With the rain forests of Nedumkayam, migrating birds in Purathur, the vast belt of Bharathapuzha, and perennial river – the Challiyar, the festive mood emerges out of the cultural and religious occasions, the haunting memory of great poets and coruscating historical episodes, 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, valleys, ravines and thick green vegetation Malappuram provides a sumptuous treat to the eyes of the tourist, attracted by the redundant redolence of our culture.
Even though 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 “Connolly’s plot” in memory of the collector of erstwhile Malabar District. Connolly’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.
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.
Kottakkal is renowned 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.
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.
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.
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 Km’s 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.
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.
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.
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.