Thrissur pronunciation (help·info) (originally Thiru Siva Peroor and previously known by its anglicised form as Trichur, is the fourth largest city, the third largest urban agglomeration in Kerala (Pop. 1,854,783) and the 20th largest in India. It is also the headquarters of the Thrissur District. The City is built around a 65-acre (26 ha) hillock called the Thekkinkadu Maidan which seats the Vadakkumnathan temple. Thrissur was once the capital of the Kingdom of Cochin. It is located 300 kilometres (186 mi) towards north-west of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Thrissur [തൃശ്ശൂർ] is also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala because of its cultural, spiritual and religious leanings throughout history. It contains the Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi and Kerala Sahitya Academy. The city hosts the Thrissur Pooram festival, the most colourful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala. The festival is held at the Thekkinkadu Maidan in April or May. Thrissur has a large number of well-known temples including the Vadakkumnathan temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and Paramekkavu temple, and the Guruvayur temple as well as two famous churches, the Our Lady of Lourdes Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral and the Our Lady of Dolours Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica, the largest Christian church in India.
Thrissur has historically been a centre of Hindu scholarship. The city has one of the most important temples of Hindu Shaivism, that is the Vadakunnathan temple. The district is also home of one of the most holiest Hindu Vaishnava temples, the Guruvayur temple. Christianity, Islam and Judaism entered into the Indian subcontinent through the Thrissur District. The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings claim Thomas the Apostle to have set foot in Muziris near Thrissur 2,000 years ago. (AD 51–52) India's first mosque, Cheraman Juma Masjid, opened in AD 629. Thrissur has opened the gates for Arabs, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch and English.
The city has served as an incubator for many Malayali entrepreneurs, and is a major financial and commercial hub of Kerala. It flexes its economic muscle in India as the headquarters of three major scheduled banks, South Indian Bank Ltd, Catholic Syrian Bank and Dhanalakshmi Bank Ltd and a clutch of Chit funds. The city is also a big centre for shopping in Kerala for silks and gold jewellery. Thrissur attracts the largest number of domestic tourists in Kerala.
Apart from being the cultural nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the Kerala Kalamandalam, Jawahar Bal Bhavan Thrissur, Kerala Police Academy, Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala University of Medical and Allied Sciences, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Kerala Institute of Local Administration and Kerala Forest Research Institute.