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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bekal Fort

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General Information
District : Kasargod
Distance : 156 kms, north of Kozhikode
Best Time to Visit : November to February

Bekal Fort is located about 19 kms from the Kasargod district, in the state of Kerala. The fort stands rooted at the northern most point of the state. The fort is established over 35 acres of land and is abutted by the Arabian Sea.

Bekal Fort, that stands abutted by the vast stretches of the sea is a beautiful spot. The fort region is quite and calm, with the only noise coming from the waves that dash against the fort headland. The scene here is unique and reflects the dual faces of nature, the steadfast, quite fort and the rush and rumble of the sea.

The entrance to the fort follows a zig zag path with no big buildings and palaces. The fort was probably built to defend any possible invasion via sea route. The fort walls has many opening and there are trenches all around that prove the stated point. The observation tower that stands on a promontory is incredible. The observation tower exists as cascaded circular walls with opening for sea viewing. There is a regular flight of stairways leading to the tower. The base of the tower has the circumference of 80 feet and stands 30 feet in height. The tower provides a picturesque view of the Arabian Sea.

At the entrance lies the Anjaneya Temple. The temple is said as having been built at the time fort was constructed. The temple is dedicated to Sree Hanuman. The fort is connected with many underground passages that lead to outside at several points. There is a block inside the fort which was used to store weapons and ammunitions. These chambers are, at present, under the control of Archaeological Survey of India.

The excavation of coins and historical artifacts unearthed by the Archaeological Survey of India at the site has led to the popularity of the fort. The beach front near the fort, known as Bekal Fort Beach has recently been developed as a great beach resort. Two statues have been installed at the site and the place has been further beautified by a shed featuring mural walls.

Bekal Fort is more than 300 years old. Some contradictory accounts have been surfacing about the fort origins. The widely accepted belief gives the credit to Sivappa Naik of Ikkeri. The fort, as is believed, was built by Sivappa in the 1650's. The fort was occupied by Hyder Ali, father of legendary Tipu Sultan, in the year 1763 and finally surrendered to the British. However, one account holds Kolathiri Rajas responsible for the building of the fort. There are people who believe that Sivappa captured the fort that had already been built by Kolathiri Rajas. The history of the fort, as such, is enriched with many strong men and various eras it has witnessed.

A Stay at Bekal
For an overnight stay at Bekal there are quite a few hotels and tourist homes that serve the purpose. Most of the accommodation facilities lie in the nearby Kasargod town. Some popular service providers in the region include:
PWD Guest House - Bekal, PWD Guest House - Kasargod, Gitanjali Heritage, Nalanda Resorts, Hotel City Tower, Enay Tourist Home, Palika Bhavan, etc.

Reaching Bekal
Bekal is connected by a network of roads to the regions around and the rest of state. The railhead and long distance buses are provided at Kasargod, which is about 19 kms from Bekal. Buses and taxis provide the means of reaching Kasargod. At Kasargod there is a KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) bus stand with regular bus services to Mangalore, Kannur, Thalassery, Kozhikode and Kochi. The Kasargod railway station provides means of accessing the cities around via train. The nearest airport is the Bajpe Airport, located at Mangalore, some 69 kms from Bekal.

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