Bounded by the Nilgiris hills on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, the district of Malappuram literally the land atop the hills, is remarkable for its unique natural beauty. Perched among the undulating hills and the rivers that flow to reach the coconut-fringed seacoast, the land conceals a unique and eventful history.

Malappuram district with its headquarters at Malappuram was formed on 16th June 1969. Malappuram, meaning "terraced place atop the hills", derives from the geography of the district headquarters. Before the district's formation, the region was known as Ernad, Valluvanad, Vettathunad etc.

The district has a rich cultural and political heritage. The port of Ponnani (roughly identified with Tyndis) was a centre of trade with Ancient Rome. After the Chera dynasty a number of dynasties controlled the area and by the ninth century the region was ruled by the Kulasekharas of Mahodayaouram. After the disintegration of the Kulasekhara kingdom a number of Nair city-states emerged including Valluvanad, Vettattunadu(Tanur), Parappanad and Nediyirippu (ruled by the Zamorins).