It is the smallest taluk in Malappuram. It is the only port in Malappuram district and one of the oldest ones in Kerala. This tidal port is at the mouth of Bharathapuzha, the longest river of Kerala. This place is an important fishing centre.
Malik Ibn Dinar, the first Islamic missionary who came to Kerala, is believed to have visited Ponnani. William Logan, the historian, records in his Malabar manual about the Ponnani Juma Masjid built in 925 Hijrah. Ponnani was considered as the second capital of Malabar during the reign of Samoothiri and was the headquarters of Kunjali Marakkar, the naval army chief of Samoothiri.
The tidal mouth of Bharathappuzha in Ponnani, where 'Bharathapuzha' and 'Tirur-PonnaiPuzha' join together to traverse into the Arbian sea, is a seasonal home to hundreds of migratory birds and this attracts a large number of bird watchers and ornithologists. If one crosses the ferry of Chamravattom in March-May period one cannot but miss the lovely chain of birds. Nearly 25 varieties of birds have been identified in this area. People have awareness in protecting these beautiful gift of nature. Hence clandestine hunters are prevented by them.
Another tourist attraction is 'Biyyam Kayal'. This placid, green fringed waterway has a water sports facility. Here a boat race is conducted 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 big scheme is underway to develop a tourist complex here, with hotel, park and pedal boats. The rest house on the bank of the lake, with its amenities, welcomes the tourists for a comfortable and cozy stay.