Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala, situated at Bekal village in Kasaragod district, North Kerala and it is 67 km from Mangalore spreading over 40 acres. The 300-year-old Bekal Fort, shaped like a giant key-hole, is one of the largest and best-preserved forts in Kerala. An important features of this fort is the water-tank with its flight of steps. The fort has a tunnel opening towards the south and a magazine for keeping ammunition with broad steps leading to the Observation Tower. Bekal fort beach is among the rare world beaches which are enjoyable even after the dusk as electrically illuminated beach offers a photogenic view of paradise on the earth.
Bekal is a perfect tourist spot, popular for its scenic beauty and this grabs the attention of visitors from different places. It’s a fascinating place to visit during the vacation as you can take the pleasure of nature and rejuvenate yourself. A set of 45 caves known as the Nityanandashram caves, forts, temples, mosques, the aqua park, etc., are its major attractions. The fort is a keyhole shaped lofty structure that stands still against the rocky shores of sea amusing its visitors with its finesse. The whole purpose of erecting this structure by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore in year 1650 was purely of defense. The holes on the outer walls of the fort are specially designed to defend the fort effectively. The holes at top were meant for aiming at the farthest points; the holes below for striking when the enemy was nearer and the holes underneath facilitated attacking when the enemy was very near to the fort. This is remarkable evidence of technology in defense strategy.
Considered to be built by Sivappa Nayaka in 1650, Bekal Fort has other version of its origin according to which 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. The fort fell in to the hands of Hyder Ali in 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 fort came under the English East India
In 1992 the Government of India declared Bekal Fort as a special tourism area.In the year 1995 the government formed Bekal Tourism Development Corporation for transforming Bekal Fort into international tourism centre. Tourism promotion activities have been taking place of late in the areas surrounding the fort, under the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC). The song ‘Uyire’ (Tamil) from the movieBombay (film) directed by Mani Ratnam has been shot at Bekal Fort. Many such films, music albums, and commercial advertisements are being shot at Bekal Fort.
Bekal beach remains enlightened during evening hours so that tourists can spend some time at the seashore after dusk. There is a fascinating walkway made for the visitors to view the scenic beauty of the coastal line and relish the panoramic view of the Bekal Fort. There are resting facilities like Multi- sheds and Eru madams where visitors can take rest and savor the sea breeze. A short ride in a Kettuvallam is also a wonderful idea, as it’s a traditional houseboat of Kerala that offer unrivaled experience of the backwaters. While discovering the clumps of green, past fleets of ducks and the little thatched houses, you’ll really feel the tranquility all around.
Tourist Attraction :
Ananthapura Temple :
Ananthapura Temple is a lake temple, which dates back to 9th century. The temple comprises of the Moolasthana of the Anantha Padmanabha Swami. The temple is situated in Kasargod district of Kerala and is connected to Sri Anantha Padmanabha Temple, Trivandrum. It’s a lovely temple surrounded by a lake. Ananthapura Lake Temple is built in the middle of a lake in the little village of Ananthapura.The temple is at 6 km of distance from Kumble. The most amazing part is that it is the only lake temple in Kerala. It is believed that this was the original seat of Ananthapadmanabha Swami who settled down here.
Valiyaparamba Backwaters :
One of the most enchanting backwater stretches of Kerala, Valiyaparamba is just 19 km away from Bekal. There are four rivers giving shape to this network and idly meander through the land, between paddy fields and palm grooves, is one of the popular tourist locations in the destination. Valiyaparamba Backwaters serves as a major fishing centre in the region. This stretch of backwater is one of most scenic in Kerala.
Kappil Beach :
Kappil Beach, one of the most beautiful tourist attractions, is located at a distance of about 5 km from Bekal in the Kasargod District. The beach bounded by plethora of picture perfect views will leave you absolutely spellbound. The beach is considered to be a popular weekend getaway for natives as well as tourists. Tourists can also visit the Kodi cliff, situated near the site to enjoy view of the Arabian Sea. To reach the Chandragiri River, motor boats are available at the beach.
For someone who is interested in viewing cultural and religious places, they should visit Thrikkannad Shiva Temple, Ananthapura Lake Temple, Anantheshwara Vinayaka Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Madiyankulam Durga Temple, Bela Church, etc. You’ll find a perfect blend of serenity and holiness at these places, which can make you feel relax and cool. So, don’t ignore these places of worship while holidaying in Bekal.
How To Reach :
By Air : The nearest airport is at Manglore (50 km), which is connected with all major cities of India.
By Rail : Kasargod and Kanhagad are the nearest important railway stations from Bekal, which are located at a distance of around 14 km and 16 km away. Once you arrive at either of the railway stations, you can hire a taxi to go to Bekal. The other nearby stations are in Kottikulam and Pallikere but they are stops only for local trains.
By Road : Nearest bus stand is Kasaragod.There are regular buses available from many cities Mangalore, Kochi, Kannur, Thrissur, etc.
Image copyright by ommons.wikimidia.org, keralapicnicspot.com, flickr.com