- The bus arrived at 1:10 am, we rushed in to secure a seat for us, and the bus seats were no way attuned for a sleep. Our ‘spell of sleepless night in Kannur’ started we felt like we were in a coffin, not an inch to move about.After 2 hours or so, we reached ‘Kannur’ , the time was 4 am . We scouted for another bus to a place called ‘Kasargode’, this place fell in the last part of our itinerary. The journey was 4 hours. We got a bus around 4:30 am… I struggled for a spell of good sleep, so did my other friends, couple of them were seated on the floor of the bus. After tiring journey , we reached this place called ‘Kasargode’ we scouted for place to rest and refresh . after sometime we found a place called ‘Udupi hotel’ located a Km away from the railway station. The owner of this lodge was a difficult person, he failed to understand our need, he would allow two rooms for five us, whereas our requirement was only one room and a toilet, after much argument we settled for the deal and then a Lungi clad old man was summoned and, he escorted us to the rooms. When that man opened the room , I could smell fungus , cobwebs and dust, the man wasn’t embarrassed a bit, very coolly he went inside and started sweeping the floor, guess this rooms must be last used by our freedom fighters… and a cot was also broken! The same man started mending the furniture, which annoyed my friend who was lounging in another rickety bed, and he asked this workaholic gentle old man to leave the place and continued his sleep. So , now we had two double bed rooms and the old man said , we need not pay for the broken cot, that means a discount of 30 bucks!.
After sometime, we took the essentials and left the rooms at 10:30 . we had our brunch at a restaurant nearby, and boarded a bus to a place called ‘Bekal Fort’ which was some 17 kms away from ‘Kasargode’
- The fort, a circular imposing structure of laterite rising 130 ft. above sea level, stands on a 35 acre headland that runs into the Arabian sea.
- This fort is more than 300 years old and is believed to have been built in the 1650's by Sivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty.
- There is also another belief that it was originally built by Kolathiri Rajas and later captured by Sivappa Naik. The fort was occupied Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1763 A.D and then the Huzur of Canara during Tipu Sultan's reign and later the British. During the British rule, the erstwhile Bekal taluk was part of South Canara district and encompassed the present Kasaragod and Hosdurg taluks.
- At the entrance is the Anjaneya temple, dedicated to Sree Hanuman. Said to be as old as the fort itself, the shrine was recently renovated and attracts hundreds of devotees from far and near.
- Best time to visit : Throughout the year
- How to get there
- Air: Nearest airports are at Mangalore (50 km); Karipur International Airport, Calicut (Kozhikode) International Terminal (180 km)
- Rail: On the Kozhikode-Mangalore-Mumbai route. Enquiry Ph: 430200
- Road: There are regular buses every 30 minutes from Kanjagad to Bekal. An excellent network of roads connects Kasaragod to major towns in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
We reached the place after half an hour, the weather was too too humid. This fort was well shot for a song in a Manirathnam movie called ‘Bombay’. The song was shot during the monsoon season I guess. we stole splendid views of the ‘Malabar coast’ from the sentry towers.after exploring taking few pictures of the fort, we decided to rest for a while under a peepal tree , which stood near the shore. Couple of boats were anchored in the Arabian sea. One of friends tried spotting Saudi-Arabia with the binoculars. We consumed many bottles of local soft drinks , similar to our own ‘Bovonto’. I realized that I was a bit worn out because of the journey, I slept-off under the tree , I wasn’t aware of the surroundings, only I could feel the cool sea-breeze. After some time, the sun was little low, we, decided to walk along the shore. The shore was lined with countless coconut trees!..After sometime, we ventured out of the beach area to the bus stand. After a brief period of travel we reached our rooms!.. we went for shopping some goods. Tasted some native snacks , which were sold by the roadside hawkers.we had ‘Chicken shawarama’ ( an Arabian snack , in which a roti is stuffed with shredded and roasted chicken) I restricted my dinner to chicken shawarama. ]
The train to Chennai is at 10:15 we were to board west coast express. We reached the rooms at 8:30 pm, and vacated our rooms. We had little problems here, the proprietor of the lodge refused to discount the 30 bucks , we were promised. The amount is small and not at all worth for a fight. But, we fought for it, called the proprietor by names, our tongue turned foul..he was that cheap to frame a sudden rule that took us off our money. We didn’t fight for the money , we fought for for … eh, I don’t know what, can be called as prestige or pleasure. Completely unaffected by the hustle, we left the place. Reached the station around 9:45 pm. The train started immediately as soon as we got in, this station must be of least importance, iguess.
So the next day, at 8 o clock we reached Erode, which is the native of one of my friends, traveling along with me. Had been to his house twice, once for a leisure visit and another visit which happened during the start of this year, the occasion was bakrid.. His family is promising when it comes to food and hospitality. Biriyani and non-veg is their speciality.! So, our lunch menu suddenly turned out to be grand because of the neatly packed biriyani packets brought by the relatives of my friend, they took pains to feed us , that too early in the morning!..hats off to them!..as soon the train left the station, we started to gobble the food!..after finishing of the dish! We played cards, chatted , slept, stretched!.. by the time ,we entered the premises of Chennai.
At 3:o clock I got off ‘West coast express’, waved at my friends in a goodbye like gesture! And they reached Chennai central at 3:20 pm. This is one of my memorable travels till date, though I didn’t get a chance to spot the wild cat, atleast I am happy that i had a glimpse of it's pug-marks and captured it on my cam also!..i am happy with that, meanwhile, the plans for another forest trip had already started! May be this November!..