We were recently in Thrissur, India again this year, and had a fun time while sightseeing locally. Here are some experiences we had that will definitely be worth your time if you are ever traveling in this area!
Take a walk on the temple grounds
Vadakkunnathan Temple, located at the heart of Thrissur, is well-known throughout Kerala.
It sits in a grassy field in the center of town. Walking the grounds is a serene way to get away from the dirt and noise of the city.
This temple is devoted to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. The inscription written phonetically in Malayalam along the top reads: “Om Nama Shivaaya” which in Sanskrit means “Salutations to Shiva”.
We took a relaxing walk through the grounds on our way to the other side of the city.
On our way through, we passed locals who were there to pray and mediate outside the temple, as well as young lovers taking a peaceful stroll away from prying eyes.
The grounds are an oasis surrounded by the noise, dust, foot traffic, and the seemingly endless circling of cars, lorries, and buses honking around us.
Visit a saree showroom and shop till you drop
Okay, for the uninitiated, stepping into a saree showroom might take one’s breath away, maybe even cause dizziness.
The swathes of brightly colored fabrics, sequins, silks, and gold thread epitomize the beauty and exotica of Indian fashion.
These shopping centers are typically several stories tall, with different types of clothing on each floor. You could easily spend an entire day here, window-shopping or picking out the perfect outfit for your next party or get-together.
See artists in the making at the Kerala Kalamandalam
India in general, and Kerala in particular are home to a wide variety of native dance styles.
For anyone who wishes to learn these ancient techniques in an authentic setting from seasoned masters, the Kerala Kalamandalam is the place.
For those who just want to peep in on what’s happening in the classes (like we did), visitors are welcome, but asked to behave discreetly so as not to distract the students.
We watched young adults studying Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, as well as playing various instruments.
Visit Thrissur Zoo
The zoo is located on the outskirts of downtown, and is a fun way to spend the day. I would recommend going in the morning versus the afternoon, as you would be spending your whole time outdoors and it gets pretty hot!
There’s a good variety of animals here, creatures both native to India and from other places.
The cages and pens even allow visitors to get within ten feet or so from the tigers and lion. There are also rhesus monkeys, pelicans, and peacocks. If you go during the monsoon, you should even be able to watch a peacock spread its feathers!
See Malampuzha Dam and Gardens
Technically, Malampuzha Dam is located about 1-2 hours from Thrissur, but is certainly worth a visit. Its greenery blew us away, and the sheer size of the gardens surrounding the dam was breathtaking.
Once you hike through the gardens up to the dam itself, you will be able to stand on the dam and look out over to the reservoir, which is so huge! It feels like looking out at the ocean. The walk along the dam is long yet scenic, with the water on one side and the lush landscape on the other.
Watch elephants at Guruvayoor Aanakotta
Everywhere you look, there are elephants. In a way, it’s kind of like a zoo with only one kind of animal! Paapans (mahouts or elephant caretakers) come and go, walking with the elephants, or carrying food to them. There are anywhere from 60-80 elephants at any one time.
All are chained to nearby trees or to stakes in the ground. They are very well-cared for, and live a comfortable life at the sanctuary.
The paths wind close up enough to the elephants so as to see them clearly and to take their photos, but not so close that you can touch them.
Ride like a local in an auto rickshaw
Want to get around locally but don’t want to drive? Consider taking an auto rickshaw. This vehicle runs on three wheels and is an Indian icon.
Riding in an auto rickshaw is a great way to travel back and forth from downtown, especially with shopping bags in tow. It’s a cross between being in a small car and being on the back of a motorcycle. It’s loud, bumpy, and it’s awesome!
Enjoy a tender coconut
Ahh…the simple pleasures. Drinking coconut water directly from the young, or tender, coconut is a typical sight here in Thrissur. Stalls or mobile carts piled high with green coconuts beckon as the vendor happily hands one over, inserted with a straw of course.
Do you enjoy outdoor or indoor attractions more while traveling?