My hometown of Kannur: The beaches, St. Angelo’s Fort, and more

This is the last post from my travel archives. After all the posts I’ve written about my travels within India and abroad, it’s only befitting I write about my hometown. Although I was raised in Bahrain (16 years) and worked in Bangalore (8 years), I am a native of Kannur (named Cannanore by the Colonial British) in Kerala.

And although it’s one of the largest districts in Kerala by area, Kannur does not offer too much in terms of sights or attractions compared to say, Cochin, with it’s more globally marketable Jew Town and easy access to Kerala’s other famous places. That said, I’m still going to showcase whatever I can from my past visits to Kannur. Or at least the places I’ve visited anyway.

First up, St. Angelo’s Fort.

St. Angelo's Fort Kannur Kerala India
Built in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India (the Portuguese were the first Europeans in India)
St. Angelo's fort tree Kannur Kerala
By the way, these photos were taken in January 2007

St. Angelo's tree Kannur fort Kerala
Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t take too many photos from inside the structure

Maybe it was because I had seen so many such forts in my travels.

Kannur fort sunrays lens flare Kerala
I barely took any photos of the Fort’s stony interiors or its chambers
St. Angelo's fort cannon Kannur Arabian sea
… or the chapel, or these cannons
Arabian sea from Kannur fort India
Maybe I was more mesmerized by the Arabian Sea

Rocks shore Arabian sea KannurDry grass Kannur fort Kerala

Fishing pier Kannur Kerala
The fishing pier
Oil lamp lighthouse post Kannur fort Kerala
This was some old lamp lighthouse it seems
Sunset view from St. Angelo's fort Kannur Kerala
The sun was setting
Kannur fort sunset Kerala
I wanted to reach Payyambalam beach to see the sun set
Payyambalam beach stream Kannur Kerala
But I got there a bit late
Payyambalam beach end Kannur Kerala
Fortunately it hadn’t gotten too dark yet
Payyambalam beach fishing Kannur Kerala
Some were still out catching fish
Payyambalam beach evening crowd Kannur Kerala
Payyambalam is nearly 2kms in length and is Kannur’s most popular beach

Mother son Payyambalam beach Kannur

Payyambalam beach evening sunset Kannur
I’ve been to Payyambalam beach many times after this and the sunsets here are pretty awesome

Update: 27th October 2012

Took some photos today on my phone camera:

Road to Payyambalam beach
This the road towards the Payyambalam bridge

Payyambalam stream

Payyambalam beach panorama
It was around noon when I got here
Boat rides Payyambalam beach
There have water activities like jet ski rides, boat rides and para-sailing (Rs. 500 per person) now. You may contact: Kannur Water Sports,; Mobile: 0-9526000076
Girl on Payyambalam beach Kannur
Today was a Saturday
Payyambalam backwaters Kannur
Backwaters near Payyambalam beach

Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach 

These photos are when I first went to Muzhappilangad Beach with my cousin sister’s husband back in April 2005. He had told me about this beach which was pretty close to my parents’ village, so he took me there on his bike. The cool thing about Muzhappilangad Beach is that its a ‘driving beach’ or a ‘drive-in beach’ – meaning, you can take your vehicle on to the sands.

Muzhappilangad drive-in beach Kannur Kerala
Because unlike Kannur’s other beaches, the sand here isn’t powdery and soft. It’s hard pressed to the ground.
Wet sand lines Muzhappilangad beach Kannur Kerala
Of course, sand gets softer near the water, but it’s still safe for a bike to tread on
Dharmadam island Kannur Kerala
Just a few metres out in the sea is Dharmadam island, which some say you can walk to on low tide. They also say it’s a private island.

Muzhappilangad beach boats Kannur Kerala

Muzhappilangad driving beach trees sunset Kannur Kerala
Muzhappilangad beach isn’t very long, so be mindful of the speeds at which you drive here.

Muzhappilangad driving beach shells birds Kannur Kerala

Evening sunset Muzhappilangad driving beach Kannur Kerala
I had come here to learn how to ride a motorbike
Mithun Sumesh Kannur Kerala
Me and my tutor
Boat going into sea Muzhappilangad driving beach Kannur Kerala
Some fishing boats were still going out to sea
Muzhappilangad drive-in beach sunset Kannur Kerala
It was nearing 6pm
Biker Muzhappilangad drive-in beach Kannur Kerala
We literally rode off into the sunset after this

Kizhunna Beach

This is another one of Kannur’s beaches, but one that’s slightly harder to get to. These photos were taken on a visit to one of my aunts, who lives in Kizhunna (11 kms from Kannur town).

Kizhunna sea higher view Kannur Kerala
This was from the road uphill
Kizhunna beach Cannanore Kerala
It’s not a huge beach but if you walk all the way down, it’s good enough
Kizhunna beach end Kannur Kerala
Because accessibility isn’t great, it means the beach remains fairly uncrowded
Kizhunna beach sand Kannur Kerala
Sand erosion?
Kizhunna beach sunset Kannur Kerala
That’s me… in 2009
Kizhunna backwater homestay Kannur Kerala
Backwaters nearby
Kizhunna Ezhara beach hotel homestay Kannur Kerala
There were a few homestays by the beach too

Kizhunna canal Kannur Kerala

Kizhunna sunset beach Kannur Kerala
Kizhunna beach is quite nice if you want some privacy
Kizhunna view Kannur Kerala
This was the view from another day
Kizhunna beach coconut trees Kannur Kerala
Yes, lots of green. This is Kerala after all.

Meenkunnu Beach

This is another not-so-popular beach (because it’s not easily accessible), around 5kms from Kannur town.

Meenkunnu beach cows Kannur Kerala India
Which also makes it sparsely populated
Meenkunnu beach sunset Kannur Kerala India
This was my first time here
Meenkunnu beach friends Kannur Kerala India
We were brought here by our friend Ranjith. The runners: (L) Anand (R) Ranjith

Meenkunnu beach Mischelle Kannur Kerala India

Meenkunnu beach sand Kannur Kerala India
Another nice beach in Kannur

In and around my village, Chala

Paddy field Chala Kannur Kerala
These photos were from 2005, behind my father’s ancestral home
River stream Chala Kannur Kerala India
It’s very pleasant – and beautiful

River stream plants Chala Kerala India

River stream Chala Kerala India

Clouds blue sky Chala Kerala
This was a sunny September morning
Chala village grey skies monsoon Kerala
Usually when it rains, it often looks like this
Dark rains Kerala India
I never enjoyed heavy rains in Kerala, mostly because of how *much* it rains during the monsoons
Buddha statue window Kerala India
These are just random shots I took from the home my father grew up in
Cat Chala Sholy
We had quite a few cats make themselves home here – unwelcome or not

Dry coconut tree branch Kerala

Boy on ledge Chala Kerala
This was taken outside my mother’s family property
Coconut trees shade Kerala India
Coconut trees, Kerala’s natural ‘shade giver’
Coconut tree blue skies Kannur Kerala
Very few people in Kerala actually buy coconuts. Because pretty much everyone has a few trees in their own compound.
Kannur rocky shore high tide Kerala
I forget where I snapped this, but it was outside Kannur town
Kerala rain cloud
Looked like a nice place
About to rain Mahe Kerala
This was one rainy day when I just passed the union territory of Mahe


Kannur district is also known for the performance art of Theyyam, a traditional Hindu ritual that’s been around for centuries in North Kerala (also known as the Malabar region).

Theyyam performers Kannur
Theyyams are performed usually in the new year, beginning January
Theyyam performer Kannur Kerala
Theyyam is said to be corrupted form of the Malayalam words ‘daivam’ meaning God, and ‘aattam,’ meaning movement/dance
Theyyam performer Kannur
So basically “God’s dance”
Theyyam chenda drummers Kannur
Which is what the performer does to the banging sounds of the chendas (drums)
Theyyam Kannur Kerala
Theyyams take place at various temples and households across the Malabar
Banyan trees lamp Kannur Kerala
For reasons I can’t recall, they placed a lamp near these banyan trees
Onam pookalam Chala Kerala
Ending this with a random shot of Onam pookalam, an essential part of celebrating Onam

That’s all I have for now. The above photos may not look like much, but please note that these photos were all taken before my DSLR days. I used to carry my point-and-shoot Canon Powershot A95 whenever I used to visit Kannur, and these were the photos I took when I was still learning the basics of photography.

We have a house in the city now and I do visit Kannur more frequently these days, so hopefully whenever I get my vehicle down here, I hope to drive around and re-visit Kannur’s attractions to take better photographs of my hometown.

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One Comments

  • naveen


    Good effort, I am also from Kannur, lives in Bangalore now.

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