Welcome to Payyanur, a beautiful municipal town situated on the banks of the Perumba River, in the Kannur district of Kerala, India. This hidden gem is often overlooked by tourists in favor of more famous destinations, but those who venture here will be rewarded with a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious local cuisine. Join us as we uncover the many treasures of Payyanur and reveal why this enchanting destination should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Payyanur is located 36 km North of District HQ Kannur city, 501 km away from State capital Thiruvananthapuram city, 301 km North of Ernakulam city, 126 km North of Kozhikode city, 56 km South of Kasaragod town, and 112 km away from Mangalore city. The town lies by the side of three rivers – Perumba River, Punnakka river (Payyanur river) and Kavvayi river (Thattar river). The nearest airport is Kannur, which is 57 km away, and Mangalore airport, which is 115 km away.
As of 2011 census, Payyanur had a population of 72,111, with males constituting 46% of the population and females 54%. Payyanur has an average literacy rate of 94.08%, which is higher than the state average of 94.00%. Male literacy is 97.02%, and female literacy is 91.60%. In Payyanur, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Payyan is an appellation of the Hindu deity Kartikeya, and ooru means town or place. Thus Payyanur means the land of Lord Kartikeya, derived from the presence of the Sri Subramany Swamy temple here. During the Renaissance era, Payyanur was known to English sailors as Delyn, named after the nearby hill of Ezhimala. The earliest known mention of this town is in the Brahmanda Purana when Garga Muni talks about this place to the Pandavas during their exile. Several notable travelers have described this area in their writings. Ibn Battuta visited Ezhimala in AD 1342 and wrote about the large seaport and the Chinese ships anchored here. Abul Fida in AD 1273, Marco Polo in AD 1293, the Italian explorer Niccolò de Conti in the 15th century, and the Portuguese scholar and traveler Barbosa all visited this place and gave extensive accounts of Ezhimala port, which was then known as Heli. The scholar and author Hermann Gundert and William Logan, the Malabar District Collector during the British Colonial rule, who wrote Malabar Manual, also visited Payyanur and studied the rich heritage of the area.
Payyanur has a rich recorded history and is considered one of several extant ancient civilized places in Kerala. The archaeological remains excavated from Payyanur and nearby places prove the existence of a city in this area centuries ago. Centuries back, Payyanur was a part of the Ezhimala/Mushika/Kolathiri Kingdom. King Nandan was well known as a great warrior and ruler. The books written during the Sangam period describe the area and King. Ezhimala was also under the rule of the Cheras. A famous ruler there was Pazhassi Raja. Payyanur Pattu, the ballad written by an unknown person belonging to the Chettiar community sometime during the 13th or 14th century, was set here.
Payyanur has a lot to offer to tourists. The Sri Subramany Swamy temple is a must-visit for those interested in history and religion. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and is dedicated to Lord Kartikeya. Another must-visit place is the Kavvayi Island, which is just 3 km from Payyanur. It is a group of small islands on the backwaters of the Kavvayi River and is famous for its scenic beauty. The Annur Sree Mahavishnu Temple is another ancient temple located in Payyanur and is considered one of the most sacred places in the area. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its unique architecture. Payyanur is also known for its traditional dance ritual performances, including Theyyam, Poorakkali, and Kolkali. Visitors can also explore the handlooms of Kannur, which are famous for their unique designs and patterns.
Payyanur has a well-connected transportation system, with private and KSRTC buses plying to places inside and outside the district. The town has three bus terminals: KSRTC Bus terminal, Payyanur on NH-66 road, Old Bus Stand, Payyanur, and New Bus Stand, Payyanur on Main Road, Payyanur. Payyanur is one of the major stations that lie in the Shoranur-Mangalore Section of the Southern Railway and comes under A category stations under Palakkad division. The station has 3 platforms and 4 tracks.
Payyanur has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its religious festivals and traditional dance performances. The native place of legendary Kathakali master Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair is not far from this town. Kandoth in Payyanur is famous for pottery, and the weavers streets of various villages around Payyanur contribute to the fame of the handlooms of Kannur. Payyanur Pavithram, or Pavithra Mothiram, is a particular ring worn during performing Vedic or holy rituals or during the pithrubali in the Hindu tradition. The traditional Pavitram is usually made of dharba grass and is closely related to Payyanur Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple.
Payyanur is an offbeat destination that has a lot to offer to tourists seeking a unique experience. From its rich history to its breathtaking landscapes and delicious cuisine, this hidden gem has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and head to Payyanur to explore this enchanting destination