Area: 1691 sq. km Population: 1,070,629 Altitude: Sea level
North and east borders Karnataka, south Kannur district and west Arabian Sea. Sea-kissing Forts. Palm-fringed Beaches. Scenic lagoons. Calm-clad paddy fields.
Though there are many tourist attractions in Kasargod it has not been exploited to the required level. This is due to various factors including lack of sufficient star hotels and resorts. Lately, the Government and private players have realized the potential and have initiated steps to hike up the facilities for tourists. This has resulted in increased flow of tourists to Kasargod.
Apart from Bekel, tourist attractions in Kasargod are aplenty.
Chandragiri Fort of 17th century origin is a quadrangular Fort situated by the side of Payaswini River. Kasargod offers a mix of religion-cultural tourism experience. Variety of patterns in temple architecture can be enjoyed here. Madhur Maha Ganapathi Temple is a specimen of rich cultural heritage of the Kasargod region. This temple, actually a Siva Temple, of which Sivalingam is reported to have been installed by a Harijan woman, whereas the presiding deity is Srimad Anantheswara, and Maha Ganapathi gets more importance. The festival, celebrated once in many years, is known as Moodappa Seva and during the festival the giant figure of Maha Ganapathi is covered with Appam (a delicacy) made of ghee and rice. Records speak of the festival having held only thrice during the last 40 years. Leave apart the festival, the wood carvings in the temple is marvelous. The carvings depict historic heroes of Mahabharat and Ramayana. These eye-feast carvings are in Namaskara Mandapam of the temple. There is a story that Tipu Sultan once decided to dismantle the temple and the moment he decided he felt thirsty and drank water from the temple pond which caused the change of his heart and he left the scene without accomplishing his intended mission.
Malik Dinar Mosque founded by Malik Ibn Dinar the emissary deputed by Cheraman Perumal to spread Islam here is very famous all over north Malabar. Yet another important mosque is Thalangara Juma Masjid. This mosque is well preserved and highly attractive. It preserves the grave of Malik Ibn Mohammed, one of the descendants of Malik Ibn Dinar. Both these mosques attract pilgrims from all over India. Nellikunnu Mosque located near the town is famous for Uroos, a religious festivity. This week-long festivity in the second half of November attracts thousands every year.
15 km north of Kasargod there is a small town called Bela. Bela is famous for Gothic styled 1890 origin Our Lady of Sorrows Church, owned by Roman Catholics. This church is a tourist delight.
Pandian Kallu (stone) near Trikkanadu Temple is also of tourist importance and a historical knock. The story behind the Pandian Kallu is interesting. When a Pandian King from Tamil Nadu attempted to attack Trikkanadu Temple from a ship, his ship got transformed into a rock which since then came to be known as Pandian Kallu.
Kasargod alone can claim the possession of one and only Lake Temple in Kerala. It is Ananthapura Temple. Ananthapura is said to be the real sanctum sanctorum of the Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
Ranipuram, crowned by nature’s gift, is yet another tourist spot.
Anandashramam, established in 1939, near Kanhangad by renowned Vaishnava Saint Swami Ramadas is an ideal retreat to the souls seeking solitude and solace. The environs of Asramam are a perfect module for meditation.
Nityanandasramam founded by Swami Nityananda and located on a verdant hill near Hosdurg Taluk Office is also an ideal retreat. A life-size image of the Swami in sitting posture is there in the Asramam. The hill has more than 45 caves reportedly carved by the Swami. Here there is a temple of four decades age. The structural craft of this temple is more or less similar to that of famous Somanatha Temple in Gujarat.
Kasargod is the cradle of Theyyam, folk deity presentation which is an ancient religious ritual mainly in north Malabar. The awe-inspiring Theyyam is a great attraction to the tourists, especially foreign nationals. Theyyam is performed by the low castes.
Yakshaganam, folk art theater, is yet another attraction in Kasargod. Yakshaganam is an off-shoot of Theyyam and Bommeyatta (the puppet show form of Yakshaganam).
Buffalo Race of Kasargod is a rural delectation capable of exalting the viewers.
Grey rocks and barren lands sprouted amidst dense vegetation is an exclusive phenomenon of Kasargod. Coastal belt with numerous lagoons and mind-cooling coconut palms are persuading factors to stay on. No exemption can be made to the famous Kappil Beach and highly acclaimed Valiyaparambu backwaters.
Manjeswaram at the north end of the district is rich with cashew cultivation. To boost the shopping instincts of the visitors, handloom and coir industry thrive in the district. Fascinating handloom and coir products at comparatively cheap rate are bonus to the visitors from far and near.
(1) Malik Dinar Mosque. Malik Dinar the first to propagate Islam in Kerala.
(2) Twin Ashrams. Nityanandashram at Hosdurg Fort and Anandashram at Kanhangad. Meditation centres. Attract many.
Sree Varadaraja Venkitaramana Temple: At Sitaram Pet, on the banks of Payaswani River.
Thalangara: Few km from Kasargod. Malik Dinar Mosque.
Irival: On Kanhangad-Pinnathoor route. Irival Mahavishnu Temple.
Chandragiri: 3 km south of Kasargod town.
(1) Famous of large Square Fort.
(2) A mosque.
(3) Kizhur Sastha Temple.
Central Plantation & Research Institute( CPCRI): 5 km north of Kasargod. At Kudalu. Research in genetical potential of plantation corps.
Madhur: 8 km north of kasargod town. Sreemad Anantheswar Vinayaka Temple. Famous. Different from other shrines.
Kumbla: 13 km from Kasargod in coastal area. Arikkady Bhagawathy Temple. Festival on March 30, April 3, 4, 5, 6.
Bela Church: 15 km north of Kasargod. Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Gothic style. Famous.
Adoor: 45 km from Kasargod. Mahalingeswaram temple. Ancient Shiva temple. Founded by Arjuna.
Bekal: About 16 km south east of Kasargod (north end of Kerala), a beautiful and quiet little shore town lures the tourists in large number. Its amazing fort, expansive beaches, scenic landscape, beautiful estuaries and pleasant environs anchor any busy-bee. This is what Bekel is.
Bekel Fort, very famous and best in Kerala, with a glorious past is located on a lush-green stretch of 35 acres of land projecting into the sea. There are two versions about the origin of the Fort – one is it was constructed by one Shivappa Naik of the Ikkeri Dynasty and the other version is was constructed by Kadamba Dynasty and later was taken ov er by Kolathiri Rajahs of that region and was captured by Shivappa Naik to form part of the Vijayanagar Empire. Be it either way, the Fort, which is now more than three centuries old was invaded by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan in 18th century. Later, it was taken over by the East India Company of British.
Multi-pronged underground tunnels, impressive sea bastions and meticulously built observation tower are a class apart arresting anybody’s attention. As to add glamour to the Fort, there is a mosque built by Tipu Sultan and a Hanuman temple near it. The nearby Pallikkara Beach and Bekel Aqua Park with boating facility in the backwaters are irresistible.
Ranipuram: 45 km from Bekal. Hill Station. Beautiful.
Kappil Beach: Little away from Bekal. Isolated.
Nileswaram Palace: 12 km from Bekal Palaces. At Nileswaram. Peculiar buildings.
Anandashram: 15 km from Bekal. Spritual Center.
Puliyakulam Park or Kareem Forest Park: 35 km from Bekal. 32 acre botany garde. 300 species of flowering plants.
Cheruvathur: 15 km from Nileswaram. The place of renowned scholar of Kuttamath. Veeramala hills nearby. Tourists attraction.
Edneer Mutt: Near Nileswaram. Renowned centre for art and learning.
Kuttiattoor: Distanced from Bekal. Puthiarapady Harvest Festival in August.
Valiaparambu: 18 km from Nileswaram. Extreme south of Kasargod. Backwaters. Scores of little islands.
Madhuvahini River: Distanced from Bekal. Greenic and scenic.
Ananthapuram Lake Temple: 31 km from Bekal. The only Lake Temple in Kerala.
Sreemad Anantheswara Temple: 48 km north of Bekal. At Manjeshwaram. Pilgrim Center for all castes and creeds.
Ranipuram: 54 km east of Bekal. Shola forests. Wild flowers.
Adoor: 45 km east of Kasargod. Mahalingeshwara Temple. Ancient. Founded by Arjuna.
Adukkathu: 2 km from Bibungal on Painadukka-Bandadukka Road. Adukkathu Temple. Festival in November/December.
Hosdurg Fort: 5 km from Kanhangad. Chain for Forts. Nityanandasram. Spiritual center. Internationally recognized.
Kottencheri Hills: 30 km north of Kanhangad. Exotic rain forest. Trekkin paradise.
Kanwa Theertha Beach: 3 km north of Manjeswaram. Unique feature. Natural extension of water. Sought after tourist spot.
Trikkaripur: Near Manjeswaram. Seat of Thazhekkattu Mana. Famous T S Thirumumbu. Poet. Freedom fighter.
Pandian Kallu: 2 km from Trikkanad Temple near Trikkaripur. Sprouting rock. Destination for adventurous swimmers.
Tulurvanam: Distanced from Trikaripur. Green blanketed forest. Famous Temple. 8 days festival in February/March.