Kasargod in Kerala may not be the name which is as popular as other renowned tourist destinations of the state like, Munnar, Kovalam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Thekkady or Thiruvananthapuram, but for those who keeps track of latest and newer tourist destination, Kasargod is a known name. Recently Kasargod has been exclusively selected by the National Geographic Traveler, as one among the fifty must see destinations in the world.
Where is Kasargod?
Kasargod is the district town and the administrative headquarter of Kerals’s northernmost district Kasargod. Not only the district town of Kasargod, but the entire district of Kasargod, in the very northern reaches of Kerala is known for its unspoilt natural beauty.
This hidden tropical destination in northern Kerala beside Arabian Sea is a perfect holidaying destination for a refreshing holiday amidst nature’s bounty with a massive picturesque fort in the backdrop. The beautiful expanse of the shallow beach at Kasargod with the imposing Bekal Fort literally on the beach unravels surprises that will make you wonder struck.
At times it seem that nature has emptied all her finest possession at Kasargod, yet keeping it a secret to most. With alluring beaches, verdant green hillocks, sea-kissed forts of historical significance, tranquil lagoons and many more, Kasargod, Kerala’s most emerging tourist destination has everything for a memorable and fascinating tour. Relatively less rush of tourists at Kasargod will make your stay all the more unforgettable and secluded.
Sightseeing in and Around Kasargod
Apart from the alluring and tranquil natural beauty of Kasargod, there are a number of other attractions which includes historically significant forts, majestic hills, delightful beaches, breathtaking landscapes, backwater cruises, temples, mosques and churches. Following are some of the major attractions of Kasargod that must be included while on a tour of Kasargod.
Bekal Fort – Kasargod first gained tourist’s attention and rose into prominence because of the 300 year old magnificent Bekal Fort situated just 15 Km south of Kasargod town on National Highway. The fort is all the more unique in the sense that it lies literally on the Arabian Sea and the sea waves hit the citadel with full force. Incredible view of the blue waters of Arabian Sea and the white sands of the Bekal Beach from the fort is just awesome.
Believed to have been built in the 1650’s, by the Ikkeri Naikkanas, this largest and best-preserved fort of Kerala stands on a 35-acre headland that runs into the Arabian Sea. The fort which has been a silent spectator of several wars and siege within its premises is now a significant historical monument. The historically and archaeologically significant Bekal fort is an architectural marvel that stands with its regal elegance and glory even today. The Bekal Fort with its imposing circular structure of laterite, rising 130 feet above sea level 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.
The beautiful Bekal beach with the imposing Bekal fort in the background is fast developing into an International Tourist destination. The broad and extensive beach with a backdrop of fisher folk village life has a scenic beauty and natural charm. In whole the fort, the adjacent beach, fringes of coconut trees and fisher village together makes up a great combination as a tour destination.
For a virtual tour of the Bekal Fort and the beauty of the surroundings check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XnE29JHZY0
Pallikere Beach – At a walking distance from the Bekal Fort is the Pallikere Beach known for its calm and silent ambiance. This shallow beach offers a spectacular view of the fort and has ample facilities for recreation and relaxation. The entire beach is encompassed by coconut palms and dense bushes from all sides. The natural beauty of the place rejuvenates your spirits. You will find plenty of peace and solitude for yourself in this place which makes it an ideal location for leisure. The sea water is clean and clear for swimming and sunbathing.
In recent years initiatives have been taken by the Kerala government to increase the recreational activities in the beach so as to showcase the Pallikere Beach as one of the best beaches of the country. Every year there is a festival held here, called the Kochi festival. This grand event is organized on the white sands of the coastline and is a great fun and joyous time. The festival goes on till late night which starts from morning and the beach provides a gorgeous backdrop for the festival. This festival attracts lots of tourists every year.
Valiyaparamba Backwater – Valiyaparamba is perhaps the most scenic but relatively unknown backwater stretch in Kerala that offers enchanting boat cruises. Fed by the waters of four rivers and dotted with numerous beautiful little islands, Valiyaparamba is fast developing into a popular backwater cruise destination of Kerala. Relatively unexplored by tourists in comparison with the world famous Allapuzha backwaters of South Kerala, Valiyaparamba is tourist’s and photographer’s delight, whether you stay in a cottage or take a tour in a houseboat or small boats “Thoni”. All around you are scenic moments of uncorrupted nature at its best which makes Valiyaparamba arguably one of the most picturesque backwater in Kerala and a must see tourist spot.
Situated at a distance of about 30 Km from Bekal Fort, the Valiyaparamba Island is said to be 23kms long with an area of about 16 sq km. There are quite a few options to traverse the backwaters according to your budget and needs, you can use either hire houseboats from Bekal if you wish to spend the whole day and night traversing the waters or you can take routine boat services from various places in Kasargod like Thrikarripur, Ayitti etc to Valiyaparamba.
To have a virtual tour of Valiyaparamba Backwater and its beauty just check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25m9upkdOlM
Ananthapura Lake Temple – 12 Km North East of Kasargod lies the magnificent Ananthapura Lake Temple, a major sightseeing and pilgrimage destinations of Kasargod. In the midst of vast grassland, the temple is placed at the centre of a rectangular lake, where one has to reach by moving through a cave. In the calm of Ananthapura Lake and amidst the beautiful greenery, is the wonderful temple dedicated to Ananthapadmanabha swami an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. An aura of peace and sanctity permeates the whole region.
This 9th century shrine is believed to be the original abode of Anandapadmanabha, the presiding deity of the famous of Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. Sree Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu), seated on Anantha, the serpent god is the presiding deity here. The shrine is enclosed by a chuttambalam (an enclosed verandah running around the sanctum sanctorum), the walls of which are adorned by mural paintings that depict stories from the Puranas.
The unique feature of the original idols is that, they are not made of any conventional materials like stone, metal or wood, instead they are made of a combination of more than 40 items known as “Kadu sarkara yogam”. Another very unusual phenomenon of the temple lake is the presence of a single crocodile named Babiya, which is supposed to be the guard of the temple. The legend has that when one crocodile dies another appears and this continues to be an unexplained phenomenon.
Madhur Srimad Anantheswara Temple – Located 8 Km north east of Kasargod, the imposing structure of the temple rises majestically against the beautiful landscape of the hills, with the river Madhuvahini flowing leisurely in front of it. Though the Madhur temple is a Siva temple with Srimad Anantheswara as its presiding deity, the deity of Lord Ganesha is also worshipped here. The Sivalingam of the temple is said to have been found by a Harijan woman, Madharu.
The annual festival of the temple on the sixth lunar day of the bright half of the Margashira month, usually between the third week of November and the third week of December, attracts pilgrims from all over the country and particularly from the region lying between Kanyakumari and Goa.
Chandragiri Fort – Situated at a distance of 4 Km southeast of Kasargod town on the banks of the Chandragiri River is the 17th century partly ruined Chandragiri Fort. Do not miss to visit the Chandragiri Fort, which offers a breathtaking view of the winding Chandragiri River and the Arabian Sea. It is also a vantage point to watch the sunsets. Though the fort is in ruins today but the imposing structure provides an awesome view of the surroundings that is hard to describe in mere words. You will be wonderstruck by the beauty of the entire surroundings.
Built by Shivappa Naik of Bedanore, the Chandragiri Fort is a place of immense importance to archaeology and students of history. The Chandragiri Boat Club run by the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation conducts boat trips to nearby islands and palm groves.
Kappil Beach – The secluded and relatively unexplored Kappil Beach at a distance of about 6 Km from Bekal Fort is an epitome of solace and tranquility. This calm and peaceful beach, far from the noise and clatter of human civilization is an important sightseeing attraction of Kasargod. The golden sand and the scenic rock formation make it a very romantic beach where you will hardly find anyone except big tides, untouched clean white sand, big trees on one side and nice breeze. The sun drenched beach with its heavenly atmosphere is bound to lit up your heart and brighten your soul.
One can also visit the nearby Kodi cliff and get an awesome view of the vast Arabian Sea and the distant horizon. The Kodi Cliff looks as if it sprang straight out of the sea. One can also take a boat ride from the beach to the Chandragiri River.
There are quite a few other sightseeing destinations of Kasargod as well that are worth visiting. They include: Bela Church (built in 1809), Malik Deenar Mosque (one among the 10 oldest mosques of India), Kareem Forest Park (32 acre waste land developed into a dense forest parks rich in diverse species of plant and animal life).
How to Reach Kasargod?
By Air – The international airport at Mangalore is the nearest airport of Kasargod located at a distance of 50 Km. Formerly known as Bajpe Airport, several daily flights connect Mangalore with most major cities in southern and western India as well as many major cities in the Middle East. From the airport it will be ideal to avail the pre-paid taxi service in order to reach the coastal town of Kasargod.
By Train – Kasaragod town has a railway station of its own and is connected to numerous major towns of the state as well as with other important parts of the country, including Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. As the railway line runs almost parallel to the sea coast, the rail journey to Kasargod is an unforgettable experience through some awe-inspiring scenic beauty.
By Road – National Highway 17 (NH-17) passes through the coastal town of Kasargod and hence the town is well connected with the rest of Kerala and in a way, the whole of India. Both public and private bus services are easily available for different cities and towns to and from Kasargod. Driving to Kasargod from Bangalore (382 Km), Mysore (228 Km), Coimbatore (367 Km), Kozhikode (181 Km), Kottayam (429 Km), Thiruvananthapuram (583 Km) is a great fun filled experience as it gives the rare opportunity to witness the amazing landscapes and experience of driving on smooth roads of the route.
Where to Stay at Kasargod?
This relatively new tourist destination has a number of excellent staying options. One can stay at Kasargod town or near the Bekal Fort or at a number of resorts near the beaches. Here we have mention some of the best hotels and resorts in Kasargod where staying a day or two will be a fun-filled cherishable experience.
The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal – This is the most luxurious and best staying options of Kasargod. If budget is not a constraint then don’t look any further, stay at The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal and you will feel the touch of paradise. Set up on 26 acres of virgin stretch in the lap of Arabian Sea this paradise is 12 Km from Kasargod Railway station. Surrounded by a natural backwater from three sides and having internal lagoons, meandering though the property – The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal is a beautiful combination of lagoons, backwater and the sea. This five star deluxe boutique resort has a large, well appointed spa that offers health and lifestyle consultations, Ayurvedic treatments, western and eastern therapies, beauty treatments and yoga with a high level of personal service and quality wellness. The resort provides an unmatched level of luxury and privacy with 37 rooms, a presidential villa and a floating cottage, called Kettuvallam.
To know more about the LaLit Resort & Spa Bekal, you can either log on to the resort’s website at: http://www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-resort-spa-bekal/overview or call at the toll free numbers: 1800 11 77 11 (India) and +91 11 4444 7474 (Outside India). Other than the toll free number, you can also call at – +91 467 2237777
Bekal Beach Residency – This is an ideal budget sea side hotel near the Pallikere Beach within walking distance from the Bekal Fort. You will have views of both the Bekal Fort and the blue waters of the Arabian Sea from the hotel rooms. The big rooms, both A/c and non-A/c are furnished and decorated in a minimal style which allows, perfect use of space.
To know more about Bekal Beach Residency, you can either log in to the resort’s website at: http://www.bekalbeachresidency.com/ or call at any of the following hotel numbers at: +91 9447700313, all at: +91 467 22765558.
K-Tees Residency – Located at Pallikere, close to the Bekal beach, K-Tees Residency is an excellent staying option of Kasargod that will suit you budget without compromising with comfort, cleanliness and service. The ramparts of the Bekal Fort form a charming setting to K-Tees Residency. This comfortable hotel close to the beach, with its unmatched facilities and services is an ideal holiday hideout. Two well furnished A/c Apartments and 13 single and double bedded rooms arranged in a comfortable and clean environment will ensure you an unforgettable experience. K-Tees Residency also offer rejuvenation programmes including Yoga, meditation, marma, panchkarma and body massage under the observations of experts.
To know more about K-Tees Residency, you can either log on to the hotel’s website at: http://kteesresidency.in/ or call at any of the following hotel numbers at: +91 947691903, +91 467 2275633.
Nirvanaa – Located just 5 meters away from the historic Bekal Fort and less than 100m from enthralling Bekal beach, Nirvanaa is another excellent staying options of Kasargod. For an unmatched experience that won’t hurt your budget much, Nirvanaa is where you can stay amidst luxury and comfort in Kasargod. Well appointed luxury cottages and enthralling ambience at Nirvana is all set to pamper your senses and you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Located in 1.62 acres of coconut plantation, Nirvana has 11 well appointed double rooms that will make your holidaying an unforgettable experience.
Two special aspects that need to be mentioned are that Nirvanaa provides complimentary breakfast to all its guests and a specially designed cricket zone will provide you with a unique cricketing experience.
To know more about Nirvanaa, you can either log on to the hotel’s website at: http://www.nirvanabekal.com/ or call at any of the following hotel numbers at: +91 467 2272900, 2272007, +91 – 9446 463 088, +91 – 8943 346 099.
About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.