Kannur's days of glory were under the Kolathiri Rajas, and its importance as a spice trading port was noted by Marco Polo.
From the 15th century various colonial powers, including the Portuguese, Dutch and British, exerted their influence over this rich Malabar Coast region. Most of the Kannur's sites are a few kms out of town.
Places to see at Kannur :
Payyambalam Beach :
Payyambalam beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala. Here rest the brave nationalist and political leaders like Swadeshabhimani K. Ramakrishna pilla, A.K.G. and Chadayan Govindan. This is two kms away from Kannur town and near the St. Angelos Fort. This beach, having laterite rock jutting out into the sea on one end, is a neat and long one which is a relief to the tourists who seek rest away from the modern city life.
As part of a targeted comprehensive tourism development, this natural beauty spot is fast changing into a tourist center of international standard. It is the famous sculptor and the State Tourism Advisory Committee member, Shri Kanai KunjiRaman who is imaginatively beautifying Payyambalam. In the park attached to the beach, he is preparing a beautiful piece of sculpture, " a mother with a child lying facing the sea". this structure has a 80 feet length and 15 feet height. The landscaping of the park is over. The construction of other pieces of art is also going on. The models of folk arts of Malabar including Theyyam are being prepared.
A park for the children also is being arranged here. The aim is to make arrangements to attract children for amusement and exercise. The Payyambalam canal will be widened and deepened without delay for the pleasure boating of the children. A footpath has been brick-laid between the guesthouse and the lighthouse from where sunset can be enjoyed and the beauty of Dharmadom Island towards the south and the headquarters of Ezhimala Navel Academy towards the north can be seen.
Dharmadam Island :
This small Island which is situated in the sea like a green spot just 100 m away from shore, becomes a blissful experience to tourists. This isle is full of coconut trees. There is only a well here as the symbol of human presence. One can reach this place by boat from southern part of Moithu bridge in the national highway. During ebb time one can reach here by foot. From this isle one can see the rocks around and the beauty of Muzhuppilangad beach and the distant beauty of Thalassery town. When Dharmadam isle was an important trading center, this isle was in the possession of Chirakkal king. Later it passed into the hands of the English and now it is in the hands of private individuals.
Muzhuppilangad Beach :
It has a length of 4.5 kms. The special feature of this beach is that the vehicles can be driven without getting stuck into the sea sand. This is why the beach is considered to be the only drive in beach in the State. This beach which extends from Muzhuppilangad to Moithu Bridge is considered as swimmers' paradise since there are no waves in this part due to the rocks here and there and the sea is not deep. This beach is 15 kms away from Kannur in the south direction and 8 kms away from Thalassery in the north direction. A tourist can reach this beach through five panchayat roads starting from the National Highway. The transportation to this beach will be improved as the coastal road is completed. In order to turn this beach into a drive in beach and arrange water sport facilities through exploiting to the maximum the natural specialties there, the District Tourism Promotion Council has chalked out projects and they are being implemented. Children's park and huts to enjoy the natural beauty of Dharmadam Isle have been constructed. Steps have been taken to identify the safe places for sea bath and illuminations. Facilities like cafeteria and toilet will be provided.
Parassinikkadavu Temple :
It is a famous temple in south India. It is situated 20 kms away from Kannur. It is famous for its natural beauty. Boating facilities are available for tourists.
Thalassery Fort :
This fort which had witnessed many ebbs and tides of history is of much importance to tourists who are interested in historical events.
The fort is situated in the Thiruvallippad hill of Thalassery town, 20 kms away from Kannur in the south direction. It was constructed by the British East India Company in the year 1708. this fort has to tell many stories of the victory and defeat of Kalathiri, Tippu Sultan and Pazhassi Raja.
This fort is built of red bricks in an area of two acres. The British used this frt as a jail and currency manufactory. It was here that the leader of the Hyder Ali's army was imprisoned and the death bed of Swathi Thirunal's successor was arranged. Thalassery silver coins were also minted here. St. John's Church is nearby this fort. Here rests Edward Brennen who contributed significantly to the cultural and educational fields of Thalassery. As such this place has assumed the prominence of a pilgrim center.
It is 44 kms away from Thaliparampu and 4500 feet above the sea leve. These huge mountains lay spread over 500 acres of land. This is a dense forest area. One can go by bus upto Pottanplavu. From there jeep can be driven for six kms. After that, 2 km walk by foot. North of Paithalmala is Kudaku forest. At the base of the mountain, a tourist information center and dormitory have been constructed.
Fort St. Angelo :
Facing the sea, this is one of the most attractive centers in Kannur district. It is also known as Kannur Fort. This fort is 3 kms away from Kannur town in the western direction. The fort stands close by the Arabian Sea. This fort proclaims the strength and beauty of Portuguese architecture. The two sides of the fort facing the sea was built in a triangular shape. It was Don Francisco De Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy, who laid the foundation stone of this fort with the permission of Kolathiris in 23 October 1505.
The Dutch captured the fort in 1663 and sold it to the Ali Raja of Kannur in 1772 and in 1790-it came into the possession of the British. This fort is now under the control of Archaeological Survey of India.
The Arabian Sea, the dense coconut trees, the fishing boats and natural harbor moppila bay are the unforgettable sights, one can have from this fort. Arakkal kettu of historical importance can also be seen from this fort. Different projects are being implemented at the government level to preserve the fort in a good condition. Projects envisage to beautify the fort retaining its antiguity and providing parking area.
Travel Information :
Kannur is on the main north-south route for trains and buses. You can go by bus or train from all points on the coast. There is a direct bus to Mysore.
Kannur is a major railway station on Shornur-Mangalore line. By road Kannur is 155 kms. south of Mangalore and 92 kms. north of Kozhikode. The nearest airport is at Calicut which is 115 kms. south. The Mangalore airport is 170 kms. north of Kannur. Its 324 kilometres from Bangalore.