One of the popular tourist attractions in Kerala, Bekal Fort was built almost 300 years ago by Shivappa Nayaka, the ruler of the Keladi Nayaka Kingdom, in 1650 and is considered as one of the largest and most preserved forts in Kerala. The antiquated fort is nestled in the lap of nature, and offers an enchanting view of Arabian Sea from its high observation tower where once the cannons were placed.
The location has been a witness to an uninterrupted history with changing several seats of power from Indian royal dynasties to the rule of refined Sultans and surviving the colonial era of British Raj. It is the largest fort in Kerala, spread over an area of 40 acres. Located in the Bekal Village of Kasaragod District of Kerala, Bekal Fort was declared as the special tourism area by the Government of India in the year 1992. According to some theories, the fort was in existence during the Kolathiri Rajas after the decline of Kolathiri and Vijayanagara Empire. Later it came under the rule of Ikkeri, Nayakas, who rebuilt the fort. Then the fort fell into the hands of Hyder Ali in the year 1763, also serving as an important military station of Tipu Sultan later when he had the great military expedition to capture Malabar. It was in 1799 that the Mysorean control came to an end and subsequently the Bekal fort came under the English East India Company. Further, Bekal became the headquarters of the Bekal Taluk of South Canara district.
Bekal Fort is a lofty keyhole-shaped structure situated in the small village of Pallikkara, Kasaragod district spread over a total area of 40 acres. The head of the fort is circular made of red-brown stone. The fort land comprises of walls, walkways and citadels with trenches surrounding the whole structure, which is said to be built in 1650 AD. The most fascinating and eye-catching part of the fort is the Observation Tower which was built by Tipu Sultan. It offers a splendid view of the rocky shoreline of the Arabian Sea and an advantage with regards to its strategic position. The fort utilizes remarkable defense technology. For instance- the holes on the top were used to aim at the enemies who were present at a distance, while the holes in the middle were used to fight the nearer enemies and the lowermost holes were used to defend the fort from the closest located enemies. The zigzag entrance and the trenches are also a symbol of the excellent defence technology inherited by the fort. The area shows religious harmony as well.
Timing and Entry Fees
The timings of the fort are 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. It is recommended to visit the place during the latter half of the day to avoid the scorching heat of the day. This place is a perfect weekend getaway if the weather is a little windy and cool.
The entry fee for visitors is INR 20 per person.
Places to Visit
- Bekal Beach :Â Bekal beach lies adjacent to the famous beach sea-side Bekal Fort. The beach offers an exhilarating view of the sun setting amidst the palms, which has a great contribution to the popularity of this place. Many Bollywood movies have utilized the beauty of this beach along with the Bekal Fort. The water here is excellent for swimming and the Casuarina trees nearby invites a lot of shutterbugs. The majestic Bekal fort stands proudly between two beautiful palm-fringed beaches. This idyllic location is usually flocked throughout the year by travellers, but the sea is considered to be quite unsafe from the month of June until September, due to heavy rainfall.
- Thonikadavu :Â Also known as the â€˜Ooty of Malabarâ€™, Thonikadavu is an offbeat location near Kariyathumpara. The towering watchtower, placid river, greenery and islands amid the hills provide a refreshing sight to visitors.
- Kappil Beach :Â Kappil Beach is a mesmerizing beach in God's own country, the South Indian State of Kerala. It is located 15 km away from Kasaragod and is one of the few beaches in India which still has an expansive area of golden sand and clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea explored by many tourists.
- The Bekal Hole Aqua Park :Â A one-of-its-kind leisure spot in the North Malabar region, Bekal Hole Aqua Park draws visitors with its thrilling water rides and serene surroundings. Nestled in the pristine stretch of the Bekal backwaters, the water park is a great place to relax and spend quality time with friends and family. The park is popular among the locals as a serene picnic spot. Tourists can also indulge in adventurous water rides on water cycles or good old pedal boats. You can even rent lightweighted canoes. The Bekal Hole Aqua Park is a stone's throw from the noted Bekal Fort, making it the centre of fun activities in the town.
- Valiyaparamba Backwaters :Â Located near Kasaragod, Valiyaparamba is a small island popular among the tourists who search for some seclusion in the lap of nature. It is located near Bekal and is a beautiful backwater destination. The place is a very peaceful and tranquil destination in Kerala and has lush green groves of coconut and emerald green backwaters that makes it a perfect retreat.
- Nityanandashram Caves :Â Founded by the infamous Swami Nityananda, the Nityanandashram stands imposingly on a hillock which is about 500 m south of the Hosadurga town. The place initially used to be a forest, and later 45 caves from a single laterite stone was constructed by the Swami. The caves lie very close to the Hosadurga Fort. Nityanandashram is the ideal place for meditation. One of the many attractions of the Nityanandashram is a full-size statue of the Swami in a sitting posture. This statue is made of panchaloha.
- Ananthapura Temple :Â The Ananthapura Temple is the only Lake temple of Kerala and is situated in a sleepy hamlet â€˜Ananthapuraâ€™ in Kasaragod district, Kerala. This 9th-century temple is believed to be the moolasthanam or original abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha, the deity of the famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Keralaâ€™s capital, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Chandragiri Fort :Â The massive fort of Chandragiri with its massive palaces namely the Raja Mahal and Rani Mahal is among the best places to visit in Tirupati. Located amidst lush greenery in the Chittoor district it offers a great trekking destination for adventure enthusiasts. The Chandragiri Fort is a brilliant specimen of the Indo- Saracenic architecture which dates back to the 11th century. The unique feature of the fort is its construction with brick, lime mortar and stone devoid of any timber in the entire edifice.
- Hosdurg Beach :Â Hosdurg Beach is absolutely rich in flora and fauna and is a perfect place to explore with family and friends. You can find Casuarina orchards populating the beach, nesting turtles crawling onto the shores to lay their eggs which adds to the beauty of the beach and are a sight to behold.
- Chembirika Beach :Â Chembirika Beach serves as the perfect option for a pleasant holiday. It seemingly has an endless expanse of golden sand with frothy waters that gently caresses your feet, Chembirika Beach is definitely a place worth visiting, especially if you are an ardent nature lover.
- Pallikare Beach :Â Located in the Kasaragod district, Pallikare Beach is a shallow beach which is adorned with beautiful lush coconut trees and bushes all around. The beach provides a sense of tranquility and calmness to the visitors. Moreover, the beach also has a park with childrenâ€™s facility nearby too.
Things to see at Bekal Fort
- Anjaneya Temple : The Anjaneya Temple at Nanganallur, Chennai is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Hanuman. The idol was installed in 1989 and consecrated in 1995.
- Malik Deena Mosque : Malik Deena Mosque with a typical Malabar style of architecture was built by Malik Ibn Deenar. Considered to be one of the most well-kept and an attractive mosque of Kasaragod District. The place is a must-visit especially during the Uroos festival which is celebrated with great fervor.
- Underground Passages : One can find many underground passages leading outside from various parts of the Fort. Two of them remain intact, one leading to the south of the fort and the other to the moat on the east.
- Sea Bastion : The historic fort was endowed with impressive walls and ramparts which are hindered by massive bastions.
- Taj Bekal Resort & Spa : Relax, catch up on some much-needed rest, and unwind as you soak in the relaxed surroundings. Keralaâ€™s famous palm leaf drawings, called Chitra Pothi, are recreated on Tussar silk that have mythological and spiritual themes.
- Malabar Ocean Front Resort & Spa : Located right on the beach, with spectacular sea view, the Malabar Ocean Front Resort & Spa offers the perfect choice for your weekend getaways, family vacations and honeymoon trips. The resort & spa is situated on one of the most beautiful, secluded location surrounded by coconut trees which adorns the natural beauty of Kerala. Plan your weekends, holidays and Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies on the white sandy beaches of â€œGodâ€™s own countryâ€ Kerala. Short trips to serene locations nearby and Ayurveda massages along with your favorite Spa treatments ensure that there is something to do for everyone.
- Kanan Beach Resort : A natural and homely Ayurvedic beach resort in Godâ€™s own Kerala at northern district Kasaragod, stays in between Bekal beach and Nileshwar beach. Kerala which is situated in the southern part of India is globally famous for its scenic beauty of greenery. This state is very rich in natural, beautiful for its heavenly ambiance of green surroundings and charming beauty of water by making it paradise over land. At Kanan Beach Resort, we value relationships and offer everlasting hospitality.
Best Time to Visit
The best season to visit the Bekal Fort is from October to March, as the weather is cooler and dry. The tourists find this season comfortable and enjoyable in the entire region of Kerala.
How to Reach
There are many ways to arrive at the Bekal Fort through various modes of transportation available. One can easily take a bus (which takes about an hour), taxi, auto-rickshaw or a private vehicle to reach here. Bekal Fort also has a railway station located at a distance of 1.7 km from the fort. The Bekal Fort is located about 15 kilometres from the Kasaragod Town.