Malappuram, a top tourist place, is situated in the northern district of Kerala and is known for its rich culture, historical significance and remarkable heritage. The region of Malappuram is speckled with small hills and mounds and thus justifies its name, which in Malayalam means ‘Hill Top'.
Three rivers, namely Chaliyar, Bharathapuzha and Kadalundi, flow through the land of Malappuram enriching both its soil and its culture. The powerful army of the Zamorins, kings of Calicut was headquartered here in olden days. The name of the district is marked in the history of Indian nationalism for being the venue of the Khilafat Movement and the Mopila Revolt. It is also the birthplace of the Muslim dance form, Oppana.
The small towns of Malappuram have contributed to the cultural, political and literary traditions of Kerala. Thirunavaya was a hub for Vedic education during medieval times and from Kottakkal originated the traditional medical system of Ayurveda. Ponnani is an ancient center of Islamic learning and Nilambur is known as the teak town of the country.
The best tourist spots in Malappuram include Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Keraladeshpuram Temple and Thirunavaya Temple. Some of the other best places to visit in Malappuram include Malappuram Juma Masjid, Mannoor Shiva Temple, Thiruppuranthaka Temple and Vettakorumakan Temple. The hill garden at Kottakkunnu, Biyyam Lake and the riverside park of Shanthitheeram also draws thousands of tourists here.
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary
Photo Courtesy: Thimindu Goonatillake
Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary is a scenic stretch spread over a huddle of small islands and is a top tourist attraction in Malappuram district. It is located at a strategic location where River Kadalundi meets Arabian Sea before merging into the sea. The sanctuary serves as the seasonal home to a wide variety of migratory birds. Placed at an altitude of 200 mt and surrounded by undulating hills, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary offers an unforgettable experience to bird lovers. An exciting variety of bird species including Malabar Hornbill, Woodpecker, Whimbrel, Darter, Gull, Heron, Sandpiper, Plover, Kingfisher and Brahminy Kite are available in the area. Apart from birds, the sanctuary houses a variety of marine species including fishes, turtles, crabs and mussels.
Keraladeshpuram Temple is an ancient and historic Hindu temple of South India and is located at a distance of about 3 km from Tanur town. A coastal town of Malappuram district, Tanur is known as one of the oldest Portuguese settlements. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu and history has it that the temple was visited by Saint Francis Xavier in the mid-sixteenth century. The temple is close to Tanur Beach, and it offers a tranquil ambience to visitors. One of the key features of the temple is its remarkable mural paintings depicted on the walls. The main annual festival of the temple falls in the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam and is celebrated grandly.
Photo Courtesy: Praveen Kaycee
Another tourist spot in Malappuram is the Thirunavaya Temple, which is also known as Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Kshetram. The temple is on the scenic banks of River Bharathapuzha and draws devotees from all over Kerala. It is situated in a small village named Thirunavaya, a place marked in the ancient history of Kerala as the location for the most renowned Mamamnkam Festival. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped in the form of Nava Mukundan. Sub shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Lakshmi can be seen inside the temple complex.
How to Reach Malappuram
By Air: The airport nearest to Malappuram is Calicut International Airport also known as Karipur International Airport, which is located at a distance of about 25 km from the heart of Malappuram. Calicut airport has a number of flight services connecting to the major cities of India.
By Train: Malappuram district has a number of minor railway stations including Angadipuram, Tirur, Tanur, Kuttippuram and Parappanangadi. Many trains that connect the northern and southern parts of Kerala, pass through these stations. Regular trains are available to Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur, Kottayam, Kannur and Mangalore.
By Road: Malappuram enjoys good connectivity by road to all its neighboring districts such as Calicut and Palakkad. Kerala state transport as well as private buses are available to and from Malappuram. Buses are the most economical option to explore the towns within the district. Luxury buses are available to Malappuram from Bangalore, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.