Must-visit Tourist Places in Kannur: Kannur Tourism

Deepa Thomas February 24, 2020


Most visited tourist places in Kannur are rich with history and heritage. One can book for the Tyndis Kannur Heritage Tour and experience this heritage! Tourist places in Kannur, like the Kannur Fort, Arakkal Museum, etc. have played several significant roles in chapters of history.

Kannur Tourism boasts about the history of being an important maritime trading hub in the 12th and 13th century, to be the kingdom (Arakkal Dynasty) that had the only Muslim ruler in the state, serving as the British military headquarters in 1887 and later an active participant in the nationalist movements, the Telicherry and Kannur Fort by the beaches in Kannur stands as a witness to history.


kannur fort
Passage inside the barracks of Kannur Fort

For a rewarding experience, take the Arakkal Trail (Tyndis Kannur Heritage Tour) through the heritage tourist places in Kannur, accompanied by Tyndis storytellers. Walking through the heritage tourist places in Kannur is one of the top things to do in Kannur.

To give a rough outline, the Kannur Tourism heritage walk begins at the Arakkal Museum, and covers the bustling fish market at Ayikkara, the harbour of Mappila Bay, St. Angelo Fort (Kannur Fort), churches, weavers at Chirakkal, Indian Coffee House and surf or swim in the mesmerizing Payyambalam beach (famous of all beaches in Kannur). As you walk by these historic and heritage tourist places in Kannur, remember to admire the architecture of the Portuguese and British in the Colonial monuments.


The Arakkal Palace and Museum


Arakkal Museum is of the top tourist places in Kannur. It features the story of Arakkal Royal Family of Kannur. The Arakkal Palace was situated in Kannur town. It was a mansion owned by the Dutch before Arakkal king bought it from them in 1663 to convert it into his palace. Arakkal dynasty was the only Muslim royal family to rule in Kerala. Once upon a time, the royal family of Arakkal used to have power over Kannur and Laccadive Islands (part of Lakshadweep).


Arakkal museum
The Arackal Museum in Kannur

Today, the Durbar Hall in the palace has been converted into the Arakkal Museum housing artefacts from the times of the Arakkal dynasty. Kannur Tourism department in association with the Arakkal Royal Family takes a keen interest in preserving the heritage of the Arakkal Dynasty, as it had played a prominent role in the history of Malabar. Tyndis Kannur Heritage Tour covers the elegant stories connected with Arakkal.


tourist places in kannur
Artefacts inside Arakkal Museum

Close to the Arakkal Museum lies the grand Kannur Fort built in early 16th century. The Kannur Fort is under the care of the Archeological Survey of India today and is one of the most visited tourist places in Kannur.


The Kannur Cantonment


Few kilometres away from the Kannur town is a locality called Burnassery that was earlier known as Kannur Cantonment. It lies facing one of the most beautiful segments of beaches in Kannur near the Kannur Fort. The cantonment has served as the army camp for Portuguese, Dutch and British rulers. Today, the Kannur Cantonment houses the headquarters of Defense Security Corps.

Few of the top tourist places in Kannur like the Holy Trinity Cathedral, St. Thomas Orthodox Church and St. Angelo Kannur Fort are located in this area.


The St. Angelo Fort in Kannur


The massive fort in Kannur made of laterite stones flanked by gigantic bastions makes for an imposing sight. Built in 1505 AD, by the first Portuguese Viceroy in India, Don Francesco de Almeida (1505), St. Angelo Fort also known as the Kannur fort is among the most central historic tourist places in Kannur. It was later taken over by the Dutch.

st angelo fort kannur
Tyndis Kannur Fort Walking Tour

In 1663, Arakkal king had acquired Angelo Fort from the Dutch, but in 1870 the British seized the fort and turned it into their military base on the Malabar Coast. They made a 21 km long tunnel connecting Fort Angelo to Thalassery Fort as a means to go underground whenever the enemies attacked. These two forts in Kannur have well preserved archaeologically important tourist places in Kannur.


The Mappila Bay


Situated at Ayikkara, flanked by Fort St. Angelo on one side and Arakkal Palace on the other, Mappila Bay is a natural harbour. It offers Fish Market experience in Kannur Tourism. Mappila Bay is a natural bay and one of the best tourist places in Kannur to have a strategic view of both Arakkal Museum and Kannur Fort with the naked eye. The view of the colourful boats anchored in the harbour makes a great view from the Kannur fort.


kannur heritage tour
Mappila Bay in Kannur

In the glorious past, Mappila bay served as a port for centuries linking Malabar to foreign countries. The bay was famous during the Kolathiri’s regime as a commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Lakshadweep. Today it is a bustling fishing hub in the region.


With the soothing sea breeze and gentle waves lapping the bay, Ayikkara is pleasant in the mornings. But when the fishermen arrive in their colourful boats with their fresh catch, the place gets pretty noisy and fishy with buyers and birds hovering around; nevertheless, it should be experienced! 


The Burnassery Church


Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the oldest Catholic churches of Kerala.  The Roman-Gothic Architecture of the Holy Trinity Cathedral adds to the beauty of this historic monument.


burnassery church
Burnassery Church in Kannur

It holds historical importance in north Malabar as in the 16th century a group of Franciscan missionaries had laid the foundation of this church in the form of a chapel to carry out missionary activities and to propagate Christianity in the Malabar region.


The Chirakkal Weavers


Chirakkal Weaver’s co-operative Society is one of the reasons why Kannur is known as the land of the handloom industry. It was set up in 1947 with the intention to promote handloom industry and to give the job to the weaver community. Today, it has grown to be one of the largest handloom fabric manufacturers in South India under the co-operative sector that follows eco-friendly parameters. The products from this society are exported to Hong Kong, UK and UAE.  

Tourists can experience the handloom weaving process at Chirakkal Weavers. Chirakkal Weavers is one of the must-visit tourist places in Kannur to learn about the heritage of Kannur Handloom. If any of the handloom products at display catches your eyes, don’t hesitate yo buy it as your travel souvenir from Kannur Tourism.


Chirakkal weavers
Traditional weaving worker at the Chirakkal Weavers

Indian Coffee House


Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain in India run by a series of worker co-operative societies. Their workers-as-owners model powered this chain to success. The story behind the success of this half a century old chain is quite empowering. In the early 1940s, during the British rule, the Coffee Board started the India Coffee House chain.


indian coffee house
Indian Coffee House in Kannur

In the mid-1950s, the Board underwent a policy change and had to close down the Coffee Houses. The workers who lost their job began a movement under the leadership of A K Gopalan from Kerala and compelled the Coffee Board to agree to handover the outlets to the workers. Thus, the workers of the Coffee Board formed Indian Coffee Workers’ Co-operatives and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. Since then, nothing much has changed. The waiters till date wears the white starched uniforms with red cummerbunds and turbans from the British era that gives them a regal look. The Kannur society has about 625 employees, all of whom are shareholders.


heritage tours and travels
Scenes from the Tyndis Kannur Arakkal Trail

That pretty much covers all the historically significant tourist places in Kannur. Tourists can also explore the Kannur drive-in beach in Muzhappilangadu for leisure. It is one of the most celebrated tourist places in Kannur. Other cultural experiences include Theyyam Experience, Kalaripayattu, Kunhimangalam Bronze Village visit, Poorakkali, Payyanur Kolkali, etc.

On a weekend, just pack your bags and go on a historic exploration tour to Kannur, which was known as Kolathunadu centuries ago and Cannanore during colonial times.  Kannur International Airport has flight connectivity from all major cities of India. Get in Touch with Tyndis to walk-the-talk and stare with awe at the battlements, the cannons and the relics of the past.

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