5 Ancient Forts in Kerala (2023)
God’s Own Country Kerala is not only blessed with an abundance of natural beauty but also with centuries of history. The state is dotted with numerous historically important forts that stood witness to the glorious past of Kerala. These ancient forts attract tourists from all over the world. Here are some of the most famous must-visit forts in Kerala.
5 Ancient Forts in Kerala
Below Mentioned are 5 Forts of Kerala:
1. Bekal Fort
Located in Bekal Village of Kasargod, the Bekal Fort is over 300 years old. It is considered to be one of the most well-preserved forts in Kerala. Located amidst lush greenery, the Bekal Fort is a historically important fort that is also one of the biggest forts in the state. This historic fort is a very popular tourist destination due to the beautiful beach that surrounds it and the enchanting views of the Arabian Sea one gets to see from the high observation tower of the fort where cannons used to be placed at one time.
There is also a beautiful walkway that is illuminated in the evening along with the beach to transform the Bekal Fort into a favorite amongst locals and tourists. In fact, the breathtaking beauty of the Bekal Fort has been featured in many movies, including the popular A R Rahman song ‘Tu Hi Re.’
What is the History of Bekal Fort?
The strategically important location of the Bekal Fort has ensured that there has been an uninterrupted play of power over this fort. From Indian royal dynasties to Sultans to the colonial rule of the Britishers, the Bekal Fort has been witness to a continuous changing seats of power.
It is believed that the Bekal fort was built by Shivappa Nayaka in 1650, though there are several versions of its exact origins. According to some, the fort was already in existence during the rule of the Kolathiri Rajas, following the decline of the Kolathiri and Vijayanagara Empire. After this, the fort came under the control of the Ikkeri and Nayakas, who rebuilt the Bekal Fort.
In 1763, the Bekal fort went into the hands of Hyder Ali and also served as an important military station for Tipu Sultan when he was on an expedition to capture the Malabar Coast. It was in 1799 that the fort came under the control of the English East India Company.
What Are The Timings Of The Bekal Fort?
The Bekal Fort opens every day at 8:00 am and closes at 5:30 pm.
Is There An Entry Fee To Visit The Bekal Fort?
Yes, there is an entry fee of Rs. 15 to visit the Bekal Fort.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Bekal Fort?
Since the Bekal fort is built with an open structure, visiting the fort on sunny days may prove to be challenging. It is perfect for visiting the fort over the weekend when the weather is cool and windy. The best season to visit the Bekal Fort is from October to March when the weather is relatively cooler and dry.
2. Palakkad Fort
The Palakkad Fort is a beautiful ancient monument that is another exceptionally well-preserved forts in Kerala. The Palakkad fort was constructed in 1766 AD by Hyder Ali, and it beautifully integrates the majestic high walls with lush green surrounding gardens. The Palakkad fort is now a protected monument and is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Where is the Palakkad Fort Located?
This historically important Palakkad fort is located in the center of Palakkad town in Kerala and is spread over a vast area of 60,702 square meters. The Palakkad fort is situated at the foothills of the Sahyadris mountain range that is surrounded by dense forests and numerous cascading rivers.
Why is the Palakkad Fort Famous?
The magnificent Palakkad Fort in Kerala is famous for its construction and the essential role it played in the history of this region.
The Palakkad fort is built in the shape of a square, supported by majestic walls and bastions that are square-shaped as well. Earlier, the entry to the fort was through a drawbridge, which has been replaced by a permanent bridge in recent times. There is significant ground inside the Palakkad fort, which used to serve as a stable for the elephants and horses of Tipu Sultan’s army.
There are also numerous other smaller attractions on the premises of the Palakkad Fort, including a Hanuman Temple, Anjaneya Swami Temple (which is a small shrine), Martyr’s column, Vatika Shilavatika (a small garden), and a sub-jail which is no longer in use.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Palakkad Fort?
The best time to visit the Palakkad Fort is from November to March as the weather is pleasant and there is almost no rainfall. There is heavy rain from June to October, making it difficult for tourists to tour the fort, which has a lot of open areas.
Is There An Entry Fee To Visit The Palakkad Fort?
There is no entry fee to visit the Palakkad Fort.
3. Thalassery Fort
The Thalassery Fort is an ancient fort located in Thalassery, or Tellicheery, in the Kannur District in Kerala. The Thalassery fort is situated on a rocky cliff at the Thalassery Beach.
The Thalassery fort was established by the East India Company to show their power and military capabilities. Built-in 1703, the Thalassery Fort played a crucial role in the military and commercial expansions of the British during their rule in India.
Today the Thalassery fort in Kerala is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and also comprises of a massive gateway and a lighthouse on its premises. There The Brennen cemetery, St. Roasy Church, and the bungalow of the district sub-collector are located near the Thalassery Fort.
The Thalassery fort is built in a square shape, with massive walls and artistically carved doors. The walls have holes of loops that are aided by strong supporters and are made with laterite blocks.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Thalassery Fort?
The Thalassery fort in Kerala can be visited throughout the year as the area it is located in has pleasant weather all year round. It is a good idea to take some food packages and water bottles as there are very few shops in the area.
4. Pallipuram Fort
Located in Pallipuram in the Ernakulam District of Kerala, the mighty Pallipuram Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1503. It is believed to be the oldest surviving European monument in India.
Pallipuram fort is a hexagonal fort that is located on the northern-most side of the Vypin Island. The Pallipuram fort is locally known as Alikotta or Ayikotta. There is a lot of open space inside the Pallipuram fort, allowing for secure passage of goods and soldiers to the cellar in the olden days. There is even a legend that states that there is a tunnel in the cellar that leads to the Cheraman masjid in Kodungallur.
The Pallipuram Fort was taken over by the Dutch in 1661, after which it was sold off to the Kingdom of Travancore in 1789. It is a protected monument today that is managed by the Kerala State Department of Archeology.
5. St. Angelo Fort
St. Angelo’s Fort is one of the most popular and frequently visited tourist destinations in Kannur. This prehistoric fort stands on the shores of the Arabian Sea, providing visitors with a panoramic and unobstructed view of the azure waters spread out in front. The St. Angelo’s fort in Kerala also overlooks the Mozilla Bay, which is a natural harbor.
St. Angelo’s Fort is famous for its intriguing history, and there are many tales associated with the fort. This fort has witnessed numerous dynasties engage in bitter battles to conquer it. The St. Angelo’s fort is also famous because the Portuguese Viceroy, Dom Francisco de Almeida, had imprisoned his successor here in an attempt to not have to give his title. This imprisonment ultimately led to a series of long drawn out and bitter events and conspiracies that have remained etched in the history of Kannur as well as Portugal forever.
When Is The Best Time To Visit St. Angelo’s Fort?
The best time to visit St. Angelo’s Fort is from October to March, when the weather remains pleasant and you can easily roam around the open fort without the summer heat tiring you out.