Malabar Coast

The Malabar Coast is a coastline on the southwestern shore line of the mainland Indian subcontinent. Geographically, it comprises the wettest regions of southern India, as the Western Ghats intercept the moisture-laden monsoon rains, especially on their westward-facing mountain slopes. The term "Malabar Coast" is sometimes used to refer to the entire Indian coast from the western coast of Konkan to the tip of the subcontinent at Kanyakumari.[1]

India Malabar Coast locator map
Map showing Malabar Coast


Bekal Fort Beach, Kerala

The Malabar Coast, in historical contexts, refers to India's southwestern coast, which lies on the narrow coastal plain of Karnataka and Kerala states between the Western Ghats range and the Arabian Sea.[1] The coast runs from south of Goa to Kanyakumari on India's southern tip. India's southeastern coast is called the Coromandel Coast.[2]

The Malabar Coast is sometimes used as an all-encompassing term for the entire Indian coast from Konkan to the tip of the subcontinent at Kanyakumari.[1] This coast is over 845 km (525 mi) long and stretches from the coast of southwestern Maharashtra, along the region of Goa, through the entire western coast of Karnataka and Kerala, and up to Kanyakumari. It is flanked by the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. The southern part of this narrow coast is referred to as the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests.[3]

Recorded history

Silk route
Silk Road and Spice trade, ancient trade routes that linked India with the Old World, carried goods and ideas between the ancient civilisations of the Old World and India. The land routes are red; the water routes are blue.

The Malabar Coast, throughout recorded history from about 3000 BC, had been a major trading center in commerce with Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Jerusalem and the Arab world.[4][5] Its most famous ports (both defunct and functional) were 'Naura (Kannur), Balita (Vizhinjam), Kochi (formerly Ernakulam), Calicut (formerly Kozhikode [see List of renamed Indian cities and states]), and Mangalore, the most famous of them being Muziris, and[6][7] the Oddeway Torre settlement (part of Danish India) have served as centers of the Indian Ocean trade, for centuries.[8]

Because of their orientation to the sea and to maritime commerce, the Malabar coast cities feel very cosmopolitan, and has been home to some of the first groups of Jews, Syrian Christians, Muslims and Anglo-Indians in India.[9][10]

During Ming China's treasure voyages in the early 15th century, Admiral Zheng He's fleet often landed at the Malabar Coast.[11] Soon after, Vasco da Gama landed near Calicut in 1498, establishing a sea route between India and Europe. Portugal became the first of several European maritime empires to grow rich from the spice trade with this area.

In fiction

The Malabar Coast is repeatedly referenced in George Orwell's political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the site of a perpetual war between the military forces of Ingsoc and their Eastasian opponents.

See also

Further reading

  • Panikkar, K. M. (1929). Malabar and the Portuguese: being a history of the relations of the Portuguese with Malabar from 1500 to 1663.
  • Panikkar, K. M. (1931). Malabar and the Dutch.
  • Panikkar, K. M. (1953). Asia and Western dominance, 1498-1945. London: G. Allen and Unwin.


  1. ^ a b c Britannica
  2. ^ Map of Coromandel Coast on a website dedicated to the East Indian Campaign (1782-1783), an offshoot of the American war of independence.
  3. ^ Tipu Sultan - the Tyrant of Mysore, Sandeep Balakrishna, (Chapter 10) pg 109
  4. ^ Pradeep Kumar, Kaavya (28 January 2014). "Of Kerala, Egypt, and the Spice link". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  5. ^ Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia. Ed. by Edward Balfour (1871), Second Edition. Volume 2. p. 584.
  6. ^ "Artefacts from the lost Port of Muziris." The Hindu. 3 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Muziris, at last?" R. Krishnakumar, Frontline, 10-23 April 2010.
  8. ^ The spicy history of Malabar including a bibliography of sources on the spice trade via the Malabar coast
  9. ^ The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities by Orpa Slapak. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 2003. p. 27. ISBN 965-278-179-7.
  10. ^ The Clash of Cultures in Malabar : Encounters, Conflict and Interaction with European Culture, 1498-1947 Korean Minjok Leadership Academy, Myeong, Do Hyeong, Term Paper, AP World History Class, July 2012
  11. ^ Chan, Hok-lam (1998). "The Chien-wen, Yung-lo, Hung-hsi, and Hsüan-te reigns, 1399–1435". The Cambridge History of China, Volume 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 233–236. ISBN 9780521243322.

Coordinates: 12°01′00″N 75°17′00″E / 12.0167°N 75.2833°E


Areca is a genus of about 50 species of palms in the family Arecaceae, found in humid tropical forests from China and India, across Southeast Asia to Melanesia. The generic name Areca is derived from a name used locally on the Malabar Coast of India.

Dutch Malabar

Dutch Malabar, also known by the name of its main settlement Cochin, was the title of a commandment of the Dutch East India Company on the Malabar Coast between 1661 and 1795, and is part of what is today collectively referred to as Dutch India. Dutch presence in the region started with the capture of Portuguese Quilon, and ended with the occupation of Malabar by the British in 1795. They possessed military outposts in 11 locations: Alleppey, Ayacotta, Chendamangalam, Pappinivattom, Ponnani, Pallipuram, Cranganore (from 15 January 1662), Chetwai, Cannanore (from 15 February 1663), Cochin (7 January 1663 – 1795), and Quilon (29 December 1658 – 14 April 1659 and from 24 December 1661).

The Kingdom of Cochin was an ally of the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch enlarged the Royal Palace built by the Portuguese at Mattancheri for the King of Cochin, which from then on became known as the "Dutch Palace". In 1744, an impressive palace, later called Bolgatty Palace, was erected on Bolghatty Island for the Dutch Governors.

The Dutch contributed a monumental work called Hortus Indicus Malabaricus on the medicinal properties of Malabar plants. In Cochin, the Dutch established an orphanage for poor European children and a leper asylum on Vypin.


Kodungallur (formerly known as Cranganore), is a municipality on the estuary of river Periyar on the Malabar Coast in Thrissur district of Kerala, India. It is situated 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of Kochi (Cochin) by National Highway 66. Kodungallur, being a port city at the northern end of the Kerala lagoons, was a strategic entry point for the naval fleets to the extensive Kerala backwaters.

As of 2011 India Census, Kodungallur Municipality and Out Growth (Grade II) had a population of 60,190. It had an average literacy rate of 95.10%. Around 64% of the population follows Hinduism, 32% Islam and 4% Christianity. Schedule Caste (SC) constitutes 7.8% while Schedule Tribe (ST) were 0.1% of total population in Kodungallur.

Kodungallur is the headquarters of the Kodungallur sub-district (tehsil) in Thrissur district. Kodungallur Kerala Legislative Assembly constituency is a part of Chalakudi Lok Sabha Constituency. Kodungallur is well connected to other towns in Kerala through road network. Aluva Railway Station in Ernakulam district (28 km) is the major railway station near Kodungallur.

Fort Cranganore (Fortaleza Sao Tome), known locally as Kottappuram Fort/Tipu's Fort, was constructed in Kodungallur by Portuguese in 1523. The fort was enlarged in 1565, and passed into the hands of the Dutch in 1663. Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to god Siva, is one of the major Siva temples in South India. Siva in the Thiruvanchikulam temple was the patron deity of the Chera Perumals of Kerala and remains the family deity of the Cochin Royal Family.


Limyrikê is a historical region of present-day India, mentioned in the ancient Greco-Roman texts. It generally corresponds to the present-day Malabar Coast of Kerala.

List of educational institutions in Thalassery

This is a list of educational institutions in Thalassery, a city on the Malabar Coast of Kerala, India.

Malabar Coast moist forests

The Malabar Coast moist forests is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of southwestern India. It lies along India's Konkan and Malabar coasts, in a narrow strip between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats range, which runs parallel to the coast. It has an area of 35,500 square kilometers (13,700 sq mi), and extends from northern Maharashtra through Goa, Karnataka and Kerala to Kanniyakumari in southernmost Tamil Nadu.

The ecoregion extends from sea level to the 250 meter contour of the Western Ghats. It is bounded on the east by the North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests in Maharashtra and Karnataka, and the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests in Kerala.

Very little of the natural vegetation of the ecoregion remains; it has largely been cleared for agriculture, grazing, and teak plantations.

Malabar Migration

Malabar Migration refers to the large-scale migration of Syrian Christians from Central-South Kerala to Malabar in the 20th century.

Malabar region

Malabar region refers to the historic and geographic area of southwest India, covering the state of Kerala along with Kanyakumari district, Tulu Nadu and Kodagu district. It lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea.


Malabari is a term used for Indians originating from the Malabar region.This region mainly includes the present state of Kerala in India or from the ancient term to refer the southwestern coast of India. The Malabar coast was a gateway for Arab traders via the Arabian sea. Due to this, many Malabaris have strong Arabic cultural influences in their food and traditions. Especially the Syriac Christians of Kerala.

Aside from this, the term was also applied by the Dutch to designate Tamils of Sri Lanka during the colonial days. This term, or the term Malbar, accordingly was also applied by the French to Tamil indentured laborers coming to Réunion, has been kept by the latter to label their own identity as well until today, even though most have lost the use of Tamil language. There are around 200,000 people of Tamil descent in Réunion Island. They started to be brought from 1848 (official end of slavery in French colonies).The term Malabar is used in the neighbouring island of Mauritius to describe North Indian Hindus, Lascar is used to describe Muslims and Madrasse (Madras being the capital of Tamil Nadu) is used to describe Tamils and Telugus ethnic groups of South India.


Mappila, also known as a Mappila Muslim, formerly anglicized as Moplah/Mopla and historically known as Jonaka/Chonaka Mappila or Moors Mopulars/Mouros da Terra and Mouros Malabares, in general, is a member of the Muslim community of the same name found predominantly in Kerala, southern India. Muslims of Kerala, of which Mappila community make up a large majority, constitute 26.56% of the population of the state (2011), and as a religious group they are the second largest group after Hindus (54.73%). Mappilas share the common language of Malayalam (Malayali) with the other religious communities of Kerala.According to some scholars, the Mappilas are the oldest settled native Muslim community in South Asia. In general, a Mappila is either a descendant of any native convert to Islam or a mixed descendant of any Middle Eastern — Arab or non Arab — individual. Mappilas are but one among the many communities that forms the Muslim population of Kerala. No Census Report where the Muslim communities were mentioned separately is also available. As per some scholars, the term "Mappila" denotes not a single community but a variety of Malayali Muslims from north Kerala (Malabar District) of different origins. In south Kerala Malayali Muslims are not called Mappilas.The Mappila community originated primarily as a result of the West Asian contacts with Kerala, which was fundamentally based upon commerce ("the spice trade"). As per local tradition, Islam reached Malabar Coast, of which the Kerala state is a part of, as early as the 7th century AD. Before being overtaken by the Europeans in the spice trade, Mappilas were a prosperous trading community, settled mainly in the coastal urban centres of Kerala. The continuous interaction of the Mappilas with the Middle East have created a profound impact on their life, customs and culture. This has resulted in the formation of a unique Indo-Islamic synthesis — within the large spectrum of Kerala culture — in literature, art, food, language, and music.Most of the Muslims in Kerala follow the Shāfiʿī School, while a large minority follow modern movements that developed within Sunni Islam.

Mishkal Mosque

Mishkal Mosque (Malayalam: മിശ്കാൽ പള്ളി, also spelled Mithqal Mosque) is a medieval mosque located in Calicut on Malabar Coast, southern India. The mosque, one of the few surviving medieval mosques in Malabar, is regarded as an important cultural, historical and architectural monument of Kerala.

The mosque was built by the eponymous Muslim merchant-shipowner (nakhuda) in the 14th century. Mishkal - active in Calicut in the 1340s - possessed "great wealth" and a fleet of ships for "the trade with India, China, Yemen, and Persia". Ship-owners known as the nakhudas were among the wealthiest merchants of medieval Indian Ocean world.Mishkal Mosque is located in Kuttichira neighbourhood, a part of Thekkepuram beach in Calicut.

In 1510, the mosque was partially burned in a Portuguese attack on Calicut. The top floors of the mosque still display some of that damage. Mishkal Mosque originally had five stories. It was rebuilt in 1578/79 after the 1510 arson and now has four stories. Typical for similar medieval mosques in Malabar, it has no cupolas and minarets and heavily employs timber.

A large tank known as the Kuttichira tank is attached to the mosque. The mosque has 47 doors, 24 carved pillars and a big prayer hall that can accommodate around 400 people. The prayer hall is well ventilated and there is a wooden mimbar with beautiful motifs.


Ossan is a community/status group of Muslims in Kerala, south India. The Ossan men were the traditional barbers and circumcisers among the Muslims of the central Malabar Coast (northern Kerala). The Ossan women were experts in pre- and post-delivery care of pregnant women (midwifery). The Ossans formed the lowest rank in the Kerala Muslim community "hierarchy", and were an indispensable part of the village community of Muslims of Kerala.It is speculated that the original form of the title Ossan is "Otthaan", derived from the Arabic word Khatthaan meaning an expert practitioner of circumcision.

The Ossans were formerly considered as a low status group among the Muslims of Kerala. The Ossan community is still figure as a financially backward group among Kerala Muslims. Matrimonial alliances with financially elite Muslim families in Kerala are a rarity. Ossans are allowed enter and pray in Mappila mosques in Kerala.

Overbury's Folly

Overbury's Folly is a seaside park with a watch tower. It is located less than a kilometer from Thalassery, a commercial town on the Malabar Coast in the Kannur district, Kerala, India. It is named after its builder, E.N. Overbury, who served as a local judge at Thalassery in the 1870s.

In 1879, Overbury wanted to construct a picnic area at the cliff. He couldn't complete it, but the spot later earned the name "Overbury's Folly". It commands sweeping views of the Arabian Sea.

Today, Overbury's Folly has been renovated and redecorated as a tourist attraction. It is frequented by local people in the evenings as a place to relax and watch the sun set. A seaside open-air coffee shop has also been opened there.


Payyoli is a Municipality town on the Malabar Coast of Kozhikode district in the South Indian state of Kerala. Payyoli is famous for being the hometown of athlete PT Usha( She is nicknamed as the Payyoli Express). It is a town between Quilandy taluk, Kozhikode District.

Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary

Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary headquartered in Peechi, Thrissur District of Kerala, India. The sanctuary was established in 1958 consisting of Palappilli- Nelliyampathi forests including the area of Chimmony Wildlife sanctuary

and is the second oldest sanctuary in Kerala.The average summer temperature is 38 °C (100 °F). The average winter temperature is 15 °C (59 °F).


Puslan (from Putiya Islam – the "New Muslim") is a community-status group of Muslims in Kerala, south India. The Puslans – once a low-status group among the Muslims of Kerala – were the traditional sea fishermen of the central Malabar Coast (northern Kerala).The Puslans were mostly converts from the Mukkuvas, a low caste among the Hindus of Kerala. West Asian sailors on the Malabar Coast had to rely on lighterage at most of the Kerala ports in the medieval period. This led them to enter into mutually beneficial relationships with the traditional Hindu sea fishermen community. The other Mappilas used call them "Kadappurattukar", while themselves were known as "Angadikkar". The Kadappurattukar were divided into two endogamous groups on the basis of their occupation, "Valakkar" and "Bepukar". The Bepukar were considered superior to Valakkar. Pusalan boats are owned collectively by a lineage, and each individual is entitled to a share of the profits. The catches are sold by the Pusalar to other communities, and very rarely are involved in selling their catch.The Pusalan community is still regarded as a financially backward group among Kerala Muslims. Matrimonial alliances with financially elite Muslim families in Kerala are a rarity. Pusalans are allowed enter and pray in Mappila mosques in Kerala.

Suriyani Malayalam

Suriyani Malayalam (സുറിയാനി മലയാളം, ܣܘܼܪܝܵܢܝܼ ܡܲܠܲܝܵܠܲܡ), also known as Karshoni or Syriac Malayalam, is a dialect of Malayalam written in a variant form of the Syriac alphabet which was popular among the Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Syrian Christians or Nasranis) of Kerala in India. It uses Malayalam grammar, the Maḏnḥāyā or "Eastern" Syriac script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam and East Syriac. This originated in the South Indian region of the Malabar Coast (modern-day Kerala). Until the 19th century, the script was widely used by Syrian Christians in Kerala.

Volbrecht Nagel

Volbrecht Nagel (1867–1921) was a German missionary to the Malabar coast of India. Initially associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, he later joined the Open Brethren, and is remembered now as a pioneer of the Kerala Brethren movement.

Western Coastal Plains

The Western Coastal Plains is a strip of coastal plain 50 kilometres (31 mi) in width between the west coast of India and the Western Ghats hills, which starts near the south of the Tapi River. The plains are located between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. The plains begin at Gujarat in the north and end at Kerala in the south. It includes the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The region consists of three sections: the Northern part of the coast is called the Konkan (Mumbai-Goa), the central stretch is called the Kanara, while the southern stretch is referred to as the Malabar Coast. On its northern side there are two gulfs: the Gulf of Khambat and the Gulf of Kutch. The rivers along the coast form estuaries and provide conditions ideal for pisciculture. because of the presence of less coastal land in this part, it will be affected more by the global warming.

The northern portion of the west coast is called Konkan and the southern portion Malabar. The south Malabar or Kerala coast is broken and there are some lagoons. The north Malabar Coast is known as the Karnataka coast. Here the Sharavati River, before entering the plains, descends down a 275 m high cliff and forms the Gersoppa Falls.

The Western Coastal Plains extend 1,500 km from Cape Comorin in the south to Surat in north, the width ranging from 10 to 25 km from north to south, the Gujarat Plains the Konkan plains (Daman to Goa, 500 km), the Karnataka coastal plains (225 km south from Goa), and the Kerala coastal plains from Cannanore to Cape Comorin, 500 km make up the west coastal plains. The West Continental shelf is widest (350 km) off the coast of Bombay where the oil-rich Bombay High has become famous.

Kerala topics

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