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Location of Ponnani
in Kerala and India
Coordinates 10°46′N 75°54′E / 10.77°N 75.9°E / 10.77; 75.9
Country  India
State Kerala
District(s) Malappuram
Population 87356 (2001)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)

0 m (0 ft)

Ponnani/Ponani (Malayalam: പൊന്നാനി) is a coastal town and a municipality in Malappuram district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the smallest Taluk in Malappuram district. This tiny, picturesque town is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west. It is the only port in Malappuram district and one of the oldest ones in Kerala. This tidal port, mainly used by the fishing industry, is at the mouth of Bharathapuza, the second longest river of Kerala. This place is an important fishing centre.

Ponnani has a population which is a blend of almost equal percentage of Hindus and Muslims and has set an example for tolerant and peaceful co-existence. Malik Ibn Dinar, the first Islamic missionary to come to Kerala, is believed to have visited Ponnani. William Logan, the British historian, records in his Malabar Manual that the Ponnani Juma Masjid was built in 925 Hijrah Era. Ponnani was considered as the second capital of Malabar during the reign of Zamorins of Calicut and was the headquarters of Kunjali Marakkar, the naval chief of Zamorin.

It attained a status as an important centre for education in the philosophy of Islam. In the early period, Ponnani was considered the Al Azhar University of Kerala, for its great religious schools and teachers. Ponnani was called the 'small Mecca' of South India.

Hyder Ali of Mysore conquered Malabar in 1766 and established an outpost in Ponnani. During his son Tipu Sultan’s regime Ponnani became an important centre for Islamic studies. Tipu developed the port at Ponnani for trade and security reasons. After Tipu’s defeat in 1799, the British took the territory of Malabar under their control.[1]

Ponnani is a name very much associated with the nationalist movements in the freedom struggle. A number of prominent leaders from this taluk had contributed in soul and spirit towards realizing the dream of Independent India. Role of great freedom struggle leaders like Zainuddin Makhdoom II, who wrote a book Tuhafat Ul Mujahideen, which is the first authentic book on Kerala history, to inspire people to fight British invasion is remembered for ever. Ponnani has also contributed a great deal to the cultural and literary heritage of Kerala.

Shri. KV Raman Menon (1900-1974), known as Ponnani Gandhi, was a great Congress leader of the time who had actively participated in the freedom movement of Malabar[2]. He was a social reformer and was a leading lawyer of the Court of Ponani.[3]

EK Imbichibava has played a tremendous role in its development. He is known as The Soul of Ponnani. He was a great Communist Leader and former Member of Indian Parliament and Member of Kerala Legislative Assembly.


Society and Culture

Ponnani is famous among Keralites for its mosques. There are number of mosques situated in Ponnani municipality. It is also famed for its Hindu temples such as Thrikkavu Temple in downtown Ponnani and the Navamukunda Temple in Thirunavaya, located near Ponnani. Another famous temple in Ponnani is Mookkuthala Bhagavathy Temple [4]. Mookkuthala Kannemkavu temple is situated nearby the Mookuthala temple. The temple is owned by Azhvancheri Thamprakal. Centuries ago, saints from the famous Chettikulangara Temple, Mavelikkara, visited and stayed here for Bhajanam, at the time of their journey to Azhvancherry Mana.

Ponnani has an important place in the cultural history of Kerala. Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan, who is considered as the Father of the Modern Malayalam language, Vallathol Narayana Menon (1878-1958), Kuttikrishna Marar, Krishna Panikkar, illustrious novelists like Uroob (pseudonym of P. C. Kuttikrishnan), M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Madhavikkutty and C. Radhakrishnan, poets like Edasseri Govindan Nair etc. are from Ponnani taluk. The well-known painters like K.C.S. Panikkar, Namboothiri too are from here. Trikkavu in Ponnani was the summer capital of Zamorins of Calicut, the rulers of Malabar.

The role of EK Imbichibava is remembered for his contribution to the town and people. K. V. Raman Menon, Advocate Koladi Govindan Kutty, K. Krishna Warrier, Justice Kunhammad Kutty, Fatima Teacher, Prof. A. V. Moideen Kutty, Prof. M. M. Narayanan, Prof. K. V. Abdurahiman, Prof. Kadavanad Mohammad, etc. have contributed a lot for the cultural development of Ponnani.

Educational Institutions in Ponnani

M E S College Ponnani:

Established in 19 hundreds. MES college has played a significant role in parting quality higher education to the youth especially from Ponnani, Tirur and Chavakkad taluks. This college is affiliated Calicut Univarsity. College offers Masters and Bachelors degree courses in arts, science and commerce discipline.

M E S engineering College in Kuttippuram and Kelapplaji College of agricultural engineering and technology, Thavannur are in ponnani taluk and caters to a large number of students to pursue engineering studies in various disciplines.


1. A.V. High School Ponnani.

This century old school started in 1885 is one among the oldest in Malabar and has brought up a number of notable personalities like C Radhakrishnan, artist Padmini etc.

2. M.I. High School Ponnani: Established in 1947. Played a very important role in the education of backward people from coastal area. This school was recently upgraded to Higher Secondary and now boasts of two full fledged higher secondary schools for boys and girls.

Other high schools in Ponnani are

3. Thrikkavu Government High school,

4. Ponnani Girls High school,

5. I S S School,

6. Vijaya Matha High School.

7. N S S High school, Nariparambu.

8. Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan,Ponnani.

9. Al Basheer Educational Trust.


Ponnani is located at 10°46′N 75°54′E / 10.77°N 75.9°E / 10.77; 75.9[5]. It has an average elevation of 5 metres (76 feet). Ponnani provides a natural ground for establishing a port.


There are two administrative systems prevailing in Ponnani taluk:

  • Revenue
  • Local self-government.

The local self-government system constitutes the Municipality and Block Panchayat. Ponnani Municipality has 50 wards. Each ward is represented by an elected member in the Municipal council. Under the revenue system, the taluk is divided into 13 villages. Ponnani taluk is constituted of the following villages.


Located in Malappuram District of Kerala state in India, Ponnani is the smallest Taluk of the district. Ponnani assembly constituency is part of Ponnani (Lok Sabha constituency).[6]

Ponnani is one among the 20 parliament constituencies of Kerala. The constituency is rural in character, with agriculture and fishing being the main means of livelihood. The area boasts a few NRI pockets, wherein foreign remittances have created an aura of prosperity. The Ponnani constituency comprises the assembly segments of Tirurangadi, Tanur, Tirur, Ponnani, Mankada, Kuttipuram, Perinthalmanna and Thrithala.

Between 1957 and 1977, when Ponnani was a reserved constituency, it was held by the Marxists. Once it was re-labeled a general constituency in 1977, the balance of power shifted to the IUML. General Statistics (Municipality as per 1991 Census)[7]:

  • Area - 199.42 sq. km
  • Population - 320,888
  • Literacy 71.3%

Ponnani Lok Sabha constituency is composed of the following assembly segments:[8]

  1. Tirurangadi
  2. Tanur
  3. Tirur
  4. Ponnani
  5. Tavanur
  6. Kottakkal
  7. Thrithala


Trade Ponnani is one of the oldest port in Kerala and has contributed to the trade and economy of Malabar from very early times. This port was used as a hub for trading with Arabs and Europeans.

Ponnani was considered as the second capital of Malabar. Trikavu in Ponnani was one among the seats of the Zamorin, from where he controlled the trade and commerce. The economy of the this town is predominantly based on agriculture and marine products.

A Central government port customs office is also functions in Ponnani.


The major source of income for the people are agriculure and fishing. Rice, coconut, aricanut are the main cultivation. Ponnani is famous for it's fishing harbour and houses the office of the District fisheries board. There is a light house in Ponnani under the control of Government of India, which highlights the importance of fishing in this area.


In the early days, Ponnani was a notable place for the manufacture of big wooden boats ('Uru' or 'Pathemari'). Though this place is industrially backward, some traditional industries based on coir and coir products, marine products, etc are dominating from the very early times . Kerala State Detergents and chemicals Ltd., (KSDC) in Kuttippuram is a main Government undertaking industrial establishment in this region

The banks in Ponnani include:

1. State Bank of Travancore (SBT). 2. Canara Bank. 3. Vijaya Bank. 4. Federal Bank. 5. South Indian Bank. 6. Punjab National Bank (PNB). 7. Dhanalakshmi Bank. 8. South Malabar Gramin Bank. 9. Malappuram District Co-operative Bank. 10. Ponnani Service Co-operative Bank. 11. Ponnani Urban Bank.


The tidal mouth of Bharathappuzha in Ponnani, where 'Bharathapuza' and ' PonnaiPuzha' join together to traverse into the Arabian Sea, is a seasonal home to hundreds of migratory birds and attracts a large number of bird watchers and ornithologists. When one crosses the river by ferry from Ponnani to Chamravattom in the summer months of March to May, one cannot miss the sights of lovely flocks of birds. Nearly 25 varieties of birds have been identified in this area.

Another tourist attraction is Biyyam Kayal. This placid, green fringed waterway has water sports facilities. A boat race is conducted here annually, during Onam celebrations. A permanent pavilion is built for the spectators and nearly two dozen country boats, including some rowed by women, participate in the race. A big scheme is underway to develop a tourist complex here, with hotels, parks, etc. Today, a rest house situated on the banks of the lake, welcomes the tourists for a comfortable and cozy stay.

As the Chamravattom project becomes a reality, a landmark growth is expected in the tourism, irrigation and transportation sectors. The foundation for this ambitious project was laid in 1982.


As of 2001 India census[9], Ponnani had a population of 87,356. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Ponnani has an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77%, and female literacy is 71%. In Ponnani, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.


  • Ponnani Lighthouse: Ponnani Lighthouse is situated close to the South bank of Bharathapuza River joining the sea on the outskirts of Ponnani town. The nearest Railway station is in Kuttipuram and is 21 km away. The NH-17 connects Ponnani to Kuttipuram. Ponnani is also linked by an inland water navigation system of canals to south Kerala.
Ponnani ferry service

See also



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Ponnani is a city in the Malappuram district of Southern India.

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