Journey Through Time: All About The Bekal Fort In Kerala

With a history dating far back to the 16th century, the Bekal Fort stands on a coast overlooking the Arabian Sea as a testimony of the time passed
Aerial view of Bekal Fort
Aerial view of Bekal FortShutterstock

Bekal Fort is among one of the earliest, largest, and best-preserved forts in Kerala. It is located in the Pallikkare Village of Kasargod district. It played an important role in the political landscape of Northern Kerala and was originally constructed by Ikkeri Nayakas. Later, the fort was occupied by Haider Ali, whose occupation was followed by Tipu Sultan and then the British.

An excavation was conducted from 1997-98 to 2000-01 to identify the cultural sequence, extent of occupation and archaeological importance of structural remains. The excavation unearthed several structural remains, including residential and palace complexes, a Mint, Durbar Hall, and a temple complex. Over 2000 antiquities, including coins, metal objects, and terracotta seals, were recovered. Most of the metal objects belonged to Tipu Sultan's period.

Cannonballs found in Bekal Fort
Cannonballs found in Bekal FortWikimedia Commons

Explore all you need to know about the fort for a memorable visit when you are in the region, as well as an education in history.


During the Sangam period, the Kasaragod district was ruled by the Ezhimale Kingdom, with Ezhimale as its capital, which was later shifted to Pazhi. The Kolathiries later took over Northern Kerala, and the town of Bekal became an important port town. Around the same time, maritime trade with Portuguese and other European countries increased. Owing to its strategic location, Bekal became an important town for the Vijayanagara Empire.

After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Ikkeri Nayakas took control of the region in the 16th century and reconstructed the Bekal Fort. The fort witnessed several battles and was captured by Haider Ali in 1763 AD. Following the Sreerangam treaty in 1792 AD, Bekal was incorporated into the British dominion. Presently, Bekal Fort is the largest and most well-preserved fort in Kerala, with massive walls constructed of laterite stones. The fort has two lines of fortification walls with fifteen bastions of varying shapes, and essential structures inside include a tank, tunnels, a magazine, and an observation tower.


Watchtower at Bekal Fort
Watchtower at Bekal FortShutterstock

The Bekal Fort, constructed in 1650 AD by Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi, is renowned for its unique keyhole-shaped architecture that blends Kerala's traditional and military styles. The fort boasts grand laterite walls, observation towers, bastions and a well-preserved moat as its prime features. Visitors can catch breathtaking views of the surrounding Arabian Sea and beaches from the observation towers.

Bekal Beach
Bekal BeachShutterstock

Located near the Anjaneya Temple, the fort is a popular attraction due to its impressive masonry and two striking Theyyam sculptures made from laterite. Travellers can also take the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate at the nearby Bekal Beach, which offers peaceful and pristine surroundings.

Key Features

Laterite stone walls of Bekal Fort
Laterite stone walls of Bekal FortShutterstock

Bekal Fort is a popular tourist attraction known for its scenic beauty, which has also turned it into a shooting location for various Indian films. Its picturesque setting and historical ambiance make it a preferred place for filmmakers. The fort features several observation towers that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Arabian Sea. Its main entrance has a zigzag entrance and a wide trench. One of the unique features of the fort is its water tank, with steps leading down to it, which provides a perennial water supply to the fort.

Structures in Bekal Fort
Structures in Bekal FortShutterstock

During the evenings, the fort is illuminated, adding to its charm. Adjacent to the fort is the serene and beautiful Bekal Fort Beach, a stretch of golden sands that provides a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to enjoy the coastal scenery. A well-maintained park near the fort also offers a peaceful environment for tourists and locals alike.

Flora And Fauna

A fort bastion overlooking a gamut of coconut trees
A fort bastion overlooking a gamut of coconut treesShutterstock

The lowland area is dominated by paddy and coconut trees that grow in abundance and define the landscape. Mangroves can be found in the estuaries of rivers and backwaters. The midland area is made up of lateritic outcrops. The typical flora of this area is moist deciduous forest, a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, climbers, and grass.

The mammals in the area include the well-known Nilgiri Langoor and the Lion-tailed monkey, both confined to the forest area. The site also features deer, wild goats, wild dogs, herds of elephants, and jackals.

How To Reach

Air: The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport, about 67 km away.

Rail: The nearest railway station is Kasaragod Railway Station, around 16 km away.

Road: Bekal Fort is easily accessible by road through buses and taxis available from Kasaragod and nearby cities.

Other Information

Timings: 8 am to 5:30 pm

Entry Fee: INR 20 per person

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