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Guide to North Kerala's most famous tourist attraction
The Bekal fort is 10 km south of Kasaragod town. The fort has been under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India since the time of the British.
Bekal Fort, which is about 350 years old, is the largest fort in Kerala. The word Bekal is derived from the word Baliakulam,meaning big palace. The term Baliakulam got corrupted as Bekulam and later as Bekal. This magnificent fort which is nearly 16 hectares in extent virtually juts into the sea with a beautiful bay on its southern side. The fortifications of the semi-circular construction with an imposing frontage is still intact as an architectural monument. Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty is said to have built the fort between 1650-1670. But some other historians are of the opinion that the fort was built by the then north Kerala rulers, the Kolathiri Rajas. Sivappa Naik of Bednore captured the fort when the Kolathiri Raja stopped paying tributes to him. Later, the fort fell into the hands of Hyder Ali and later into his son, Tipu Sultan. With the over throw of Tipu Sultan, Bekal was incorporated into the dominions of the English East India Company in 1799. A mosque and a Hanuman temple are located at the entrance of the fort as a symbol of religious harmony. The facade of the high walls with the battlement and the entire structure of the fort are architecturally commendable. There is a large tower in the middle of the fort at a height of 10 meters and with a circumference of 27 m. From this tower, one can see the entire fort and the sea on the west and the lush green valleys on the east and the undulating blue mountains. The fort must have been built with a view to spotting enemy vessels afar in the high seas. The waves lashing against its many extensions jutting into the water for years have not caused any serious damage. Neither time nor the mighty waves have dimmed the magnificence of the Bekal fort. Peeping through its ancient moss covered cannon holes, one can see the Arabian sea shimmering in the sun and stretching into the horizon in all its varying moods. The fort is under the Archeological Department of the Government of India.