What Are The Places To See In Thrissur? (2023)
Also known as Trichur, Thrissur is the cultural capital of Kerala, God’s Own Country. Thrissur was once the capital of the kingdom of Cochin, which means that the city today is a mix of history, culture, devout beliefs, and colorful traditions. Thrissur is known to be one of the holiest tourist destinations in Kerala as it is home to many sacred temples. It also plays host to some of the biggest and more colorful festivals of Kerala, due to which the city is a very popular tourist destination.
When it comes to Thrissur, there are some of the best tourist attractions to check out, including Athirappilly Waterfalls, Dolours Basilica, Punnathur Kotta, Vilangan Kunnu, Thrissur Zoo, Shakthan Thampuran Palace, and the State Museum. Being a famous religious town of Kerala, Thrissur is also known for its many temples, sacred sites, spiritual centers, and plenty of colorful celebrations all around.
Where is Thrissur Located?
Thrissur is the third-largest city in Kerala, and it is built around a 65-acre hillock known as the Thekkinkaadu Maidaanam, upon which the famous Vadakkumnathan Temple is located. Thrissur is located 304 kilometers northwest of Trivandrum, which is the capital city of Kerala.
In fact, this small religious city itself is built around the Vadakkumnathan Temple, which is one of the most exciting places to visit in Thrissur.
However, this does not mean that Thrissur is only known for being a religious site. This beautiful city is a sight to behold with its many golden beaches, hillocks, waterfalls, and forests that you must check out when you visit this quaint little town.
What Are The Places To See In Thrissur?
1. Sri Vadakkunnathan Temple
Since the town of Thrissur itself is built around the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple, it is highly recommended that you start your visit to Thrissur with a visit to this holy temple first.
The Vadakkunnathan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the most magnificent examples of the typical architectural style of Kerala, with one monumental tower on each of the four sides, along with a kuttambalam. There are many beautiful mural paintings located inside the temple that depict various famous scenes from the epic Mahabharata. Some of these mural paintings are believed to be over 400 years old. The shrines and the Kuttambalam inside the temple display vignettes exquisitely carved in wood. Image Source
According to the local legends, this was the first temple ever to be built by Lord Parasurama, who was the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. This magnificent 1000-year-old temple is especially famous for the Nataraja Mural located near the main temple gate.
The temple structure still has much of its original colors, even though there hasn’t been much preservation work done. The shrine of Lord Vadakkumnathan is located in the center of the temple, completely covered under ghee (clarified butter) for centuries, without any signs of melting. There are also two shrines dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu and Lord Shankaranarayan.
The temple also features one of the biggest dance halls known as koothambalam, which again depicts the unique architecture of Kerala. The hall commonly hosts traditional performances known as Nangyar Koothu.
Just outside the temple complex, you will find the Paramekkavu Devi Temple and the Thiruvambadi Krishna Temple, both of which are considered to be the sister temples of Vadakkunnathan Temple, and your visit is not considered to be complete without paying obeisance at both these two temples.
It is important to note that the Vadakkunnathan Temple is strictly open to Hindus, and non-Hindus are not allowed inside, though they can stand outside the temple complex and take photographs from there.
The Vadakkunnathan Temple has been declared as a national monument by India under the AMASR Act.
2. Athirapally Falls
Commonly known as the Bahubali Waterfall, the Athirapally Falls is located 60 kilometers from Thrissur. This waterfall is a magnificent cascade of frothy waters crashing down from the Anamudi Mountains in the Western Ghats. This 80 feet high and 330 feet wide waterfall is the biggest in Kerala, and it was popularized by the epic movie Bahubali. It is often also known as the Niagara Falls of India.
From Thrissur, the Athirapally Falls flows into the lush greenery of the Vazhachal Forest and heads towards the Arabian Sea. The flow of the waterfalls towards the Arabian Sea makes for a vivid scenery as the crystal clear water stands out in contrast to the emerald forests and azure sky.
Surrounding the falls is the evergreen Sholayar Peaks, where many movies and music videos have been shot. This is a great place for bird watchers as well since this is the only location in the Western Ghats where you can see four endangered Hornbill species.
If trek to above the falls, you will find a pool where you can relax and enjoy a picnic. Or you can even take part in the daily jungle safaris from Chalakudy to Malakkappara that are organized from the Athirapally Falls. The safari will take you on a 90-kilometer tour across the Sholayar Peaks through the dense rainforests of Kerala. Some of the main attractions covered in the jungle safari include:
- Kauthuka Park
- Thumboormuzhy Dam
- Butterfly Garden
- Vazhachal Falls
- Athirapally Falls
On the way, you will get to soak in some beautiful sceneries as you pass through hills, valleys, tea plantations, and rainforests full of wildlife.
When is the best time to see the Athirapally Falls?
Though the monsoon months ensure that the waterfall is full to the brim, heavy rainfall makes it difficult to trek in the area. This is why the best time to visit this waterfall is during the months of September to January.
3. Charpa Falls
Charpa Falls is another beautiful cascading waterfall in Thrissur. While this waterfall is not as high as the Athirappilly Falls, but as the Charpa Falls cascades down from a short height, the surrounding beauty is a must-see. The waterfall is a part of River Chalakkudy, and the Athirappilly Falls and Lake Vachumaram are very close by, allowing you to see all the sights in one day itself.
4. Shakthan Thampuran Palace
The Shakthan Thampuran Palace was once the royal residence of the king of Cochin, and today it has been transformed into a famous tourist destination because of the rich history associated with the palace. The Shakthan Thampuran Palace is also known as the Vadakkekara Palace.
The palace was constructed in 1795 and dated back to the king of Cochin, Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran. King Thampuran was known to a very generous and kind-hearted ruler, and the time period of his rule is often referred to as the Golden Age of Kochi.
The magnificent Shakthan Thampuran Palace has been constructed with a combination of Keralan and Dutch style of architecture and should definitely not be missed when you are touring Thrissur.
One of the most striking features of the palace is that it has a shrine dedicated to the god of serpents called as Serpent Grove (Sarpakaavu). You can find many different species of flora and fauna in the heritage garden inside the palace complex. With prior permission, it is even possible to have a family picnic in these stunning lawns of the palace.
The Shakthan Thampuran Palace was converted into a museum in 2005, and you can now see a vast collection of unique granite and bronze sculptures, coins, historical documents, utensils used by the royal family, the old currency of Kochi, and various antiques belonging to the Stone Age are also on display here.
Inside the palace complex, you will also be able to see three tombs belonging to the royal family members, including that of King Shakthan Thampuran.
You should carry food and water for your tour to the palace as there are no eateries inside the palace complex.
5. Punnathur Kotta
One of the best tourist attractions of Thrissur is Punnathur Kotta or the Elephant Sanctuary. The Punnathur Kotta was originally a palace that belonged to a local king, but it has since then been converted into a home for elephants. Today it has the highest number of captive elephants in Kerala, as it is home to around 60 of them.
At Punnathur Kotta, you will be able to see elephants being trained to participate in many traditional festivals. Punnathur Kotta is also one of the biggest training centers for elephant riders, known as Mahouts. There are temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Bhagavati on the premises.
Punnathur Kotta is located around 28.5 kilometers from the Thrissur bus stand, and it is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6. Vazhachal Falls
Another beautiful waterfall to check out in Thrissur is the Vazhachal Falls. With shady trees and sitting arrangements made around the waterfall, these rocky falls are the perfect place to relax and spend some time with your friends and family.
Vazhachal Falls is also a famous picnic spot for both tourists and locals. The waterfall is located just 60 kilometers from the main Thrissur city and just 5 kilometers from the Athirapilly Falls. The Vazhachal Falls is also surrounded by the dense green forests of the Sholayar Range.
This is an excellent place for trekking as you can walk around the flowing Chalakkudy River and climb the Sholayar Peaks. Mountain climbing and trekking are two of the most popular activities at the Vazhachal Falls.
7. Thrissur Zoo
Earlier known as the Trichur Zoo, the Thrissur Zoo, and the State Museum located inside its premises are some of the biggest tourist attractions of Thrissur. Situated in the heart of Thrissur city, the zoo opened its doors in 1885. Sprawled over 13.5 acres, the zoo is home to many animals, birds, and reptiles.
Some of the common animals you can find here at the zoo include tigers, lions, sloth bears, deer, monkeys, camels, pink flamingos, hippopotamus, lion-tailed macaques, and Mithun of the northeastern hills. A unique building within the zoo is dedicated to snakes, and it has a massive reptilian collection of cobras, king cobras, python, kraits, rat snakes, and vipers.
There is also a botanical garden, a Museum of Natural History, and an Art Museum that showcases the socio-cultural heritage of Thrissur. The Art Museum located in the premises of the zoo is famous for its extensive collection of metal sculptures, wood carvings, Kathakali figures, ancient jewelry, and a huge collection of traditional Keralan lamps.
8. Vilangan Kunnu
Vilangan Kunnu is a hillock located near Thrissur. If you climb to the top of Vilangan Kunnu, you get to see some of the finest views of the entire city and also the Thrissur Kole Wetlands. This is one of the top-rated picnic spots in the region, owing to the spectacular views it provides.
There is also an amusement park located nearby where you can enjoy with the entire family on a variety of rides.
9. Chavakkad Beach
Not many people have heard of Chavakkad Beach. This is because this is one of the most unexplored but stunning beaches of Kerala. The Chavakkad Beach is also amongst the most favorite tourist places of Thrissur. This golden sandy beach draws tourists from all corners of the country.
At the spot where the beach is, there is a river that meets the Arabian Sea, thus turning into an estuary. One of the main reasons to check out the Chavakkad Beach is to see the changing color of the waters and to catch a glimpse of the daily lives of fishermen as they go out to sea.
10. Dolours Basilica
The Dolours Basilica, also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, is one of the most beautiful churches of Thrissur. This grand church is one of the distinct features of the Thrissur city can you can easily recognize it from its brilliant white facade.
Located in the heart of a lush green valley, this church is known for being host to numerous stories of faith and love. Sprawled over 25,000 feet, the Dolours Basilica is the third tallest church in Asia and one of the biggest churches in India to have double-storeyed aisles.
What is the best time to visit Thrissur?
The best time to visit Thrissur is during the winter months of October to march. However, there are many festivals that are celebrated in this town with a lot of pomp and show, which is why many tourists love to visit Thrissur during the months of April and May. This is when the famous Thrissur Pooram festival takes place. You can also choose to visit in August or September to check out the Pulikali during Onam celebrations that are celebrated with a lot of excitement.
How to reach Thrissur?
Thrissur is well connected by road and rail. Kochi is the closest airport to Thrissur, located just 83 kilometers away. Thrissur also has its own railway station, and there are regular trains that ply to all nearby major cities. Buses and taxis are available easily from all nearby towns in Kerala and even from other major cities across South India.