With the rain forests of Nedumkayam, migrating birds in Purathur, the vast belt of Bharathapuzha and the perennial river - Chaliyar, the festive moods, literary personalities, 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. The peace loving people of this area 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 'Conolley's plot' in memory of the collector of erstwhile Malabar District. Conolley's plot, beyond Chaliyar at Nilambur is also the memoriam for 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 kilometer 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 Nedumkayam through the thick forests lead one to Macheeri, the settlement of Chola Naikkans the primitive tribes.
The beautiful place with natural waterfalls and blue mountain top is also a tribal area.
Kottakkal is a 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. Venkittadeva 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. 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- Ponnani Puzha' join together to traverse into the Arabian Sea, becomes fascinating with wide range of migrating birds. If one crosses the ferry of Chamravattom in March- April- May period one cannot miss the lovely chain of birds. Nearly 25 varieties of birds have been identified in this area.
Thirunavaya, the land of ancient Mamankam is on the banks of Bharathapuzha in Tirur. 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 send Chavers, warriors 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 Thirunavaya is protected as a historical monument. Efforts are being made to construct a Mamankam Museum at Tirunavaya. Now in the summer season a martial art festival with Kalaripayattu competition is conducted. Sarvodya Mela conducted over the sands of Thirunavaya is famous.
The birth place of Thunjath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan the father of Modern Malayalam literature is at Trikkandiyur, three kilometers 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 Madom 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 kilometers away from Thirunavaya, there is Chandanakkavu where a memorium for the great Sanskrit poet Melpathur Bhattathiripad can be seen. Bhakthakavi Poonthanam Namboodiri of the 16th century A.D. 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 birthplace of the great Mappila poet Moyinkutty Vaidyar.
Pilgrimage Tourism has great scope in Malappuram district. Kondotty Nercha is a seven-day festival during March. Nercha is conducted in Pazhayangadi Mosque of Kondotty constructed in 16th century A.D. The tomb of Mohamed Shah the Sufi exponent is close to the mosque. It was constructed in Mughal style. Thousands gather in a secular way to participate in the festival which assumes the form of a carnival. There is Perumpadappu Puthan Palli near Ponnani where the annual Nercha attracts thousands. The Nercha culminates in food distribution to the poor. Mampuram mosque near Thirurangadi attracts thousands of devotees irrespective of religion for offerings at the 'Jaram' there. The mosque is 7 km from Parappanangadi railway station. This mosque played an important role in the peasant outrage of 1921 and the National Movement. This was the headquarters of Ali Musliyar, one of the leaders of the movement.
Thirumandhamkunnu Pooram offers enormous festivity days in March-April. The ancient temple is historically 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 travellers also. The temple is built in the river with a beautiful background. People from Ponnani side can use Chamravattom ferry to reach the temple.
Kaadaampuzha Bhagavathy temple
Kaadaampuzha Bhagavathy temple 2 km from Vettichira in Kozhikode- Thrissur highway attracts hundreds of devotees from 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 summer. Nilambur Pattu Utsava is unique among them. It is conducted by Nilambur Kovilakam.
Oppanappattu in Malappuram
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.