Kasargod: Forts, Temples and a Backwater Haven
Enjoy your fill of fish at Kasargod for the coastal town is well known for its fish, coir and handloom. The area has lagoons with calm blue waters and a host of coconut groves. In addition, the district has some fine examples of rich cultural heritage easily discernible at the Madhur Mahaganapathy temple, the historic Malik Deenar Great Juma Masjid and many other monuments.
One of the largest and well-preserved forts in Kerala, the Bekal Fort located near the sea at Kasargod is believed to have been built in the 1650s. It was later handed over to Hyder Ali of Mysore after which the British took it over. The fort has underground tunnels and an impressive observation tower. On the fort's grounds is an old mosque believed to have been built by Tipu Sultan. There is another fort near the town at Chandragiri. The cultural centre of the district is at Nileswaram, the home of the Nileswaram Palace, which has been turned into a folklore centre.
Kasargod exults in beaches. There is the remote and secluded Kappil Beach, with the blue waters of the Arabian Sea hugging the sands. From the nearby Kodi Cliff, on a clear day, you can see the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. The Pallikere Beach near Bekal Fort has recreational and relaxation facilities and is considered to be one of the best beaches in the country. The Kanwatheertha Beach is unique with its swimming pool-like formation of the sea.
The only lake temple of Kerala, the Ananthapura Lake Temple, 30 km from Bekal, is dedicated to Ananthapadmanabha, the deity of the Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.
Kasargod is famous for its Kavus or shrines, the temple festivals and the Kavil Bhavan Yoga and Cultural Centre, which offers rejuvenation therapy and naturopathy treatments, like mud baths and herbal baths.
Near Kasargod is the little town of Manjeswaram, home of cashewnuts and 15 mosques. It also has a memorial to Kannada litterateur Govinda Pai.
From Ksargod, you can make your way to Anandasram, a spiritual centre founded by Swami Ramdas in 1939. Around 30-odd km away is the scenic Valiyaparamba backwaters. Dotted with a number of small islands, Valiyaparamba is now a most sough-after tourist destination.
Further away from Bekal is Ranipuram which is a small hill town which offers cool weather and trekking facilities in addition to some wonderful natural beauty.
Reaching Kasargod : While Mangalore, 50 km away, is the nearest airport, you can also get to Kasargod from Kochi which is 420 km away. Kasargod has a railway station which is linked to many cities of the country. Roads link Kasargod to a number of places in Karnataka and Kerala.
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