Bekal Fort - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
About Bekal Fort
Spreading over 40 acres, Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala. It is situated in Bekal village of the northernmost Kasargod district of Kerala state. The 360-year-old fort is shaped like a giant keyhole and it is surrounded by a spectacular beach. The tall observation towers where huge cannons were once placed offer a scenic view of the Arabian Sea and adjacent towns.
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Things to Do at Bekal Fort
Unlike most other Indian forts, the Bekal fort was not used for administrative purposes. There are no remains of palaces, mansions, or any other such buildings inside the structure. Instead of these, holes can be seen in the outer walls of the forts, specially designed to defend the fort. The holes at the top were used to aim at long distances, holes at the middle were used for striking the enemy when they are nearer and the holes at the bottom helped to attack when the enemy was right near to the fort. This evidence of defense strategy implicates that the fort was developed solely for the purpose of defense.
The main features of the fort are its underground tunnels, observation towers, the sea bastion, the zigzag entrance, strategic openings on the walls, and water tank with its steps. Visitors can walk through the fort to see all of these features. There is also access to the beach from the fort.
History of Bekal Fort
The recorded history mentions that the fort was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore in 1650 AD. But it is believed that Bekal Fort might have existed even from the early days of the Chirakkal Kings as it was common in those days to build a fort for the purpose of defense. Many of the royal palaces during that time had forts to protect them from enemies.
The two nearby forts, Bekal and Chandragiri could have been under Chirakkal Kings until the time of Shivappa Nayak's invasion. Perhaps the Bednore rulers might have rebuilt and improved the fort. Many communities like Koteyar/ Ramakshtriya's in Bekal and other places in Kasaragod were said to have been brought by the Bednore rulers to strengthen and defend the fort. There were numerous struggles between Chirakkal Kings and Bednore rulers to recapture and maintain their hold over this area.
Following the rise of Hider Ali and his capture of Bekal, these struggles came to an end and Bekal fell to the hands of Mysore Kings.
When Tipu Sultan, the youngest son of Hider Ali started his expedition to capture Malabar, Bekal Fort served as an important station for his army. The coins and other artifacts unearthed by the archaeological excavation show the strong presence of the Mysore Sultans in Bekal Fort.
The fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799 led to the death of Tipu Sultan and the fort came under the British East India Company. During the time of the British East India Company, Bekal Fort became significant for their military and administrative ventures. It became the headquarters of the then-created Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay presidency.
South Canara became a part of the Madras presidency in 1862 and Bekal Taluk was renamed Kasargod Taluk. Slowly the political and economic magnitude of Bekal and its port declined considerably. And with the state re-organization in 1956 Kasargod became part of Kerala.
Best Time to Visit Bekal Fort
The best time to visit the Bekal fort is during the months of October to March. This is because the weather is pleasant and cool during these months, making it ideal for exploring the fort and its surroundings. Even during these months, the weather could get extremely warm during the noon time so plan to visit in the morning or evening. Evenings are even better since you could see a magnificent sunset from the fort premises.
Tips for Visiting Bekal Fort
- Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved in exploring the fort.
- Photography is allowed inside the fort, but please be respectful of the historical site and do not climb on or damage any structures.
- Go early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the heat and to see the fort at its best.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Bekal Fort
- Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala.
- The Bekal fort was featured in a Hollywood movie called ‘Dil Se’ which starred Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala.
- The fort was declared a Monument of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India
- It is surrounded by a moat which was once used to protect the fort from invaders.
- The fort was built using Laterite stone, which is found in abundance in the region.
- There are several secret tunnels inside the fort, which were used as escape routes during times of war.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Bekal Fort
Most visitors spend between two and three hours walking around and exploring the various buildings and structures within the fort complex.
How to Reach Bekal Fort
The fort is located at Pallikere village of Kasaragod district in Kerala State of Southern India. The nearest large towns are Kasaragod (18km) and Kanhangad (9km) from where there are straight buses to Pallikere. The nearest railway stations are also at Kasaragod and Kanhangad, connected to most other parts of the country.
Entrance Fee of Bekal Fort
Adults are charged INR 50 and students are charged INR 20 for entrance to the Bekal Fort.
Opening Hours of Bekal Fort
Bekal Fort is open daily from 8 AM to 6 PM.
Attractions Near Bekal Fort
Kappil Beach- Kasaragod
4.49km from Bekal Fort
One of the cleanest and pristine beaches in Kerala, decorated with loads of broken sea shells on its sandy floor.
10.95km from Bekal Fort
A beautiful hill giving panoramic views and a colorful sky in the evening. One of the less explored places in the area, best visited in the evening.
Swami Nithyananda Ashram
11.36km from Bekal Fort
There are 44 caves here for meditations and a temple on top of these caves.
Madhur Madhanantheshwara Temple
18.05km from Bekal Fort
Madhur Madhanantheshwara Temple, also known as Sree Madanantheswara Sidhivinayaka Temple or Madhur Temple rises against the beautiful landscape of the adjacent Madhuvahini river with coconut trees and paddy fields surrounding the temple premises. The temple has a unique architecture with its three-tiered dome, copper plated roofing and cloistered court.
20.53km from Bekal Fort
Palayi Kadavu is pretty much hidden from outsiders. A couple of kilometers away from Nileshwar town is Palayi Kadavu with its amazing view of coconut plantations bordering its banks, and the slowly moving picturesque Tejaswini river. The river which is rather small upstream looks mighty here, nearing its completion of journey to the Arabian Sea.
Ananthapura Lake Temple
22.01km from Bekal Fort
Ananthapura Lake Temple is the only lake temple in Kerala and it is believed to be the original seat of Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Lord Vishnu resting on the serpent King) of Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvananthapuram. The lake in which the temple is built measures around two acres in size. you can see a cave in the right corner of the lake and it's believed that the deity Anantha Padmanabha chose to go all the way to Thiruvananthapuram through that cave.
Discover More Attractions in Kasaragod, Home of Bekal Fort
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What Visitors Say About Bekal Fort
Bekal fort certainly worth its hype. Its much larger than I thought, took us around an hour and half to explore it fully. The premises are well kept, the view and the fort extension to the sea is pretty amazing. Its quite a shame that i did not visit the fort even though it is the most popular attraction of the district I am from.
An ancient fort located at Bekal,kasargod district which lies in the banks of arabian sea . This fort has a vast area and the major attraction is a huge watch tower at the centre of the fort. From this watch tower we can see the places around the fort very clearly..
It is situvated in Malabar coastline. It is popular for fort. It is a small region on the shores of Arabian sea. We can see beautiful sunset from the fort.
The most famous tourist attraction from my homeland. Bekel Fort is about 20 Kilometres from Kasargod Town. An old fort, well kept by the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort overlooks the Arabian Sea and provides a stunning view of the sea.
totally agree !
Great historical monument