The district of Kannur derived its name from the location of its headquarters at Kannur town. The old name 'Cannanore' is the anglicized form of the Malayalam word Kannur. According to one opinion, 'Kannur' is a derivation from Kanathur, an ancient village, the name of which survives even today in one of the wards of Kannur municipality. Another version is that Kannur might have assumed its name from one of the deities of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, 'Kannan' (
Lord Krishna) and 'ur' (place) making it the place of Lord Krishna. Kannur is bounded by the
Western Ghats in the east, Kozhikode District and Wayanad District in the south, Lakshadweep in the west and Kasargod District in the north. It covers an area of 2,966 sq km and has a population of over 2.5 million. Plant communities range from psammophytes and mangroves to evergreen forests.
Kannur has been the cradle of folk art and music. Even today, the myriads of Kavus (small shrines) are centers of the Theyyam, a ritual dance in which men impersonate supernatural beings. Kannur can rightly be termed as the birth place of Theyyam. A large number of folk plays and dances are prevalent among the scheduled castes and tribes. The traditional Hindu observes a number of religious festivals, among which the prominent ones are Vinayaka Chaturthi, Ashtami Rohini,
Vishu and Pooram. Thalassery, in Kannur, is the home of circus in India. Thalassery is also the threshold of the Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art of the state.
The tourism potential of Kannur is high. The
Muzhappilangad Beach, a long clean beach with its enchanting ambience invites you to swim, sunbathe, or just lounge around. The St Angelo's Fort in the Kannur Cantonment, which was constructed in 1505, is a symbol of Portuguese architecture and attracts plenty of tourists. The Thalassery Fort is an important tourist center. Kannur Beach and
Ezhimala are known for scenic beauty. Places of historic importance such as the house of Hermann Gundert, who composed the first English-Malayalam Dictionary and the mosque at Madayi constructed in 1124, using marble brought from Mecca attract many tourists.
Calicut Airport is the nearest airport.