The head quarter town of Thrissur district is built around an elevated area called the Round and was intended during the time in power of Raja Rama Varma, the ruler of Cochin in the 18th century. From ancient time, the town has played a significant role in the political history of south India. The entire present Thrissur district was included in the early Chera Empire then. This historic city is famous for its superb temples, palaces and churches; sometime referred to as the cultural capital of India.
In the heart of “the Round” is the multi roofed Vadakkumnathan Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva. Built in the 9th century, this temple has superb woodcarvings and well-off decorative murals. The site is also famous for the Pooram festival, which is held each year in the temple premises. An important significance of this temple is that non-Hindus are not permitted inside the shrine.
Sree Krishna Temple
Shree Krishna Temple, situated at Guruvayur is one of the widely visited Hindu shrines in south India. Only Hindus are permitted inside the shrine. The temple is just 29 kms west of Thrissur town.
The Temple just one km away from Guruvayur is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple’s view is excellent with its wall paintings and exquisite sculptures.
Thrissur district was under the control of Dutch and British invaders. During their period they had created several beautiful churches, an example is the Lourdes Cathedral. The exterior features an Indo-European frontage with pink spires. The Centenary of Our Lady of Lourdes was celebrated during the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Thrissur in 1986. The underground chapel is also a big tourist attraction.
Sakthan Thampuran Palace
The Sakthan Thampuran Palace is built in Dutch and Kerala style of architecture and is a landmark monument of the state. The Sakthan Thampuran Palace highlights several interesting and outstanding aspects of the former rulers of Kochi.
The palace continued to be a college of Chinmaya Mission of Swami Chinmayananda for a long time. The archeological department took over the building and customized the palace into a museum maintaining the past glory of the district. The palace today houses an elaborate museum with a variety of household objects and artifacts and various megalithic items.
The archaeological and art museum at Thrissur has a good collection of woodcarvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewelers. Situated near the Zoo, at a distance of 2 km from the Thrissur town, this museum is a treasure trove of various Veerakallu, temple models, olagrandhangal (manuscripts on dry palm leaves), megaliths like earthen pots etc. The museum opens from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays and national holidays.
Kerala Kala Mandapam
Thrissur is considered as the cultural capital of Kerala. The town is home to two well-known cultural institutions – the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy and Kerala Sahitya Academy. Still one more institution the Kerala Kala Mandapam, located 32 kms northeast of Thrissur town is an institution that provides training in performing arts.
Founded by the famous Malayali poet, Vallathol Narayan Menon in Cheruthuruthy, it offers intensive training in Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Koodiyattam dance forms. Instrumental and vocal music forms are taught here. The complex has a large natyagriha for performances. The institute is open to public. This is also considered as a Tourist spot.
Punnathur Kotta Elephant Sanctuary
Punnathur Kotta is the largest elephant park in the world with more than 60 elephants. The devotees of Guruvayurappan donate all of them. The elephant race and the feast for elephants are a few of the exclusive features. Elephants of all ages live here in a natural habitat.