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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bekal Fort

Bakel is the most well maintained and largest fort in Kerala, having an area of 40 acres. It is believed that the fort was built in the 17th century by Shivappa Naik of Thelkkeri dynasty. Later the fort passed on to Hyder Ali of Mysore and even later to the British. The fort is located on the National Highway 16 kilometers from Kasaragod town. The fort lies 130 feet above sea level and that offers a thrilling sight of tides smashing the basement of the fort. The construction of the fort is a manner that overlooks Arabian sea. The fort was built only for defense requirements and not for administrative purpose. There is 30 feet high Observation tower here which offers panoramic view of the surrounding areas and nearby beach. The underground tunnels leading to the sea and the moat on the eastern side are the main attractions here. The important attractions in this fort are the tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south, the magazine for keeping ammunition (It is now not accessible for visitors) and the broad and wide steps leading to the Observation Tower. The Bakel Fort is one of the leading tourist attractions in the state. One can easily spend a day here. A 'Facility Center' is located adjacent to the fort, which includes a Cloakroom, Bathrooms, Toilets, Information Center, Restaurant, Fruit Stall and a Handicraft outlet function in the center. The fort permits visitors only in day time except certain celebration days. It is one of the main cultural centers in Kerala. Presently the protection and preservation of Bekal fort has been entrusted to the Archaeological Survey of India.

The Anjaneya Temple lies near to the fort. The temple is dedicated to 'Anjaneya' (Lord Hanuman). The temple walls here are adorned with images of Gods. The temple is believed to be as old as the fort. It is one of the main pilgrimage centers in this region. Just a little away from the fort and temple, there is an ancient mosque having tall minarets and arched entrance. It is believed that the fort was built by Tipu Sulthan of Mysore.

The Paliakara beach lies near to the fort, which also knows as the Bakel fort beach and is located 1 kilometer away from the fort. The beach offers spectacular views of the fort and is an ideal place for sunset viewing, evening walks and relaxation. An Aqua Park is also located here, which provides water sport facilities like water cycle, diving and swimming, pedal boats etc.

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