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Bekal Fort

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Important Info

  • Open Hours: 9 am - 5:30 am
  • Entry Fee: Rs. 25
  • Time Required:  3 hrs
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Sixteen kilometers to the south of Kasaragod district on the national highway lies the largest and the best-preserved fort in Kerala. The Bekal Fort, a circular imposing structure of laterite rising 130 ft above sea level, stands on a 35-acre headland that runs into the Arabian sea. History sleeps here among the battlements of the Bekal.

The fort with its zigzag entrance, strategically designed openings in the outer walls for defense, and trenches around have no palaces and was probably built just for defense purposes. The sea bastion, underground tunnels, and the observation tower in the fort are majestic. There are many underground passages leading outside various parts of the Fort. Two of them still remain intact, one leading to the south of the fort and the other to the moat on the east. The magazine inside the fort closed to the public, is used to store weapons and ammunition, and managed by the Archaeological Survey of India. The sea bastion located on the rocky projection, west of the fort also offers a magnificent view of the sea and the beach.

There is a seaside pathway with a magnificent view of the fort to the east and the sea to the west linking the beaches north and south of the battlement. The Pallikkara beach with its shallow waters is just a few kilometers away from the fort. The Bekal Fort has been a source of attraction for historians, tourists, and nature - lovers for centuries since it embodies memories of a glorious past. Just outside the fort, there is a mosque built by Tippu Sultan of Mysore. At the entrance is the Anjaneya temple, dedicated to Sree Hanuman said to be as old as the fort itself, the shrine was recently renovated and attracts hundreds of devotees from far and near.

Travel Tips

  • Visit in the morning or evening because it is too hot at noon here.
  • The evening breeze is so cool and refreshing.
  • There is a big garden with a variety of plants and beautiful flowers.
  • On the lucky days, visitors can get a nice view of the sunset.
  • Can enjoy mouth-watering pickled mangoes, pineapple, and gooseberry at the nearby stalls.

Detailed Information

Bekal Fort is more than 300 years old and is believed to have been built in the 1650s by Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty. There is also another belief that it was originally built by Kolathiri Rajas and later captured by Sivappa Naik. The fort was occupied by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1763 A.D and then the Huzur of Canara during Tipu Sultan's reign and later by the British. It was an important military station for Tipu Sultan when he led a military expedition to capture Malabar. The coins and artifacts found in archaeological excavations at Bekal Fort indicate the strong presence of Mysore Sultans. Tipu Sultan's death during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War ended Mysorean control in 1799. The fort came under the British East India Company's control and became the headquarters of the Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay presidency

Almost three-quarters of the fort's exterior is in contact with water. Bekal Fort was not an administrative center and does not include any palaces or mansions. Some of the important features of the fort are the water-tank, the magazine, and the flight of steps leading to an observation tower built by Tipu Sultan. Standing at the center of the fort, this offers views of the coastline and the towns of Kanhangad, Kottikkulam, Pallikkara, Bekal, Mavval, and Uduma. The fort's zigzag entrance and surrounding trenches reveal its defensive strategy. Holes on the outer walls are designed to defend the fort effectively from naval attacks. The upper holes meant for aiming at the farthest targets; lower holes below for striking as enemy nearer and the lowest holes to attacking enemy closest to the fort.

Bekal Fort and its surroundings are always a favorite shooting location for film and ad makers and is also growing fast as an international tourist destination. The famous song (Uyire uyire vanthu ennodu kalandhuvidu......) from the movie Bombay, which was released in 1995 was shot here at the seashores of the Bekel Fort. Bekal is also one of the five centres selected by the Government of India to be developed into a 'Special Tourism Area'.