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The Bekal fort is one of the biggest forts in Kerala extending up to forty acres. It was constructed in 1650 AD by Sivvapa Nayaka. Archeological evidences indicate that the fort predominantly belonged to the Perumal age. It is located in a small town called Bekal in the eastern region of the state. It is a unique tourist location consisting of a beach resort close to the fort. The resort and the fort are maintained by the Bekal Resort Development Corporation. This little known fort in North Kerala came into prominence when it was used in the movie 'Uyyire' in Tamil which was also remade in Hindi as 'Bombay'.
Brief History of Bekal Fort
The exact origin of this fort is mired in some lost history - because this fort was extensively modified and additional sections were constructed by successive powers since the time the original fort was built. Bekal fort - originally was constructed by the Sivappa Nayak to ward off enemies from the sea. Earlier this region was under the kingdom of Chirakal who were related to the Chera, Chola Dynasties. Chirakal kings must have constructed this fort - earlier than 1650 AD along with the fort at Chandragiri. Anyway what stands now - is the version last left by the British who took the fort from Tippu Sultan of Mysore. Tippu Sultan's father Hyder Ali took this fort from the fading Nayaks.
It is a massive brick and mortar structure with ramparts and watch towers built at the high point - indicating the time of its medieval origin. With the advent of European maritime powers who were equipped with naval guns, the fort ceased to have much of strategic value.
If you want to watch a historical fort - battered by the sea, the bricks covered with green moss, set against the backdrop of a quiet coastal village - then Bekal fort is right for you. But the ASI won't allow you to serenade past 5.30 in the evening.
Visiting Bekal Fort
The important places of interest in the Bekal fort region are the rock gardens which are maintained by the corporation. The Kasargod region boasts of lush green vegetation, backwaters and beach resorts. The Bekal Fort is in the form of a keyhole surrounded by the beach.
The fort consists of huge observatory towers from which the Arabian Sea can be viewed. The Coastline walk of the fort attracts many tourists especially in the evening as the walls of the fort are illuminated and decorated with lights.
Visitors to Bekal Fort can see the water tank located atop a flight of steps, a magazine for storing ammunition and broad steps taking you to the Observation Tower, which played a vital role in spotting enemy attacks. Waves continue to lash the Fort's exteriors and most often the fort's exteriors are always drenched. It is surprising that the kiln-fired bricks used in the construction of the fort withstood the onslaught of the Arabian Sea for hundreds of years. This is another evidence to the fact that there were no major storms in this malabar coast from the fort's time of construction. Besides it also bears testimony - that this fort never faced much of adversary who was armed with field guns. The colonial European powers never considered this part of malabar coast worth their while to wrestle it from the occupants.
Coins and other artifacts that were found in an archaeological excavation at Bekal Fort indicate that the Mysore Sultans were in control of this fort at some time. Later it came under the British control. In fact the Observation Tower is said to have been built by Tipu Sultan. The rest-house was built by the British.
Traveling to Bekal Fort
The nearest railway stations are Pallikare, Kotikulam, Kanhangad,and Kasargod. The nearest airport locations are Mangalore and Kozhikode. Kanhangad is about 8 km away while Kasargod is nearly 18 km away.
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