Bekal, a small town on eastern shore of Kerala is a metaphor of peace. It's a quiet place blessed with beauty; a huge keyhole shaped fort surrounded by the golden expanse of a stunning beach, swaying palm trees, backwaters, and hill stations.
Kasargod is a beautiful town at the northern extreme of Kerala. 16 km south of the town is the largest and well preserved Bekal fort in Kerala bordered by the majestic Arabian Sea. From its tall observation tower Bekal Fort offers a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea and true beauty of this colourful landscape.
From Kasargod, the district headquarters, one can access the Bekal Fort the landmark of the place. Apart from Bekal Fort, there are so many natural and religious sites which worth a visit. The beautiful shrines of Kasargod take us back to the glorious past.
According to Bekal Rama Nayak, a local Kannada writer, the word, Bekal is derived from the word “Baliakulam”, meaning Big Palace. In olden days it is common that for every royal palace to be protected by a fort. The Bekal fort might have, therefore, existed even from early days of the Chirakkal Rajas.
Bekal: Places to Visit & Things to Do
Kasargod is a colourful land of forts, temples and beaches. The place has an endless array of unique and enchanting natural beauties. All these things create an awesome atmosphere in Kasargod. Large number of forts like Bekal, Chandragiri, Hosdurg, Kumbala, Panayal, Kundamkuzhy and Bandaduka. reveal the historical importance of this land.
1. Bekal Fort
The Fort of Bekal stands isolated but proudly taller than the rest facing Arabian Sea. The Bekal fort of great historical and archaeological interest, is the largest and best preserved of its kind in Kerala. This largest fort in Kerala spreads over 40 acres seems to have built up from the sea since three fourth of its exterior is drenched.
The exciting memories of a bygone era are connected with this fort. This fort was built only for the defense purpose. The zigzag entrance and the trenches around the fort show the defense strategy connected with the fort.
The construction of the fort is attractive with the tank with its flight of steps, the opening of the tunnel towards the South, the magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad and wide steps leading to the Observation Tower which is a rare sight.
The observation tower offers you many marvellous places around the fort. In olden days this observation tower is used to watch the smallest movement of the enemy.
The Bekal fort is now under the Archaeological Department of the Government of India. As a part of their beautification there is so many beautiful sculptures in the place which add charm to this place. The fort is a best place to enjoy the sunset.
The golden expanse of the shallow beach surrounding the fort is the Bekal Fort Beach which is a popular tourist attraction. The exotic combination of sun, sand and sea along with the view of majestic fort is a wonderful experience. The swaying Palm trees add charm to this spectacular beach.
2. Chandragiri Fort
Chandragiri, a small beautiful place located on the banks of the Chandragiri river in Kasaragod is well known for the huge seventeenth century fort and the backwater cruises. The fort has an eventful history. Chandragiri Fort was built by Sivappa Naik for the defence of his kingdom.
The fort changed hands over the years to Hyder Ali of Mysore and then to the British East India Company. Today it is a protected monument under the State Archaeology Department. The fort offers an amazing view of the river and the Arabian sea. It is also a vantage point of sunset watchers.
A houseboat cruise through the stunning Chandragiri backwaters is a refreshing experience. The Chandragiri Boat Club run by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation offers you boat trips to nearby islands and palm groves on the river. Enjoy the enclosed calm of this backwaters and make your journey a lifetime experience.
3. Hosdurg Fort
Further 15 km south from Bekal is the Hosdurg Fort. This is also chain of fort built by Ikkeri Nayakas. Nityanand Ashram located here add a spiritual touch to this fort.
4. Kappil Beach
About 5 km away from Bekal is the vast secluded Kappil beach. It is different from other beaches with its inspiring ambiance. There is thick green creepers with mauve flowers and shallow grooves of casuarina trees. Kodi cliff nearby offers the magnificent sight of the sea.
5. Malik Dinar Mosque, Kasargod
Malik Ibn Dinar, an ardent disciple of Prophet Mohammed is believed to have been the first person to propagate Islam in Kerala and the mosque in Thalangara area in Kasargod is said to have been found by him.
The mosque has magnificent wooden beams and thick shining columns. An important local celebration takes place every year in commemoration of the arrival of Malik Ibn Dinar. Pilgrims from all over India come for this Uroos.
Situated little far from Bekal there are really amazing hill stations in Kasargod which worth a visit. Ranipuram formerly known as Madathumala is an undulating mountain located about 780m above sea level. This is an ideal trekking spot for adventure lovers.
The green vegetation makes this hill station a favourite haunt of nature lovers, the wild elephants that wander the mountains offers the experience of a lifetime for wildlife enthusiasts.
The scenic beauty of this place reminds of the famous Kodaikanal. This is also a delightful trekking spot.
This enchanting hill station situated 323 meter above sea level is a wonderful picnic spot.
9. Valiyaparamba Backwaters
Valiyaparamba, a small island about 30 km from Bekal is one of the most beautiful stretch of backwaters in Kerala. Situated in the Arabian Sea, it is an important fishing centre and one of the main tourist spots of the district. Nurtured by four rivers and dotted with numerous little islands, Valiyaparamba offers an enchanting experience.
Take a houseboat cruise through this backwater to view the magnificent sight of colourful exotic birds, dense green vegetation, coconut palms and many more. This is a popular fishing centre also. Visiting Valiyaparamba will be an exciting experience.
Nileshwaram once the cultural capital of Kasargod is located about 12 km from Bekal. Nileshwaram was formerly the seat of Nileshwar Rajas of Kolathiri family. This place has great historical significance as the battle between Bednore Nayaks and Nileshwar Rajas happened here.
This is a beautiful place holding the beauty and tranquility of a typical Kerala village with the surrounding Kavus. There is also so many old buildings which are the major and minor Nileshwaram palaces.
The main Nileshwaram palace is now the Folklore Centre of the Archaeological Department. Unlike other palaces these are not grand glittering structures. These are simple but classy with solid teak roof beams, magnificent wooden pillars and shining red stone floors.
Manjeshwar is an important Pilgrim centre. For a long time period this was the seat of a flourishing community Konkani Brahmins. Manjeswaram is most famous for the two old Jaina Bastis at Bangra Manjeshwar.
Sree Anantheshwar temple situated on Manjeshwar is a popular?Hindu Pilgrim Centre. This is one of the most ancient temples in Kerala. Apart from this temple there are fifteen mosques in this place.
The only Lake Temple in Kerala Ananthapura Lake Temple, said to be the original abode of Ananthapadmanabha, the presiding deity of Kerala's most famous place of worship, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Other places of worship are Madiyan Kulam Durga Temple which is famous for the Bhutha dance, The Shri Mahalingeshwara Temple, Malik Deenar Juma Masjid and Anandashram.
There are so many other attractions in and around bekal. Some of the places which worth a visit are Kanchan Ganga Kalagramam and Puliyankulam. Also there are so many other religious attractions.
Art Forms in Bekal
Theyyam: Theyyam, the oldest ritualistic temple art form with its artistry and symbolism is the most enduring art form of Kasargod. You can see this unique ritual art form in numerous Kaliyattam held during October to May every year.
Kalaripayattu: The martial art form of Kerala is another must see attraction of this place.
Yakshagana: This art form has its root in Karnataka. A later evolution incorporates Brahmanical notions.
Find more details about Art forms in Kerala
Shopping in Bekal
Kasargod is famous for the Sari's manufactured by the Hand loom co operative society. These sari’s are traditional cotton weaves as well as half cotton half silk and pure silk blends. You can purchase these in the Hanveev showrooms in Kasargod. You can also purchase bamboo furnitures here.
Hanging jhoola and bamboo rocking chairs are available here. Other things common and cheap in here are decorated arecanut leaf caps, compact baskets and mats. Also there is Kerala special edibles like banana chips, sweet and salted jackfruit chips and golden plantains.
Where To Stay in Bekal
There are some exceptionally beautiful resorts and hotels in Kasargod. Set in the beautiful surroundings with all the comforts these are the best places to stay during your visit to this wonderful place.
The Lalit Resort & Spa: This is a top luxury beach resort in Bekal spread across 26 acres of land on the lap of Arabian Sea. Surrounded by natural backwaters and Meandering lagoons this is a wonderful place to make your stay an unforgettable experience.
Nirvana: Nirvana is an exclusive property with well equipped luxury cottages just 5 meters away from the Bekal Fort is a perfect place to stay. Enjoy your stay in the enthralling ambiance of Nirvana.
Some of the Best hotels and Resorts are Gitanjali Heritage, Chandralayam, Nalanda Resort, Neelambari Resort, Sanawara, Apsara Regency, Bekal Boat Stay etc.
Places to Eat in Bekal
You can enjoy delicious Malabar food in various restaurants in here. The food is Spicy but delicious. Some of the major hotels and restaurants are Saravana Bhavan in Century Park hotel, Salwa Dine Restaurant at the heart of Kasargod, Viceroy Restaurant with delicious Parottas and seafood, Nalanda Resort with excellent North malabar Fare.