District Profile

Kannur district 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 , deity of the Hindu pantheon, a compound of two words, Kannan (Lord Krishna) and Ur (place) making it the place of Lord Krishna.

The Kannur district was formed in 1st January 1957, when the erstwhile Malabar District and Kasaragode taluk of Madras state were reconstituted into three districts viz.-Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad. At that time, this district consists of 6 Taluks including Mananthawady, (Now in Waynadu District) Kasaragode and Hosdurg (Now in Kasaragod District). Waynadu District was formed in 1980 and Kasaragode District in 1984.

Kannur District is known as the land of looms and lores, because of the loom industries functioning in the district and festivals held in temples. The district is a major centre of Theyyam, a ritual dance of northern Kerala. Small shrines known as kavus associated with the Theyyam dot the district. The district is set to have a new international airport. Kannur International Airport will be the fourth International Airport in Kerala.


As per 2011 census, population in the District is about 7.56 percentage of the total population of the State. Out of 25.23 lakhs population in the District, 8.82 lakhs persons from rural area and 16.41 lakhs from urban area. Child population in the age group 0-6 years is 274318 which is 10.87 percent to total population in the District. Rural population constitutes 34.95 percent and urban population is 65.05 percentage to total population in the District. Sex ratio in the District is 1133 per 1000 males and the urban rural figures are 1168 and 1071 respectively. Similarly scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population in the District are comes around 3.3 and 1.64 percentage respectively. Female population in the District is about 53.17 percentage of the total population in the District. But female population in the age group of 0-6 years is 49.27 percentage of total population in the same age group.


During the last decade literacy rate in the District has increased from 92.59 to 95.41. Out of 384569 illiterates in the District 145050 is from rural area and 239519 from urban area. Number of illiterates in the District is about 7.3 percent of total illiterates in the State.



Kannur district lies between lattitudes 11° 40’ to 12° 48’ North and longitudes 74° 52’ to 76° 56’ East. The district is bound by the Western Ghats in the East (Koorg district of Karnataka State), Kozhikkode and Wayanad districts, in the South, Lakshadeep Sea in the West and Kasaragod district in the North. The district can be divided into three geographical regions - highlands, midlands and lowlands. The highland region comprises mainly of mountains. The midland region, lying between the mountains and the low lands, is made up of undulating hills and valleys. The lowland is comparatively narrow and comprises of rivers, deltas and seashore.

Administrative Division

The District Headquarter is Kannur. The whole district is treated as one Revenue Division and further divided into 4 taluks viz. Thalasseri, Kannur, Taliparamba and Iritty and has 129 revenue villages. Kannur district has 83 Grama Panchayats, in 11 Blocks Besides There are six municipalities viz. Kannur, Payyannur, Taliparamba, Thalasseri, Mattannur, Koothuparamba.

Physical Features

Based on the topography, geology, soils, climate and natural vegetation, Kannur district is divided in to 4 sub micro regions.

Cannannore coast

This region lies as a narrow coastal strip on the western side of the district and cutting longitudinally all the taluks of the district. The central tract is generally flat except the rocky cliff near Ezhimala (260m) and in certain isolated pockets in the Northern coast and around Thalasseri coast. Laterictic Cliffs of Pre – Cambrian age are found here.

Taliparamba- Koothuparamba Plain

This region is bound on the north and east by Peringome- Mattannur undulating upland, on the south by Kozhikkode district on the west by Kannur coastal plain. This rolling plain gently slopes towards west. The maximum height (159m) lies in its southern tip at the Kolavellur region of Thalasseri taluk and its minimum height (63m) lies at Pattuvam village of Taliparamba taluk. This area has lateritic mesa especially around Taliparamba area. Subdued lateritic hills occur here and there apart from the isolated hills like Ehimala. The development of flood plains and river terraces are planked by moderate slopes. The undulating topography is quite evident over Thalasseri area which is drained by the Ancharakkany, Thalasseri and Mahe river.

Peringmme- Mattannur undulating Upland

This region is bound by Kasargod Table- land in the North, Karnataka state in the East, Kannoth forested hills in the South and Taliparamba- Koothuparamba plain and Cannannore coast in the west. The region has undulating terrain with number of isolated hills. The differentiation of heights and its recurring character explain for the plantation surfaces of different ages. This phenomenon has been conformed by the cross profiles drown. The maximum height (933m) is recorded at Eruvassy panchayath of Taliparamba taluk. The 100 m contour which reveals the minimum height occurs mostly over the western portion. The terrain slopes towards west.

Kannoth forested hills

This region is bound on the north by the Peringome- Mattanur undulating upland , on the East by Karnataka state, on the south by Wayanad and Kozhikkode districts and the west by the Taliparamba-Koothuparamba plain. Its steep slope area boarders the

Wayanad plateau and there is a sudden drop in gradient within a short distance. The maximum height of this region is 1047 m located at Cheruvancherry village of Thalasseri taluk. The 100 m contour line, which reveals its minimum height run along its western boarder. This region forms the catchments area of the Valapattanam River, the Aralam puzha, the Bavalipuzha and the Ancharakandypuzha. The river originating from the ridge lines along the boarder of the Wayanad plateau plunge down to the midland forming deep gorges this region slopes towards the west. Occasional landslides are the feature of the region during monsoon seasons.

Climate and Vegetation

The district has a humid climate with an oppressive hot season from March to the end of May. This is followed by the South-West monsoon which, continues till the end of September. October and November form the post-monsoon or retreating monsoon season. The North East monsoon which follows extends up to the end of February, although the rain generally ceases after December. During the months of April and May, the mean daily maximum temperature is about 35° Celsius. Temperature is low in December and

January -about 200 Celsius. On certain days the night temperature may go down to 16° Celsius. The annual average rainfall is 3438 mm and more than 80 percent of it occurs during the period of South -West monsoon. The rainfall during July is very heavy and the district receives 68 per cent of the annual rainfall during this season.

Kannur district is very rich in vegetation. Natural vegetation, except in some coasta1 regions, consists of different types of forests. But, in spite of generally favorable climatic conditions, vegetation is not, uniform. In restricted regions, with their own micro climate or special, edaphic features, plant formations assume different characters. Thus, plant communities, ranging from psammophytes and mangroves to evergreen forests are seen in the district. The coastal region is a comparatively narrow zone, characterized by secondary soil which is rather loose and sandy. The sterile sandy tract supports only a poor vegetation of the psammophyte type. Plants are few and mostly prostrate. Erect species are small and short. Owing to very poor water holding capacity of the soil, these plants are provided with special xerophytes adaptations.

Another conspicuous feature of this area is the mangrove vegetation, found at the estuaries of rivers and backwaters, and often extending to the interior along their banks. Human interference has much changed the vegetation of the coastal region. Major part of the district comes under midland region with numerous hills and dales and it presents an undulating surface gradually ascending and merging into the slopes of Western Ghats.

Soil is secondary and lateritic with underlying rock of late rite or disintegrated gneiss. T.epical flora of this area is a most deciduous forest consisting of a mixture                                 
of evergreen and deciduous trees. Undergrowth consists of a variety of annuals and perennials. The mountains are a continuation of the midland region, gradually ascending to the main ridge of the Western Ghats. Vegetation over the whole area is of the forest type. Irregular distribution of teak, localized areas of bamboo dominance, change of good quality forest into open grass lands, etc are characteristic.


Kannur district is endowed with a fine river system. Except for a few minor ones, most of the rivers are perennial and provide good scope for irrigation and for controlling floods through minor irrigation projects.

Tha valapattanam river is the longest river in the district, originates from the Brahmagiri Ghats located about 15km north of Mananthavady (in Wayanad district) passes through the villages of Iritty, Edakkunnam,

      Perumanna, Irikkur and Kalliasseri and joins the Lakhshadeep sea about 10km north of Kannur. It has a total catchment area of 1191 sqkm of which 528 sq km in Karnataka state. The main tributaries of Valapattanam River are Valiapuzha and Aralam puzha.

The Kuppam river originates from Padinalkkad Ghat Reserve Forest in the Kodagu district of Karnataka State and flows westwards through Thadikkadavu, Kuveri And Taliparamba and joins the Valapattanam River. It has a catchment area of 536 sq km. The Anjarakkandy River originates from Kannoth forests in Thalasseri taluk and passes through Kannavam, Kadamkunnu and Vemmanal before it joins the Lakhshadeep Sea. It has a catchment area of 113 sq km.

The Mahe river also known as Mayyazhippuzha originates from Wayanad Ghats and passes through Mananthavadi taluk of Wayanad district, Vadakara taluk of Kozhikkode district and Thalaseri taluk before it joins the Lakhadeep Sea at Mahe about 6 km south of Thalasseri. It has a catchment area of about 233 sq km.Most of the rivers are navigable. The Valapattanam River has the longest navigable length followed by the river Anjarakkandy.



A majority of the population of the district is dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood. The main crops grown in the district are paddy, coconut, pepper, cashew, tapioca, arecanut and plantation crops like rubber. Asia’s largest cinnamon estate producing cinnamon spice established by Lord Brown of British East India company in the year CE 1767 is located at Anjarakandy in Kannur district

Paddy occupies the largest area among annual crops. Under the high yielding variety programme, substantial increase in paddy production has been achieved, even though the percentage of area sown under paddy is decreasing year after year, due to conversion of paddy fields to other purposes. The average yield of paddy is recorded as 2146 kg. per hectare. Next to paddy, coconut is the most important crop in the district. Coconut is extensively grown throughout the district. An important cash crop grown in the district is cashewnut. The district plays a unique role in its cultivation and production. The vast stretches of suitable waste lands with low fertility status extends scope for expansion of cashew cultivation and its allied industries.

Among spices, pepper occupies an important place. Pepper is mostly grown as an intercrop with coconut, arecanut and various fruit trees. In the hilly areas of the district, the inter-cultivation is done with rubber and cashew. Rubber is the most important industrial cash crop among the plantation crops.

About 55% of the rubber cultivation of Kannur district is in Taliparamba taluk, followed by Thalassery and Kannur taluks. The yield of rubber per hectare varies from 2000 kg to 4000 kg.


Kannur has an ancient, deep rooted history of education. In olden days the main source of education to ordinary people were 'Kudippallikkoodam' situated in the village.  Development of the educational system was accelerated by freedom movement and movements against social evils like caste system, feudalism and other social barriers. At present educational system is well flourished with almost full accessibility and enrollment.  Today the Deputy Director of Education is the administrative head of all the schools in the district. There are two educational districts ie; Kannur & Thalassery in the district. There are two District educational officers for each. There are 15 educational subdistricts in the district. Each subdistrict is administered by one Assistant Educational Officer.


Sl No.

Kannur Educational District

Sl No.

Thalassery Educational District














Thaliparamba (s)




Thaliparamba (s)


Iritti (s)


Kannur (s)


Thalassery (s)


  Kannur (n)


Thalassery (n)






Kannur is the cradle of folk art and folk music in Kerala. Popular religious arts like Theyyam and Kavadiyattom originated and developed in this region. Theyyam is a ritual art by worshiping the deity in the form of the mortal body of the dancer. Most of the temples in this region have Theyyattam (Theyyam performance) as a part of the annual festival. The district is also famous for the beautiful beaches here. The best time to visit Kannur is at May, because most of the temples here have Theyyam performances during this time.

1.            Payyambalam beach

2.            Kerala Folklore Academy

3.            Parassinikadavu Temple

4.            Rajarajeswara Temple

5.            Kottiyoor Siva Temple.

6.            Pythalmala

7.            Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary

8.            Ezhimala

9.            Arakkalkettu

10.          Thalssery Fort

11.          Muzhappilaangad beach

12.          Overburry’s Folly

13.          Parassinikkadau Snake Park