Kasaragod

BekalSituated on the banks of the Payaswini River, Kasaragod’s many monuments bring back the colorful days of the Kolathiri rajas. Home to the largest and most well preserved fort in the entire Kerala and abode of the popular Malik Ibn Dinar Mosque, it can also boast of the only lake temple in Kerala tourism.

The hinterland of Kasaragod is lush and green as it has 12 major and minor rivers coursing through it. The two rivers, Talapady and Trikaripur, actually demarcate the northern and southern boundaries of this busy town. The centre of Kasaragod bustles with business and trade – in coir products, hides, skins and handloom. There are many bustling restaurants, and glitzy shops with rows of electronic goods and perfumes, owned by those who have returned from the Gulf countires, peddle their ware between outlets hawking banana and jackfruits chips.

For details of Kasaragod District and Kerala tourism, see the web page http://halokerala.com/picnic-spots/kasaragod/

SIGHTS

Bekal Fort

Bekal FortLocated in the Kasargod district of Malabar region, this is the largest fort in Kerala spread over 40 acres. Built by Shivappa Naikar of Bednore in 1950 AD, the fort offers a panoramic view of the Bekal Beach. In 1992, the Centre declared Bekal Fort as a special tourism area and in 1995 Bekal Tourism Development Corporation was formed in order to transform Bekal Fort and Beach into an international tourism centre. The fort is an protected site under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

This 17th century edifice, one of the best maintained in all of Kerala, is situated nearly 40 m above the waves of the Arabian Sea that crash against its bastions. An observation tower in the centre and the walkway along the periphery, both offer stupendous views of the ocean. There are undergrounds tunnels connecting the moat on its eastern side with the sea. A 1909 British built guest house is now an outpost for the tourism police.

The Anjaneya Temple beside the gate has colorful stucco image of gods on its walls. Just outside is an old mosque with tall minarets and arched entrances, said to have been built by Tipu Sultan. The pallikere Beach lies next to the fort. Other attractions include a Bekal aqua park and boat rides to the backwaters.

Anandashram

Founded in 1931 by Swami Ramdas and Mother Krishabai, missionaries who devoted their lives to spreading the message of universal love and service, this ashram is located in an internally known spiritual centre. Prayer halls and visitors a cottages are located within the large shady compound.

Chandragiri Fort

Chandragiri FortThe village of Chandragiri, situated near the confluence of the Payaswini River and the Arabian Sea, is famous for the fort atop a small hill, overlooking the estuary.However, now only the ruins of this 17th century fort, built by Shivappa Nayak of Bedapore, are left standing. The views of the gently flowing river and the shimmering sea beyond are spectacular.

Chandragiri Fort is a landmark built with huge stones, larger than those of Bakel.The fort with its three entrances and houses tow caves within. There is pond and a well too in the fort. On the North wall of the fort can still be seen the openings once used for firing canons.

Chandragiri RiverThe Chandragiri River is considered as the traditional boundary between Tulu Nadu and Malayalam regions of Kerala. The fort, which stands high on a plot of nine acres on the hilltop, is in ruins now. But the location offers a breathtaking view of the convergence of the river and the Arabian Sea.Boat trips to nearby islands and palm groves and a ride on the backwaters are major attractions. The place offers a vantage point to watch beautiful sunsets from the ancient Kizhur Sasta Temple at Chandragiri.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva’s son. The form of the principal deity here is that of Lord Kirata, one of the avatars of Lord Shiva. The temple celebrates its annual Utsavam that derives its origin from the Nilambur Kovilakam,a temple now in ruins.

During this festival, different groups of singers come together for a live performance. They sing in glory of the God. The six day festival is held in January.

Kappil Beach

The secluded Kapil Beach, fringed by palms and occasional casuarinas groves, is among the cleanest and most unpolluted in all of Kerala. The nearby Kodi cliff offers panoramic views of the sea and the beach, while the Pallikunnam Temple,2 km away, promises spiritual salvation.

Possadi Gumpe

East of Manjeswaram is a small hill resort known as Possadi Gumpe, ideal for day trips and picnics from Kasaragod.Perched 323 m above sea level on a hill, the area is reminiscent of the beautiful woods of Ooty.The nearest village is Paivalika.Facilities available are minimal, hence it is best to carry food and water and go equipped with adequate trekking gear.

Malik Ibn Dinar Mosque

Malik Ibn Dinar MosqueMalik Ibn Dinar was a missionary from Arabia who is credited ith bringing Islam to the shores of the Malabar. Following the wishes of the ruler, Cheraman Perumal, who embraced Islam, Dinar and his followers set about constructing mosques in Kerala and preaching their religion. Of the nine mosques built in the Malabar region, only this one in Kasaragod survives.

The original mosque Dinar built was a small structure with a thatched roof, but later, his followers construed a larger more elaborate structure to resemble the palace of a local king.

Madhur Sree Madananteshwara Vinayaka Temple

Of the four noted temples built by the Mypadi kings of Kumbla around the 10th century, this Sree Madanandeshwara Temple at Madhur is the most renowned both in terms of architecture and importanace.Myths and legends tell of the miracles attributed to this Shaivite shrine.

Renovated in the 15th century and built in a distinctive style, this three storied oval structure has its two highest roofs covered with copper plates.

Ananthapura Temple

Ananthapura TempleSri Ananthapadmanabha Swami Temple considered the only lake temple in Kerala, this ninth century shrine is unique in other ways as wll.Situated in the middle of a picturesque lake; its sanctum sanctorum can be reached only by a bridge. Two other structure stand separately in the lake housing other deities.

The outer walls of the sanctorum are covers in murals, depicting scenes from the Vedas. On the north eastern corner of the lake, is a large cave with a small pit that holds water perennially. A single crocodile is said to inhabit the lake and strangely, only one has been spotted in it since time immemorial.

Kanwatheertha Beach

About 15 km north of Kasaragod is Manjeswaram, an ancient town on the banks of the Manjeswar River. This small cashew growing centre becomes famous as a pilgrim centre because of the numerous mosques and Jain and Hindu temples around it. Apart from that, the Kanwatheertha Beach and the charming lagoon with its expanse of white sand attract weekenders.

Kanhangad/Hosdurg Fort

Following the chain of forts built in this region by the Ikkeri dynasty, the sleepy little town of Kanhangad, 23 km southeast of Kasaragod, was given a new name Hosdurg.Although only the ruins of the old fort remain, the legacy of the fort town endures to this day.

The town’s other claoim to fame is the noted spiritual centre, Nithyananthashram, founded by Swami Nithyanda and situated on the outskirt, 4 km away. There is a yoga centre opposite the Bekal International Hotel. The Hosdurg beach too, is well worth a visit . Chithari a  small tropical island and picturesque land located 5 km away from Kanhangad.

Kottanchery

East of Kanhangad,bordering the picturesque Coorg district of neighboring Karnataka is the scenic village of Konnakad.Barely a few kilometers to the south, close to Tala Cauvery, is an idyllic spot known as ‘Kottancherry’.Covered in lush vegetation and surrounded b an undulating hill terrain, this area is ideal for trekking.

For those who love interacting with nature, there are some exotic wildlife sanctuaries located in Kasargod.

1) Ranipuram

Ranipuram situated on the highest peak in the district, Ranipuram is 750 ft above sea level. Known formerly as ‘Madathumala’, Ranipuram is ideal trekking territory, and draws enthusiasts all through the year. With its forests, abundant wildfolowers,verdant grasslands and the odd elephant sighting, it makes for a great getaway. This wildlife sanctuary of Kanhangad forest range is home to a vast verity of flora and fauna found only in the Western Ghats.

2) Kammadam Sacred Grive Wildlife Sanctuary

Related with Bhagavathi temple, Kammadam is known as the largest sacred grove of Kerala. This rich forest consists of wildlife, verdant green forest, orchids, plants with medicinal properties and shrubs.

3) Adoor Wildlife Sanctuary

The fragmented Adoor reserve forest, spread in an area of 2 sq.km of the district of Kasargod,is home to a number of endangered animal and bird species.

4) Malom Wildlife Sanctuary

Malom reserve forest falling in the Kanhangad range is a tropical rainforest and is home to a number of animal species including slender loris, rhesus monkeys, porcupine, wild pig, flying squirrels, as well as bird species such as peacock, Malabar hornbill and grey horn bill.

5) Parappa Wildlife Sanctuary

Parappa reserve sanctuary is a fragmented reserve forest in the Kanhangad range. The state is taking steps to stop poaching and hunting in this forest, which is situated at a distance of about 22 km east of the town of Chervathur

6) Kareem’s Forest Park

Situated at Puliyamkulam, near Parappa, Kareem’s Forest Park is the country’s first private park that was established by Abdul Kareen an environmental activist. Spread in 32 acres of land, the park is the main center for research and studies for scientists and environmentalists. Around 23 km eastwards of Kanhangad, this is an extremely popular park.

Valiyaparamba Backwaters

Valiyaparamba Backwaters is one of the most scenic backwater stretches in Kerala.Fed by four rivers and dottted with numerous little islands,this much favoured destination offers enchating boat cruises.

Manjeshwaram

A number of temples and fifteen mosques make this cashew growing town a prominent pilgrim centre. The Memorial of the late Govinda Pai,the grand Patriarch of Kannada literature, is also located in Manjeshwaram.

Getting There

By Air : The nearest is Bajpe Airport in Mangalore, 69 km.Calicut International Airport, Karipur is about 200 Km .

By Rail : Kasargod station is well connected to all stations in Kerala.

By Road: Well connected to major towns in Kerala and Karnataka.NH 17, connecting Cape Comorin and Mumbai,runs through Kasaragod.

Where to stay

For details of hotels and resorts in Kasaragod,see accommodation listing on http://halokerala.com/hotels/kasaragod/

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Published on 23/01/2015

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