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Bekal

Bekal is a small place located on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the Pallikara village in Kasargod district of Kerala state, South India. Bekal Fort is a major tourist attraction in the state. It is situated around 15 km. to south of Kasargod town. According to Bekal Rama Nayak, a local Kannada writer, the word Bekal is derived from the word Baliakulam, meaning Big Pond. The term Baliakulam got corrupted as Bekulam and later as Bekal. Spreading over 40 acres, Bekal Fort is the largest and best preserved fort in the State. Bekal, is an important place of tourist interest in the district.

It was usual in older days for every royal palace to be protected by a fort. The Bekal for might have, therefore, existed even from early days of the Chirakkal Rajas. While giving a description of the Kolathiri Kingdom in his Kerala History, K.P. Padmanabha Menon writes; "The eldest of the male members reigned as sovereign Kolathiri. The next in succession, the heir apparent, was the Thekkelamkur. The residence assigned to him was the Vadakara fort. The third in succession was the Vadakkelamkur in charge of Vekkolath fort. This V(B)ekkolath fort is identified by some scholars as the present Bekal".

H.A.Stuart, in his Handbook of South Canara (1985), makes this observation: "....Several forts were built by the Shivappa Nayaks of Badnore between 1650 and 1670 A.D. The two forts of Bekal and Chandragiri were originally under the Kolathiri or Chirakkal Rajas until the time of Shivappa Nayaka's invasion. Perhaps, the Bednore rulers might have rebuilt and improved it".

Bekal Fort happens to be the biggest fort of Kerala spreading over forty acres. The important features of this fort are the tank with its flight of steps, the opening of the tunnel towards the South, the magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad and wide steps leading to the Observation Tower is a rarity. From there one has ample view of all the important places in the vicinity like Kangangad, Pallikara, Bekal, Kottikulam, Uduma etc. This observation centre has strategic significance in finding out even the smallest movements of the enemy and ascertaining the safety of the Fort.

Unlike most other Indian Forts, Bekal fort was not a center of administration for no remains of a Palace are found within the Fort. Probably the fort was built for fulfilling the defense requirements. The holes on the outer walls of the fort are so remarkable that they are specially designed to defined the fort effectively. The holes at the top are meant for aiming at the farthest points; the holes below are meant for hitting when the enemy is nearer and the holes under neath facilitate attacking when the enemy is very near to the fort. This is a remarkable evidence for the medival technology of defence strategy. Apart from this, the wild and ecstatic beauty of the setting sun is a glorious presence in the fort.

 
 
   
 
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