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Malappuram is a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 33.61 km2 (12.98 sq mi). The first municipality in the district formed in 1970, Malappuram serves as the administrative headquarters of Malappuram district. Divided into 40 electoral wards, the city has a population density of 2,083 per square kilometre (5,390 per square mile). As per the 2011 census Malappuram Urban Agglomeration is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala state with a total population of 1,698,645. Malappuram is situated 50 km southeast of Kozhikode, 90 km northwest of Palakkad and 140 km northwest of Coimbatore.
Once home to the Valluvanad chieftains, Malappuram was annexed by the Zamorin in his conquests and since then served as his military headquarters. The Zamorins of Kozhikode had their away over this place and they stationed a part of their militia here. Para Nambi, the chieftain of the Zamorin, ruled with his headquarters at Kottappady in Malappuram. The Fort Gate Maidan (Kottappady) was once used for training military of the Zamorin. Over 800 years of Zamorin rule came to an end with the conquest by Hyder Ali, King of Mysore. However his successor Tipu Sultan later had to handover the area to British as part of Treaty of Seringapatam. Thus forming part of Bombay Presidency for 8 years and later in 1800 a part of Malabar District in the Madras State.
Malappuram was also a center for Islamic and Vedic studies. The Britishers established the Haig Barracks on top of the hill, at the banks of kadalundi river, to station their forces where once Tipu Sultan had a fort. Main barracks has now been turned into the seat of district administration. Main district offices are functioning here. Malappuram was one of the major centers of rebellion, popularly known as Mappila Lahala. The headquarters of British troops later became the headquarters of the Malabar Special Police (MSP) which was established in 1921 in the aftermath of Malabar rebellion. Malappuram Nercha, celebrated in summer is in memory of martyrs who fought the atrocities of the British militia. Pookkottur near Malappuram, has a place in history, where the mappila warrior fought the British with their traditional weapons were killed in cold blood, during the rebellion and Anakkayam of Malappuram, was also another important centre of 1921 Malabar Rebellion. The hill country has also contributed much to the cultural heritage of Kerala. First library in the district was King Edward Fraser Memorial Library at jubilee road, Up hill. The first school in Malappuram was Anglo Indian vernacular School built in 1882 and first high school in Malabar was Muslim high School built in 1936 by Madras Government at Kottapadi (Down Hill) where C. Rajagopalachari gave public speech during an erstwhile election. Later the school got upgraded to Model high School and started admitting everyone in post independence era.
Calicut International Airport which is located in the Karipur, a periphery of the town is just 25 km away. Calicut airport is the seventh busiest airport in the country in terms of international passenger traffic. Domestic flight services are available to major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Goa, Kochi, Thiruvanathapuram, Mangalore and Coimbatore while International flight services connects to Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Muscat, Salalah and Kuwait.
Malappuram district offers a wide range of attractions to make it one of the focal points of tourism. The rustic and rugged beauty with hills, vallies, ravines and thick green vegitation Malappuram provides a sumptous treat to the eyes of the tourist, attracted by the redundant redolence of our culture.
Eventhough not spotted in the tourism map of Kerala, Malappuram district has many places of interest which can be developed to cater to the needs of tourism promotion. The peace loving people of this area, who adopt the traditional life style of Kerala, with their warm hospitality,make the tourists feel at home.
To begin from the eastern side, there is the world’s oldest Teak plantation at Nilambur. It is named as “Conolley’s plot” in memory of the collector of erstwhile Malabar District. Conolley’s plot, beyond Chaliyar at Nilambur is also the memorium for Sir.Chathu Nair, under whose efforts the first man-made teak plantation had become a reality. The plot and the Kannimari Teak, the oldest one, attract hundreds of people.
Kottakkal is renownd Centre for Ayurvedic treatment. Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala attracts even foreigners with the style of treatment they follow. Kathakali, the unique art form of Kerala also flourishes under the auspices of Arya Vaidya Sala. Venkittatheva temple in Kottakkal is famous for the enchanting mural paintings. The cultural mela organised in connection with the Pooram festival of this temple, celebrated in March in which connoisseurs of music, art and literature proudly participate. The medicinal herb garden nurtured by the Arya Vaidya Sala forms the focus of attraction of hundreds of people.
20 k.m away from conolley’s plot, is famous for thick forest. From the wooden Rest House built during the British period, one can watch elephants and herds of deer moving around on the other side of the river. The elephant training centre also attracts travellers. Half an hour jeep journey from Nedukayam through the thick forests lead one to Macheeri, the settlement of Chola Naikans the primitive tribes.
The beautiful place with natural waterfalls and blue mountain top is also a tribal area.
Thirunnavaya, the land of ancient Mamankam is on the banks of Bharathapuzha in Triruru. Mamankam was a great trade fair from the Sangham period where traders from Kerala and Tamil Nadu came through Ponnani Port by ships and barges. Later the right to conduct the Mamankam became a dispute between Zamorin and the Raja of Valluvanad. Valluvanad used to sent Chavers, warriers who fought until death to defeat Zamorin who would sit on a stand known as Nilapadu Thara surrounded by a big contingent of soldiers in every 12th year. The Nilapadu Thara at Kodakkal near Thirunnavaya is protected as a historical monument. Efforts are being made to construct a Mamankam Museum at Tirunnavaya. Now in the summer season a martial art festival with Kalaripayattu competition is conducted. Sarvodya Mela conducted over the sands of Thirunnavaya is famous.
Ponnani, the coastal town is famous for trade from ancient times. Now it gains importance as a prominent fishing centre Ponnani is also famous for the ancient Muslim mosque.
Near Ponnani is Biyyam Kayal, the extensive stretch of water where boat race is held during Onam. Women rowers in small boats will also participate in the race. Biyyam Kayal is being developed into a tourist centre. Pedal boats and other facilities will be provided there on completion of the scheme. The rest house on the bank of the lake, with its amenities, welcomes the tourists for a comfortable and cosy stay.
Ponnani-Purathur belt, where the river ‘Bharathapuzha’ and the river ‘Tirur-Ponnai Puzha’ join together to traverse into the Arbian sea, becomes fascinating with wide range of migrating birds. If one crosses the ferry of Chamravattom in March-April-May period one cannot but miss the lovely chain of birds. Nearly 25 varieties of birds have been identified in this area. People have awareness in protecting these beautiful gift of nature. Hence clandestine hunters are prevented by them.
The birth place of Thunjath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan the father of Modern Malayalam literature is in Trikkandiyur, three Kms away from Tirur Railway Station. There is a beautiful memorium for the great poet there with a meeting hall and library. People in thousands come with their kids to commence their education in Thunjan Maddom on Vijayadasami day in October. The kids are made to write in the sands of Thunjan parambu with their fingers. The Thunjan Utsava conducted during the last week of December is a great literary event. Young poets come there to offer their first poem to Thunjan on the occasion.
Five Kms away from Thirunnavaya, there is Chandanakkavu where a memorium for the great Sanskrit poet Melpathur Bhattathiripad can be seen. Bhakthakavi Poonthanam Namboodiri of the 16th century AD hailed from Keezhattur near Perinthalmanna. The Government has a proposal to take over the house of the great poet and to protect it as a monument. Kondotty 26 Km from Malappuram is the birth place of the great Mappila poet Moyinkutty Vadiyar.
Pilgrimage Tourism has great scope in Malappuram district. Kondotty Nercha is a seven days festival during March. Nercha is conducted in Pazhayangadi Mosque of Kondotty constructed in 16th century AD. The tomb of Mohamed Shah the Sufi exponent is close to the mosque. It was constructed in Mughal style. Thousands gather in a secular way to participate in the festival which assumes the form of a carnival.
There is Perumpadappu Puthan Palli near Ponnani where the annual Nercha attracts thousands. The Nercha culminates in food distribution to the poor.
Mampuram mosque near Thirurangadi attracts thousands of devotees irrespective of religion for offerings at the “Jaram” there. The mosque is 7 Km away from Parappanangadi railway station. This mosque played an important role in the peasant outrage of 1921 and the National Movement. This was the headquarters of Ali Musliyar, one of the leaders of the movement
Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram offers enormous festivity days in March-April. The ancient temple is hitorically important. A cultural feast for seven days is an important part of the festival. Thirumandhamkunnu is 16 KM east of Malappuram in Kozhikode-Palakkad road.
Chamravattom Sastha temple is not only a place of worship. It attracts travelers also. The temple is built in the river with a beautiful background. People from Ponnani side can use Chamravattom ferry to reach the temple.
Kadampuzha Bhagavathy temple
Kadampuzha Bhagavathy temple 2 KM from Vettichira in Kozhikode-Thrissur highway attracts hundreds of devotees far and near. Dry coconut is the main offering before the deity.
Malaparamba Palli Perunnal in the Christian Church near Angadipuram is also an important festival. There are big and small Mosque-Temple-Church festivals in the district in the summer. Nilambur Pattu Utsava is unique among them. It is conducted by Nilambur Kovilakam.
The atmosphere of the entire Malappuram district has the fragrance of Oppanappattu, the art form of Muslim ladies. Mappila arts like Kolkali, Duff Muttu, Aravana Muttu are also popular. The other religious arts like Thira, Bhoothamkettu, Thiruvathirakali, Margom Kali are also performed during festive public gatherings, Kalarippayattu has got deep roots in the district. Changampully is a famous Kalari. Kalaripayattu competitions are organized on State level during the summer season.