5 Famous Forts in Kerala
Though Kerala is more known for its backwaters, beaches, hill stations, and reserved forests, it also has some forts, of which quite a few are not well known in the tourist circuit. After the fall of the Vijayanagara kingdom in the 1560s, the Keladi Nayakas extended their rule beyond Mangaluru up to Kannur. During their rule, they built some forts, and they still stand today. The British built many forts across the state to serve their military purposes, and there were some built by the local chieftains in the interior of the state. Let us have a look at five of the famous forts of Kerala.
Bekal Fort: Ingeniously constructed on a rocky bed, located on a slight turn the seashore takes, the natural curve has given the fort a tremendous advantage. Overlooking the sea, the 17th-century fort has a tunnel leading to an opening on the exterior. There is a well-preserved water tank, and the fort walls are intact as well. Built by Keladi king Shivappa Nayaka in 1650 over an area of 40 acres, it is the biggest fort in Kerala. An added attraction at this place is the beautiful beach named Bekal Fort Beach.
Palakkad Fort: The early history of the fort is unknown. Recorded history provides proof that the fort existed in the 1760s, when it came under the control of Hyder Ali, then his son Tipu Sultan, and later the British. The fort has a beautiful, simple design with an extension at the front and a total of nine bastions. The well-preserved fort has a beautifully built moat around it, with a bridge near the main entrance to cross over. There is a Hanuman temple and a pond inside the fort. The walls of the fort are made of hard granite and are said to be 18-25 feet thick.
Kannur Fort: Also known as St. Angelo Fort, it was built by the Portuguese during the 16th century. Built on the seashore in a strategic location, the fort was an important military base during the occupation by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. Constructed with a mix of European and Indian style architecture, it has some bastions, ramparts, and chambers. The lighthouse within the fort is the main attraction for tourists.
Chandragiri Fort: Located close to Kasaragod, this fort was built during the 17th century by the Nayaka rulers of Keladi. It was used as a military base and was built overlooking the Payaswini River. The river is locally named Chandragiri River after the fort. Located on an elevated site, the fort offers a spectacular view of the river and its banks. Made of laterite stones, the fort still stands strong with its four bastions in its four corners. A small temple is seen inside the fort.
Thalassery Fort: Built by the British in the last decades of the 18th century, this fort is also known as Tellicherry Fort. Built with the intention of promoting trade around the region, the fort played a very important role in the growth and development of Thalassery. The large gate at the entrance leads to the inner courtyard and beyond. The walls of the fort are about 9-10 feet thick.