Trichur, History


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The Cultural and Historical Background

Trichur occupies a prominent place in the history and culture of Kerala and is said to be the Cultural Capital of the State. It is also one of the main trade centers in the state.The present Trichur District was carved out of a bigger District of the same name on 1st April, 1958. It derives its name from the location of its headquarters at Trichur .
The name Trichur derives from 'Thrishivaperur' or the place with 'Lord Shiva's name'.The town is thus built around a hillock atop which is the Vadakkumnathan Kshetram  or temple which has Shiva as the presiding deity. Aadi Sankara is supposed to have spent his last days in this temple; a shrine dedicated to him lends credence to this belief.

Trichur  rose in importance due, it is believed, to Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as `Sakthan Thampuran'  who ascended the throne of Kochi  in 1790. Large areas of  Trichur were captured by the Zamorins of Kozhikode in the 14th and 15th centuries. Later, in the latter half of the 18th centuries,  Tipu Sultan held sway over Trichur until the European domination began under the Portugese, the Dutch, and the English.

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Long ago, the vast open area around the temple was a magnificent teak forest called Thekkinkadu. Today, the forest has given way to one of the most important examples of Kerala's architecture which often does away with the imposing `gopurams' of South Indian temples.This temple features low, tiled roofs, an abundance of woodwork, and the famous `koothambalam'  or theatre hall with sloping roofs of metal plates within which is performed the dramatic art form `chakiar koothu' . The Vadakkumnathan temple is also well-known for its murals depicting scenes from The Mahabharatha as well as exquisite paintings and carvings.

South East corner of the district is bounded by Tamil Nadu.The Periyar, The Chalakudy, The Karuvannur and Ponnani (Bharatha Puzha) are the main river systems in the district.

A place of great antiquity, Trichur was also known by such names as   'Vrishabhadripuram' and ‘Ten Kailasm’ in ancient days. The famous Kerala Kalamandiram,Cheruthuruthi, founded by the late poet Vallathol Narayana Menon, is in Trichur District. The Kerala Sahitya Academy and Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka are situated in Trichur town.

Languages and Dialects

About 96% of the people of the District speak Malayalam as their mothertongue. Only 2.5% of the people speak Tamil as their mothertongue. A negligible percentage of the population of   Kodungallur and Mukundapuram taluks speak Konkani.

As in the case of all other languages, there is some difference between the colloquial languages and the written dialect in Malayalam also. Though there is difference in the dialects spoken by the various sections and classes of the society , the fundamental unity of the Malayalam languages is not affected in any way.The dialects spoken by the more primitive of the hill tribes differ considerably from Malayalam, but they hardly deserve to be regarded as separate languages.


Rice is the staple food of the people. The Nair , Ezhavas and such other castes are not generally vegetarians, though some individual members may avoid non-vegetarians. There is no great difference in the dietary habits of the Christians and Muslims . The routine dietary in a family consists of breakfast , lunch, tiffin and supper. Kanji or Rice gruel with some vegetable curry and pickles formed the main breakfast until very recently in almost all families, but it has now been replaced by tea, coffee or other beverages taken along with dishes like Dosai , Iddali, Poori,Chappathi and Uppuma.

The lunch is always substantial ,the most important items of the menu being cooked rice of Choru, special curries and butter milk.Parboiled rice is used here instead of Kaccha or raw is that in all culinary preparations coconut oil is freely used instead of gingli or mustard oil used in other parts of India . The tiffin in the afternoon consists of a cup of tea or coffee and some sweet or delicacy. The supper which is taken after sunset consists either of Kanji or similar items as for lunch.When there was acute scarcity of rice in the wake of the Second World war, Wheat was used as a substitute for rice. Preparations of wheat such as Poori , Chappathi and Uppuma are becoming popular . Owing to the poor cattle wealth of the District, milk is used only by richer sections of the community. Pickles of mango , cherunaranga (lime fruit ), nellikka (the fruit of phyllanthus emblica), etc ., are popular.  The condiments generally used are turmeric, pepper,  ginger, cardamom , cloves , spices , chilli , mustard , onion, garlic etc. Hydrogenated oils like Vanaspathi are seldom used .

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