Malappuram district

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Malappuram (/mələppurəm/ (About this soundlisten)) is one of the 14 districts in the Indian state of Kerala, with a coastline of 70 km (43 mi). It is the most populous district of Kerala, which is home to around 13% of the total population of the state.[13] The district was formed on 16 June 1969, spanning an area of about 3,554 km2 (1,372 sq mi). It is the third-largest district of Kerala by area, as well as the largest district in the state bounded by Western Ghats and Arabian Sea to the two sides. Malappuram is the third major contributing district to the Gross State Domestic Product of Kerala as of 2019, after Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram.[14]

Malappuram district
കരിപ്പുര്‍ വിമാനത്താവളം.jpg
Nilambur 1.jpg
Tirur, Kerala.jpg
Kuttippuram Bridge.jpg
Kerala Houseboat (191490747).jpeg
Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus Kadalundi.jpg
Clockwise from top:
Calicut International Airport, A countryside near Tirur, Biyyam backwater lake at Ponnani, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Kuttippuram bridge, Near Conolly's plot at Nilambur
The Mecca of Kerala football,[1][2][3] The hill top town[4]
Malappuram district
Location in Kerala, India
Coordinates: 11°02′N 76°03′E / 11.03°N 76.05°E / 11.03; 76.05Coordinates: 11°02′N 76°03′E / 11.03°N 76.05°E / 11.03; 76.05
Country India
District formation16 June 1969; 51 years ago (1969-06-16)
Founded byGovernment of Kerala
 • District collectorK. Gopalakrishnan, IAS[6]
 • District police chiefS. Sujithdas, IPS[7]
 • District Panchayat PresidentM. K. Rafeekha[8]
 • Members of Lok Sabha
 • District3,554 km2 (1,372 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
Highest elevation2,594 m (8,510 ft)
 • District4,494,998[5]
 • Rank1st
 • Density1,265/km2 (3,280/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
 • Language (2011)
 • Religion (2011)
Human Development
 • Sex ratio (2011)1098 /1000[9]
 • Literacy (2011)93.57%[9]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-KL
Vehicle registration
  • Malappuram: KL-10
  • Perinthalmanna: KL-53
  • Ponnani: KL-54
  • Tirur: KL-55
  • Tirurangadi: KL-65
  • Nilambur: KL-71
  • Kondotty: KL-84
  • Manjeri: KL-93

The district is divided into seven Taluks - Eranad, Kondotty, Nilambur, Perinthalmanna, Ponnani, Tirur, and Tirurangadi. Malappuram, Manjeri, Perinthalmanna, Kottakkal, Tirur, Kondotty, Chemmad, Puthanathani, Valanchery, and Edappal, are some of the economically booming towns in Malappuram district.

Malayalam is the most spoken language. Religions practised in the district include Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. The district has witnessed significant emigration, especially to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf during the Gulf Boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, and its economy depends significantly on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community.[15] Malappuram was the first e-literate as well as the first cyber literate district of India.[16][17] Malappuram metropolitan area is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala after Kochi, Calicut, and Thrissur urban areas and the 25th largest in India with a total population of 1.7 million.[18] 44.2% of the district's population reside in the urban areas according to the 2011 census of India.

Three of Kerala's five longest rivers, Chaliyar, Kadalundi River, and Bharathappuzha, flow through the district. The port town of Ponnani was one of the major ports in the Malabar Coast during the medieval period.[19] During the early medieval period, the district was home to two of the four major kingdoms that ruled Kerala. Perumpadappu was the hometown of the Kingdom of Cochin, which is also known as Perumbadappu Swaroopam, and Nediyiruppu was the hometown of the Zamorin of Calicut, which is also known as Nediyiruppu Swaroopam. The modern Malayalam literature as well as the Arabi Malayalam script took their shape on the bank of Bharathappuzha river and Tirur River in the Taluks of Ponnani and Tirur.[20]


A typical hilly landscape in the district (Near Vazhayur)

The term, Malappuram, which means "over the hill" in Malayalam, derives from geography of Malappuram, the administrative headquarters of the district.[21][22] The midland area of district is characterised by several undulating hills such as Arimbra hills, Amminikkadan hills, Oorakam Hill, Cheriyam hills, Pandalur hills, and Chekkunnu hills, all of which lie away from the Western Ghats.[23] However, the coconut-fringed coastal plain is an exception for the general hilly nature.


Until the formation of Malappuram district in 1969, the Taluks of Eranad, Kondotty, Nilambur, Tirur, and Tirurangadi were included in the Kozhikode district, while the Taluks of Perinthalmanna and Ponnani formed part of Palakkad district.[24] At that time, the city of Malappuram which separates Eranad Taluk from Perinthalmanna Taluk was located right at the border of Kozhikode and Palakkad districts.

Earlier, Malappuram had been one of the five divisions of the Malabar District, besides Thalassery, Kozhikode, Palakkad, and Fort Cochin divisions, during the British Raj.[25] However following the formation of the state of Kerala in 1956, Thalassery division was reshaped into Kannur district, Kozhikode division into Kozhikode district, and Palakkad division into Palakkad district, whereas the Fort Cochin division was merged with Ernakulam district. However, the Malappuram division was divided between the districts of Kozhikode and Palakkad.

In 1960, P. K. Bapputty, who was the Gram Panchayat president of Kuruva at the time, put forward a proposal to reorganize the erstwhile Malappuram Division into a new district.[26] Kuruva was only about 10 km away from Malappuram, while it was about 80 km away from Palakkad, the district headquarters at that time. Subsequently, P. Abdul Majeed, who was the MLA of Mankada Constituency presented the proposal in Kerala Legislative Assembly.[26] Finally the district was formed on 16 June 1969 by incorporating the following regions of the erstwhile districts of Kozhikode and Palakkad:[24]

District Taluk Included Revenue blocks Excluded Revenue blocks
Kozhikode district Eranad Whole area of Malappuram, Manjeri, Kondotty, and Wandoor Blocks
(Whole Taluk)
Tirur Whole area of Tirur, Tanur, and Vengara blocks, along with Kuttippuram block excluding 1 village, and Tirurangadi block excluding 3 villages Parudur village of Kuttippuram block, and Feroke, Ramanattukara, and Kadalundi villages of Tirurangadi block
Palakkad district Perinthalmanna Whole area of Mankada block, and Perinthalmanna block excluding 2 villages Whole area of Mannarkkad block and Attappadi block, along with Karkidamkunnu, and Chethallur villages of Perinthalmanna block
Ponnani Whole area of Ponnani block, and Andathode block excluding 3 villages Whole area of Thrithala block, and Punnayur, Punnayurkulam, and Vadakkekad villages of Andathode block.

Later, Kottakkal and Ponmala villages were transfered from Eranad Taluk to Tirur Taluk. Nilambur and Kondotty Taluks were carved out from Eranad, and Tirurangadi Taluk was carved out from Tirur.


Tyndis (Tondis) on Peutinger Table (north of Templ Augusti and Lacus Muziris)

The remains of pre-historic symbols including Dolmens, Menhirs, and Rock-cut caves have found from various parts of district. Rock-cut caves have found from Puliyakkode, Thrikkulam, Oorakam, Melmuri, Ponmala, Vallikunnu, and Vengara.[27] The ancient maritime port of Tyndis, which was then a centre of trade with Ancient Rome, is roughly identified with Ponnani, Tanur, and Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu. Descriptions about the rulers of Eranad and Valluvanad regions can be seen in the Jewish copper plates of Bhaskara Ravi Varman (around 1000 CE) and Viraraghava copper plates of Veera Raghava Chakravarthy (around 1225 CE).[27] The Zamorin of Calicut originally belonged to Nediyiruppu at Kondotty in Eranad before he shifted his seat to the neighbouring Kozhikode. In the early medieval period, the Rajas of Parappanad, Vettathunad, and a larger portion of Valluvanad became vassals of the Zamorin. By 1400 CE, almost whole of the district came under the rule of Zamorin.[27] The Mamankam festival, which had a special political importance in the medieval Kerala, was held at Tirunavaya in the district.

Under the Zamorin, the regions included in the district emerged as major centres of foreign trade in medieval Kerala. The Zamorin earned a greater part of his revenue by taxing the spice trade through his ports. Major ports in the kingdom of Zamorin included Parappanangadi, Tanur, and Ponnani.[28][29] Parappanangadi, Tirurangadi, Tanur, and Ponnani were also important among the trade settlements under the rule of the Zamorin, according to the 16th-century historical work Tuhfat Ul Mujahideen. Thrikkavil Kovilakam in Ponnani served as a second home for Zamorin. Ponnani acted as the naval headquarters of his kingdom.[28] Malappuram was the headquarters of Para Nambi, who was a local chieftain of the Zamorin.[30] Other Kovilakams of Zamorin included the Kizhakke Kovilakam at Kottakkal, Manjeri Kovilakam at Manjeri,[31] and Nilambur Kovilakam at Nilambur. However the Kovilakam at Mankada near Angadipuram was ruled by Valluvanad Rajas. The Arabs had the monopoly of trade in the early middle ages.[31]

The second home of Zamorin was situated near to the port of Ponnani.

The squadron of Vasco da Gama left Portugal in 1497, rounded the Cape and continued along the coast of East Africa, where a local pilot was brought on board who guided them across the Indian Ocean, reaching Kozhikode in May 1498.[32] The Zamorin had provided the Portuguese all facilities for trade.[27] However, the Portuguese provocations on the Arab properties lead to a conflict between the Zamorin and the Portuguese. Furthermore, Ponnani, which was the second headquarters of the Zamorin, was an important target of the Portuguese.[27] In 1507, the Portuguese Viceroy Francisco de Almeida raided Ponnani and started building a fortress there in 1585.[27] The district witnessed several battles between Kozhikode naval chiefs, known as the Kunhali Marakkars, and the Portuguese for the monopoly in spice trade. The Kunjali Marakkars are credited with organizing the first naval defense of the Indian coast.[33][34] Tanur town was one of the earliest Portuguese colonies in the Indian subcontinent. The towns of Ponnani and Parappanangadi were burnt by the Portuguese in the years 1525 and 1573-74 respectively.[28]

The 16th century Valiya Jum'ah Masjid at Ponnani

The Tuhfat Ul Mujahideen written by Zainuddin Makhdoom II (born around 1532) in Ponnani during 16th-century CE is the first-ever known book fully based on the history of Kerala, written by a Keralite. It is written in Arabic and contains pieces of information about the resistance put up by the navy of Kunjali Marakkar alongside the Zamorin of Calicut from 1498 to 1583 against Portuguese attempts to colonize Malabar coast.[35] It was first printed and published in Lisbon. A copy of this edition has been preserved in the library of Al-Azhar University, Cairo.[36][37][38] As the Portuguese tried to establish a monopoly in the spice trade, bitter naval battles against the Zamorin became a common sight.[39] In 1571, the Portuguese were defeated by the Zamorin forces in the battle at Chaliyam Fort.[40] The continuous wars lead by the Portuguese on one side and the Zamorin who had the support of the Arab merchants, and the local Nair and Mappila forces on the other side, ultimately lead to the decline of Arab monopoly of foreign trade in the coastal towns. Unmindful of Portuguese opposition, the Zamorin entered into a treaty with the Dutch East India Company on 11 November 1604.[27] This was followed by another treaty in 1608, which confirmed the earlier treaty and the Dutch assured assistance to Zamorin in expelling the Portuguese.[27] The rise of the Dutch monopoly caused the Portuguese dominance also to decline. The cultural renaissance followed by the unrest of the 16th century produced the poets such as Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan and Poonthanam Nambudiri, who were instrumental in the development of Malayalam literature into the current form, and Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, who was also a member of the medieval Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics.

A Nambudiri Mana at Kadavanad, Ponnani

By the middle of 17th century, the Dutch had monopoly of foreign trade in the ports of Kerala, except for small English factories at Ponnani and Kozhikode.[27] Though the arrival of William Keeling in 1650 was a beginning for the monopoly of the British East India Company in the region, they weren't able to establish supremacy until 1792.[27] During the 18th century, the de facto Mysore kingdom rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan unified all smaller feudal states in the Northern Kerala and they were made part of the Kingdom of Mysore. For a short span of time in 1766, Manjeri was the headquarters of Sultan Hyder Ali.[41] The Battle of Tirurangadi was a series of engagements that took place between the British army and Tipu Sultan between 7 and 12 December 1790 at Tirurangadi, during the Third Anglo-Mysore War.[42] In 1792, Tipu Sultan was defeated by English East India Company through Third Anglo-Mysore War, and the Treaty of Seringapatam was agreed. As per this treaty, most of the Malabar Region, including the present-day Malappuram district, was integrated into the English East India Company. The oldest teak plantation of the world at Conolly's plot is just 2 km (1.2 mi) from Nilambur town. It was named in memory of Henry Valentine Conolly, the then district collector of Malabar.[43] The first railway line in the state started its function from Tirur to Beypore on 12 March 1861, with the oldest Railway Station at Tirur.[44][45]

The oldest Teak plantations of the world at Nilambur

The district was the venue for many of the Mappila revolts (uprisings against the British East India Company in Kerala) between 1792 and 1921. It is estimated that there were about 830 riots, large and small, during this period. During 1841-1921 there were more than 86 revolts against the British officials alone.[46] The district was included in the subdistricts of Eranad, Valluvanad, and Ponnani in South Malabar during the British rule. The Malabar Special Police was headquartered at Malappuram. The British had established Haig Barracks on the top of Malappuram city, at the bank of the Kadalundi River, to station their forces.[47] The Malabar district political conference of Indian National Congress held at Manjeri on 28 April 1920 strengthened Indian independence movement and national movement in British Malabar.[48] That conference declared that the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms were not able to satisfy the needs of British India. It also argued for land reform to seek solutions for the problems caused by the tenancy that existed in Malabar. However, the decision widened the drift between extremists and moderates within the Congress. The conference resulted in the dissatisfaction of landlords with the Indian National Congress. It caused the leadership of the Malabar district Congress Committee to come under the control of the extremists who stood for labourers and the middle class.[49]

A map of South Malabar during the Malabar rebellion in 1921
The Graves of British soldiers who had laid down their lives in the 1921 Rebellion at Tirurangadi Taluk Office

Malabar Rebellion was the last and important among the revolts. The Battle of Pookkottur adorns an important role in the rebellion.[50][51] During the rebellion, a Mappila gang under the leadership of Odayappurath Chekkutty from Kalpakanchery protected the Kizhake Kovilakam (a seat of the ruling family of the Zamorin of Calicut) and the Arya Vaidya Sala at Kottakkal.[52] Vaidyaratnam P. S. Warrier, who is also the founder of renowned Arya Vaidya Sala and Kottakkal Natya Sangham at Kottakkal, provided the entire shelter and protection for the orphaned Mappila families when the British army arrested Mappila household men.[20] After the army, police, and British authorities fled, declaration of independence took place over 200 villages in Eranad, Valluvanad, Ponnani, and Kozhikode taluks by 28 August 1921.[53] However less than six months after the declaration of autonomy, the East India Company reclaimed the territory and annexed it to the British Raj. The Wagon tragedy (1921) is still a saddening memory of the Malabar rebellion, where 64 prisoners died on 20 November 1921.[54]

The erstwhile Madras presidency became Madras State following the independence of India in 1947. Malappuram revenue division was one of the five revenue divisions in the erstwhile Malabar District with the jurisdiction of Eranad (Manjeri) and Valluvanad (Perinthalmanna) Taluks. The other four revenue divisions in the Malabar district were Thalassery, Kozhikode, Palakkad, and Fort Cochin.[25] On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed on linguistic basis. The district of Malappuram was formed with four subdistricts (Eranad, Perinthalmanna, Tirur, and Ponnani), four towns, fourteen developmental blocks, and 95 Gram panchayats at the time.[24] Later, Tirur Taluk was bifurcated to form Tirurangadi Taluk, and Eranad Taluk was trifurcated to form two more Taluks namely Nilambur and Kondotty. In the 1970s, the oil reserves in the Persian Gulf countries were opened to commercial extraction and thousands of unskilled workers migrated to the gulf. They sent money home, supporting the rural economy, and by the late 20th century, the region attained First World health standards and near-universal literacy.[55]


Hilly area of Karuvarakundu
Puthuponnani Munambam beach

Bounded by Kozhikode district to the northwest, Wayanad district to the northeast, Nilgiri hills to the east, Palakkad district to the southeast, Thrissur district to the southwest, and Arabian Sea to the west, Malappuram has a total geographical area of 3,554 km2, which ranks third in the state in terms of area. The district possesses 9.15% of the total area of the state. The district is located at 75°E - 77°E longitude and 10°N - 12°N latitude on the geographical map. Similar to other parts of Kerala, Malappuram also has a coastal area (lowland) bounded by Arabian Sea on the west, a midland at the centre, and a hilly area (highland), bounded by Western Ghats on the east. Unlike other districts of Kerala, hilly areas are widely seen in the midland area too.


On the basis of topography, geology, soils, climate, and natural vegetation, the district is divided into 5 sub-micro regions:

  • Malappuram coast
  • Malappuram undulating plain
  • Chaliyar river basin
  • Nilambur forested hills
  • Perinthalmanna undulating uplands.
Chaliyar river basin at Areekode

The Malappuram coast lies all along the coastal tract of Malappuram from Vallikunnu at the north to Perumpadappu at the south. It makes its boundaries with the Kozhikode coast to the north, Malappuram undulating plain to the east, the Thrissur coast to the south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. The region is drained by the major rivers like Chaliyar, Kadalundi, Bharathappuzha, Tirurpuzha, etc. canals and backwaters. The region is coconut-fringed. The coastal plain slopes towards the west very gently. [56] The major towns including Ponnani, Edappal, Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, and Parappanangadi lies in this region. The maximum height of this region is located at Kalpakanchery village (104 m) in Tirur Taluk.[56]

The Malappuram undulating plain, lying parallel to the coast, makes it boundaries with Nadapuram-Mavur undulating plains to the north, Chaliyar river basin, and Perinthalmanna undulating uplands to the east, Pattambi undulating plain to the south and Malappuram coast to the west. Nenmini hill (478 m) at Kannamangalam is the highest point and the Vazhayur in the northern part (95 m) is the lowest in the region. A number of small hills and slopes are seen here.[56]

Chekkunnu hills at Edavanna

The Chaliyar River Basin makes its boundaries by Nilambur forested hills to its north and east, Perinthalmanna undulating uplands to the south, and Malappuram undulating plain to its east. It falls under the middle course of Chaliyar and has ups and downs in the form of isolated hills.[56]

The Nilambur forested hills, also known as the Nilambur valley, make its boundary with Kozhikode forested hills and Wayanad forested hills to the north, Tamil Nadu to the east, Mannarkad-Palakkad forested hills to the south, and the Chaliyar river basin to the west. It is a part of the Western Ghats. Several peaks having an elevation of more than 1000m from the sea level are seen here.[56] The highest altitude of this region is at Mukurthi (2594 m), which lies east of the Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary on the border of Kerala with Tamil Nadu. The lowest point is located at Mampad (115 m).[56] The hilly forested area of Nilambur forms a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

The Perinthalmanna undulating uplands make its boundary with Chaliyar river basin to the north, Mannarkad-Palakkad forested hills to the east, Palakkad Gap to the south, and Malappuram undulating plain to the west. A number of small isolated hills are seen here. Kodikuthimala is one among them. The Kadalundi River drains this region. The maximum height of the region is 610 m at Vadakkangara.[56]


Malappuram ranks fifth in the length of coastline among the districts of Kerala having a coastline of 70 km (11.87% of the total coastline of the state).[57] Ponnani, Tanur, Parappanangadi, and Kootayi, all of which lie in the western part of the district, are the major fishing centres. The sea coast of the district is filled with marine wealth.[56] Apart from being a favourite destination of the Arab traders earlier, Ponnani was also a captivating destination for many Muslim spiritual leaders, who were instrumental in the propagation of Islam here. The port city is also known as The Little Mecca of Malabar.[58] During the months of February/April, thousands of migratory birds arrive here. Located close to Ponnani is Biyyam Kayal, a placid, green-fringed waterway with a water sports facility. The Conolly Canal meets with Arabian sea at Puthuponnani. The coastal town of Tanur was the capital of the Kingdom of Vettathunad in the early medieval period, and is known for Keraladeshpuram Temple. Parappanangadi was the seat of the ruling families of Parappanad kingdom in the early medieval period.


A view of the Kadalundi River at Vallikkunnu, where it merges with the Arabian Sea

Major rivers flowing through the district are Chaliyar, Kadalundi River, Bharathappuzha, and Tirur River. Chaliyar has a total length of about 168 km. and a drainage area of 2,818 km2 (1,088 sq mi). It passes through Nilambur, Mampad, Edavanna, Areekode, and Vazhakkad in district and then flows through Kozhikode-Malappuram district border and empties itself into the Arabian sea at Beypore. Karimpuzha, the largest tributary of Chaliyar, and Thuthapuzha, one of the largest tributaries of Bharathappuzha, also flow through district. Kadalundi River passes through Melattur, Pandikkad, Malappuram, Panakkad, Parappur, Vengara, Tirurangadi, Parappanangadi, Vallikkunnu, and empties itself into Arabian sea at Kadalundi. It has a length of 130 km, with a catchment area of 1,114 km2 (430 sq mi) and a total runoff of 2189 million cubic feet. Bharathappuzha has a total length of 209 km. It flows through Thootha, Elamkulam, Pulamanthole, and joins the main river at Pallippuram. Then it again reaches the district at Thiruvegappura after flowing through some neighbouring districts. Bharathappuzha empties itself into the Arabian Sea at Ponnani. Tirunavaya, Kuttippuram, Thavanur, and Ponnani are some important towns on the bank of Bharathappuzha. Tirur River is 48 km long. It joins with Bharathappuzha at Padinjarekara near Ponnani. Besides these large rivers, the district has a small river called Purapparamba River, which is just 8 km long. It is connected to major rivers via Conolly Canal.[56][59] Several larger and smaller tributaries of the major rivers described above also flows through the district.


Ottumpuram beach, Tanur

The temperature of the district is almost steady throughout the year. It has a tropical climate. It gets significant rainfall in most of the months, with a short dry season. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Am. The average annual temperature in Malappuram is 27.3 °C. In a year, the average rainfall is 2,952 millimetres (116.2 in). Summer usually runs from March until May; the monsoon begins in June and ends in September. Malappuram receives both southwest and northeast monsoons. Winter is from December to February.[60]

Climate data for Malappuram
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.0
Average low °C (°F) 21.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1
Source: [61]

Flora and faunaEdit

The district contains a diverse wildlife and a number of small hills, forests, rivers, and streams flowing to the west, backwaters and paddy, areca nut, cashew nut, pepper, ginger, pulses, coconut, banana, tapioca, and rubber plantations. Conolly's plot, the world's oldest teak plantation, is located at Nilambur. Nilambur is also known for Teak Museum. Bamboo trees are widely seen near to the Nilambur Teak Plantations. A bioresource natural park is associated with the Teak Museum.

Out of the 3,554 km2 area of district, 1,034 km2 (399 sq mi) (29%) constitutes forest area. It may be denser or less dense.[62] The northeastern part of district has a vast forest area of 758.87 km2 (293.00 sq mi). In this, 325.33 km2 (125.61 sq mi) is reserved forests and the rest is vested forests. Of these, 80% is deciduous whereas the rest is evergreen. The forest area is mainly concentrated in Nilambur subdistrict, which shares its boundary with the hilly district of Wayanad, Western Ghats, and the hilly areas (Nilgiris) of Tamil Nadu. Trees like teak, rosewood, and mahogany are seen in Nilambur forest area. Bamboo hills are widely seen in the forest. Karimpuzha wildlife sanctuary in the district is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the state.[63][64] The New Amarambalam Reserved Forest, which is a part of the Karimpuzha Wildlife Sanctuary, has a variety of fauna. A variety of animals including elephants, deer, tigers, blue monkeys, bears, boars, rabbits, birds, and reptiles are found in forests. Forest products like honey, medicinal herbs, and spices are also collected from here. Forests are protected by two divisions- Nilambur north and Nilambur south. The Kerala Forest Research Institute has a subcentre at Nilambur. Important types of fish found in the coastal and inland areas of the district include Prawn, Oil Sardine, Silver belly, Shark, Catfish, Mackerel, Skate, Chemba, Soll fish, Seer fish, and Ribbonfish.[56]

Nilambur Teak is the first forest produce to get its own GI tag.[65] Tirur Vettila, a type of Betel found in Tirur, has also obtained GI tag.[66] About 50 Acre of Mangroves forest is found in Vallikkunnu, located in coastal area of the district. Mangroves are widely seen in the other coastal regions too. A major part of Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary lies in district.[67] Kadalundi-Vallikkunnu community reserve is the first community reserve in Kerala. It has now been declared as an eco-tourism centre.[68] Tirunavaya is known for its lotus fields.[69]


Malappuram, the administrative headquarters of the district

The headquarters of the district administration is at Uphill, Malappuram. The district administration is headed by the District collector. He is assisted by five deputy collectors with responsibility for general matters, land acquisition, revenue recovery, land reforms, and elections. Additional District Magistrate in the rank of Deputy Collector (General) provides support to District Collector in all the administrative activities.[72]

Malappuram revenue district has two divisions- Tirur and Perinthalmanna. For sake of rural administration, 94 Gram Panchayats are combined in 15 Block Panchayats, which together form the Malappuram District Panchayat. Besides this in order to perform urban administration better, 12 municipal towns are there.[73]

For the representation of Malappuram in Kerala Legislative Assembly, there are 16 assembly constituencies in district. These are included in 3 Lok Sabha constituencies. Malappuram has the highest number of assembly constituencies in state. Of these, Eranad, Nilambur and Wandoor assembly constituencies together form a part of Wayanad (Lok Sabha constituency), whereas Tirurangadi, Tanur, Tirur, Kottakkal, Thavanur and Ponnani are included in Ponnani (Lok Sabha constituency). The remaining seven assembly constituencies together form Malappuram (Lok Sabha constituency).[73][74] The district is further divided into 138 villages which together form 7 subdistricts.[75]

Revenue divisionsEdit

Ponnani, Tirur, and Tirurangadi subdistricts lie in the coastal region. Perinthalmanna, Eranad, and Kondotty lie in midland whereas the Nilambur subdistrict lies on the high range. The subdistricts of Ponnani, Tirur, Tirurangadi, and Kondotty are included in the Tirur revenue division whereas the remaining three combine to form the Perinthalmanna revenue division. Nilambur is the largest subdistrict in Kerala. The Taluk administration is headed by a Tehsildar.

Taluks in Malappuram
(in km2)
Total population
Villages Urbanisation
Ponnani 200 379,798 11 57.36%
Tirur 448 928,672 30 48.73%
Tirurangadi 290* 631,906 17 90.40%
Kondotty 258* 410,577 12 43.10%
Eranad 491* 581,512 23 37.93%
Perinthalmanna 506 606,396 24 21.73%
Nilambur 1,343 574,059 21 8.08%
Sources: 2011 Census of India,[76] Official website of Malappuram district[77]

Political divisionsEdit

Local governanceEdit

A Gram Panchayat headquarters office in the district

The rural district is divided into 94 Gram Panchayats which are included in 15 blocks namely Areekode, Kalikavu, Kondotty, Kuttipuram, Malappuram, Mankada, Nilambur, Perinthalmanna, Perumpadappu, Ponnani, Tanur, Tirur, Tirurangadi, Vengara, and Wandoor.[78] These blocks combine to form the Malappuram district Panchayat, which is the apex district body of rural governance. Out of 32 wards to the district Panchayat, the UDF won 27 in the 2020 elections, while LDF won the remaining 5.[79] Malappuram District Panchayat is the largest district Panchayat as well as the largest local body in the state. The 94 Gram Panchayats are again divided into 1,778 wards.[80] Census towns (small towns with urban features) also come under the jurisdiction of Gram Panchayats. Though the draft notifications for the formation of new Gram Panchayats namely Anamangad, Ananthavoor, Arakkuparamba, Ariyallur, Chembrassery, Elankur, Karipur, Kootayi, Kurumbalangode, Marutha, Pang, Vaniyambalam, and Velimukku were published in 2015, they are yet to be formed.[81] With their formation, the number of Gram Panchayats in the district will become 106.

Gram Panchayats in Malappuram District
Gram Panchayat Area
(in km2)
Wards Taluk
Areekode Block
Areekode 12.21 31,563 18 Eranad
Cheekkode 23.96 32,867 18 Kondotty
Edavanna 52.10 46,128 22 Eranad
Kavanoor 31.30 37,977 19 Eranad
Kizhuparamba 14.99 22,062 14 Eranad
Kuzhimanna 22.05 34,413 18 Kondotty
Pulpatta 30.12 42,683 21 Eranad
Urangattiri 76.09 40,318 21 Eranad
Kalikavu Block
Amarambalam 84.64 35,975 19 Nilambur
Chokkad 76.08 32,224 18 Nilambur
Edappatta 25.77 22,729 15 Perinthalmanna
Kalikavu 92.00 35,210 19 Nilambur
Karulai 131.31 23,277 15 Nilambur
Karuvarakundu 78.69 41,583 21 Nilambur
Tuvvur 31.38 40,297 17 Nilambur
Kondotty Block
Chelembra 15.91 34,149 18 Kondotty
Cherukavu 16.87 36,773 19 Kondotty
Muthuvallur 21.49 26,028 15 Kondotty
Pallikkal 25.96 46,962 22 Kondotty
Pulikkal 28.70 40,133 21 Kondotty
Vazhayur 21.19 30,262 17 Kondotty
Vazhakkad 23.89 35,774 19 Kondotty
Kuttippuram Block
Athavanad 26.77 41,187 22 Tirur
Edayur 30.43 36,498 19 Tirur
Irimbiliyam 24.06 30,635 17 Tirur
Kalpakanchery 16.25 33,721 19 Tirur
Kuttippuram 31.32 47,023 23 Tirur
Marakkara 27.00 40,404 20 Tirur
Malappuram Block
Anakkayam 45.23 50,634 23 Eranad
Kodur 18.42 38,258 19 Perinthalmanna
Morayur 24.57 25,261 18 Kondotty
Othukkungal 17.28 39,139 20 Tirurangadi
Ponmala 21.65 33,922 18 Tirur
Pookkottur 20.63 28,077 19 Eranad
Mankada Block
Koottilangadi 21.54 36,602 19 Perinthalmanna
Kuruva 35.77 45,354 22 Perinthalmanna
Makkaraparamba 11.17 18,702 13 Perinthalmanna
Mankada 31.00 32,748 18 Perinthalmanna
Moorkanad 17.60 36,324 19 Perinthalmanna
Puzhakkattiri 22.72 29,886 17 Perinthalmanna
Nilambur Block
Chaliyar 125.00 20,834 14 Nilambur
Chungathara 129.69 36,269 20 Nilambur
Edakkara 58.09 28,162 16 Nilambur
Moothedam 48.00 33,960 15 Nilambur
Pothukal 77.00 29,561 17 Nilambur
Vazhikkadavu 114.00 47,322 23 Nilambur
Perinthalmanna Block
Aliparamba 34.37 41,725 21 Perinthalmanna
Angadipuram 38.50 56,451 23 Perinthalmanna
Elamkulam 21.31 26,456 16 Perinthalmanna
Keezhattur 40.00 36,317 19 Perinthalmanna
Melattur 27.24 27,250 16 Perinthalmanna
Pulamantol 32.15 37,785 20 Perinthalmanna
Thazhekode 24.03 41,982 21 Perinthalmanna
Vettathur 35.84 37,456 16 Perinthalmanna
Perumpadappu Block
Alamkode 20.50 33,918 19 Ponnani
Maranchery 20.47 35,011 19 Ponnani
Nannamukku 19.35 28,989 17 Ponnani
Perumpadappu 15.02 29,766 18 Ponnani
Veliyankode 15.15 32,554 18 Ponnani
Ponnani Block
Edappal 23.70 32,550 19 Ponnani
Kalady 16.48 25,872 16 Ponnani
Thavanur 25.28 34,500 19 Ponnani
Vattamkulam 20.73 36,147 19 Ponnani
Tanur Block
Cheriyamundam 11.95 31,212 18 Tirur
Niramaruthur 9.20 29,846 17 Tirur
Ozhur 15.92 34,016 18 Tirur
Perumanna-Klari 11.48 27,278 16 Tirur
Ponmundam 9.16 25,855 16 Tirur
Tanalur 15.12 47,976 23 Tirur
Valavannur 15.28 33,159 19 Tirur
Tirur Block
Mangalam 12.17 33,442 20 Tirur
Purathur 19.50 31,915 19 Tirur
Thalakkad 16.30 35,820 19 Tirur
Tirunavaya 19.59 45,848 23 Tirur
Triprangode 20.67 41,167 21 Tirur
Vettom 13.46 28,104 20 Tirur
Tirurangadi Block
Moonniyur 22.66 55,535 23 Tirurangadi
Nannambra 18.35 40,543 21 Tirurangadi
Peruvallur 21.19 34,941 19 Tirurangadi
Tenhipalam 17.98 32,045 17 Tirurangadi
Vallikkunnu 25.14 48,006 23 Tirurangadi
Vengara Block
Abdu Rahiman Nagar 14.83 41,993 21 Tirurangadi
Edarikode 15.65 27,356 16 Tirurangadi
Kannamangalam 28.24 41,260 20 Tirurangadi
Oorakam 21.65 29,157 17 Tirurangadi
Parappur 18.50 36,270 19 Tirurangadi
Thennala 10.00 29,190 17 Tirurangadi
Vengara 18.66 48,600 23 Tirurangadi
Wandoor Block
Mampad 84.67 37,221 19 Nilambur
Pandikkad 57.01 55,213 23 Eranad
Porur 35.60 37,636 17 Nilambur
Thiruvali 33.83 27,734 16 Nilambur
Trikkalangode 59.99 52,090 23 Eranad
Wandoor 45.45 49,013 23 Nilambur
Sources: 2011 Census of India,[76] Government of Kerala[82]

For the ease of urban administration, 12 municipalities (Statutory towns) are there in the district. These municipalities are divided into 479 wards from which a representative is elected from each for a duration of five years.[83]

Municipality[70] Wards[86] Population
Chairperson [88] Political
1 Manjeri 50 97,102 V. M. Subaida IUML   UDF
2 Ponnani 51 90,491 Sivadasan Attupurath CPI(M)   LDF
3 Parappanangadi 45 71,239 A. Usman IUML   UDF
4 Tanur 44 69,534 P. P. Shamsudheen IUML   UDF
5 Malappuram 40 68,088 Mujeeb Kaderi IUML   UDF
6 Kondotty 40 59,256 Fathimath Suhrabi. C. T IUML   UDF
7 Tirurangadi 39 56,632 K. P. Muhammad Kutty IUML   UDF
8 Tirur 38 56,058 Naseema IUML   UDF
9 Perinthalmanna 34 49,723 P. Shaji CPI(M)   LDF
10 Kottakkal 32 48,342 Bushra Shabeer IUML   UDF
11 Nilambur 33 46,342 Mattummal Saleem CPI(M)   LDF
12 Valanchery 33 44,437 Ashraf Ambalathingal IUML   UDF

The District Planning Committee of Malappuram consists of two members from municipalities, 10 members from the District Panchayat, and one Panchayat-nominated member besides a Chairman and a Secretary. The Chairman post is reserved for a District Panchayat ex-officio and the secretary post for a District Collector ex-officio.[89]

State legislatureEdit

16 out of the 140 members for the Kerala Legislative Assembly are elected from the district.[90] In the 2016 elections, UDF won 12 of them, while the LDF bagged the remaining seats.

Legislative Assembly constituencies with their limits
Kondotty IUML   UDF T. V. Ibrahim
Eranad IUML   UDF P. K. Basheer
Nilambur Independent   LDF P. V. Anvar
Wandoor INC   UDF A. P. Anil Kumar
Manjeri IUML   UDF M. Ummer
Perinthalmanna IUML   UDF Manjalamkuzhi Ali
Mankada IUML   UDF T. A. Ahmed Kabir
Malappuram IUML   UDF P. Ubaidulla
Vengara IUML   UDF K. N. A. Khader
Vallikunnu IUML   UDF P. Abdul Hameed
Tirurangadi IUML   UDF P. K. Abdu Rabb
Tanur INL   LDF V. Abdurahiman
Tirur IUML   UDF C. Mammutty
Kottakkal IUML   UDF K. K. Abid Hussain Thangal
Thavanur Independent   LDF K.T. Jaleel
Ponnani CPI(M)   LDF P. Sreeramakrishnan


Wayanad (minor portion) INC   UDF Rahul Gandhi
Malappuram IUML   UDF P. K. Kunhalikutty
Ponnani (major portion) IUML   UDF E. T. Mohammed Basheer

Law and OrderEdit

A court complex at Perinthalmanna

The judicial headquarters of the district is at Manjeri. 24 courts function under Manjeri judicial district including Manjeri, Malappuram, Tirur, Perinthalmanna, Parappanangadi, Ponnani, and Nilambur.[91] The headquarters of Malabar Special Police (formed in 1884), a Paramilitary unit under Kerala Police, is at Malappuram. The Malappuram Police Unit is subdivided into 3 Sub Divisions and 34 Police Stations.

Malappuram Police District, along with Palakkad, Thrissur city, and Thrissur rural police districts, comes under the jurisdiction of Thrissur Range Police.[92] The District Police Office, District Special Branch, District Crime Records Bureau, District 'C' Branch, Narcotic Cell, District Police Control Room, Cyber Cell, Women Cell, and Telecommunication Unit are at Malappuram. The coastal police station is at Ponnani whereas the District Armed Reserve Camp is situated at Padinhattummuri. The traffic Units of Malappuram police unit are centered at Malappuram, Manjeri, Kondotty, Perinthalmanna, and Tirur.[93]


The Gross District Value Added (GDVA) of the district in the fiscal year 2018-19 is estimated as ₹ 698.37 billion, and the growth in GDVA, compared to that in the previous year was 11.30%. The district ranks third in GDVA among the districts of Kerala, after Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, as of 2018–19.[14] The Net District Value Added (NDVA) of the district in the year 2018-19 was ₹ 631.90 billion and the annual growth rate was 11.59%. The Per capita GDVA is calculated as ₹ 154,463 in the fiscal year. The growth rate of GDVA was 18.12% in 2017–18, 9.49% in 2016–17, 7.86% in 2015–16, 8.83% in 2014–15, 14.08% in 2013–14, and 9.70% in 2012–13. It shows a zigzag trend.[14]

The economy of Malappuram significantly depends upon the emigrants. Malappuram has the highest number of emigrants in the state. According to the 2016 economic review report published by the Government of Kerala, every 54 per 100 households in the district are emigrant households.[94] Most of them work in the Middle East. They are major contributors to the district economy. The headquarters of KGB is situated at Malappuram.[95]

KGB is the largest regional rural banking network in India

Economic mineralsEdit

Laterite stone is widely seen in midland area of the district. The Angadipuram Laterite has gained recognition as a National Geo-heritage Monument.[96] Archean Gneiss is the most seen geological formation of the district. Quartz magnetite, which is seen in Porur is one among the minerals found in the district having economical importance. Quartz gneisses are seen in the regions of Nilambur, Edavanna, and Pandikkad. Garneliforus Quartz is seen in the areas of Manjeri and Kondotty. Charnokite rocks are found in Nilambur and Edavanna. Dykes consisting of plagioclase, feldspar, and pyroxene in typical laterite texture are there at Manjeri. Deposits of good quality iron ore have reported from Eranad region. The deposits of lime shells have found from the coastal areas of Ponnani and Kadalundinagaram. The coastal sands of Ponnani and Veliyankode contain a high amount of heavy minerals, ilmenite and monazite. Kaolinite have been found from the Taluks of Ponnani and Perinthalmanna. The deposits of Ball clay have found from Thekkummuri village. Parts of Nilambur subdistrict are included in the hidden goldfields of Wayanad. Explorations done at the valley of the river Chaliyar in Nilambur has shown reserves of the order of 2.5 million cubic meters of placers with 0.1 gram per cubic meter of gold.[56] Bauxite was discovered from some parts of the district like Kottakkal, Parappil, Oorakam, and Melmuri.[97] Karuvarakundu, which means Place of the Blacksmith, derives its name from iron-ore cutting and blacksmithy.[98]


According to the census conducted in 2011, there are 10,629 industrial units registered under SSI/MMSE, and 396 units among these are promoted by Scheduled castes, 83 by Scheduled tribes, and the remaining units by general category. About 1,000 people are aided annually under a self-employment program. There are KINFRA food-processing and IT industrial estates in Kakkancherry,[99] INKEL SME Park at Malappuram for Small and Medium Industries and a rubber plant and industrial estate at Payyanad in Manjeri. INKEL Greens, spread over 168 acres at Malappuram, contains an industrial zone, 'SME Park', and an educational zone, 'Educity'.[100]

MALCOSPIN (Malappuram Spinning Mills Limited) is one of the oldest industrial establishments in the district under the state government. Wood-related industries are common in Kottakkal, Edavanna, Vaniyambalam, Karulai, Nilambur and Mampad. Sawmills, furniture manufacturers and timber trade were the most important businesses in the district until the last decades. Tirur is a major regional trading centre for electronics, mobile phones and other gadgets. Employees' State Insurance has its branch office at Malappuram.[56] KELTRON Electro Ceramics (KELCERA) at Kuttippuram,[101] KELTRON tool room at Kuttippuram, Edarikode Textiles at Edarikode, KSRTC body workshop at Edappal, MALCOTEX (Malabar Co-operative Textiles Limited) at Athavanad,[102] and KELTEX (Kerala Hi-Tech Textile Cooperative Limited) at Athavanad,[103] are other major industrial centres under public sector.[104] The Kerala State Detergents and Chemicals Ltd. and the Kerala State Wood Industries Ltd. have their headquarters at Kuttippuram and Nilambur respectively.[105][106] Popees baby care, one of the largest baby clothes manufacturer brands in the world, is primarily based at Malappuram.[107]


KCAET at Thavanur established in 1963, the only agricultural engineering institute in the state

Coconut, palms and paddy are mainly found in the Malappuram coast. Cashew, coconut, and tapioca are seen in the undulating plain. Rubber, cashew, pepper, and coconut are the important vegetation found in the Chaliyar river basin. Nilambur forested hills contain the cultivation of a wide variety of species. Teak is mostly seen in the region. Perinthalmanna undulating uplands contain the cultivation of species coconut, palm trees, pepper, rubber, and cashew. This region is drained by the Kadalundi River. Besides casual crops, species like mango, jackfruit, banana, etc. are also cultivated.[56]

According to the statistics of 2016–17, the gross cropped area was 237,860 hectares, while the net cropped area was 173,178 hectares. The cropping intensity of the district is 137 hectares. The most produced uncountable crop in 2016-17 was tapioca (185,880 Metric Tonnes), followed by banana (58,564 MT), and rubber (40,000 MT). 878 million coconuts and 19 million jackfruits were produced in 2016–17. However, the land use was maximum for the cultivation of coconut (102,836 hectares), followed by rubber (42,770 hectares), and areca nut (18,379 hectares).[108] An agricultural research station functions at Anakkayam. The Seed Garden Complex at Munderi, is said to be one of the biggest farms in Asia. State seed farms are there at Chokkad, Thavanur, and Anakkayam. A district agricultural farm functions at Chungathara and a coconut nursery functions at Parappanangadi.[109] The KCAET at Thavanur is the only agricultural engineering institute in the state.[110]



A rural road near Kottakkal
The Kuttippuram bridge built in 1953

Malappuram is well connected by roads. There are four KSRTC stations in district.[111] 2 National highways pass through district- NH 66 and NH 966. NH 66 reaches the district through Ramanattukara and connects the cities/towns including Tirurangadi, Kakkad, Kottakkal, Valanchery, Kuttippuram, and Ponnani and goes out from district through Chavakkad. Major cities/towns those are connected through NH 966 include Kondotty (Karipur Airport), Malappuram, and Perinthalmanna. The State Highways passing through district are SH 23 (Shornur-Perinthalmanna), SH 28 (Malappuram-Vazhikadavu), SH 34 (Quilandy-Edavanna), SH 39 (Perumbilavu-Nilambur), SH 53 (Mundur-Perinthalmanna), Hill Highway, SH 60 (Angadipuram-Cherukara), SH 62 (Guruvayur-Ponnani), SH 65 (Parappanangadi-Areekode), SH 69 (Thrissur-Kuttipuram), SH 70 (Karuvarakundu - Melattur), SH 71 (Tirur-Manjeri), SH 72 (Malappuram - Tirurangadi), and SH 73 (Valanchery-Nilambur). The length of road maintained by Kerala PWD in district is 2,680 km. Out of this, 2,305 km constitute district roads. The remaining 375 km consists of State Highways.[112] The Nadukani Churam Ghat Road connects Malappuram with Nilgiris.[113]

The first modern kind of road in the district was laid in eighteenth century by Tipu Sultan.[45] The road from Tirur to Chaliyam via Tanur, Parappanangadi, and Vallikkunnu was projected by him.[45] Tipu had also projected the roads from Malappuram to Thamarassery, from Malappuram to Western Ghats, from Feroke to Kottakkal via Tirurangadi, and from Kottakkal to Angadipuram.[41]


The oldest railway station in the state at Tirur. The first railway line in the state was laid from Tirur to Beypore in 1861

Total length of railway line that passes through the district is 142 km.[114] The railway in the district comes under the Palakkad Railway Division, which is one of the six divisions under the Southern Railway. The history of railways in Kerala traces back to the district. The oldest railway station in the state is at Tirur.[45] The stations at Tanur, Parappanangadi, and Vallikkunnu also form parts of the oldest railway line in the state laid from Tirur to Beypore.[45] The line was inaugaurated on 12 March 1861.[44] In the same year, it was extended from Tirur to Kuttippuram via Tirunavaya.[45] Later, it was further extended from Kuttippuram to Pattambi in 1862, and was again extended from Pattambi to Podanur in the same year.[45] The current Chennai-Mangalore railway line was later formed as an extension of the Beypore - Podanur line thus constructed.[45]

The Nilambur–Shoranur line is among the shortest as well as picturesque broad gauge railway lines in India.[115] It was laid by the British in colonial era for the transportation of Nilambur Teak logs into United Kingdom through Kozhikode. The Nilambur–Nanjangud line is a proposed railway line, which connects Nilambur with the districts of Wayanad, Nilgiris, and Mysore.[116][117] The Ministry of Railways has included the railway line connecting Kozhikode-Malappuram-Angadipuram in its Vision 2020 as a socially desirable railway line. Multiple surveys have been done on the line already. Indian Railway computerized reservation counter is available at Friends Janasevana Kendram, Down Hill. Reservation for any train can be done from here. Malappuram city is served by the railway stations at Angadipuram (17 km away), Tirur, and Parappanangadi (both 26 km, 40-minute drive away).

Railway stations in Malappuram District
Angadipuram Cherukara Kuttippuram
Melattur Nilambur Road Parappanangadi
Pattikkad Perassannur Tanur
Thodikapulam Tirunavaya Tirur
Tuvvur Vallikkunnu Vaniyambalam


Malappuram is served by Calicut International Airport (IATA: CCJ, ICAO: VOCL) located at Karipur, about 25 kilometre away from Malappuram City. The airport started operation in April 1988. It has two terminals, one for domestic flights and second for international flights.[118] The airport serves as an operating base for Air India Express and operates Hajj Pilgrimage services to Medina and Jeddah from Kerala. Domestic flight services are available to major cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Goa, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Coimbatore while International flight services connects Malappuram with Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Muscat, Salalah and Kuwait. There are direct buses to the airport for transportation. Other than buses, Taxis, Auto Rickshaws available for transportation.

According to the statistics provided by the Airports Authority of India in 2019-20, it is the 17th busiest airport in the country and the third-busiest in the state.



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2018 Statistics Report, the district had a population of 4,494,998,[5] which is roughly equal to the population of Mauritania or the US state of Kentucky. 12.98% of the total population of Kerala resides in Malappuram.[5] It is the most populous district in Kerala and also the 50th most populous of India's 640 districts, with a population density of 1,265 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,280/sq mi). Its population-growth rate from 2001 to 2011 was 13.39 per cent. According to the 2011 Census of India, Malappuram has a sex ratio of 1098 women to 1000 men, and its literacy rate is 93.57 per cent, which is almost equal to the average literacy rate of the state (93.91%). Out of the total Malappuram population for 2011 census, 44.18 percent lives in the urban regions of district. In 2011, children under 0-6 formed 13.96 percent of the total population, compared to the 15.21 percent in 2001. Child Sex Ratio as per census 2011 was 965 compared to 960 of census 2001. According to the census 2011, only 0.02% of the total population of the district is houseless.[9]

The Malappuram metropolitan area has a population of 1.7 million.[18] According to a report published by The Economist in January 2020, Malappuram is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the world.[120][121][122]

Urban structureEdit

The Malappuram Urban Agglomeration (UA) is the 4th most populous UA in the state. Malappuram is placed 25th in the list of most populous urban agglomerations in India. The total urban population of the entire district is 44.18% of district's population.[9] The metropolitan area of Malappuram includes Abdu Rahiman Nagar, Alamkode, Ariyallur, Chelembra, Cheriyamundam, Cherukavu, Edappal, Irimbiliyam, Kalady, Kannamangalam, Kodur, Kondotty, Koottilangadi, Kottakkal, Kuttippuram, Manjeri, Maranchery, Moonniyur, Naduvattom, Nannambra, Neduva, Oorakam, Othukkungal, Pallikkal Bazar, Parappur, Perumanna, Peruvallur, Ponnani, Ponmundam, Tanalur, Tenhipalam, Thalakkad, Thennala, Tirunavaya, Tirur, Tirurangadi, Triprangode, Valanchery, Vazhayur, and Vengara.[123]


Out Patient Block of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala
Govt. Women and Children Hospital, Ponnani

Modern medicine, Ayurveda, and Homeopathy are available in the district. A general hospital, 3 district hospitals, and 6 Taluk hospitals are functioning under the Government of Kerala for Allopathy. The Government Medical College, Manjeri, established in 2013, is the apex medical college in the district.[124] A network of local health centers function under the public sector. It includes 66 Primary Health Centres, 20 All-time functioning primary health centers, 20 Community health centers, and 2 TBC's. 5 Major public health centers, 77 mini public health centers, and 565 sub-centers are there. 3 Leprosy control units, 2 Filaria control units, etc. also function under the public sector. The total bed strength of government hospitals is 1500. Many private hospitals with super-specialty units are also there in the district under Allopathy.[125][126]

The Govt Ayurveda Research Institute for Mental Disease at Pottippara near Kottakkal is the only government Ayurvedic mental hospital in Kerala. It is also the first of its type under the public sector in the country. Kottakkal is also home to the Arya Vaidya Sala, the renowned Ayurvedic health center. Under the government sector, a district Ayurvedic hospital functions at Edarikode. Government Ayurvedic hospitals also function in Manjeri, Velimukku, Perinthalmanna, Malappuram, Vengara, Kalpakanchery, Thiruvali, and Chelembra. Homeopathic hospitals under public sector function at Malappuram, Manjeri, Wandoor, and Kuttippuram.[126][127] Many hospitals function under the private sector.


University of Calicut headquartered at Tenhipalam, largest university in the state
MESCE Kuttippuram, the first self-financing engineering college in Kerala

The district has the highest number of schools in Kerala as per the school statistics of 2019–20. There are 898 Lower primary schools,[128] 363 Upper primary schools,[129] 355 High schools,[130] 248 Higher secondary schools,[131] and 27 Vocational Higher secondary schools[132] in the district. Hence there are 1620 schools in the district.[133] Besides these, there are 120 CBSE schools and 3 ICSE schools.

554 government schools, 810 Aided schools, and 1 unaided school, recognised by the Government of Kerala have been digitalised.[134] In the academic year 2019–20, the total number of students studying in the schools recognised by Government of Kerala is 739,966 - 407,690 in the aided schools, 245,445 in the government schools, and 86,831 in the recognised unaided schools.[135]

The district plays a significant role in the higher education sector of the state. It is home to two of the main universities in the state- the University of Calicut centered at Tenhipalam which was established in 1968 as the second university in Kerala,[136] and the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University centered at Tirur which was established in the year 2012.[137] AMU Malappuram Campus, one of the three off-campus centres of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is situated in Cherukara, which was established by the AMU in 2010.[138][139] An off-campus of the English and Foreign Languages University functions at Panakkad.[140] INKEL Greens at Malappuram provides an educational zone with the industrial zone.[141] Eranad Knowledge City at Manjeri is a first of its kind project in the state.[142]


Religions in Malappuram District (2011)[12]

  Islam (70.24%)
  Hinduism (27.60%)
  Christianity (1.98%)
  Other (0.16%)

The areas that come under the Malappuram district have been multi-ethnic and multi-religious since the early medieval period. The centuries of trade across the Arabian Sea has given Malappuram a cosmopolitan population.[143] Religions practised in district include Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, and other minor religions.[144] Malappuram is one of the two districts with a Muslim majority in South India, the other being Lakshadweep district. Most of Christians in the district are descendants of Syrian Christians who migrated from Northern Travancore to Malabar in the 20th century (Malabar Migration).[145]


The principal language used in the district is Malayalam. Arabi Malayalam script, also known as Ponnani Script, was used widely in the district in the past centuries. Minority Dravidian languages are Allar (around 350 speakers)[146] and Aranadan, (around 200 speakers).[147] Tamil is spoken by a small fraction of the people. According to the census 2011, the percents of the mother tongue of the total population is as follows:


Thunchan Smarakam at Tirur, in memory of Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan

The currently adopted Malayalam alphabet was first accepted by Thunchath Ezhuthachan, who was born at Tirur and is known as the father of the modern Malayalam language. Tirur is the headquarters of the Malayalam Research Centre. Moyinkutty Vaidyar, the most renowned Mappila paattu poet was born at Kondotty. He is considered as one of the Mahakavis (a title for 'great poet') of Mappila songs.

Besides Thunchath Ezhuthachan and Moyinkutty Vaidyar, the renowned writers of Malayalam including Achyutha Pisharadi, Alamkode Leelakrishnan, Edasseri Govindan Nair, K. P. Ramanunni, Kuttikrishna Marar, Kuttippuram Kesavan Nair, Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, Nandanar, Poonthanam Nambudiri, Pulikkottil Hyder, Uroob, V. C. Balakrishna Panicker, and Vallathol Narayana Menon were hailed from the district. M. Govindan, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, and Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri were the writers hailed from Ponnani Kalari based at Ponnani.[20] The district has also given its own deposits to Kathakali, the classical art form of Kerala, and Ayurveda. Kottakkal Chandrasekharan, Kottakkal Sivaraman, and Kottakkal Madhu are famous Kathakali artists hailed from Kottakkal Natya Sangam established by Vaidyaratnam P. S. Warrier in Kottakkal. Zainuddin Makhdoom II, the first known Keralite historian, also hails from the district.

During the medieval period, the district was a centre of Vedic as well as Islamic studies. It is believed that Malik Dinar had visited the port town of Ponnani.[148] Parameshvara, Nilakantha Somayaji, Jyeṣṭhadeva, Achyutha Pisharadi, and Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, who were the main members of the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics hailed from Tirur region. The Arabi Malayalam script, otherwise known as the Ponnani script, took its birth during the late 16th century and early 17th century. The script was widely used in the district during the last centuries.


The centuries of maritime trade has given the Malappuram a cosmopolitan cuisine. The cuisine is a blend of traditional Kerala items with some of the Arab food items. One of the main elements of this cuisine is Pathiri, a pancake made of rice flour. Variants of Pathiri include Neypathiri (made with ghee), Poricha Pathiri (fried rather than baked), Meen Pathiri (stuffed with fish), and Irachi Pathiri (stuffed with beef). Spices like Black pepper, Cardamom, and Clove are widely used in the cuisine of Malappuram. The main item used in the festivals is the Malabar style of Biryani. Sadhya is also seen in marriage and festival occasions. Ponnani region of the district has a wide variety of indigenous dishes. Snacks such as Arikadukka, Chattipathiri, Muttamala, Pazham Nirachathu, and Unnakkaya have their own style in Ponnani. Besides these, other common food items of Kerala are also seen in the cuisine of Malappuram.[149]


AIR Manjeri FM radio station

Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Madhyamam, Chandrika, Deshabhimani, Suprabhaatham, and Siraj dailies have their printing centres in and around the Malappuram city. The Hindu has an edition and printing press at Malappuram. A few periodicals-monthlies, fortnightlies and weeklies-mostly devoted to religion and culture are also published. Almost all Malayalam channels and newspapers have their bureau at Up Hill. There are so many local cable visions and their regional media. Malappuram Press Club is also situated at Uphill adjacent to Municipal Town Hall. Doordarshan has its major relay station in the district at Malappuram. The government of India's Prasar Bharati National Public Service Broadcaster has an FM station in the district (AIR Manjeri FM), broadcasting on 102.7 Mhtz. Even without any private FM stations, Malappuram, Ponnani, and Tirur find their own places in the top ten towns with the highest Radio listenership in India.[150]


Malappuram is often known as The Mecca of Kerala Football.[1][2] Malappuram District Sports Complex & Football Academy is situated at Payyanad in Manjeri. Kottappadi Football Stadium is a historic football stadium. Other major stadiums include the Rajiv Gandhi Municipal Stadium at Tirur, and the Perinthalmanna Cricket Stadium at Perinthalmanna. A synthetic track is there along with the Tirur Municipal Stadium. Malabar Premier League was initiated in 2015 to strengthen football in the district.[151] The Calicut University Synthetic Track at Tenhipalam is the apex synthetic track in the district. It is associated with the C. H. Muhammad Koya Stadium at Tenhipalam.[152] Other major stadiums of district include those at Areekode, Kottakkal, and Ponnani. A football hub to internationalise the eight major football stadiums of district is proposed.[153] The construction works of two new stadium complexes are being processed in Tanur and Nilambur.[154]

Places of InterestEdit

Notable peopleEdit

Demand of bifurcationEdit

For a few years, the demand to create a new coastal district called Tirur district, centered at Tirur is being strengthened.[219] They argue that it is imperative from the development perspective to split the district, with double the population and size of the Alappuzha district, into two. No other district in Kerala has seven subdistricts, 94 Village Panchayats, and 12 municipalities together. As for its extent, if one travels from Perumbadappu which borders Thrissur district to Vazhikkadavu bordering Tamil Nadu, normally it takes more than three hours to cover that distance of 115 km. They also point out that the problems in the health and educational sectors that require solutions are not trivial. The issue was raised again by the IUML MLA K. N. A. Khader in 2019.[219] The demand is to bifurcate the existing Malappuram district into two districts by carving out a new one called Tirur district from it.[219] Kerala Congress (M) campaigns for a new district centred at Edappal.[220] Some people including Veteran Congress leader Aryadan Muhammad, and IUML district secretary UA Latheef oppose the bifurcation of Malappuram.[221][222]

However, the demand was rejected by the two successive governments who ruled Kerala in 2013 and in 2019.[221][222] But the studies regarding the bifurcation of the district are still in the consideration of the Government of Kerala.

See alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  1. ^ a b "dchb malappuram" (PDF).