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The word 'Trichur' is the anglicized form of the Malayalam name of the town 'Thri-Siva-Perur', meaning the town of Lord Siva.The name is appropriate, for Trichur derives its main glory from Vadakunnathan Temple, (Vadakunnathan, Lord of the North, is a name of siva) 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 a miraculous feat. In historical times it was a suburb of Musiris (present Cranganore) the capital of the ancient Chera Empire, an international Emporium where most of the ancient trading nationals of the world had their settlements.

From very early times Trichur has been a centre of learning and, with the decline of Buddism and Jainism and the establishment of the supremacy of Brahminism during the revival of Hinduisum, Trichur became an important centre of Sanskrit learning. The great Sankara Acharya had taught Advaita here. After his travels in different regions of India he is believed to have come back and settled in Trichur and died here. Sankara Acharya's disciples Hastamalaka, Thotaka, Padmapada and Sudhachara established in the town four Maddams, namely the Northern Madham, the Middle Madham, the ln-Between Madham and the Southern Madham respectively, all of which are extant except the In-Between one
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Trichur 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 Trichur District was carved out of a bigger District of the same name on 1st April, 1958. It derives its name from the location of its headquarters at Trichur . The town is  built around a hillock atop which is the Vadakkumnathan Kshetram  or temple which has Shiva as the presiding deity. 

Trichur  rose in importance due, it is believed, to Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as `Sakthan Thampuran'  who ascended the throne of Kochi  in 1790. Large areas of  Trichur were captured by the Zamorins of Kozhikode in the 14th and 15th centuries. Later, in the latter half of the 18th centuries,  Tipu Sultan held sway over Trichur until the European domination began under the Portugese, 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 Indiantemples.This temple features low, tiled roofs, an abundance of woodwork, and the famous `koothambalam' or theatre 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, The Chalakudy, The Karuvannur and Ponnani (Bharatha Puzha) are the main river systems in the district.

A place of great antiquity, Trichur was also known by such names as   'Vrishabhadripuram' and ‘Ten Kailasm’ in ancient days. The famous Kerala Kalamandiram,Cheruthuruthi, founded by the late poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, is in Trichur District. The Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka are situated in Trichur town


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