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 meandering rivers that flow to reach the coconut-fringed seacoast, the land conceals a unique and eventful history.
The hill country also contributed much to the cultural artistic traditions of the state. The mosques and temples of the land are known for their spectacular festivals. The land of great poets and writers, political and religious leaders, the district has carved a unique place of its own in the history of Kerala
Home to the khilafath movement and the mappila revolts, which questioned the British authority in India, Malappuram was the military headquarters of the zamorins of Kozhikode since ancient times.
Malappuram District was formed on 16th of June 1969 with the Nilgiris of Tamilnadu in the east, Arabian sea in the west, Kozhikode and Wayanad Districts in the north and Palakkad and Thrissur District in the south. The District has a geographical area of 3550 sq. kms, which is 9.13% of total area of the state and ranks 3rd in the state.
The location of Malappuram District is 75 to 77 East longitude and 10 Degree to 12 degree North Latitude, in the geographical mark.
Malappuram consist of 3 natural divisions, lowland, midland and highland. The low land stretches along the sea coast, the midland in the centre and the highland region towards the East and North eastern parts. The topography of the district is highly undulating; starting from the hill tops covered with thick forest on the East along the Nilgiris, it gradually slopes down to the valleys and the small hills, before finally ending on the sandy flat of luxuriant coconut groves in the west.
The district has dry season from December to February, hot season from March to May, the South west monsoon from October to November. The South west monsoon is usually very heavy and nearly 75 percent of the annual rains are received during this season. The climate is generally hot and humid; the range of temperature varying between 30 degree C and 20 degree C. the average annual rainfall is 290mm.
Four important rivers of Kerala flow through Malappuram district. They are Chaliyar, Kadalundippuzha, Bharathapuzha and Tirurpuzha.
Chaliyar has a length of 169 KMs and originates from Illambaleri hills in Tamil Nadu. Important tributaries of this river are Chalippuzha, Punnapuzha, Pandiyar, Karimpuzha, Cherupuzha and Vadapurampuzha. Chaliyar traverses through Nilambur, Mampad, Edavanna, Areekode, Vazhakkad and flows into the sea at Beypore in Kozhikode district. Kadalundippuzha is formed by the confluence of two rivers, the Olipuzha and Veliyar. Olipuzha originates from Cherakomban hill and Veliyar from Erattakomban hill. They flow by the wilds of silent valley and traverses through Eranad and Valluvand regions, before flowing in to the sea at Kadalundi Nagaram. It passes through places likeMelattur, Pandikkad, Malappuram, Panakkad, Parappur, Kooriyad and Thirurangadi. Kadalundippuzha has a circuitus course of 130 Kms.
Bharathapuzha the second longest river in Kerala, flows by the southern border of the district and drains in to the sea at Ponnani. Its main tributary, Thoothapuzha originates from the silent valley, flows through Thootha, Elamkulam, Pulamanthole and joins the main river at Pallippuram.
After a course in Palakkad and Thrissur districts, the Bharathapuzha again enters Malappuram district at Tiruvegappura and from Kuttippuram onwards, the river belongs entirely to Malappuram.
Tirurpuzha 48 Kms long, originates from Athavanad hills in Tirur Taluk, flows in a south west course up to Tirunavaya, deviates to encircle Tirur town and flows south west parallel to the sea, until it joins the Bharathapuzha near Ponnani port.
Of these rivers, only chaliyar is perennial; all others get dried up in summer and hence Malappuram District is prone to drought. In Tirur and Ponnani taluks, Kayals (back waters) like Biyyam, Veliyancode, Manur, Kodinhi etc. offer fishing and navigation facilities.
Flora and Fauna
The district has a total forest area of 758.8684 Square km,out of which 325.3261 Square km is reserve forests and 433.5423 Square Km is vested forests. The major forest area is concentrated in Nilambur and Wandoor blocks and Melattur in the Western Ghats. Of the forests 80 percent is deciduous and the rest is evergreen. Teak, Rosewood, Venteak, Choropin, Mahagony etc are the important trees. Other varieties like Kulamavu and villa pine are used in the plywood industry. Bamboo hills extensively grown in all parts of the forest. The district has also several man made plantations, mainly of Teak.
Elephants, deers, tigers, blue monkeys, bears, boars, rabbits etc are found in the forests along with variety of birds and reptiles. Forests are the main source of raw materials for a number of wood-based industrial units. Besides timber, firewood and green manure, forest produces like honey, medicinal herbs, spices etc are collected. The tribals collect minor forest produces. Bamboo for pulp factories is mainly supplied from Nilambur forests. The forests are protected by two forest divisions-Nilambur north and Nilambur South. The social forestry division promotes planting of trees outside forestlands, for protecting natural forests. About 50 Acres of Mangroves forest are spread over Kadalundi Estuary in Vallikkunnu Grama Panchayath.