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Kannur Travel Guide

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    A seaside city on the northern part of Kerala, Cannanore, recently rechristened as Kannur, is a beautiful beach destination. It is the administrative headquarters of the district of Kannur and the largest city in the North Malabar region. Alongside a host of amazing beaches, Kannur is also famous for 'Theyyam' - the absolutely magnificent and colorful traditional dance performance of the Malabar region.

    A bustling town with a rich history, Kannur exhibits a strong colonial heritage. Even a few years ago, Kannur was known by its Portuguese name of Cannanore, which is still fairly common among the localites. The reminiscent of historical forts and ancient structures constructed during the colonial rulings tell the story of its glorious past.

    Bordered by the Western Ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other, Kannur is bestowed with the riches of natural beauty. With a multitude of amazing yet lesser-crowded beaches, Kannur is slowly but surely making its presence felt among the travellers who are on the lookout for a quiet getaway from the noisy city life.

    How to Reach There?

    By Road:

    Kannur is well connected to all the major South Indian cities via the road network. NH17 which connects Kochi to Mumbai passes through Kannur. NH275 is the preferred route to travel from Karnataka side, while NH46 is the lifeline to reach Coimbatore via Palakkad. Chennai can be reached either via Coimbatore or Bangalore. Frequent buses are available from Mangalore, Kochi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Mumbai and Coimbatore.

    By Train:

    Kannur does have a fairly busy railway station. All the Kerala-bound trains from Mumbai, Goa and Mangalore side have designated stoppage at the Kannur railway station. Similarly, you can board any Mumbai-bound trains from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kanyakumari to get down at Kannur. Daily trains are available from Kozhikode, Mangalore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Coimbatore. If you are planning to travel by train, then do make sure that you are booking your reservations well in advance.

    By Air:

    There is no airport at Kannur. Domestic travellers can board a flight to Kozhikode and then hire a taxi to reach Kannur - which is situated at a distance of 91 KM. Mangalore airport, situated 150 KM away from kannur, is the best bet for international travellers.

    Local Transportation Modes at Kannur:

    The cheapest way to travel in and around Kannur is to avail the local bus service. You can get city buses to all major tourist attractions from the Prabhath Bus Stand at the end of the Bank Road. You can also move around tourist attractions in an auto-rickshaw. The autowalas are generally well-behaved and trustworthy compared to other tourist destinations in India. The auto fare is pretty reasonable.

    A more comfortable mode of transportation is taxi rental services. Yellow-board taxi/cab operators usually charge around INR 12 per KM for a non-AC vehicle. Alternatively, you can also settle for fixed price (prepaid) point-to-point taxi rides.

    Last, but not the least, there are a few car and bike rental services offering self drive opportunity. You can hire a Honda Activa for 1 full day at a reasonable price of INR 200. 150 CC to 220 CC bikes are available for INR 250 to INR 400 per day. Bullets and Thunderbirds would cost you over INR 500.

    A self-driven Maruti Alto would cost you approximately INR 1200 for one day sightseeing. Vehicles with higher seating capacity, such as Innova or Qualis, are priced in the range of INR 2000 to INR 2800. Be prepared to shell out INR 300 extra if you need a driver to accompany you. Also be aware of the parking constraint. Vehicle parking is a serious problem almost everywhere in the Kannur city as there is hardly any designated parking place. Roads being narrow, parking the vehicle on the side of the road can cause traffic bottlenecks.

    Best Season to Visit Kannur:

    Quite similar to any other coastal town in India, Kannur has a trophical climate with hot summer, pouring monsoon and mild winter. Weather condition remains hot & humid during the summer months from March to June. Monsoon arrives by the end of June and Kannur receives heavy dowpour till September. Temperature starts to go down in October and November with occasional rainfall. Winter settles in December and the mercury level drops to 18° - 20° C.
    With temperature on the lower side, December to February is the period that the majority of tourists prefer for visiting Kannur. So, it goes without saying that the best time to visit Kannur is during the winter season.

    Kannur Beaches:

    Payyambalam Beach:

    Payyambalam beach is located just 2km away from the Kannur city center. The beach is known for its vast coast-line. Payyambalam beach is very popular with the locals and hence it often remains crowded.

    There is a nice walkway on a cliff over the beach where you can take an evening stroll and click photographs. Kannur municipal corporation has renovated the beach recently and made shaded seating arrangement for the tourists. A well-crafted sculpture of a mother holding her child created by the famous sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman has been erected near the beach. A beautiful garden on the sea-shore enhances its attraction. Setup on an elevated ground, you can catch amazing views of sunset from inside the garden. There is a lighthouse at this place which is incidentally the first lighthouse of Kannur, constructed in the year 1843.

    Kizhunna (Ezhara) Beach:

    Arguably the most scenic beach in Kannur, the Kizhunna Beach is surrounded by lush greenery all around. This golden sandy beach with crystal clear water is the perfect place to unwind. If privacy and solitude are on top of your mind, then you are going to love this serene atmosphere. The beach is marked by a profound sense of isolation from the rest of the world. You can laze around under the cool shades of coconut palms or go for a casual walk along the soft sandy coast-line. Be careful if you are getting into the water. The rugged underwater surface is not safe for swimming.

    Thottada Beach:

    Located next to the Kizhunna beach, the Thottada Beach too is covered with golden sands and it sports a green outlook due to the presence of sky-high palm trees. Leisure, warmth and beauty all rolled into a single wrap at the Thottada beach. The southern end of the beach is lined with laterite rocks, which adds a rustic charm to its scenic appeal. If you are looking for a calm ambience to spend a quiet, leisurely day, then it's the place where you should be heading to.

    You can spot a few species of waders (shore-birds) around the rocks. Photography enthusiasts can get some splendid shots of storks, herons and sandpipers which are fairly common here. The virgin beach at Thottada is ideal for sun bathing, but avoid getting into the water. Although the beach is devoid of any water sports activity, it can be the perfect place for a game of beach volleyball, in-case you are travelling in a group.

    Muzhappilangad Beach:

    Any tour to Kannur is incomplete without visiting the massive Muzhappilangad Beach, which is the only drive-in beach in Kerala. Situated at a distance of 7 KM from the Kannur city, Muzhappilangad beach stretches across over 4 KM and the beach is covered with wheatish-colored sand. It is an awesome experience to drive down the entire stretch with the waves kissing the under-belly of your car. Due to the shallow level of water, the waves here are much smaller compared to any other beach at Kannur - which makes it a swimmer's paradise.

    You can also taste a variety of adventure sports at the Muzhappilangad Beach. Adventure-loving souls can satisfy their urge on a host of water-sports activities like paragliding, parasailing, surfing and speed-boat rides. It is a great place for treating your eyes with some amazing views of sunset.

    Meenkunnu Beach:

    Meenkunnu beach is situated at Azhikode, 10 KM away from Kannur. This beach is mainly used by the local fishermen community and you can see the fishing boats lined up on the shore. Breathtakingly beautiful views of sunset can be experienced from this deserted beach.

    Other Tourist Attractions at Kannur:

    St. Angelo's Fort:

    Built in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, the St. Angelo's Fort is one of the best preserved historical monument at Kannur. acked in vain by the local Indian ruler in the Siege of Cannanore (1507). It is this fortress where the naval Battle of Diu was fought in the year 1509. The fort was renovated during the Dutch regime of Kannur in the later part of 16th century. This protected monument is currently being maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

    Arackal Kottaram (Palace) and Museum:

    Arackal Kottaram is the palace of Arackal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim Royal family of Kerala. Though the palace is a private property of the Royal family, it has been thrown open to visitors to see the grandeur of Islamic art and architecture. This delicately crafted palace is a treasure for the history buffs. There is a museum inside the palace where the visitors can witness some of the rare master-pieces of pre-colonial artifacts brought by the Kings from South and West Asia.


    Ezhimala is an isolated cluster of hills. It was the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings. A place of great historical significance, Ezhimala used to be a bustling sea port and a major trade centre in the 10th century. The renowned Chola-Chera war in the 11th century was fought at Ezhimala battlefield - around 35 KM away from the Kannur city. It is a strategically important location for the Indian Navy as well. There is a Naval Academy located at Ezhimala.

    Ettikulam Bay:

    Located next to Ezhimala, Ettikulam Bay has an old tower of great antiquity - the Mount Deli Light House. It is maintained by the Indian Navy and prior approval from the Naval base is required to visit this restricted area. The beach sand is of a different texture here and the sea has a distinct blue appearance. If you are luckey, then you can possibly spot the dancing dolphins at the Ettikulam bay.

    Moppila Bay:

    Moppila Bay is popular among tourists for being the ideal place to take boat rides. Boating in the Arabian sea, if the weather permits, can be an unforgettable experience for adventurists. Moreover, you can find the remnants of ancient Kadalayi Fort and Sree Krishna Temple at Mopila Bay. The fort was constructed by the Kolathiri Kings of Malabar well before the colonial era.

    Azhikkal Ferry:

    Azhikkal Ferry is situated at the confluence of Valapattanam river joining the Arabian sea. It is a very scenic place which offers magnificient views of sunset. There is a 2 KM long granite pathway which can lead you into the sea. Once you reach the edge of the pathway, you will be ecstatic to find yourself surrounded by blue sea from all the sides. Frequent passenger ferries are available from Azhikkal to Parassinikkadavu, Mattool and Valapattanam. Riding on a local ferry is a must try activity for the adventure seekers.

    Dharmadam Island:

    Dharmadam Island offers you a typical Kerala picture postcard view. It's a small island covered with coconut grooves and thick bushes. The lush greenery and laid-back atmosphere of the island make it a great place to unwind. The setup looks inviting from the Muzhappilangad beach. During low tide, one can just walk into the island from the beach. With the birds dotting the skyline and the soft golden sand at your feet, you can be assured of a refreshing experience at the Dharmadam Island.

    Parassini Madappura Sree Muthappan Temple:

    The Muthappan Temple is an ancient structure situated on the bank of Parasini river. This is an extremely unique temple in the sense that it welcomes devotees of all faith and religion. Established in line with the concept of Eternal Unity and Universal worship, the temple has no idol of Gods or Godesses. Rather a ritualistic art-form called Muttappan Theyyam is performed to worship the almighty.

    Munderi Bird Sanctuary:

    Birdwatchers can have a field day at the Munderi Bird Sanctuary situated near Varam, 24 KM away from Kannur city. Many exotic and rare bird species can be spotted here. Make sure that you are carrying a pair of binoculars for a closer look at the bird-life.

    Mangrove Trail of Malabar:

    Mangrove Trail is an inter-tidal ecosystem in the coastal belt of North Kerala. Located at Payyannur in Kannur district, it offers close-up views of the diversified Mangrove ecosystem consisting of aquatic plant, annimal and bird life. You will be amazed by the picturesque landscape dominated by tidal creeks and waterways. The ecosystem is inhabited by a variety of fishes, shrimps, crabs, mudskippers and some of the most sought after waders in the world.

    Pazhazzi Dam:

    A man-made reservoir set up amidst scenic natural landscapes, the Pazhazzi Dam attracts nature lovers and casual tourists in equal numbers. Situated at Veliyambra, approximately 30 KM away from Kannur, it's a nice little picnic spot with option to go for pleasure boating.

    Pythal Mala:

    Considered as a paradise for the trekkers, Pythal Mala is a hillock covered in a lush green canopy. The trek starts from the sea level and concludes at an elevation of 1450 meters, where a watch-tower has been erected for the tourists to catch a bird's-eye view of the surrounding plateau. Statutory warning - the walkway is infested with leeches and you may also encounter herd of wild elephants occasionally.

    Where to Stay?

    Kannur is the largest city in the North Malabar region, so finding an accommodation that would suit your budget is not a difficult task. Plenty of budget-friendly lodges and guest houses are there near the railway station. If you are looking for a cheap stay near the sea, then you will be surprised to find lots of homestays and beach cottages right on the beach that serve your purpose well. There is no dearth of luxury beach-side resorts if you are interested in lavish comfort. All in all, Kannur has more than enough options to cater to budgets of all sizes. Few of the popular and reliable staying options at Kannur are provided below -

    NoHotelLocationMinimum TariffContact
    1Hotel Sweety InternationalRailway StationINR 500(+91) 497 270 8283
    2Thapasya HeritageParassinikadavuINR 750(+91) 497 278 2944
    3Surya ResidencyNadalINR 1000(+91) 497 283 2601
    4KTDC Tamarind HotelParassinikadavuINR 1500(+91) 497 278 0220
    5Hotel Sky Pearl NH17INR 2200(+91) 497 272 5910
    6Mascot Beach ResortBaby BeachINR 2500(+91) 497 270 8445
    7Seashell ResortsKadalayi BeachINR 3000(+91) 98470 03687
    Although not a bustling tourist spot just yet, Kannur has its own brand of unique charm. Kannur's diversified attractions won't allow you to stop gushing about the place. Rest assured that a trip to Kannur will leave you with a bundle of fond memories to cherish forever.

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