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Chandragiri fort, Bekal Overview

Built in the 17th century by Sivappa Nayak of Bedanore, the Chandragiri fort lies in the Kasaragod District of north Kerala, the southern state of India. Now only a remnant of its original majestic form and protected under State Archaeology Department, the fort once used to be a powerful stronghold of the kingdom. Full of artistic and historical significance, this place is visited by locals as well as tourists for the breathtaking view of the estuarine that Payaswini river forms with the Arabian Sea. Flanked by coconuts and mangroves on both sides, it offers a magnificent sight to behold. If visited during the afternoon, one can witness a stunning view of the sunset as well from the Kizhur State Temple.

The fort has a colourful past, being the stronghold of the bedanore Naiks of South India against all other hostile forces during the 17th century. It has also seen the rule of the Mysore Sultan Hyder Ali, and then witnessed the British Colonialism like every other fort in India, intact or otherwise. The fort regained its roots in Kerala only after independence.

The Chandragiri fort does not have much to see but offers a much-needed silence for those who seek it. The grim and quiet corners of the mighty fort speak of its own turbulent history and let you soak in its glory. The sunset from atop is nothing short of a perfect frame for a photographer who wants to capture the unembellished beauty of nature.

The Chandragiri Boat Club nearby offers boat trips to the nearby islands and palm groves, and on some of the islands you can get down and camp. The local fishermen will accompany you in the boat rides, so you will get to know the unabridged stories of the locales, and any interesting story, legend or folklore about the fort, if there is any. If you want a lazy and unconventional way to spend a free evening while on the trip near Bekal or Kasaragod, the Chandragiri fort is your best bet.

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History of Chandragiri Fort

The ruins of the massive 17th-century fort along the river Payaswini, also called Chandragiri River, has an eventful past story and has experienced a good many change of hands. Centuries ago when the river was considered to be the boundary between kingdoms of Kolathunadu and Thulunadu, the capture of the latter by the strong and powerful Vijayanagara empire led to the capture of Chandragiri town on this side of the river. It was only after the decline of Vijayanagara in the 16th century that an offshoot dynasty called the Ikkeri Naikkars rose to the power and took over Chandragiri. This dynasty, also called Bedanore Naiks declared themselves as independent rulers under the rule of Vengappa Nayaka.

For the defence of his kingdom against the many fighting dynasties of South India, Sivappa Naik built the Chandragiri fort in the 17th century. It was one of the few forts constructed during the same time by the Naik dynasty for the same purpose. Much later it fell into the hands of Hyder Ali of Mysore and then finally under British East India Company. The region, as well as the fort, was re-joined with Kerala after independence through the State Reorganisation Act of 1956.

Chandragiri Fort Boat Club

There is a bridge near the Chandragiri Fort on which visitors can take a peaceful stroll. The bridge is the starting point of all the speedboat, houseboats, and island camping and tours. The Chandragiri Boat Club offers the water vehicles and it is the job of the local fishermen to take you around the water through the islands and tell you stories and folklores of the place. In case you are not a local person, language might become a problem.

Things To Do Near Chandragiri Fort

The Chandragiri fort being in its ruins now preserved by the authorities, there is not much to do here. It is built on a small hillock more or less 50 metres above the sea level, covering as much as seven acres. It still has two underground passage, a well and a pond inside its fortified walls.

The topmost floor offers the most picturesque view of the Payaswini River slowly and lazily flowing into the calm Arabian Sea forming an open mouth estuary. Lined with lush greenery on both banks thanks to the coconut and grove forests, the scenery is absolutely stunning. Visitors can spend some time here taking in the view in front. The sea-facing wall of the fort has holes from canon ball attacks. It also offers an excellent panorama for the photographers to capture. The sight is serene and peaceful to spend an evening after sundown. It is particularly beautiful during sunrise and sunset.

The ancient Kizhur State Temple is very close to the magnificent fort from where you can witness a stunning view of the sunset. This temple also celebrates the festival of Pattu Utsavam, where a group of singers come together to sing in the glory of the God.

Located far away from any popular tourist spot, you will get the necessary peace and quietude if you are a silence loving traveller rather than a spot jumping tourist. However, you need to know the location and arrange to visit it because it is not usually included in tourism packages.

How To Reach Chandragiri fort

Chandragiri fort is what one can call a lone fort, so it is not connected by transport much. Nevertheless, it is located 12 km away from Bekal and around 4 km away from the Kasaragod town. There are buses available from these two places to reach Chandragiri fort. Either from any of these two towns as well as other major cities nearby like Mangalore or Kozhikode, you can also hire cars to reach here.

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