Identified as the ancient port town of Naura, which was known even to the early Greeks and Romans, Kannur, in northern Malabar, has been famous for its exports to the outside world from very early times. Over time, it also came to be known for its quality timber. Today, the town’s rich history lives on through its ancient forts, old shrines, a, n d many venerable institutions.
While spices, coir, wood and sandalwood were exported from Kannur, traders from places as far flung as Sumatra and Arabia brought to the town varied merchandise
sugar, opium, dry fruits, silk, camphor, and even horses. Indeed, the celebrated Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, referred to the town as a great emporium of spice trade.
Kannur has some beautiful sandy beaches, the longest of which is the Payyambalam. This beach is quiet and peaceful, perhaps because there is a Hindu burial ground nearby, where the remains of people such as EK Nayanar and AK Gopalan, the famous Communist party leaders of Kerala, are interred. The Kannur cantonment, established in 1938, is the only one in the State.
The Trichambaram Vishnu Temple at Taliparambu, 20 km from town, is a fine example of medieval temple architecture. Kannur is also known for its handloom, beedi, fisheries and plywood industries.
This Shiva temple is one of the holiest in these parts and the linga is believed to be thousands of years old. The temple follows an unusual custom women are allowed inside only after eight in the evening as it is believed that Shiva is with Parvati at that time and will grant women devotees all that they desire.
Kerala Folklore Academy:
Six kilometres north of Kannur, just off NH 17, is Chirakkal, the one-time capital of the Kolathiri rajas and an erstwhile centre for folk art and culture
Kerala is home to many lesser known art forms, such as the dance forms, marathukali and poorakali, ballads such as vadakkenpaattu and vedanpaattu, and folk plays such as godaveri. There are also the mural paintings or todikkalam. In an effort to preserve this rich heritage, the 130-year-old abode of the Chirakkal family, the Chirakkal Kovilakom, was converted into a museum. Each dance or art form has a separate room devoted to it, where costumes, headgear, photographs and other such trappings are displayed. The Muslim dance forms, oppana and arabana, also find a place here. The library attached to the academy contains books on these subjects.
Kanhirode Weaving Co-operative:
This is a co-operative where around 400 workers create high quality furnishing fabrics. Apart from producing exquisite bed linen, upholstery and curtain material, weavers working on huge looms produce fine shirts, colourful lungis and saris. Visitors can buy these from the attached retail outlet. The annual Onam fair at the Kannur police grounds is the best place for looking at and buying these handlooms.
The Cinnamon Valley of Anjarakabdy . Spread over nearly 200 acres, is considered the largest cinnamon plantation in Asia. The White Pepper grown here is very popular in Britain and other Western Countries.
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