The word Kunnamkulam is derived from the words kunnu (mountain) and kulam (ponds). There are several small hills in this area(Aduputty, Cherukunnu, Kizhoor, Kakkad Mission Kunnu, etc.) interspersed with the numerous ponds of the area (Eeenjakulam, Ayyankulam, Maduraku,porkulam vedakkad pond,Chattukulamkulam, etc.). One of the major spots within the town is the Parayil Angadi (market among rocks). The terrain condition and geological aspect of the area has led to the name.
Kunnamkulam town has its own remote antiquity as is evident from the history. It was a part of Mahodayapattanam, the capital of Chera Dynasty.
History tells about the cross installed by Thomas the Apostle, at Chattukulangara (a part of Arthat in Kunnamkulam). During the invasion of Tippu Sultan the Christians from Chattakulangara migrated to Kunnamkulam town. Kunnamkulam Municipal area was the headquarters of Talappilly taluk up to AD1860.
Kunnamkulam is located at 10.65°N 76.08°E / 10.65; 76.08. It has an average elevation of 57 metres (187 feet). It is around 23 km from Thrissur City and 10 km from Guruvayur. It is located on the route connecting Thrissur, Kochi to North Kerala.
The Kunnamkulam Municipality was formed as an IVth grade Municipality in the year 1948. The Municipality had an area of 6.96 km2 and is divided into 31 electoral wards. In 2000, it was further upgraded to a Grade-II Municipality by merging adjoining panchayats of Arthat (full) and panchayats of Porkulam and Chowwannur (parts). The original area of the municipality was 7 km2 which is now increased to 34.18 km2. Earlier, there were only 16 municipal wards. The municipality extended its area in 2001 and now has 31 wards. The Total population then was 51,585 of which 24,396 were males and 27,189 females, with the density of population being 2,824 per km2. Kunnamkulam assembly constituency is part of Alathoor (Lok Sabha Constituency). Earlier, it was part of the Ottapalam Constituency.
The State Highway No 69 which connect Thrissur and Kuttipuram (NH 544 and NH 66) pass through Kunnamkulam. Also, the two major district roads are emerging from Kunnamkulam, one of them goes to Guruvayoor, Chavakkad meeting at Kochi-Ponnani NH-66 and the other road goes to Wadakkancherry meeting at Thrissur-Shoranur Road. All these roads meet at the heart of Kunnamkulam town namely the ‘Parayil Angadi (Parayil Bazar) Centre’.
Kunnamkulam region witness a number of traditional, informal and household manufacturing activities. It comprises mainly the creation of rock-cut products, candles, metallic and clay utensils, screw-rings and screw-hooks and paper-based products. Among these, the manufacturing of paper-based products is the bandwagon of these activities for which Kunnamkulam has a unique place in the state. The different paper-based products include, exercise books, X’mas stars, greetings card, paper files, envelopes, cartons and millboards. Printing and binding are the related activities.
Kadavallur, Chowannur and Arthat, the nearby places of Kunnamkulam had a rich cultural background. Kadavallur is well known throughout this coast as being the place where Nambudiris of the Thrissur and Tirunavaya Yogams compete for superiority in Vedic proficiency. In Chowannur, there was a Sabha Madom, an endowed college where Sanskrit education was given. Arthat was the chief center of Orthodox Christians. The Arthat St. Mary's Cathedral Church(Arthat Valliyapally) is the main church in the town. All these contributed a cultural rising up in the area which later on helped the development of the publishing industry. These published books were sold during Guruvayur Ekadasi. When the temple was open to all Hindus and a good amount of trade taken place at that time.
A particular residential replica ‘line houses’ (angadi pura (veeducal)), is seen in Kunnamkulam area. The streets of these houses are exceedingly narrow. The ‘Line Houses’ are built in 3–5 cents of land on both sides of the street. The front room of the house functions as a shop while the rear room was used for residential purposes. There used to be rear yards for every so called ‘Angadi pura" (town house) which was used for processing of their agricultural products.
Kunnamkulam is famous for its religious harmony as Hindus, Christians and Muslims live here. The religious tolerance of Kunnamkulam people can be seen from the "Ambala Palli - St.Matthias Church (located at south Bazar) which is a temple converted to a church wherein the temple character can be seen in the church entrance.Guruvayoor road Mosque.
Yatheem Khana mosque.
Lord Siva temple- Thrissur road. Managed by Guruvayoor devaswom.
Kakkad temple. Near Majistrate court.
The Disciples Tabernacle Church Kunnamkulam
Cheeramkulam Devi temple.Chemmannur (between Anaikkal and Arthat.)
Annakulangara.Near Kanippayyur Post office.
Ayyamkulangare temple - Puthussery
Subramannya temple -Anjoor road Thekkeppura
Ubhayur Mahadeva Temple, Kanippayyur
Arthat St. Mary's Cathedral Church (Arthat Valliyapally), AD 52
South Bazar St Mathiyas Orthodox Church (it is popularly known as Ambalam pally.)
Chiraliyam St Lazaruz Orthodox church
Vedakkad devi temple porkullam
Adupatty St George orthodox church.
Kattakampal St Ignatious orthodox Church
St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church Pazhanji Pazhanji Church (also known as Pazhanji Palli, https://www.facebook.com/pazhanjichurch)
Roman coins of Eyyal: Archeologists have unearthed a collection of old Roman coins at Eyyal. These coins date from 123 AC to 117 AD. They are currently exhibited in the Archeological Museum of Thrissur.