Sage Parasurama founded the Vadakkunnathan temple here. It is said that Lord Shiva manifested Himself to the sage as Lord Vishnu, Rama and Sankaranarayana. The shrine is located on a hillock named Vrishabhachala. The temple is a fine specimen of Kerala style architecture. In the sanctum, Lord Shiva is worshipped as a 10 foot high mound of ghee-covered Lingam. The ghee never melts in spite of several lamps being lit therein. The centuries old ghee is considered to possess medicinal qualities and cures many ailments. Rama, Krishna and Sankaranarayana have separate shrines. Vinayaka is also enshrined between Vadakkunnathan and Sankaranarayana.
The next pilgrimage center that is a must visit here is Koothambalam. This is the venue of dance dramas like Kathakali, Mohini Attam, Chakkiyar Koothu and others. The colourful paintings on the walls and the sloped metal roofs are of exquisite workmanship. Kali and Lord Gopalakrishna are worshipped here.
At Nalambalam there is a small opening through which one can see the Kalasas of the main shrine. Sastha is enshrined here. The image of Rishabeswara is installed near the entrance.
A paved platform under a peepal tree is worshipped as the seat of Parasurama in Srimoolasthanam.
One of the most spectacular festivals celebrated during April-May is the Thrissur Pooram. Colourful processions of 51 caparisoned elephants and fireworks are the highlights of the festival. thousands of people witness this grand ceremony. Processional deities from Thiruvembadi (Krishna), Paramekavu (Bhagavathy) and other nearby temples are assemble here for the grand occasion.
There are temples around Thrissur too. These include Koorkancherry Maheshwara temple (2 km) and Peruvanam Erattayappan (Shiva) Temple (12 km).
Thiruvilvamala (29 km from Thrissur): Here are two hill shrines for Rama and Lakshmana amidst pictorial surroundings. Though the images are of Vishnu, they are worshipped as Rama and Lakshmana. At the eastern entrance, Hanuman has been enshrined.
Triprayar Sri Rama Temple (25 km from Thrissur): The temple is situated picturesquely on the banks of Triprayar River. The image of Rama is in the form of Vishnu. There is an image of Dakshinamurthi with a garland in one hand. This, it is believed, represents Brahma. There is, however, no image of Hanuman. He is believed to be in the Namaskara Mandapam where he is worshipped.