Thrissur has a good number of old structures, including a big Vadakkunnathan temple at the very center, surrounded by a ground with many trees. The name Thrissur itself is a shortened form of Thrissivaperur or the land of Holy Siva, the deity of the temple. And Trichur is anglicized Thrissur.
The temple ground is called the thekkin kadu, meaning a forest of teakwood. Presently, it is not a forest but a spacious ground with several variieties of trees. Thrissur itself was a dense forest that was cleared by one of the kings of Cochin, thus starting the process of urbanization.
Another heritage structure is the palace of the former kings of Kochi or Cochin, whose heraldic insignia is still in place on the building. In the sixteenth century, Thrissur was the royal headquarters. This spacious palace is now a museum of heritage exhibits showing mainly the articles used by the royal family of Cochin.
You would find royal beds and chairs, and kitchen equipment, along with swords and daggers, sceptres and other emblems in the museum. And the building itself retains the heritage facilities, like the drum-shaped wooden pulley for drawing water from the well attached to the kitchen.
Attached to the palace is a traditional garden, the Pithru Vanam or forest of forefathers. The garden is not a flashy and decorative place, but a quiet retreat that creates a profound sense of tradition.
Thrissur is also a main center of Syrian Christians. You would find the trademark Christian residences lining many roads. There are several Christian churches in Thrissur, including the heritage puthen palli. The puthen palli, one of the oldest churches in India, combines Gothic and Indian architectural sytles. It was also claimed to be the largest church in India.
Syrian Christians have also established several business ventures, educational institutions and hospitals in this town, making Thrissur a prominent trading center.
Probably the most dominant feature of Thrissur is the main circular road, called the Swaraj Round, that surrounds the temple and it grounds. While the temple and grounds are inside the circle, the outer edge of Swaraj Round is lined with numerous business establishments.
From this central road, other roads radiate like spokes of a wheel. These roads lead to major centers like Guruvayoor in the west, Shoranur in the north, Palakkad in the east, and Ernakulam in the south.
Thrissur is not only a trading center. It is also considered a cultural center. Thrissur hosts Music, Lierature and Fine Arts academies. The grandest temple festival in Kerala, the Thrissur Pooram, is celebrated here.
Thrissur Pooram is a magnificent tradition. Elephants from several temples, competitively decorated, assemble at the Vadakkunnathan temple grounds. Competing bands consisting of numerous drummers, pipers and cymbalists create strange synchronized worlds of sound, in front of the elephants in the light of tall oil lamps. And the celebrations conclude with a grand display of fireworks, where the competing temples seek to excel each other.
Thrissur or Trichur is indeed a town of tradition.
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