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North Kerala

Malappuram

"Malappuram" - literally meaning a terraced place atop hills, this district was carved out of the dstricts of Kozhikode and Palakkad. It is situated 50 km southeast of Kozhikode. Bounded by the Nilgiri hills on the east, the Arabian sea on the west and Thrissur and Palakkad districts on the south, Malappuram is enriched by three great rivers flowing through it - the Chaliyar, the Kadalundi and the Bharathapuzha. Although Malappuram lags behind other districts in literacy and education standards, it has contributed immensely to Kerala's cultural traditions. It has been a centre for vedic learning and Ponnani for education of Islamic philosophy. The father of Malayalam literature, Thunchath Ezhuthachan and Vallathol narayana Menon, often called the poet laureate of Kerala was born here. Among contemporary personages, the marxist political leader E.M.S.Namboothiripad, was born at Elamkulam in Perinthalmanna, a taluk of Malappuram district. 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.

Malappuram at a glance :
Area 3550 sq km
Population 3,096,000 (2001 census)
Altitude Lowlands Sea level
Highlands 477 - 2340 m above sea level
Climate Humid on the coast, tropical, with oppressive hot season in the interior.
Temperature Max 32 to 37 deg C
Min 22 deg C
Annual Rainfall 290cm
Best Season September to March
Distances from Malappuram to :
Kollam 324 km
Alleppy 232 km
Kottayam 219 km
Thekkady 336 km
Thiruvananthapuram 395 km
Kochi 169 km
Thrissur 95 km

How to reach

The nearest airport and main railway station is at Kozhikode, 36km away. There is a small station at Tirur, 44km south of Kozhikode. It is linked by motorable roads to many towns in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Places of Interest

Picnic Spots

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Kodikuthi Mala
Adyanpara
Museums
Nilambur
Teak Museum, Nilambur
Thunchan Parambu, Tirur

Religious Place
Thirunavaya
Thirumandhamkunnu temple, Angadipuram
Thali temple, Perinthalmanna
The Jama-at Mosque, Malappuram
Pazhayangadi Mosque, Kondotti
Tanur
Kadampuzha
Trikandiyur Shiva Temple
Mamburam
Kottapadi

Beaches
Padinharekara Beach
Vallikunnu Beach
Kappad

Others
Nedumkayam
Kottakkal
Ponnani
Kallai

Picnic Spots

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary

The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is spread over a cluster of islands in a scenic area surrounded by hillocks where the Kadalundi River flows into the Arabian Sea. The place is locally known as Kadalundi Nagaram. It is located about 19 km away from Kozhikode and 7 km away from Beypore port on the Arabian Sea. This virgin land is the abode of a hundred species of native birds and over 60 varieties of migratory birds that flock here in large numbers during February-March. A hillock nearby, which is 200 m above sea level, offers a splendid view of the river mouth and the sea. Kadalundi is also known for a wide variety of fish, mussels and crabs. Karipur International Airport is about 23 km from Kozhikode town.

Kodikuthi Mala
The perennial springs and the green mountains form an alluring landscape here.

Adyanpara
Located in the Kurumbalangode village of Nilambur taluk, Adyanpara is famous for its waterfalls and the splendour of its lush jungles.

Museums

Nilambur

Nilambur is renowned for the oldest teak plantation in the world, the Conolly's Plot, just 2 km from town. The place is also noted for its tribal settlements, the world's first Teak Museum, vast rain forests, waterfalls and ancient kovilakoms - residences of maharajas. IT is just40 Km away from Malappuram town. Nilambur town is also famous for a cluster of kovilakoms the residences of the local rajas or rulers of earlier days. These structures, are famous for their beautiful frescoes and artworks in wood. The Nilambur Pattu an ancient festival which is noted for its Kalampattu or ritual powder drawing on floor falls in the month of February. Nilambur is the terminus of the Shornur - Nilambur railway line. Kozhikode is about 26 km from Malappuram town.

Teak Museum, Nilambur

The well-known Teak Museum is located at Nilambur in the Malappuram district of Kerala. Regarded as the first of its kind in the world and the only one in India; it is a house to the treasures of historical, aesthetic and scientific aspects of Teak. The museum was established on the campus of the sub centre of Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) in 1995. The museum was established here owing to the historical significance of the region. The worlds first teak (Tectona grandis) plantation was raised in Nilambur way back in the 1840s in order to ensure a steady supply of Teak timber to the British. The fascinating abundance of information on this wonder tree attracts an entire horde of tourists to visit this museum throughout the year. The extensive root system of a 55-year-old teak tree exhibited in the portico for welcoming the tourists is itself metaphorical of the past, present and future of the museum. Detailed description on the flower, fruit and natural regeneration of teak as well as the prominent characteristics of these species of trees are exhibited in the first floor of the museum. In addition to this, the various methods of seed-grading, presowing treatment, preparation of teak stumps, vegetative propagation of teak and the different stages in the complete rotation cycle of teak from seed to mature tree are also on display. Along with them, one can also come across a collection of over 300 butterflies, moths and insects found in teak plantations. Another exclusive section deals with the various physical disorders of teak, disease-causing insects and pests, plantation and other nursery diseases. Some of the special attractions of the museum are a series of interesting paintings portraying tree felling operations, a collection of photographs on the phonological events of teak at different seasons, exhibits on traditional harvesting tools and wood samples of different ages from various parts of the world. The portraits of great figures who had carved out milestones in the successful establishment of teak plantations as well as of those who had laid the foundations to the plantation forestry in India like H. V. Conolly, Chathu Menon and T. F. Bourdillion offer a strong perspective of a glorious era spanning a period of 150 years. This museum also has a world-class library on teak and a mini auditorium for audio-visual presentations. There are 50 naturally grown tree species and 136 endangered and near-extinct tree species of the Western Ghats planted in this nature trail. About 58 species of birds, both resident and migratory, has been recorded in this area. A medicinal plant garden consisting of 150 species is also another attraction worth seeing. Nilambur is about 3 km from the Teak Museum and Karipur International Airport is about 36 km from Malappuram.

Thunchan Parambu, Tirur

Located 32 kms from Malappuram at Tirur is the hallowed Thunchan Parambu, the birthplace of Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the father of Malayalam language. This stretch of ground has been carefully preserved for posterity with items like the iron stylus used by the scholar and literary giant kept on display. The holy day of Vijayadasami witnesses children being brought here to be initiated into the world of education and knowledge. The ancient kanjira tree (Nux vomica) under which he is supposed to have imparted knowledge to his beloved disciples and composed his poems is one of the treasured exhibits here. The memorial also houses a granite Saraswathi Mandapam along with a library of rare manuscripts. Tirur is the nearest Railway Station and Karipur International Airport is about 30 km from Malappuram.

Religious Place

Thirunavaya

8 km south of Tirur, situated on the banks of the Bharathapuzha, this was one of the venues for Mamangam, a grand assembly of the rulers of Kerala, held once every 12 years. This extravagant festival was conducted for the last time in 1766. Today, Thirunavaya is the venue for the annual Sarvodaya Mela. The Thirunavaya Navamukunda Temple is also a famous pilgrim centre. During karkidakavavu, people flock at the banks of Bharathapuzha here, to perform the pithrukriya for the departed souls. The site of Melpatthur Illam, the home of the great poet, Melppatthur Narayana Bhattathiri; author of Narayaneeyam, is about 2 miles from here.

Thirumandhamkunnu temple, Angadipuram

Dedicated to Goddess Durga, this is an important pilgrim centre in Malappuram. The annual Pooram festival celebrated in March /April attracts large numbers of devotees.A unique custom here is the arrival of Vellathiri in the Pooram ground to give audience to the Malayankutty, the headman of the Pana tribal community. Kalampattu is an important offering here. Mangalya pooja, Rigveda laksharchana and Chandattam are other important poojas.

Thali temple, Perinthalmanna
The temple is located about 3 km west of Angadipuram on the way to Malappuram from Perinthalmanna.

The Jama-at Mosque, Malappuram

This is an important pilgrim centre of the Muslims of Kerala. The four day annual festival at the mosque (nercha) is celebrated in April. Adjoining the mosque is the mausoleum of the Malappuram Shaheeds (martyrs) whose brave exploits have been immortalised in the Mappila ballads.

Pazhayangadi Mosque, Kondotti

18 km east of Manjeri, on the way to Malappuram is this 500 year old Muslim pilgrim centre where a three day long local cultural event of 'Valia Nercha' is held every year in February /March.

Tanur

The small coastal fishing town of Tanur was one of the earliest settlements of the Portuguese. It is believed that St. Francis Xavier visited the place in 1546. About 3 km south of Tanur town is Keraladeshapuram Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and believed to be one of the oldest temples in Kerala.

Kadampuzha

3 km north of Vettichira on the highway connecting Kozhikode and Trissur is Kadampuzha, famous for its Bhagavathy temple which is believed to be set up by Sree Sankaracharya, the philosopher.

Trikandiyur Shiva Temple

The idol at this ancient temple is said to have been installed by Parasurama, the legendary creator of Kerala. The temple is located near the town of Tirur and attracts devotees from far and wide.

Mamburam

The shrine and mausoleum of the Thangals (the religious leaders of the Malabar Muslims) in A R Nagar village is a major pilgrimage centre.

Kottapadi

Located near the renowned Ayurvedic centre at Kottakkal, one can see traces of an old fort at the base of the Cantonment Hill. The fort was the first to be built by the Zamorins of Kozhikode. Nearby are the Vettakkorumakan Temple and the Siva Temple with the famous murals of Malabar.

Beaches

Padinharekara Beach

At the end of the Tipu Sultan road near Ponnani, the beach offers a breathtaking view of the confluence of the Bharatha Puzha, the Tirur Puzha and the Arabian Sea.

Vallikunnu Beach

A beach resort set in the middle of a coconut grove is the main attraction here. The Kadalundi bird sanctuary is just a short distance away.

Kappad

Vasco da Gama landed on this beach on 27 May 1498 with three vessels and 170 men. Sixteen Kms from Kozhikkod town this extensive beach of historical importance is one of the major beaches being developed in Kerala with a view to tourism promotion.

Others

Nedumkayam

Just 18 km from Nilambur town, is noted for its rich rain forests. From the wooden rest house built here by the British, elephants and deer can be seen. One has to get permission from the Forest Department to enter the forest zone. Heavy restrictions are imposed in a measure to save the existing forest land. A half hour journey from here, through the dense forests, by jeep takes one to Mancheri, the home of the Cholai Naikars, a primitive tribe. Yet another tribal settlement of this region is on the hilltops of Valamthode which can be reached only from Kozhikode through the Areekode - Mukkam road. Valamthode is about 27 km from Nilambur, beyond the Chaliyar river.

Kottakkal

Kottackal which is 12 Km southwest of Malappuram, is a small town that is synonymous with the word Ayurveda. Kottackal is the home of the world famous Kottackal Arya Vaidyasala. Founded by Vaidyaratnam P.S. Warrier in 1902 the Arya Vaidya Sala is today the largest institution of its kind in India with branches all over the country. It has one of the best ayurvedic research centres in Kerala and has also a nursing home and a College of Ayurveda. The Arya Vaidya Sala also cultivates medicinal plants, manufactures medicines, conducts research programmes, publishes books and seminar reports on Ayurveda and related subjects, and runs a Kathakali Academy. The chief physician at the Arya Vaidyasala can be consulted only with an appointment made 10 days in advance. Also in Kottakkal, there is Venkittatheva temple, 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. Kottackal and the Arya Vaidya Sala is certainly worth a visit. Kottackal is well connected by road and is 12 km from Malappuram and 36 km from Kozhikode. Nearest railway station is at Kozhikode. Nearest airport is the Karipur International airport which is 23 km from Kozhikode

Ponnani

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 Arabian 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.

Kallai

Kallai on the bank of River Kallai has the pride of being the major timber trading centre in Kerala. It still remains a potential trade centre of the timber industry.