¬†LAND ATOP HILLS” stands at the entrance to the Malabar region, and is crossed by three major rivers the Challyar, the Kadalundi and the Bharatapuaha. A military centre of the Zamorins of Calicut, it was the scene of fierce fighting between British forces and the Mopplahs (Muslim peasants), known as the Mopplahs Revolt. The most serious uprising occurred in 1921, after whidh many rebels were exiled to the Andamans . The old British barracks, on a hilltop overlooking the Kadalundi river, now houses the district administration. Malappuram is also an important seat of both Hindu and Islamic learning.

ENVIRONS: Kerala’s pioneering Ayurvedic institution¬† is at Kottakkal, 12 km (7 miles) southwest of Malappuram. Started in 1902, the Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala is based in a splendid building, and has a research centre and hospital. Tirur, 32 km (20 miles) southwest of Malappuram, was the 16th-century birthplace of the father of Malayalam literature, Tunchat Ramanuja Eahuthachan . He also taught the Malayalam alphabet to children, a practice that continues today at a shrine dedicated to him.

One of the earliest Portuguese settlements on the Malabar Coast was at Tanur, 34 km (21 miles) southwest of Malappuram. St Francis Xavier (see p498) is said to have come here in 1546.

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