Thrissur is located in central Kerala and is well known for its cultural leanings. These might have been influenced by the early date the district had with all the main religions of the world.
In fact, Thrissur itself is named after the Hindu god Shiva and its testimony can be seen by the presence of significant temples like the Asokeswaram Shiva temple, the Irratachira Shiva temple and the famous Vadakkunnathan temple – making Thrissur a haven for Shiva worshippers. The historically-significant Vadakkunnathan temple is central to Thrissur city and located within the huge 9-acre Swaraj Round.
Another temple famous all over the world is the Sri Guruvayurappan temple, being the third largest temple dedicated for worshipping Lord Krishna and host to worshippers from all over the country. Besides the deity, there is a 70-feet tall flagstaff that grabs your attention as well as the magnificent 24 feet high ‘Deepastambas’.
Even before the advent of Islam, there was an active trade link between the Arabs and the Malabar region of India. And with the advent of Islam, the Arabs propagated the religion wherever they went. During the early days, Islam was encouraged in Thrissur and is host to the country’s first mosque – the Cheraman Juma mosque which was established in Kodungalloor in 629 AD. It is built in the typical Kerala temple style and still exists today. Interestingly, its visited by people of all faiths and many non-Muslims are even known to conduct their ‘world-of-letters’ ceremony for their children here.
There is a divine lamp here that has been burning non-stop for over a thousand years with non-Muslims also offering oil to this lamp. Other important mosques in Thrissur include the Kalathode Juma Masjid, the Westfort Juma Masjid, the Ayyanthole Juma Masjid, the Olari Juma Masjid, the Salafi Juma Masjid, etc.
And as far as Christianity goes in India, legend has it that St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ landed in Muziris and built the first church in India. The St. Thomas church is believed to have been built in 52 AD at Palayoor, Thrissur in the temple style. The original structure has been retained and is a pilgrimage site now. The tallest church in Asia, the Church of Our Lady Dolors is also located nearby in Puthan Pally, Thrissur.
Other famous churches in Thrissur include the St Joseph Church in Parvaratty, Mart Mariam Cathedral, St. Anthony’s Syro-Malabar Forane Church, Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Metropolitan Church, etc.
All this and more makes Thrissur the truly multi-cultural center that it is today.