Ponnani, a town of numerous mosques, is the smallest taluk in the Malappuram district of Kerala. It is a small town surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west and is an important fishing centre. Ponnani has the only tidal port located at the mouth of the Bharathapuzha River and this has in turn contributed to the trade and economy of the Malabar region. The population here is a good mix of Hindus and Muslims.
Ponnani, is called as the small Makkah of South India, this place was once the second capital of Malabar during the reign of the then Samoothiri or the King. Ponnani has also always been an important education centre of Islamic teachings. The best time to visit Ponnai is from October to February.
Among the temples here, Thrikkavu, a Saraswati temple, celebrates the nine-day festival 'Navarathri' with pomp and glory. Also the Kandurampankavu Pooram, a local temple festival attracts many people from the neighbouring villages. Mookkuthala Bhavathi Temple about 10 km from Ponnani, is one of the very old Durga temples in Kerala.
The Karthika Mahotsavam is celebrated in the Vrischikam month i.e. during November-December and draws a lot of devotees. Other important occasions of the taluk are the 'Nercha' at Poonani Valiya Juma-ath mosque and the Andu Nercha' of Puthenpalli. 'Neychor' or ghee rice is distributed to devotees and the poor as part of this festival.
The tidal mouth of Bharathapuzha is a seasonal home to many migrant birds and attracts many bird watching enthusiasts and ornithologists. Biyyam Kayal, is a green peaceful waterway that has a water sports facility. During Onam celebrations, a boat race is held annually here. The rest house on the bank of the lake is equipped with all modern amenities.
Every year in February, the gathering of the 'Gandhians' called the Sarvodaya Mela is held on the shores of Bharathapuzha in Thirunavaya and Thavannur. There is a lighthouse near the Bharathapuzha River near the border of Ponnani town which falls under the purview of the Government of India and highlights the importance of fishing in the area. This was also once a famous place for the manufacture of big wooden boats called Uru or Pathemari.
Ponnani is home to many socio-cultural personalities. The most notable writer from Ponnani was Sheikh Zainudhin Makhdum, the author of Thuhfathul Mujahideen which was the first official book in Kerala. Thunjath Ezhuthachan, the Father of Modern Malayalam, wrote his two great epics Adhyatma Ramayanam and Srimahabharatam and other two shorter works, Irupattinalu Vrittam and Harinama Kirtanam here. Vallathol Narayanan Menon, P.C. Kuttikrishnan (Uroob), M.T. Vasudevan Nair (M.T.), C. Radhakrishnan, and Kamala Surayya are all connected with this place.