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Kannur- land of looms and lores

Kannur district derived its name from location of its headquarters at Kannur town. The old name Cannanore is the anglicized form of Malayalam word Kannur. According to one opinion, 'Kannur' is a derivation of Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and Ur (Place) making it the place of Lord Krishna. In this context, it is well worth mentioning that the deity of Kadalayi Sri Krishna temple was originally installed in a shrine at Kadalayikkota in south eastern part of present Kannur town.

In the 15th century the Portuguese arrived in Cannanore  to establish one of theirSt. Angelo’s Fort earliest settlements. St. Angelo’s Fort was built by them in 1505 .In 1558, the Kolathiris came openly into the field against the Portuguese by providing active support to Kunjali Marakkars of Kozhikkode. Kolathiris and Zamorins fought a common war against Portuguese and the besieged Fort St.Angelo at Kannur in 1564. Now this fort is in a fairly good state of preservation as a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India. The English East India Company got its first foothold in the district towards the closing years of the seventeenth century, when it acquired a site at Thalassery for the erection of a fort a for and factory.  Around 1792, after the Mysore wars, the British took over Cannanore. In his book of travels Marco Polo recounts his visit to the area circa 1250 A.D. Other visitors included Fahian, the Buddhist pilgrim and Ibn Batuta, writer and historian of Tangiers.

Freedom movement 
Kannur District played an important role in freedom movement. The Indian national congress, which was founded in 1885, was having a Malabar District committee in 1908 itself. In May 1928 fourth All Kerala Political Conference was held at Payyannur and was presided by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. By the end of 1939, a branch of Indian Communist Party was formally founded at Pinarayi a village near Thalassery. 

KPCC gave a call to the people of Malabar to observe September 15, 1940 as anti-imperialist day. Kannur District was the centre of agitation. Two young men was killed in clash between the mob and police party at Morazha. A prominent Communist, Com. KPR Gopalan was arrested and sentenced to death. But owing to the intervention of top ranking political leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, the death penalty was not carried out.

In 1945, Karivellore, the northern most village of present Kannur district, made a historic stride in the struggle  against poverty and famine. The paddy from Karivellore to Chirakkal Kovilakom was blocked and distributed to the people of the village. Com.AV Kunhambu and K Krishnan master led the movement. Two peoples became martyrs in the struggle.

During December 1946, the people of Kavumbayi, an eastern village of the district, raised their demand for punam cultivation. Peasants resisted armed forces, which lead to the killing of five peasants in the firing. Even after independence places like Thillankeri, Munayankunnu, Korom and Padikkunnu are memorable in the annals of peasant struggle.

Kannur district came into existence on 1st January 1957. Later on 1st November 1980, Wynad district was formed carving out South Wynad and North Wynad Taluks. Kasaragod and Hozdurg Taluks were separated on 24th May 1984, for the formation of Kasaragod district. Now the Kannur district has three taluks namely Kannur, Thaliparamba and Thalassery. Taluks were sub divided into 129 villages.

Kannur lies between latitudes 11
o 4o'  to 12o 48' north and longitude 74o 52' to 76o 07' east. The district is bound by Kudag in the east, Kozhikkode and Wynad districts in the south, Lakshadweep in the west, and by Kasaragod in the north. It has 82 km coastline from Kavvayil in the north to Kurichiyil in the south.

Basic data
Area 2966 sq km
Population 2.25 million
Literacy rate  91.48 % (95.54 %-male, 87.65%-Female)
Sex ratio 1049F/1000M
Language Malayalam
Climate  Tropical
Tourist season August to march
Temperature 21.4oC  to  32.6 oC
By air Karipur, Calicut, about 93 km south
Cochin airport 317 km away
Mangalore airport 170km North
By rail Cannanore railway station
President-District Panchayat Sri. OV Narayanan
Members of Parliament Sri. AP Abdullakkutty - Kannur
Sri. T Govindan - Kasaragod
Smt. AK Premajam - Vadagara
Members of Legislative Assembly Sri. KP Mohanan - Peringalam
Sri. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan - Thalassery
Sri. P. Jayarajan  - Koothuparamba
Sri.MV Jayarajan - Edakkad
Sri.AD Mustafa - Peravoor
Sri.KC Joseph - Irikkur
Sri.K.Sudhakaran - Kannur
Sri.TK Balan - Azhikkode 
Sri.MV Govindan - Taliparamba
Smt.PK Sreemathi - Payyannur

Communists are having very strong base in this district. It is estimated that that CPIM itself is having more than 50% support. CPM lead left democratic front is ruling in five out of six municipalities in Kannur district. Around 70 % of the panchayats are also ruled by LDF. Congress and Muslim league are having marginal support. BJP is very minimal and are limited to some pockets only, but these areas are ill famous for bomb attacks and atrocities. Violent clashes between political rivals in Kannur was always a big issue in the media. But those clashes in some pockets of this district never affected the peace of mind of people.

Kannur district is endowed with fine river system. Except for a few minor ones most of the rivers are perennial and provide a good scope for irrigation and controlling floods through minor irrigation works. with a length of 110 KM, the Valapattanam river, which originates from western ghats is the longest river in the district. The main tributaries of the river are Valiapuzha and Aralampuzha. Kuppam river originates from reserve forests and has an area of 539 The length of the river is 82 km. The other rivers in the district are Mahe (54km), Anjarakandy (48km), Thalassery (28km), Ramapuram (19km), Perumba (51 km).

Today Cannanore is known for its handloom beedi and coir industries. Some of Kerala’s finest weavers come from this district, though these days their skills are not in as much demand as before. The coir industry, which uses traditional technology provides employment to 11,000 workers.

The beedi industry itself provides employment to about 50,000 people. Dinesh beedi co-operative society employees more than 25,000 peoples. The Kerala Dinesh Beedi Workers Central Co-operative society and its 22 primaries were sponsored by the state government to rehabilitate 42,000 workers in 450 small factories, who were thrown out of employment when employers from outside Kerala abruptly closed down their factories during 1968. The society is now producing and selling beedies worth about 30 lakhs everyday. Prohibition of smoking in public places by the High Court of Kerala created a setback in this industry. So they are diversifying its area to other sectors. 

Jawaharlal Nehru once said that Kannur is the garden of India. The tourism potential for Kannur district is high. The enchanting sandy beaches lined with evergreen coconut palm groves at Payyambalam, Muzhappilangad, Dharmadam, Kizhunna and Ezhimala in the west; the developing hill stations like 'Pythal Mala' and 'Palukachi Mala' and the thick forests in the western Ghats in the east; rivers like Valapattanam, Perumba, Anjarakkandi and Mahe criss-crossing the paddy fields and palm groves; the sublime climatic conditions and above all the hospitable and literate population contribute much to the aspirations of the tourists, both Indian and International. The barracks, the magazine, and  cannons in St. Angelo Fort at Kannur attracts a lot of tourists. Fort at Thalassery (22 KM from Kannur) is also a tourist attraction. The Holy Rosary church at Thalassery is the oldest Catholic Church in the district. Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary is having an area of 55 and is at a distance of 33 km from Kannur. Sri Muthppan temple at Parassinikkadavu is open to all and is just 18 km from Kannur. Here Theyyam is performed all-round the year.

For more details visit kannurtourism.

Links & courtesy

1. Kannur
2. Cannanore
3. Kannur Tourism
3. Kannur District
4. Malabarinfo