Kerala India, Hotels by Bekal Beach
Bekal beach is popular among Keralites as a weekend day-trip destination. A fort stands on a promontory between two long classically beautiful palm-fringed Bekal beach.
This is one of the largest fortresses in Kerala. It was under the control of various powers including Vijayanagar, Tipu Sultan and the British.
Actually there is nothing to excite about the fort. The bay view form the bastion is impressive. But the vast area inside the walls is a hot and dry wasteland.
It is an enjoyable place to watch local people, especially around late afternoon, families turn up for a stroll in their best clothes.
A short walk beyond the main entrance to the fort stands the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC) tourist office. The tourist office can help you with information.
Hotels at Bekal
The nearest accommodation is the Nirvana. It is small resort of six laterite cottages at the foot of the fort. The resort is just a stone's throw away from the sea. Tel: 0467 2272900
Alternatively, head seven km inland to the Gitanjali Heritage in Panayil village. It is a little homestay in a 70-year-old ancestral home; a particularly good option if you are travelling with kids.
The old house has three rather cramped dark rooms. The house is furnished in traditional Kerala style, with bent-cane chairs, wooden ceilings and slatted windows. The family takes guests out to a local silk farm and theyyam rituals in the area.
Tel: 0467 2234159
A belt of ultra-luxurious five-stars also started to take shape just up the coast from Kerala Bekal beach and behind nearby Kappil Beach.
The largest is the Lalit Resort and Spa Bekal (Tel: 0467 2237777). The resort spread over 26 acres, with its own twisting lagoon, spa and spacious villas. Guests can relax in their own private jacuzzis, pampered by polo shirted butlers. There is a helipad for quick getaways.
Vivanta by Taj Bekal is also coming up. All these luxury resorts are in expectation of increased tourist traffic from high-living bangaloreans over the coming decades.
South of Bekal Beach in Kerala India
Valiyaparmba and Nileshwaram
Looking for an ultimate escape from the traffic and crowded streets of Kerala's market towns and cities. Then go to Valiyaparmba Backwaters, edged by a thin silver white sand and coconut trees.
Valiyaparmba is a 30km delta fed by four rivers. The various tributaries form inland lakes, creeks and winding lagoons with tiny islets.
Valiyaparmba holds comparatively few houses, and traffic on the waterways largely consists of country fishing boats. All these make it a wonderful region for off-track exploration.
There are only two firms that run houseboat cruises in the area.
Bekal Boat Stay
Tel: 0467 2282633, 3953311
Bekal Resorts Development Corporation Ltd (BRDC)
Thanal Vishrama Kendram
Near Bekal Fort
Tel: 04672 272900, 27200
Near Kottappuram boat jetty, there is an amazing 300m footbridge crosses the backwater to the island of Achan Thuruthi. The bridge is longest of the kind in the state.
The jetty lies 2km south of Nileshwaram town. The National Highway and railway line passes through the town.
You can also explore the area on a local ferry. The State Water Transport Department operates five daily services. It is a ride through wonderful lakes and lagoons, with panoramic views of the Ezhimala Hills forming a serene backdrop.
North of Bekal Beach in Kerala India
Kasargod still retains a distinctively different feel from the coastal hubs further south. Predominantly Muslim, its inhabitants speak a unique dialect of Malayalam.
Shipbuilding was the basis of the town's former prosperity. But now it is by emigration to the Gulf. Nearly every family has at least one relative working in Middle East. The impact is seen all over the Kasargod.
A survivor from the towns earliest contact with Arab world is the beautiful Malik Dinar Juma Masjid. A typically Malabari wooden building staring seawards from a hillock. The mosque is in Thalangara, next to the mouth of the Chandragiri river.
The triple-storied structure sports multi-tiered roofs and elaborate wooden decoration.
The mosque is said to have been founded in 738 AD by the Muslim missionary Malik Dinar. He brought Islam to southwest India during the lifetime of the prophet Muhammed.
Chandragiri fort is on the opposite side of the river from Thalangara. This large seventeenth-century fort gives fine views over the river. Built by Sivappa Nayak and later enlarged by Tipu Sultan, it can be reached from the National Highway. The fort is just 3 km south of Kasargod town.
Ananthapuram Temple, noted for its architecture, is 15 km further up the highway form Kasargod. The temple is better known as the Lake Temple. It is situated in the middle of large square water tank.