St. Angelo Fort Kannur- 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
About St. Angelo Fort Kannur
St. Angelo Fort (also known as Kannur Kotta or Kannur Fort) is one of the most important seashore forts of Kerala. It is situated at the side of Ayikkara Mapila Bay on a cliff protruding into the Arabian Sea about three kilometres from the town of Kannur. The fort is one of the earliest structures of the Portuguese on the Malabar Coast.
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St. Angelo Fort offers fascinating views of the Arabian Sea, the nearby Mapila Bay, and the small Dharmadom Island far away.
The fort stands majestically with history plastered all over the walls, reminding us of a time when the spice trade was at its peak along the coast - and the entire region was at siege from various dynasties from India, Europe and the Middle East for control of the trade. There are three large bastions built by the Dutch, an old lighthouse that used to be lit by a lamp during the British days, a restored chapel, barracks, cannons and tombstones in the fort. The prison rooms inside are dark with only a single hole for supplying food. some of the parts of the fort are collapsed but the majority of it is still in very good shape.
The architecture of the Fort
The fort is a combined feature of Portuguese, Dutch, and British architecture right from the early 16th century. It is massive, built of laterite roughly triangular on the plan with high walls on a rocky point.
A dry moat runs from the land side of the fortress on one side. During the period of the Portuguese, to isolate the fort from the mainland, a water moat connecting the Arabian sea to Mapila Bay was constructed. Most of the buildings like chapels, houses of mercy prison, offices and other amenities in the fort were built by the Portuguese. The Dutch built the horse stables and ammunition house inside the fort. The main gate is towards the land and is protected by bastions.
The cannons that are used by the Portuguese and British were kept inside the fort. Presently the cannons are fixed in the merlons and bastions of the fort wall pointing towards the sea.
History of St. Angelo Fort Kannur
The Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama first came to Malabar Coast in 1498 AD developing a cordial relationship with the Kolathiri Raja who was the king of Kolathunadu, a feudal kingdom in North Kerala. To establish commercial relations with the Portuguese, the king offered a site to construct a factory at Kannur and thus the first trading arrangements were made.
The Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral subsequently in 1500 AD made adjacent installations in the factory. During the second visit of Vasco da Gama in 1502 AD, he built a palisade with the permission of Kolathiri Raja and 200 Portuguese soldiers were stationed at the factory.
In 1505AD, Dom Francisco d’Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy to India, obtained permission from the Kolathiri Raja to construct a fort and it was completed in 1507AD. The fort was named St.Angelo. Later on, it became an important military station for the defence of the west coast.
At the time of the Dutch
As part of the colonial imperialism, the Dutch were also competing to establish their supremacy in trade in India, particularly in Kerala, along with other European powers like the Portuguese, the British and the French. In 1663 AD, the Dutch captured the fort from the Portuguese and made modifications to it. Then it was sold to the Arakkal Ali Rajas of Kannur in 1772 AD. Later the British seized the fort in 1790 AD and enlarged it to become the most important military station on the Malabar Coast.
After the Independence of India
After the independence of India, the fort was abandoned by the British and later became a protected monument under the Archeological Survey of India. In recent times, thousands of cannonballs each weighing several kilos were discovered on the fort premises in 2005. The Archeological Survey of India which led the excavation believes that these were buried as part of military preparedness.
The myth of the secret tunnel
There is a pathway behind the fort which stretches a kilometre or two into the sea.
There is a not-so-believable yet very intriguing story around the fort that mentions a secret underground tunnel of 21 km inside the fort which connects it to Thalassery Fort. This tunnel is said to be used by the soldiers to escape from the attack of enemies. The story is far-fetched, but it really would have been super cool to have a secret tunnel system underground.
Best Time to Visit St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Apart from the seasonal preferences, St. Angelo Fort can be visited any time of the year. The summers in the fort are pretty hot but in monsoon, it is quite nice to see the waves crashing beneath the cliffs at the fort.
At any period of the year, the fort will be crowded during weekends since it is close to Kannur town.
Tips for Visiting St. Angelo Fort Kannur
- St. Angelo Fort is a large fort complex, and it can take several hours to explore everything it has to offer. Make sure to allow enough time to see everything, and consider visiting early in the day to avoid the heat.
- Watch the sunset: The fort gives stunning views of the sunset when the sky turns a beautiful golden hue. Make sure to stick around.
- Be sure to explore all of the fort's many turrets, chambers and passageways.
- Thousands of canon balls are stored in a rather unwelcoming chamber in the fort. Don't miss seeing them.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About St. Angelo Fort Kannur
- The fort provided naval supplies to the Portuguese navy for the conquest of Goa and the Portuguese battles against the Egyptian state of the Mamluk.
- As the Portuguese settlement at Kannur had no revenue, the fort's expenses were funded from Goa, the seat of Portuguese rule in India.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at St. Angelo Fort Kannur
About 2 hours is required to see all that is offered by St. Angelo Fort.
How to Reach St. Angelo Fort Kannur
St. Angelo Fort is in the Kannur District of Kerala State in Southern India. The fort is located near Kannur Town (3 km) and there are buses and taxis available from the town to the fort. The major railway station is located in Kannur.
Entrance Fee of St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Adults: INR 25, Children (13 years-18 years): INR 10, Foreigners: INR 300, Two Wheeler Parking: INR 10, Four Wheeler Parking: INR 30
Opening Hours of St. Angelo Fort Kannur
St. Angelo Fort is open daily from 8 AM to 5.30 PM.
Attractions Near St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Arakkal Kettu Museum
0.95km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Arakkal Museum (also known as Arakkal Kettu/ Arakkal Palace) was the residence of the former Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. The museum is located in Ayikkara Mapila Bay, about three kilometres from Kannur Town of Kerala State in Southern India. The museum now displays numerous artefacts and ornaments belonging to the Rajas and it is protected by Archeological and Tourism Departments.
2.96km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
One of the five beaches that are collectively known as "Kannur beach". Being right near to Kannur City, the beach is a popular spot. In addition to the beach, the area has monuments that commemorate the lives of political leaders who belonged to Kannur.
Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach
9.7km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Muzhuppilangad Drive-in Beach is a 5.5 km long beach in the Kannur district of Kerala State in Southern India. This is the longest-drivable beach in India and one of the six best beaches for driving in the world according to BBC autos.
12.73km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
An island that can be accessed on foot during low tides.
Parassinikkadavu Snake Park & Mini Zoo
15.16km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Witness and interact with King Cobras, Vipers, Crocodiles and many other snakes and reptiles.
17.21km from St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Thalassery Fort (also known as Tellicherry Fort) is a 17th-century fort in Thalassery town of Kannur District of Kerala State in Southern India. The fort was a stronghold of the British during their occupation of India and it lies on a low wooden hill running down to the sea, protected by waters.
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What Visitors Say About St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Definitely not anywhere as large as Bekal Fort, but the army barracks and the huge collection of excavated cannon balls are fascinating. Its pretty well maintained, and seems like a popular spot for couples. We did not stay for long here, we were on a quick tour that took as less than an hour to walk around the entire fort premises. Since its location in the shores of Arabian sea, I can imagine the sunset to be amazing from here.