The Cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur, gained prominence under the reign of Raja Rama Varma in 1790. The entire credit for the rise of the modern city of Thrissur goes to Raja Rama Varma, who ascended the throne of the state of Kochi. Thrissur was for a brief period, the capital of the Kochi kingdom. The Shaktan Thampuran palace was the abode of the Cochin king, Shaktan Thampuran ( Raja Rama Varma).Long ago, the vast open area around the Vadakkumnathan temple was a magnificent teak forest called Thekkinkadu.Today, the forest has given way to one of the most important cultural and commercial hub of Kerala. Now it is known as Thekkinkadu Maidanam.
Trichur derives its name from its vernacular from “ Thrissivaperur” which is related to the famous Siva (Vadakkunatha) Temple, traditionally believed to have been founded by Stage Parasurama. The town is built around a hillock crowned by the temple. Till the middle of the18th Century, the temple affairs were managed by a Yogatirippad of ecclesiastical head of the Devaswom elected by the Nambudiri Yogam, when the Government assumed its management.
In contrast to the antiquity of the temple, the recorded history of the town dates back only from the 16th Century, when the Maharajas of Cochin had their residence at Trichur.
Trichur had been the scene of many historical events including its capture and occupation by the Zamorin of Kozhikode during 1750-’60, Hyder Ali’s General Sirdar Khan in 1750 and by Tippu Sultan in 1786. In 1774, the town and palace were fortified by mud walls and trenches, but these fortifications later fell in ruins. A detachment of the Madras infantry was stationed in Trichur from 1809 till 1900.
Trichur town owes its present glory and importance to Sakthan Thampuran (1790-1805) who cleared the surrounding forests and encouraged merchants to settle down here. The Political Agents of the British government and their temporary headquarters in Trichur. A Subordinate Court which later became the Zilla Court was set up in 1812. The Trichur jail also had its beginning at about this time. During the early part of the 19th Century, Trichur was connected by roads to hinterland settlements. The Trichur-Coimbatore road was inaugurated in 1844. A narrow gauge railway line from Shornor to Erankulam through Trichur was commissioned in 1902. this was later converted into broad gauge in 1944. The civil hospital and the Lunatic asylum had their beginning in1875 and 1892 respectively. The Maternity hospital was started in 1915. The existence of the Trichur public Library dates back to the seventies of the 19th Century. The Museum, Zoo and Botanical Gardens were originally started in 1885 in Viyyur Park and shifted to their present location in Chembukavu in 1914. The central jail for Cochin State was established in Viyyur in 1914.
The Trichur Municipality was constituted in 1921 A.D. under the cochin Municipal Regulations of the same year. Prior to the constitution of the Municipality, there was a Sanitary board functioning in1910 and the Town Council after 1911.
In the field of education the Sabha matoms were the earliest institutions imparting coaching in Sanskrit. The first vernacular school in Trichur was established by 1818 and the first English School in 1837. The St. Thomas College was founded in 1919.
In general, the physical pattern of the town has evolved through centuries by the impact of various social, cultural, political and topographic factors. The western half of the town up to the Fort Limit formed the Hindu Quarters. The southern and eastern potions were inhabited by Christians who dominated the business life of the town. The northern half contained the public institutions of the town situated around the Royal Palace.
The town which was originally a taluk headquarters later became a division headquarters of Vadakke Mukhom, the northern region of Cochin State. With the reorganization of the States in 1956, the town became the District Headquarters. A series of Government decisions in the last decade have led to the location of many a public institution of importance including the Civil Station and Civil Lines, the Engineering College, the All India Radio, the Veterinary College and Agricultural University etc. around the town. The dispersal of these urban functions outside the town has led to the anomalous situation of lesser growth rate within Municipal limits and pronounced urban growth in the outlying areas. It is in this context that a development plan for the town and its immediate environs has been evolved to provide the town with a new impetus and stained growth in the coming decades.