I had visited this temple in the 90's and was mesmerized by the theyyams and the ritualistic dancing to drum beats.That time i couldn't stay back and enjoy since we had a train to catch.This time i stayed overnight, Saw the colorful theyyams and their psychedelic dance performance in the afternoon went again and saw the next performance in the night which went on till late night and again another spirited performance early morning.altogether a very fulfilling experience.
Situated on the banks of the valappatanam river, this is a temple with a difference.
Very secular any body can go and watch the ceremony.The ritual dance is a play between Vishnu and the Nomadic wayward,animal lover, hunter Siva . Siva loves alcohol and non vegetarian food. The offering here is fresh toddy and fish. Every one who visits this temple is invited and given food usually cooked green grams with coconut and tea or rice meal. Well fed, well behaved dogs look after your belongings or roam freely inside the temple And during nights you are supplied mats to sleep in the temple premises.
I love this temple A GOD who practises socialism :)
IF you wish to relax and enjoy nature or watch theyyam - that is one of the best things to do in Kannur- just head to Thottada Beach near Aadi Kadalai Temple. There are few guest houses there. Kannur Becah House in exceptionally good. Just on the beachfront and a on a riverside. Great location and good hospitality.
This mini zoo is 18 km from Cannanore. It is not a big deal but a good place to kill time while you are doing your investigation on theyyam rituals. Lots of types of snakes are on display (incl. a king cobra) and sometimes there are snake shows (only in the local Malayalam language). Beside snakes you will find owls, eagles, peacocks, monkeys, foxes and crocodiles. An autorickshaw from Cannanore centre should cost about 250-300.- Rs including 90 minutes of waiting time. Entrance is cheap, (usually there are no separate tourist quotas in Southern-Indian towns) less than 100.- Rs for 2 persons.
This fort complex was built in the 1500's by the Portugals when the town of Cannanore was an important spice trading post. The fort changed hands several times (Dutch, British) but now it is a very peaceful and relaxing spot where you can make long walks while admiring the excellent views of the sea and the town. An autorickshaw from the town center should cost no more than Rs. 30.- but you are advised to reserve the rickshaw for the return journey as well (ask for waiting time) as the area surrounding the fort is relatively traffic-free and you might have to walk a lot to find a rickshaw for the 3 or 4km return journey if you're not provident. There is an entrance fee but it is ridicuously low, I can't remember exactly but I'm sure that is was less than 100.- Rs. for the 2 of us.
Our only reason for coming to this tourist-free town in the northern part of Kerala was to watch a night-long ritualistic theyyam performance which are only held in the 50 km vicinity of this town and nowhere else in India. The place where we have found one was a so-called "sacred grove" in the middle of nowhere, about 15 km from Cannanore (Kannur) in a small place called Aroli. The main attraction started around midnight and went on for about six hours. It was a genuinely astonishing experience which we will remember forever in our lives. There's wild drumming all the time, the performers wear elaborately made costumes, their faces are painted and they often go to trance-like states during which they speak, give blessings and offer sacred food to the audience. There was an animal sacrifice as well so it's not for the faint-hearted.
Performances are religious and spiritual gatherings not intended for tourists, therefore the atmosphere is totally genuine, everybody, even foreigners are welcome and you don't have to pay a single rupee to attend. (Though you have to arrange your transportation to/from the village.) This is not a cocktail party, so you'd better show respect but the atmosphere is very relaxed.
It's not easy to find a performance but the Kerala Foklore Academy (near Chitrakkal Pond?) about 8 km from Kannur city center in the direction of Telicherry (Thalassery) will be very glad to help to find one. Their English is very bad but they make up for it with their enthusiasm.
The main season for THEYYAM is between November and March but if you are persistent and ask around you will find one within 4 or 5 days even out of season.
The Payyambalam beach is a beautiful beach, an ideal place to spend evenings, irrespepctive of seasons. There was a slight drizzle when we were at the beach, but still a great place to spend time.