"Malappuram" - literally meaning a terraced place atop hills, this district was carved out of the dstricts of Kozhikode and Palakkad. It 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 enriched by three great rivers flowing through it - the Chaliyar, the Kadalundi and the Bharathapuzha. Although Malappuram lags behind other districts in literacy and education standards, it has contributed immensely to Kerala's cultural traditions. It has been a centre for vedic learning and Ponnani for education of Islamic philosophy.