Kannur is a land with a resonant past. Myths and legends abound. The ships of Solomon, they say : anchored along our coasts to collect timber for building the 'Temple of the Lord'. Kannur finds mention as NAURA in the 'Periplus of Erithrean Sea' a Greek work of great antiquity.
For long, local Rajas held sway over the land. The Kolathiris were based at Chirakkal. The Pazhassi Raja ruled from Kottayam in Tellicherry (Thalassery) taluk. The Beebi (queen) of Arakkal, Kerala's only Muslim Royal family controlled parts of the coast and even the Laccadive islands (Lakshadeep islands).
The quest for spices lured several European powers to this land. The advent of the Portuguese (1498) marked the beginning. The Dutch and the English followed them. Fortifications at Thalassery and Fort St. Angelo attest to their arrival. Solemn churches surrounded by mildewed grave stones also silently speak of the European presence.
The march of time has left his its imprints. Ancient monuments, mosques, temples and churches offer the visitor eloquent testimony of a rich cultural heritage. The Sri Rama temple at Tellicherry traces its legends back to millennium or more!. As early as the 7th century Malik Bin Dinar built the first mosques at Madayi & Dharmapattanam (Dharmadam).
Every time you visit a circus, think of Tellicherry, a small town around 20 km south of Kannur. For it is from here that most of India’s circus artists come. German missionaries introduced the gymnastic tradition in schools here.
Dr. Hermann Gundert, Missionary of the Basel Mission and linguist arrived in Thalassery in 1839. He compiled the first English-Malayalam dictionary. His was the first journal published in Malayalam. He had mastered 18 languages and prepared 18 books in Malayalam. His house (Gundert Bungalow) can be seen at Illikunnu in Thalassery.