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Malabar District

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Malabar District

Malabar District
മലബാര്‍ ജില്ല
District of the Madras Presidency



Flag of Malabar District


Location of Malabar District
Malabar district and taluks
Capital Calicut
 •  Territories ceded by Tipu Sultan 1792
 •  Divided into the three districts of Kozhikode, Palakkad, and Kannur 1957
 •  1901 15,009 km2 (5,795 sq mi)
 •  1901 2,800,555 
Density 186.6 /km2  (483.3 /sq mi)
Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad (excluding the Alathur and Chittur Taluks), and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District (former part of Ponnani Taluk) in the northern part of Kerala state. The district lay between the Arabian Sea on the west, South Canara District on the north, the Western Ghats to the east, and the princely state of Cochin to the south. The district covered an area of 15,009 square kilometres (5,795 sq mi), and extended 233 km (145 mi) along the coast and 40–120 kilometers (25–75 miles) inland. The name Mala-bar means the "hill country". Kozhikode is considered as the capital of Malabar.


Most of Malabar District was included among the territories ceded to the Kasaragod Taluk immediately to the north and the state of Travancore-Cochin to the south to form the state of Kerala. Malabar District was divided into the three districts of Kozhikode, Palakkad, and Kannur on January 1, 1957. Malappuram District was created from parts of Kozhikode and Palakkad in 1969, and Wayanad District was created in 1980 from parts of Kozhikode and Kannur.

The name Malabar was not in general use until the arrival of the Europeans. The word is most probably the fusion of the Dravidian Mala (Hill) and Puram (region) derived or westernized into bar. Malabar may so be taken to mean the hill country, a name well suited to its physical characteristics.


The district was widely scattered and consists of the following parts:-

  • Malabar Proper extending north to south along the coast, a distance of around 240 kilometer, and lying between N. Lat 10° 15′ and 12° 18′ N and E.Long. 75° 14′ and 76° 56′.
  • A group of nineteen isolated bits of territory lying scattered, fifteen of them in the native state of Cochin and the remaining four in those of Travancore, but all of them near the coast line. These isolated bits of territory form the taluk of British Cochin.
  • Two other detached bits of land within the Travancore.
  • Four inhabited and ten uninhabited islands of Lakshadweep. The four inhabited islands are: Agatti, Kavaratti, Androth, and Kalpeni.
  • The solitary island of Minicoy.


  • Calicut (Area:980 square kilometres (379 sq mi); Headquarters:Calicut)
  • Chirakkal (Area:1,750 square kilometres (677 sq mi); Headquarters:Chirakkal), now Kannur
  • Cochin (Area:5.2 square kilometres (2 sq mi); Headquarters:Cochin)
  • Ernad (Area:2,540 square kilometres (979 sq mi); Headquarters:Manjeri)
  • Kottayam (Area:1,270 square kilometres (489 sq mi); Headquarters:Kottayam), now Thalassery
  • Kurumbranad (Area:1,310 square kilometres (505 sq mi); Headquarters:),now Vadakara
  • Laccadive Islands (Headquarters:Kavaratti)
  • Palghat (Area:1,670 square kilometres (643 sq mi); Headquarters:Palghat)
  • Ponnani (Area:1,100 square kilometres (426 sq mi); Headquarters:Ponnani)
  • Valluvanad (Area:2,280 square kilometres (882 sq mi); Headquarters:), now Perinthalmanna
  • Wynad (Area:2,130 square kilometres (821 sq mi); Headquarters:Kalpetta)

Modern day Taluks in erstwhile Malabar

Kannur District

  1. Taliparamba
  2. Kannur
  3. Thalassery
  4. Iritty

Wayanad District

  1. Mananthavady
  2. Sulthan Bathery
  3. Vythiri (Kalpetta)

Kozhikode District

  1. Vadakara
  2. Koyilandy
  3. Kozhikode
  4. Thamarassery

Malappuram District

  1. Tirurangadi
  2. Eranad (Manjeri)
  3. Nilambur
  4. Perinthalmanna
  5. Tirur
  6. Ponnani

Palakkad District

  1. Mannarkkad
  2. Ottappalam
  3. Palakkad
  4. Pattambi

Thrissur District

  1. Chavakkad

Note: Kasaragod and Hosdurg taluks in Kasaragod district are sometimes considered as part of Malabar region, however not part of erstwhile Malabar district. They were a part of South Kanara district with the taluk headquarters at Kasaragod.

Representatives from Malabar to Madras State

  • In Prakasam Ministry: 1) R. Raghavamenon (1946–47)
  • In Ramaswami Reddyar Ministry: 1) Kozhippurathu Madhavamenon (1947–49)
  • In P. S. Kumaraswami Ministry: 1) Kozhippurathu Madhavamenon (1949–52)
  • In C. Rajagopalachari Ministry: 1) K. P. Kuttikrishnan Nair (1952–54)


The Malabar cuisine depicts it culture and heritage. It is famous for Malabar biriyani. The city is also famous for Haluva called as Sweet Meat by Europeans due to the texture of the sweet. Kozhikode has a main road in the town named Mittai Theruvu (Sweet Meat Street, or S.M. Street for short). It derived this name

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