Ponnani (formerly Ponani, Paniyani) is a coastal municipality and an important fishing center in Malappuram district in the Indian state of Kerala, spread over an area of 9.32 sq km. It is a tidal port, mainly used by the fishing industry. It is situated at the mouth of Bharathapuzha river, the second longest river of Kerala and is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west. Ponnani is often regarded one of the oldest ports in southern India and is sometimes roughly identified with the port Tyndis of the Roman accounts. Ponnani taluk is the smallest taluk in Malappuram district.
Located in Malappuram District of Kerala state in India, Ponnani is a small town at the mouth of the Bharathapuzha. It is a port used primarily as a fishing harbour. Ponnani is a “town of mosques”. Though described as the “place of 231/2 masjids”, there are nearly 50 mosques. 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 religious co-existence its history. Malik Ibnu Dinar, the legendary first Islamic missionary who came to Kerala, is believed to have visited Ponnani. Ponnani is considered as the second capital of Kingdom of Calicut during the reign of Zamorins and was the headquarters of Kunhali Marakkars, the famous naval army chiefs of Calicut.
Ponnani enjoyed 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 Muslim religious schools and teachers. Ponnani was called “the small Mecca” in southern India, Malaya, Indonesia etc. Ponnani has also contributed a great deal to the cultural and literary heritage of Kerala.
Trade And Economy:
Ponnani is one of the oldest port on Malabar Coast 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 in the early ages of British Colonial rule in Malabar. Trikkavu in Ponnani was one among the seats of the Zamorin of Calicut, from where he controlled the trade and commerce. The economy of the town is predominantly based on agriculture and marine products. A central (Indian) government port customs office is also functions at Ponnani.
In the early days, Ponnani was a notable place for the manufacture of big wooden boats (called “Uru” or “Pattemari”). Though this place is industrially backward now, some traditional industries based on coir and coir products, marine products, etc. are dominating from the very early times. Kerala State Detergents and chemicals Limited in Kuttippuram is a main Government undertaking industrial establishment in this region.Now Ponnani has been growing faster making revolution in the IT sector as some companies like Information Technologies is emerging at Edappal,Eastern part of it.Services like Web development and other Software are made easier,reliable and cheaper here.
The major source of income for the people are agriculture and fishing. Rice, coconut, arecanut are the main cultivation. Ponnani is famous for its fishing harbour and houses the office of the Malappuram 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.
The tidal mouth of Bharathappuzha in Ponnani, where Bharathapuza and Tirur river 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 Bharathapuza 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 Lake Biyyam. 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 beautiful hanging bridge is completed across Biyyam kayal.
Ponnani Juma Masjid
Ponnani Lighthouse: Ponnani Lighthouse is situated close to the southern bank of Bharathapuza joining the Arabian sea on the outskirts of Ponnani town.
Saraswati Hindu Temple, Thrikkavu
Culture, Art And People:
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. Ponnani is constituted as rural region, 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.
Ponnani And Nationalist Movements:
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 Portughese 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. He was a social reformer and was a leading lawyer of the Court of Ponani. 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.
Religious And Heritage Monuments:
Ponnani is well known among Keralites for its numerous mosques build across Ponnani municipality. To name one is the oldest mosque Ponani Juma Masjid which is five hundred year old. As equal it is also known for Hindu temples such as Thrikkavu Temple and the Navamukunda Temple in Thirunavaya, located on the northern banks of river Barathapuzha. Another famous temple in Ponnani is Mookkuthala Bhagavathy Temple. Mookkuthala Kannemkavu temple is situated nearby the Mookuthala temple. This temple is owned and managed 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.
Kozhikode International Airport (78 km)
Railway station at Tirur (19 km)
Railway station at Guruvayoor (22 km)
Road – The National Highway- 17 (Panvel – Kochi) passes through Ponnani
Ponnani is also linked by an inland water navigation system of canals to southern Kerala.