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Thalassery Fort- 10 Things to Know Before Visiting


About Thalassery Fort

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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Things to Do at Thalassery Fort


Thalassery Fort rises to a height of 10 meters and it is oblong in plan overlooking the sea. Built out of laterite blocks, it has high walls and strong flanking bastions and secret tunnels to the sea behind. The now-closed tunnel leads to the sea from where those seeking a sudden getaway could do so.

There is a small lighthouse inside the fort as well. It stands on the western side and a winding staircase leads to the top. Two underground chambers were used to store goods like pepper and cardamom. It is said that the coins of the British East India Company were minted here.

The fort had been constructed in a strategic location to withstand assaults and invasions. The design of the fort is in a way that it facilitates quick survey of enemies approaching by the sea. On a lighter note, it was at the beach near this fort that the British engaged in their first-ever cricket matches against the Indian natives.

Inside the premises of Thalassery Fort

One of the unique features of the fort is the entrance. The entrance to the fort is through the top of a giant 10-meter wall. Visitors have to ascend the stairs to enter the fort. The first thing to notice upon entering will be the arch-shaped station where the guards used to keep vigil.

A wide courtyard, two underground chambers, a tunnel leading to the beach, lighthouse, and bastions which once help artilleries follow the guard station. The tunnel to the beach is now closed due to security issues. The underground chambers were used to store pepper and cardamom, and British coins were also minted here. It is said that Major General Arthur Wellesley conspired here to capture Pazhassi Raja, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kottayam in Malabar.

The fort offers incredible views of the sea and the low-laying nearby areas of Thalassery. Looking from the fort, it is amazing to think about the time when the British engaged in their first-ever cricket matches against the Indians on the beach below.

History of Thalassery Fort


Thalassery was one of the most important European trading centres in Kerala during colonial times. It was the main opening for spices, hill products, and timber from the vast hinterlands. Towards the end of the 17th century, the British opened a factory north of Thalassery. And later they obtained a site in Thalassery from Kolathiri Raja, the king of Kolathunadu (a feudal kingdom in North Kerala in which Thalassery was a part) and established a factory in 1708. 

The Udayamangalam branch of the Kolathiri family and Korangoth Nair- the local chieftain resented the establishment of the factory and they attacked and made a serious damage to the British property. To safeguard their trade activities, with the support of Kolathiri Raja they built a fort around the outlying hills of Thalassery.

The French occupation of Mahe, 5 km south of Thalassery started in 1725 and compelled the British to strengthen their fortification to establish a stronghold on the Malabar Coast. From 1776 to 1784, they kept a strong military establishment at Thalassery Fort although it was originally established as a warehouse for cardamom and pepper. 

The time of Mysore Kings and post Independence 

In 1718, Hyder Ali, the ruler of the Mysore Kingdom tried to capture the fort in his campaign to control Malabar. He failed in his attempt of conquering Malabar and later his successor Tipu Sultan was forced to cede Malabar to the British in 1792 after numerous wars. 

After the Independence of India, the fort housed many government offices. Later it was handed over to the Archeological Survey of India recognising its historical significance.

Best Time to Visit Thalassery Fort


Don't visit the fort at midday. The weather will be very humid and warm. Best to be here in the evening, watching the sunset in the Arabian sea. There will be a lot of people visiting at the weekends.

Tips for Visiting Thalassery Fort

  1. It is a well-maintained fort but people with disabilities and seniors will have a hard time climbing the stairs.
  2. Visit in the evening to see a magnificent sunset in the Arabian sea.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Thalassery Fort

  1. It is believed that the coins of the British East India Company were minted here.
  2. It was at the beach near this fort that the British engaged in their first-ever cricket matches against the Indian natives.
  3. The conspiracy to capture Pazhassi Raja, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kottayam in Malabar was held at Thalassery Fort.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Thalassery Fort

Thalassery Fort is not large. 30 minutes to an hour is sufficient to explore it.

How to Reach Thalassery Fort

The fort is situated very near to the Thalassery bus stand and requires only 10 minutes of walking. Thalassery, situated in the middle of the Trivandrum- Mangalore bus route is connected very well with the rest of the districts of Kerala State. The nearest major railway station is in Thalassery, and that too is only 10 minutes away from the fort on walking.

Entrance Fee of Thalassery Fort

There is no entry fee for the fort.

Opening Hours of Thalassery Fort

Thalassery Fort is open daily from 8 AM to 5.30 PM.

Attractions Near Thalassery Fort

Dharmadom Island

Dharmadom Island

4.6km from Thalassery Fort

An island that can be accessed on foot during low tides.

Mahe Lighthouse

Mahe Lighthouse

6.96km from Thalassery Fort

Mahe Lighthouse is a lighthouse situated on the south side of the entrance of the Mayyazhi river in Mahe, Puducherry. It was established in the year 1893. There is a project by the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships to upgrade the lighthouse.

St. Theresa Shrine, Mahe

St. Theresa Shrine, Mahe

7.27km from Thalassery Fort

St. Teresa’s Shrine, Mahe is one of the most visited shrines in India. The Shrine is located in Mahe, in the State and Union Territory of Puducherry which shares its boundaries with the State of Kerala.

Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach

Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach

7.56km from Thalassery Fort

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.

Mahe Boat House and walkway

Mahe Boat House and walkway

7.83km from Thalassery Fort

The walkway on the banks of River Mahe is one of a kind facility where aesthetics and purpose integrate together and extends one’s mind and soul huge satisfaction. The walkway resembles a diamond necklace around the landscape of the Mahe town. The Walkway is well lit and furnished with enough park benches to relax and enjoy the beauty of Mahe River. At one end of the Walkway near the Govt. House, there is the visual portrayal of the famous Novel of the noted writer “the story teller of Mahe” Sri



11.17km from Thalassery Fort

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