Kasargod is the northernmost district of Kerala is bordering the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka is famous for its forts and pristine beaches. It is located 50 km south of Mangalore city. The principle language of Kasargod is Malayalam and Kannada but other languages like Tulu, Beary Bhasha (spoken by Tuluva-Malayali Muslims) and Konkani are also widely spoken. Hindi and Urdu are spoken to a lesser extent. Havyaka speakers also have a strong base here. Havyaka Brahmins are the Hindu Pancha Dravida Brahmin Subsect primarily from Karnataka and North Malabar. They speak a unique language a dialect of Kannada known as Havigannada. So many languages for such a small town….. a living testimony to its cosmopolitan nature. The famous Malik Dinar Mosque is also located in Kasargod. It contains the grave of Malik Dinar one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed. The mosque is built in typical Kerala style of architecture.
The major attraction of Kasargod is the Bekal Fort. This is the largest fort in Kerala, spreading over 40 acres. Unlike most other Indian forts, Bekal Fort was not a center of administration and as a result no remains of palace, mansion or such buildings are found within the fort. The fort was built especially for fulfilling defense requirements. The fort was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore in 1650 AD. During the Perumal Age Bekal was part of Mahodayapuram. Following the decline of Perumals of Mahodayapuram by 12th Century AD, North Kerala including Bekal came under the sovereignty of Chirakkal Royal Family. The Maritime importance of Bekal increased much during this period and it became an important port town of Tulunadu and Malabar.
After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire following the Battle of Talikota in 1565 AD, the Keladi Nayakas (Ikkeri Nayakas) came into prominence. Fully understanding the political and economic importance of this region the Nayakas attacked and annexed this region to their kingdom. Bekal served as the nucleus in establishing the dominance of Nayakas in Malabar. Later Hyder Ali conquered the Nayakas and Bekal fell into the hands of Mysore kings. Bekal served as an important military station for Tipu Sultan when he attacked Malabar. After the deat of Tipu Sultan in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799 the fort came under the British East India Company.
Three fourth of the Bekal Fort’s exterior is surrounded by sea. The fort offers superb view of the Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers where a few centuries ago huge cannons used to be placed. Today Bekal Fort and its surrounding beach is a famous tourist destination and is a favourite shooting location for film makers. The famous song “Tu hi re” from Mani Ratnam’s movie “Bombay” was shot at Bekal Fort.
There are frequent buses from Kasargod bus stand to Pallikara which is at distance of 12 km from Kasargod and the fort is on a 5 minutes’ walk from there. Kanhangad also is at the same distance and there are frequent buses on this route.
This less crowded and unexplored beach is not very far from the Bekal fort and a better option for tourists who seek greater solitude. The small hill on this beach popularly known as Kodi cliff is a major attraction. From the top of this cliff you can enjoy the charming view of the Arabian Sea. The thick groves of casuarina trees and coconut palms along the beach is a visual treat for the tourists. The Taj Vivanta Luxury resort is also located close to Kappil beach.
Chandragiri Fort is located at the confluence of Payaswini River and the Arabian Sea. The Chandragiri fort was built by Shivappa Nayaka of Ikkeri in the 17th century. Perched atop a hill the Chandragiri fort is a vantage point to view of the sunset. It is 50 meters above sea level and occupies an area of 7 acres. Inside the fort there is a deep well and a pond.
A short walk from the Fort will take you to the river bank…
How to Reach:
It is located 12 km from Bekal fort and 4 km from Kasargod town. There are frequent buses available from Beakal and Kasardgod to reach Chandragiri. You can get down at Melparamba and walk down to the fort which is 10 minutes away. The nearest railway station is Kasargod.