, sloth bear, deer, variety of birds and also it has the snake park which has King Cobras, Cobras, Python, Kraits, Vipers and Rat Snakes. There is a Zoological Garden, Botanical Garden, Art Museum, and Natural History Museum inside the zoo. The art museum preserves a good collection of wood-carvings, metal sculptures, Kathakali figures, ancient jewellery etc. and a wonderful collection of traditional Kerala lamps. Some historic relics like swords, rocks, stuffed butterflies too are found here.

Thrissur Pooram

Every year in Medam (April) deities from Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu and their respective supporters meet at the ground of Vadakkumnathan temple with all fervor and frolic. Called as the Pooram this meeting starts when the Kanimangalam Sasthavu reaches early in the morning followed by six other temples. Notable among them is the ‘Madathilvaravu’ which consists of a Panchavadhya melam (orchestra with five instruments) with more than 200 artists performing in unison. In the afternoon the famous Ilanjithra melam starts and mesmerizes the spectators for four long hours of spectacular orchestra. After the melam the participating temple groups enter the temple through the western gate and come out through the southern gate and array themselves to compete in the Kudamattom (changing of umbrellas). Later the competition is continued onto the fireworks wherein innovative and fascinating firecrackers are displayed by the competing teams. The whole city participates in the pooram and wears a festive spirit during those days.

Trissur Pooram