Malappuram (Malayalam: മലപ്പുറം) is a municipality and administrative headquarters of Malappuram district in the South Indian state of Kerala. Malappuram (literally a land atop hills) is situated 50 km southeast of Kozhikode. Bounded by the Nilgiri hills on the east, the Arabian Sea on the west and Thrissur and Palakkad districts on the south. Malappuram is situated on the Kozhikode (Calicut) - Chennai road (NH 213), 12 km southwest of Manjeri and 50 km southwest of Kozhikode.
As of 2001 India census, Malappuram had a population of 58,490. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Malappuram has an average literacy rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 79%. In Malappuram, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Malappuram has a rich and eventful history and preserves the cultural wealth of the good old days. It has a violent past with Zamorin's rule, Mamankam festival, Vellattiri’s revenge and the resultant Chaver Pada (suicidal squad), the British rule and indiscriminate oppression of the masses in connivance with exploiting landlords, the National and the Khilafat Movement and the Malabar Rebellion of 1921 which was suppressed by the Malabar Special Police.
This place still has the ruins of an ancient fort built by Tipu Sultan. Malappuram was the headquarters of European and British troops and later it became the headquarters of the Malabar Special Police. The hill country has also contributed much to the cultural heritage of Kerala. It was a famous centre for Hindu-Vedic learning and Islamic philosophy. The temples and the mosques of this district are well-known for their spectacular festivals. Along with historic monuments and diverse natural attractions, a range of cultural and ritual art forms add to its value as a destination worth visiting.
The land of great poets and writers, political and religious leaders, this district has carved a place of it’s own in the history of Kerala. The Kings of Valluvanad, the Zamorins, the Kings of Perumpadappu Swarupam and the Kings of Vettathunadu, were the early rulers. The Portuguese, Mysore Sultans and the British had their sway over this place, partly or wholly. Nevertheless, the unique social and cultural heritage is preserved.
The birth place of Thunchathtu Ezhuthachan, the father of the Malayalam language, now called Thunjan Parambu, is in Tirur. It is the hallowed ground where hundreds of children are initiated into the wonders of writing when they first trace the letters of the Malayalam alphabet in sand taken from that revered spot which was Ezhuthachan's home.
The festival that the entire city anticipates with great enthusiasm is Onam, which marks Kerala's New Year and harvest season, and comes around in August-September.
The district has a geographical area of 3550 km² and an average elevation of 40 metres (131 feet)
The Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west, provide natural boundaries. In the north, it is bounded by Kozhikode and Wayanad and in the south, by Palakkad and Thrissur districts.
The topography of Malappuram consists of three 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, rich with evergreen forests, ravines, hills and dales, rivers and brooks. The topography of the district is highly undulating; starting from the hill tops covered with thick forests 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 and palm fringed coasts in the west.
The district has a dry season from December to February, hot season from March to May, the Southwest Monsoon from June to September and the North East Monsoon from October to November. The South West Monsoon is usually very heavy and nearly 75% of the annual rains is received during this season. The climate is generally hot and humid. The range of average dailytemperature varies between 20 °C and 30°C. The average annual rainfall is 2900 mm.
Four important rivers of Kerala flow through Malappuram district. They are: Chaliyar (Beypore River), Kadalundipuzha, Bharathapuzha and Tirurpuzha. Chaliyar has a length of 169 km. and originates from Illambalieri hills in Tamil Nadu. Important tributaries of this river are Chalipuzha, Punnapuzha, Pandiyar, Karimpuzha, Cherupuzha and Vadapurampuzha. Chaliyar traverses through Nilambur, Mampad, Edavanna, Areekade, Vazhakkad and flows into the sea at Beypore in Kozhikode district.
Kadalundipuzha is formed by the confluence of two rivers, the Olipuzha and Veliyar. Olipuzha originates form Cherakomban hill and Veliyar from Erattakomban hill. They flow by the wild of Silent Valley National Park and traverse through Ernad and Valluvanad regions, before flowing into the sea at Kadlundi Nagaram. It passes through places like Melattur, Pandikkad, Malappuram, Pankkad, Parappur, Kooriyad and Tirurangadi. Kadalundipuzha has a circuit course of 130 km.
Bharathapuzha the Second longest river in Kerala, flows by the southern border of the district and drains into the sea at Ponnani. Its main tributary, Thoothapuzha, originates form the Silent Valley National Park, and 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 Tiruvegapura and from Kuttippuram onwards, the river belongs entirely to Malappuram district.
Tirurpuzha, 48 km. long, originates from Athavanad hills in Tirur town and flows south west, parallel to the sea, until it joins the Bharathapuzha near Ponnani sea port. Of these rivers, only Chaliyar is perennial; all others get dried up in summer and hence Malappuram district is prone to draught. In Tirur and Ponnani taluks, kayals (backwaters) like Biyyam, Veliyancode, Manur, Kodinhi, etc. offer fishing and navigation facilities.
Flora and fauna
The district has a total forest area of 1,034.17 km², i.e.,28.47% of total geographical area. The major forest area is concentrated in Nilambur and Wandoor blocks and Melattur in the Western ghats. Of the forests, 80% is deciduous and the rest is evergreen. Teak, rosewood, venteak, choropin, mahogoni, etc. are the important trees. Other varieties like kulamavu and villapine are used in the plywood industry. Bamboo is extensively grown in all parts of the forest. The district has also several man made plantations, mainly of teak. A mammoth effort under the Nilgiri Biosphere Project is underway to protect and regenerate the natural forests. Afforestation is also being done under the Wasteland Development Program. The world's Teak Museum is situated near Nilambur and is operated by the Kerala Forest Research Institute. It is claimed that the world's tallest teak tree is found in Nilambur, although there are other claimants including one in Uttaradit province of Thailand. 
Elephants, deers, tigers, blue monkeys, boars, rabbits etc. are found in the forests along with a variety of birds and reptiles. Forests are the main source of raw material for a number of wood-based industrial units. Besides timber, firewood and green manure, forest produces like honey, medicinal herbs, spices etc. are collected. Minor forest produces are collected by the tribal population. A Girijan (tribal) Society functions for ensuring fair prices for collected items and for arranging supply of essential commodities to the tribal families. Bamboo for paper pulp factories is mainly supplied in bulk form Nilambur forests. The forests are protected by two forest divisions-Nilambur North and Nilambur South. The social forestry division promotes planting of trees outside forest lands, for protection of the forests.
Malappuram district was formed on the 16th June 1969, amalgamating the distant and backward areas of the erstwhile Kozhikode, Perintalmanna and Ponnani taluks of Palakkad. There are 6 taluks, namely Ernad (headquarters at Manjeri), Perinthalmanna, Tirur, Ponnani, Nilambur and Tirurangadi (headquarters at Parappanangadi). The taluks of Nilambur and Tirurangadi and the revenue division of Tirur, were formed recently. The Headquarters of the administration is in Malappuram, with the District Collector’s office situated in the civil station, established in the erstwhile headquarters of the Territorial Army. The district has two revenue divisions with headquarters at Perinthalmanna and Tirur.
Recently a Passport office was started at Malappuram due to pressure from a large expatriate community.
Malappuram (literally, 'on top of the hills') is packed with hills and valleys, the river Kadalundi calmly flowing down to join the Arabian Sea can be seen from the Civil Station. Deep down the Civil station, crossing the river Kadalundi, you reach the picturesque Village called Ummathoor. Aanakkadavu Bridge, connects Ummathoor to Malappuram.
At Kottakkunnu one can see traces of the first fort to be built by the Zamorins of Kozhikode. This scenic table-top location is located at the crest of the Cantonment Hill near the district collectorate. The Vettakkorumakan Temple and the Siva Temple with the famous murals of Malabar are nearby.