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Bekal : Fortified history in North Kerala

I got this incredible opportunity to travel to North Kerala during the monsoons; the most pleasant and green time of the year. We happened to visit the Bekal Fort; the largest and the most preserved Fort in Kerala. The Fort comes under the Archeological Survey of India, the body that takes care of the preservation and maintenance of the Fort. Just in front of the Fort, you can see a Hanuman Kovil (temple).

This is an elaborate complex, which was once a military fort and it so it had places for ammunition, spaces for canons, observatory tower etc. To built up something like this in some part of history would have been a tremendous job. Since North of Kerala has a lot of laterite stones, the whole fort complex including the floor is built with laterite stones.

The Fort is spread across forty acres on the shores of the Arabaian sea and overlooks the Bekal beach. There is a large keyhole kind of structure, that extends to the sea, amidst the rock formations on the coastline. Towards the south, there is an extended crescent-shaped beach, which adds on to the beauty of the place. There are storage spaces for ammunition, and it is said that there had been cannon lying here for some time until recently, they were taken away. There is a large water tank and, an observation tower. The place appeared to be green and, there was a small opening to the sea, where you can find many steps. The evenings would be pleasant, with a nice soothing breeze from the sea. It would take at least around half an hour to forty-five minutes, to walk around the Fort.

The Fort was built during the 1500’s by Shivappa Nayakas of Bednore. They were the prime rulers, reigning the region, after the fall of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. They ruled over coastal Karnataka and North Kerala, and almost all parts of Karnataka. Later, the Fort has been taken over by many rulers and kingdoms. The Forts in India are primarily built around the capital, or the administrative area of the kingdom, unlike the Bekal fort, which was built away from the kingdom administration. The prime intention behind the construction of the Fort was to resist any attack from the sea, by foreign powers. Bekal was also a prominent port which had trade relations with the Arab world.

The nearest railway station is Kanhangad or Kasargod, both are equidistant from Bekal fort. Nearest Airport is the Mangalore International Airport. There are some luxury accommodation options available here; Taj Bekal, The Lalit Bekal, Neeleshwar Hermitage and Kanhan Beach Resort.

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