The unusual Sree Muthappan Temple, one of the largest shrines of its type, sits on the bank of the Valapattanam River at Parassinikkadavu, 18 km (11 miles) from Kannur. It's devoted not to a Vedic god, but to Sree Muthappan, a folk deity of the Thiya community. One school of Hindu thought claims that he is a combined manifestation of both Shiva and Vishnu, another believes he is simply another avatar of Shiva in the form of a tribal hunter. Several colorful legends about
him exist. Worship does not take the form of paying homage to an idol but to enactment of the lord's life: the temple hosts such Theyyam performances almost every day of the year. Though it's not as colorful as traditional outdoor festivals, you can at least get a taste of this mystical local form of dance. Because Sree Muthappan is usually pictured with a hunting dog, there is a statue in honor of dogs on the premises; friendly mutts roam the sanctuary, and offerings at the shrine take the form of bronze dog figurines. The temple is also unusual for the fact that toddy (fermented palm sap) and fish are both offered to Sree Muthappan.