The Best Beaches, Backwaters, Shrines And Other Tourist Places.
Kasaragod is often named as land of Lords and Forts and one of the most beautiful districts in Kerala state endowed with 9 rivers (out of a total of the 44 rivers that flow in Kerala), hills, beaches, backwaters, as well as temples, churches, mosques and forts.
Kasaragod tour is all about beaches, backwaters, hill stations, shrines and cultural discoveries. Here are the top destinations of the northern corridor of Kerala.
Bekal is the prime tourist spot of Kasaragod, thanks to the fort, beach and stunning views. The pride of the place is the fort, which is built over a headland that runs into the sea. Archaeologically speaking, it is a 400 year old key-hole shaped structure, built with defensive strategy in mind. It is the largest fort in Kerala, well preserved and nowadays managed by Archeological Survey. Bekal is 2.5 kms from Bekalfort Homestay .From Kasargod 16km and Kanhangad, the other regional town, is 11 kms from the fort.
Madhur temple is one of the most important places of worship in Kasaragod district. Regarded high for spiritual powers, the temple has two deities. The principal deity is Srimad Anantheswara (Lord Siva). So it is called Srimad Anantheswara Vinayaka temple. However, the more potent deity here is Ganapathy (Ganesh). Poojas (worship rituals) are performed thrice daily - at 8:00 A.M, 12:30 P.M and 8:00 P.M. Located by the side of a small river, Madhuvahini, the temple is attractive for its distinct architectural style.
The Malik Ibn Dinar Mosque is situated at Thalankara, about one and a half km from Kasaragod town. This is one of the earliest mosques built in Malabar. It is believed to have been built by Malik Ibn Dinar, who is credited with the propagation of Islam in Kerala. The mosque, which resembles a palace built in the typical Kerala style of architecture, has two storeys and massive wooden beams. What one see’s today is not the original structure that Dinar constructed, Originally, it was a small structure with thatched roof.
If kottancherri disappoints you for the lack over overnight stay, the spot light should be on Ranipuram, where a few tourist cottages are available. Ranipuram has landscapes similar to Kottancherry. The jungle that continues to Karnataka is rich in wildlife. Elephant, leopard, boar, types of deer, civet cat, rare squirrels, different species of monkeys and a rich population of other animals, birds and butterflies are found here.
Posadigumpe is a hill top location that offers uninterrupted views of Arabian Sea, and regional towns such as Mangalore and Kudremukh. The views and the walks, that is all there is. A few hours, all to your self - Posadigumpe is just for that. Make sure to take some food / snacks since there are no shops around. At the base of the hill is Dharmathadka, which is about 25 KM north-east of Kasargod.
Just 3 kms south of Kasaragod, the fort is easy to reach. The fort was built in the 17th century. Similar to Bekal fort, it is also a defensive bastion built by laterite bricks. The fort is built on a hillock near Chandragiri River bank. The river curves in front of the fort, only to meet the sea soon after. Yes, the sight is pretty from the top. Chandragiri boat ride is another to do list item. The boat club offers rides to tourists. Chandragiri Bridge is the starting point of the rides.
Set in the middle of a 2 acre pool, it is one and only lake temple in Kerala. A crocodile named Babia lives in the pool. A vegetarian crocodile! He survives on the food given to him by the temple! On the north east corner of the pool, there is a cave. It is a Vishnu temple. It is one of the two two Anantha Padmanabha Temples in Kerala. The other one is the famed Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum. It is believed that Ananthaa Padmanabha Swamy (Lord Vishnu) settled at Ananthapura Lake Temple originally. Hence the temple is called a moolasthanam (original seat) of the Lord.
Looking for a spiritual twist to your Kasaragod tour?
Anandasram, located 5 km from Kanhangad, is one of the choices. The spiritual retreat was founded by Swamy Ramdas in 1939.
Swami Nityananda founded the Ashram and lived here during his younger days. Using local workforce, he ingeniously carved out 43 caves from a laterite hill. These caves were meant for mediation. Swami also built a temple atop the hill. Its design resembled the famous Somanatha Temple of Gujarat. The Ashram is just in the outskirts of Kanhangad town.
Solitude lovers, welcome! A stunning beach is waiting for you at Kappil, about 6 kms north of Bekal. Get to the top of the beach side hillock (Kodi cliff) for breathtaking views of the sea and surroundings.
Kanwatheertha beach is a well liked coastal spot mainly because there is a lake like pool cut of from the sea. This pool, about half a km long, is great for swimming for adults and even kids. One of the fine beaches in the region, Kanwatheertha is about 4 kms. There are resorts and home stays near the beach. Kanwatheertha is only 3 kms from Manjeshwar, one of the regional towns. Kasaragod town is 15 kms to the south.
Surrounded by sea, rivers and hills, the landscape of Nileshwar is pretty.
The small town of Nileshwaram (also Nileshwar) is also highly held as the cultural centre of the region. The reasons are many – shrines, temple festivals, the folklore centre, theyyam, other folk arts, Kavil Yoga Centre..Great if you can have a glimpse of the festivals and arts. The beach is near and backwaters are known for great scenery around.
Boat rides to Valiyapramba start at Kottappuram. A couple of operators rent house boats. Valiyaparamba is an island, about 10 kms south of Nileshwar. The island is about 23 kms long. The backwater also came to be known by the name of the island. Vast backwaters, scenic shores and green islands – Valiaparamba is the future of North Kerala backwater tourism. If you can include only a couple of places in your Kasaragod tour, Valiyaparamba should be one.
The richness of the culture and heritage of the region of Kasargod is showcased in its arts and festivals.the land of Kasargod houses a number of some fantastic fantasies, major crowed-pullers. Cock fight, Yakshgana, buffalo race, and a number of other things, enchant the visitors each year. Kasargod is a place where Hindus, Muslims and Christians live peacefully together, adapting and accepting eachother’s culture. Religious tolerance and communal harmony are two remarkable features of the locals of Kasargod. Different languagaes spoken by the people is not an obstacle. You can find temples, mosques, churches all together.
A resplendent living cult with a tradition that goes back to several thousand years, Theyyam originated as a Hindu ritual form of worship in north Kerala, especially the Kolathunadu area (consisting of present-day Kasaragod, Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad and Vadakara and Koyilandy Taluks of Kozhikode of Kerala state. It is said that the term theyyam is a corrupt form of Deivam or God. theyyam itself is considered as god and people do worship it for blessings.
Theyyam puts on show a rare combination of dance and music and reflects the important features of a tribal culture. The performers of Theyyam belong to the indigenous tribal community, and have an important position in Theyyam.
One of the most important folk theatres of Karnataka and Kasaragod yakhaganam has carved a unique niche for these two places in the cultural map of India. No wonder why the villages are replete with eminent yakshagana artistes for it is the most cherished cultural possession of these people. To the villagers this art form is as close to them as their mother tongue. Most of the stories in yakshagana are drawn from the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatha and other mythological episodes. Though it is generally described as folk art it has strong classical connections.
The name yakshagana suggests the music of celestial beings. Originally yakshagana was known by different names to different people. For instance Bayatala is a name for yakshagana familiar to some people in Karnataka. In kannada bayatala denotes an art form presented in the open air. The Terukkuthu of Tamilnadu, Kootiyatam and Chakyarkuttu of Kerala, Veedhinataka of Andhra Pradesh can be considered as sister art forms.
Yakshagana is a musical dance drama. Singing and drumming merge with dancing, and words with gestural interpretation, and players clad in costumes of striking colour and contours are parts of the dance form. In Yakshagana music and speech go hand in hand and both could reach a good distance without our modern sound system. It is believed that the art form of yakshagana was originated in South Canara District of Karnataka and Kasaragod District of Kerala. Parthisubha one of the pioneers of yakshagana hails from kasaragod district. In India almost all the art forms, in one way or the other, are related to the worship of god. These art forms help to inculcate the religious, cultural and ethical values in the minds of the people. Yakshagana is believed to have evolved from the ancient Bhutha-worship prevalent in South Canara and Kasaragod. Theyyam is also a manifestation of this Bhutha worship. But it is evident from the performance that Yakshagana is also influenced by the folk dance and Sanskrit drama. Bharatha’s Natyashasthra also has had its influence on this art form.
From time immemorial Kasaragod has been well-known to the world outside. But very few studies and researches are done regarding the history of Kasaragod. That few studies hail the diversity of this place. Being an important trade centre the place has lured travellers from different parts of the world especially the Arabs and Europeans. The pamphlets and descriptions written by these adventurous travellers about the cultural and economic diversity of Kasaragod are the only sources available to us. Between the 9th and 14th centuries the place was visited by many Arab travellers. The Arabs who frequented this place called it by the name Harkiwilla.
In 1514 the Portuguese traveller Duarte Barbosa visited Kumbla, a place near Kasargod. The records made by this famous traveller stand testimony to the fact that rice was exported to Maldives from here. In his travelogue, written during the visit to kasaragod in 1800, Dr. Francis Buchanan, the family doctor of Arthur Wellesley, recorded information on places like Athiraparambu, Kavvai, Nileshwaram, Bekal, Chandragiri and Manjeshwaram. The political history of Kasaragod starts with the Tuluva kingdom. The Northernmost parts of Kasaragod District were once within the territory of the Tuluva kingdom. The central and southern parts were under the rule of Chirakkal (Mushika or Kolathiri) Royal Family of North Kerala.
Bits and glimpses of the past are available to us in the form of stories and legends. Local legends of Kasaragod say that there were 32 Malayalam and 32 Tulu villages in this region. Kasaragod, for a long time, was part of the domain of the Kolathiri family. Even when the region was attacked by the Vijayanagara Empire it was under the rule of the Kolathiri Raja. Nileshwaram was one of his capitals. Popular belief is that the characters appearing in the ritualistic folk dance of Theyyam represent those who helped king Kolathiri fight against the attack of Vijayanagara Empire. By the 14th century the Vijayanagara Empire started declining. With the Battle of Talikota in 1565 the mighty Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated and the power was shifted to the hands of several feudatory chieftains. Many of them including the Keladi Nayakas (Ikkeri Nayakas) rose in political prominence.
The Nayakas realized the political and economic importance of Tulunadu (which is the region comprising modern-day Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts along with the Northernmost part of Kasaragod District ) and attacked and annexed the region. Thus the power of administration was shifted to the hands of Ikkeri Nayakas. During this time Bekal became the center in establishing the dominance of the Nayakas in Malabar. Consequently the Nayakas realized the economic importance of the port town and there came a need to fortify the dominion from all kinds of attack. The Bekal port was strengthened with this aim. The construction was initiated by Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka and it was completed during the period of Shivappa Nayaka. The work was done at great speed. It was also aimed at the defence of the fort from overseas attack. It also helped them in strengthening their attack on Malabar. The same period witnessed the construction of yet another famous fort called the Chandragiri fort near Kasargod.
Though there are many versions of history regarding the construction of the Bekal fort it is believed that Shivappa Nayaka of Ikkeri dynasty built this fort. He took up the rule in 1645 and transferred the capital to Bednoor. The shift to Bednoor had given them another name – Bednoor Naiks. Both Chandragiri fort and Bekkal fort are considered to be part of a chain of forts constructed by Shivappa Nayaka for the defence of the kingdom. Another version ascribes the construction of the fort to Kolathiri Rajas from whom it was captured by Sivappa Nayaka.
In 1763, Hyder Ali, the ruler of the kingdom of Mysore, conquered Bednoor. This included several ports of Malabar. Hyder Ali used these ports to establish a small navy. His intent was to capture the entire Kerala. His efforts to capture the Thalassey fort were not successful. Soon after this defeat Hyder Ali returned to Mysore and died there in 1782. He was followed by his son Tipu Sultan who continued the attack and conquered Malabar. As per the Sreerangapattanam treaty of 1792, Tippu surrendered Malabar except Tulunadu (Canara) to the British. The British had to wait till the death of Tipu to lay hands on this unique place. Finally in 1799 Tipu Sultan was killed in the fourth Mysore war and the British could capture Canara.
On April 16, 1882 Bekal taluk was included in the Madras presidency and thus Kasargod taluk came into existence. A resolution was moved by Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar in 1913 on the floor of Madras Governor's Council demanding the merger of Kasargod taluk with the Malabar district. The resolution was withdrawn due to the strong opposition from the members from Karnataka. But the same demand was stressed once again in 1927 during a political convention held at Kozhikode. The convention passed a resolution demanding the same.
The same year witnessed the birth of an organisation titled Malayalee Seva Sangham. The great efforts raised by eminent personalities like K.P.Keshava Menon finally found fruition in the merging of Kasaragod with Kerala following the reorganisation of states and formation of Kerala in November 1, 1956.
The Etymology of the place – Facts and Legends There are ever so many interpretations and views on the derivation of the name Kasaragod. Legends and other oral stories throw light on these interpretations. Popular among them is the view that it is the combination of two Sanskrit words kaasaara (which means lake or pond) and kroda (which means a place where treasure is kept). Kasaragod is also a place where the kasaraka trees (Strychnos nux vomica or Kaanjiram or Kaaraskara) grow in abundance. Perhaps Kasaragod could have inherited the name from these trees. The large number of lakes and ponds in the coastal belt of the district and the thick flora consisting of innumerable varieties of trees and shrubs especially the kasaraka trees validate both interpretations.