Kannur is one among the northernmost districts in the south western state of Kerala in India. The old name \'Cannanore\' is the anglicised form of the Malayalam word Kannur. Kannur might have derived its name from one of the the Hindu diety, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and making it the place of Lord Krishna. The deity of the Katalayi Sreekrishna temple was earlier situated in a shrine at Katalayi Kotta in the south eastern part of the Kannur town.
With the Western Ghats in the east and lakshadweep sea in the west, kannur district is bounded by a wealth of natural beauty. Kannur is blessed with natural beaches, hill stations, rivers, backwaters, historical monuments and religious centres. The district itself shares much of the natural splendour. it has been a key contributor to the cultural, religious, political and industrial heritage of the state. In addition, Kannur enjoys the credit of having been the cradle of many a colourful folk art and folk music of Kerala.
Kannur is rightly described as “The land of Looms and Lores”. Kannur is well known for its handlooms. It is one of the major exporter handlooms in India. The handloom cloths of Kannur have won international reputation. The industry was confined to the production of coarse varieties of dhoties and like in the past. Production of quality and exportable varieties of handloom fabric was started when the Basal Evengelical Mission entered the field. The handloom industry, which was once the monopoly of private enterprise, it has since been organised on co-operative lines. It provides employment to hundreds and thousands of people directly and indirectly.
Kannur is rich in traditional art and culture. Kannur is the home of Kerala folklore academy. The gift of Kannur in the field of art and culture is its folk arts. A large number of folk plays and dances are prevalent among the scheduled caster and tribes. Each tribe has its own glorious collection of folk plays and dances, which are performed during festivals. Theyyam or Theyattam is an ancient and still popular ritual dance. It’s a unique combination of dance, music, and also reflects the main features of a tribal culture. Theyyam is generally performed in front of the village shrines. There are a large number of temples in Kannur where Theyyam is performed.
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The Aranmula Boat Race is the oldest river boat fiesta in Kerala, the south western State of India is held during Onam (August-September). It takes place at Aranmula, near a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting watched by an exciting crowd. In 1972, snake boat races were also added to the program of the festival. Thousands of people gather on the banks of the river Pampa to watch the snake boat races. In 2009, forty one snake boats or chundan vallams had participated in the festival. The oarsmen sing traditional boat songs and wear white mundu and turbans. The golden lace at the head of the boat, the flag and the ornamental umbrella at the center make it a show of pageantry too.
The Parthasarathi Temple (dedicated to Sree Krishna) on the banks of the holy River Pamba attracts large crowds of devotees. The famed Aranmula boat race is held on the last day of the week-long Onam festival.
The Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, as well as Kalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala. The Parthasarathi Temple here has fine murals from the 18th century.
Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors - Aranmula Kannadi, a unique craft which is not found anywhere else in the world.
Nearest railway station: Chengannur, which is about 10 km away.
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 115 km away.