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Thrissur (formerly Trichur) is a popular city in the central part of Kerala in Southern India.It is known as cultural capital of Kerala, with numerous of cultural institutions, art centers, museums etc.
Thrissur is one of the oldest cities in Kerala. The legend says, the city was the town created by Lord Parasurama (6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) soon after formation of Kerala, by creating a large Shiva temple. The entire city is formed around the grand Shiva temple known as Vadakumnathan Temple. The temple is in the center of a mega roundabout that is of 64 acres. This round is known as Swaraj Round. All roads connect to this.
Perhaps when Indians think of Thrissur, the first image would be the famous Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. This is also known as largest festival in Kerala. The festival is at the Vadakkumnathan temple grounds, in April or May. The city is equally famous for the final celebrations of the Onam festival, which is the national festival of Kerala. It hosts the famous Pulikali during Onam celebrations in August or September (depends on Malayalam calendar). Apart from festivals and culture, Thrissur is also well known as one of the best shopping centers in Kerala for silks and gold ornaments. The city is also known as Entrepreneurial City, due to presence of large number of entrepreneurs working in various trades.
Kochi International Airport, is 58 km south of Thrissur City with direct flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Maldives, Europe and Sri Lanka. Kozhikode Airport is 80 km north of Thrissur City. Alternatively reach Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, or other Indian cities and then by train.
Thrissur City is well connected and serviced by rail to all major cities in India. Thrissur Railway Station is an major railway head in South India. Daily trains are available to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Mangalore and Hyderabad.
You can also get in to Thrissur City by bus from cities like Kozhikode, Kannur Mangalore, Kochi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Mumbai and Coimbatore.
Thrissur is well connected by NH 47 and NH 17 to other cities like Kochi, Kozhikode, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai and Pollachi by road.
The word Trichur is the anglicized form of the Malayalam name of the town Thrissur which in turn a shortened form for Thiru-Siva-Peru-Uur, meaning 'Place named with Lord Siva'. The name is appropriate, for Thrissur derives its main glory from Vadakunnathan Temple, (Vadakum Nathan, Lord of the North) that dominates the topography of the town. Trichur is of hoary fame, and the origin of Vadakkunnathan Temple is ascribed to Parasurama, the legendary hero who is said to have reclaimed Kerala from the sea by throwing an axe across the sea from the north. In historical times it was a suburb of Musiris port of Chera Kings mentioned in Silapathikaram of Sangam Tamil Period.
From very early times Thrissur has been a centre of learning and, with the decline of Buddhism and Jainism and the establishment of the supremacy of Brahmanism during the revival of Hinduism, Thrissur became an important centre of Sanskrit learning. The great Adi Sankara had taught Advaita here. After his travels in different regions of India he is believed to have come back and settled in Thrissur and died here. Sankara Acharya's disciples Hastamalaka, Thotaka, Padmapada and Sudhachara established in the town four Madams, namely the Northern Madam, the Middle Madam, the In-Between Madam and the Southern Madam respectively, all of which are extant except the In-Between one.
Thrissur occupies a prominent place in the history and culture of Kerala and is said to be the Cultural Capital of the State. It is also one of the main trade centers in the state. The present Thrissur District was carved out of a bigger District of the same name on 1 Apr 1958. It derives its name from the location of its headquarters at Thrissur. The town is built around a hillock atop which is the Vadakkumnathan Kshethram or temple which has Shiva as the presiding deity.
Thrissur rose in importance due to Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran who ascended the throne of Kochi in 1790. Large areas of Thrissur were captured by the Zamorins of Kozhikode in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the latter half of the 18th century, Tipu Sultan held sway over Thrissur until the European domination began under the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English.
Long ago, the vast open area around the temple was a magnificent teak forest called Thekkinkadu. Today, the forest has given way to one of the most important examples of Kerala's architecture which often does away with the imposing gopurams of South Indian Temples. This temple features low, tiled roofs, an abundance of woodwork, and the famous koothambalam or theater hall with sloping roofs of metal plates within which is performed the dramatic art form chakiar koothu. The Vadakkumnathan temple is also well known for its murals depicting scenes from the Mahabharatha as well as exquisite paintings and carvings.
South East corner of the district is bounded by Tamil Nadu. The Periyar, Chalakudy, Karuvannur and Ponnani (Bharatha Puzha) are the main river systems in the district.
A place of great antiquity, Thrissur was also known by such names as Vrishabhadripuram and Then Kailasm in ancient days. The famous Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthi, founded by the late poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, is in Thrissur District. The Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy are situated in Thrissur town.
Annual Festivals or events
Tourists (with passport), can sometimes get special tickets to this event offered for free which allow them entry onto a 'Guests' viewing platform which has a great view of the whole event. To get these tickets you'll meed to take your passport to the tourist office, which is about a 10 minute north of the central temple where the festival takes place. If you do get these tickets, arrive early as the seating is unassigned and often over sold. The main festivities of elephants and the parasol showdown run from about 5PM to 7PM.
If you are only in town for a day, don't take your backpack with you, it's much too crowded. You can leave it at the train station coat check securely. To do so you will need locks on all parts of your bag (needed by the guard to accept your bag, and easily bought for about Rs30 from a small corner store seller just up at the top of the steep railway rd), a train ticket (28rs to erankulam worked fine), and ID for them to write down.
There are many small houses in the small lane near Dolors Basillica which specilizes in selling fresh vellayappams and other delicacies. One should definitely try the delicacies from there.
Much of the budget accommodation is on the southern streets coming away from the temple. Some from 150rs at not peak times. During peak times like the yearly Poorum, expect accommodation prices to skyrocket to Rs 3000+ and many places to be booked out in advance.
Other alternatives during peak times are to stay at Guruvayoor, connected by 40minute train, which has ample accommodation.
Thrissur City is generally a safe city for a regular tourist. Take the precautions which you would be regularly taking in various other small cities in India. Beware of Pick pocketing. Certain areas near the bus stands and railway station may not be a good place for women moving around alone in the nights.
Thrissur City has three police stations. The East Police Station located in between the Municipal Bus Stand and 'Sakthan Thampuran' Bus Stand. The West Police Station is located at the suburb of Ayyanthole just next to the District Collectorate (H.Q of the civil administration). The Traffic Police Station is just opposite to the East police station quite close to the Police Club and the Fire Station. Regular patrols of the law and order and the traffic police are present in various parts of the town.
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Thrissur Railway Station is a major station in the Southern Railway network and all important trains stop here. Regular train services are there to Cochin and Palakkad are available from here. Thrissur also has a suburban station Punkunnam, but only local passenger trains and a few express trains stops here.
The 'Sakthan Thampuran' Bus Stand located at the Southern part of the city is the origin point of buses proceeding towards Palakkad.The 'Municipal Bus Stand' located at Round South caters to the local bus transport. From North bus stand, there are buses which goes to Shoranur and Palakkad. The bus station of the state owned Transport corporation (KSRTC) is located at Chettiyangadi and is quite close to the Railway Station.