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Bekal Fort, Kasaragod

Kasaragod is a beautiful town poised at the Northern extreme of Kerala State.16 km south of the town on the National Highway, is the largest and best preserved fort in the whole of Kerala, bordered by a splendid beach. Shaped like a giant keyhole, the historic Bekal Fort- built in 17th century – offers a superb view of the Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers, which were occupied by huge cannons, couple of centuries ago.

Near the fort is an old mosque said to have been built by the valiant Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Built by the rulers of the ancient Kadampa dynasty, the fort changed hands over the years to the Kolathiri Rajas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Tipu Sultan and finally, the British East India Company.

Today, the Bekal Fort and its surroundings are fast becoming an international tourist destination and a favourite shooting locale for film makers.

Visiting hours: 0800 – 1730 hrs

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Kasaragod, on the Kozhikode-Mangalore-Mumbai route, about 16 km
Nearest airport: Mangalore, about 50 km from Kasaragod town; Calicut International Airport, Kozhikode, about 200 km from Kasaragod.

 

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Attappadi

Situated on the north-eastern side of Palakkad district and spread over an area of 745 sq km. Attappady or Attappadi is one of the largest tribal settlements in the State. The grandiloquence of this great symphony of forests, rivers and mountains is awe inspiring.

Many tribals like the Irulas, Mudugas and Kurumbar live here, though the density of their population is very low. The tribals worship the mountain peak ‘Malleeswaran’ as a huge ‘Siva-linga’ (the Linga is the venerated image of Lord Siva) and Sivarathri at the Malleeswaran or Malleeswaram temple is the most important festival celebrated by the tribals.

The Malleeswaran peak and the river Bhavani have a tremendous influence on the lives of the tribals. The highland terrains are mostly fed by the tributaries of the river Cauvery (Kaveri).

A PWD Rest House, a VIP Guest House and a few private hotels offer accommodation at Agali, 23 km northeast of Mannarkkad.

Getting there

Nearest railway station:  Palakkad about 40 km from Mannarkkad and Coimbatore in the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu, about 50 km from Agali
Nearest airport: Coimbatore in neighbouring State of Tamilnadu about 55 km from Palakkad

Distance from district head quaters

3800 m North-East direction.

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Aranmula

The unique heritage village of Aranmula gets its name from the centuries-old Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. The Parthasarathy Temple (dedicated to Sree Krishna) on the banks of the holy River Pamba attracts large crowds of devotees. The temple has fine murals from the 18th century.

The Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, as well as Kalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala. The famed Aranmula boat race is held on the last day of the week-long Onam festival.

Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors – Aranmula Kannadi, a unique craft which is not found anywhere else in the world.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Chengannur, about 11 km away
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 117 km away

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Aquatourism in Kozhikode

A land of serene beaches, ancient monuments, lush green countrysides, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, hills, a unique culture and a warm, friendly ambience, Kozhikode is a much sought after destination. Once the capital of the powerful Zamorins and a prominent trade and commerce centre, Kozhikode was the most important region of Malabar in the days gone by.

Kappad (Beach)
This is the historic beach where Vasco da Gama landed on the 27th of May, 1498 with 170 men in three vessels. The rock studded, pleasant beach is locally known as Kappakadavu. An interesting feature of the landscape is the sprawling rock that protrudes into the sea. The temple on the rock is believed to be 800 years old. The Kappad Beach Resort is one of the leading centres for Ayurvedic health holidays in Kerala (16 km from Kozhikode)

Backwaters
Once the capital of the powerful Zamorins, a prominent trade and commerce centre and the land of the Malabar Mahotsavam, Kozhikode was the most important region of Malabar in the days gone by. Today, ancient monuments, lush green countrysides, serene beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, rivers, hills, a unique culture and a warm, friendly ambience make this district a much sought after destination. Unexplored, unspoiled, the backwaters of Kozhikode hold great promises of enchanting holiday options. Elathur, the Canolly Canal andthe Kallai river are favourite haunts for boating. Kadalundi, with its beautiful bird sanctuary is a charming site. Korapuzha, the venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsavam is fast becoming a popular water sport destination.

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Aquatourism in Kottayam

Bordered by the lofty Western Ghats on the East, and the Vembanad Lake and the paddy fields of Kuttanad on the West, Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations and a totally literate people have given this district the title: the land of letters, latex and lakes.

Vembanad Lake

Kottayam has a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of the Vembanad Lake. Located at Kumarakom 16 km from Kottayam town, the Vembanad Lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages.

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake is an ornithologist’s paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian Stork, egrets, darters, herons and teals. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.

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Aquatourism in Kollam

Located 71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam is another coastal district of Kerala. One of the oldest ports on the Malabar coast, Kollam was once the port of international spice trade. 30% of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi Lake making it the gateway to the magnificent backwaters of Kerala. The eight hour trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest backwater cruise in Kerala. The district which is the centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry also has some interesting historic remnants and a number of temples built in the traditional ornate architectural style.

Thangasseri (Beach)
This seaside village of historic importance has the ruins of an old Portuguese fort and churches built in the 18th century. The Thangasseri lighthouse is open to visitors from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. There are buses at 15 minute intervals from Kollam town (5 km from Kollam town).

Thirumullavaram (Beach)
This secluded beach is a beautiful picnic centre and has frequent bus connections to the town (6 km north of Kollam town).

Alumkadavu (Backwater)
Just 23 km from Kollam, Alumkadavu is half way on the route to Alappuzha from Kollam. This quiet little backwater village in Karunagapally town is famed for its boat building yard. It is here that the gigantic kettuvallams (cargo crafts of rural Kerala) were built. Today the kettuvallams which were long replaced by modern means of transport, have been converted into houseboats.

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Aquatourism in Kochi

Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, Ernakulam district is a cluster of islands networked by lagoons and backwaters. Kochi (Cochin), one of the finest natural harbours in the world, was once a major centre of commerce and trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British. The commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Kochi is also known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Once a major centre of commerce and trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British, all these foreign traders have left their mark on this beautiful island. Half the fun of visiting Kochi is moving around in the local ferries. A conducted cruise on the Kochi backwaters will take you to several quaint spots.

Fort Kochi (Beach)

Access: Backwater ferry / bus / three-wheeler auto rickshaw. A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi. Once an obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India, Kochi has an eventful and colourful history to tell. Its reputation as a seafaring commercial town was such that Nicolas Conti, an Italian traveller of the Middle Ages remarked: If China is where you make your money; then Kochi surely is the place to spend it. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural interfaces is seen in the many remains of Indo-European architecture that still exist here. The huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets which were brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, are a fascinating sight on the Kochi shore line.

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Aquatourism in Kasaragod

The northern most district of Kerala, Kasaragod is situated on the sea coast bordered by hilly Kodagu and Mangalore districts of Karnataka in the east and north. Fishing is a prime source of livelihood along with the coir and handloom industries. With its unique natural and cultural attractions Kasaragod is known as the land of gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. The Bekal Fort, which stands on a 35 acre headland that runs into the Arabian Sea, is the largest and best preserved fort in the State.

Pallikere Beach: This shallow beach offers a spectacular view of the fort, and has ample facilities for recreation and relaxation. It is situated about a km from Bekal Fort.

Kappil Beach: Remote and secluded, this beach is fast becoming a major tourist attraction. The Kodi cliff nearby offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.

Valiyaparamba Backwaters: This is perhaps the most scenic backwater stretch in Kerala. Fed by four rivers and dotted with numerous little islands, Valiyaparamba is fast turning into a much favoured backwater resort that offers enchanting boat cruises. It is situated about 30 km from Bekal.

Chandragiri Cruises (Backwater):  Boat trips to nearby islands and palm groves. Boarding point: Chandragiri bridge. Situated on the Chandragiri river, south east of Kasaragod town, this town is known for its large 17th century fort built by Sivappa Naik of Bedanore. The Chandragiri fort, one of a chain of forts built by the same ruler, offers a breathtaking view of the river and the Arabian Sea. It is a vantage point to watch the sunset.

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Aquatourism in Alappuzha

With the Arabian Sea on the West and a vast network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’ by travellers from across the world, this backwater country is also home to diverse bird life. By virtue of its proximity to the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala. Today Alappuzha has grown in importance as a backwater tourist centre, attracting several thousands of foreign tourists each year. Alappuzha is also famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad. The rice-bowl of Kerala, Kuttanad is perhaps the only place in the world where farming is done below sea level.

Pathiramanal (Backwater Island):
This little island in the middle of Vembanad Lake is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.

Boat races:
Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada backwaters in Alappuzha (2nd Saturday of August) Alappuzha Tourism Boat Race (9th January) Pulinkunnu Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race (last Saturday of August) Champakulam Moolam Boat Race [Moolam day in the Malayalam month of Midhunam (July-August)] Payippad Jalotsavam (4th Onam day – August/September) Neerettupuram Boat Race (Onam – August/September).

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Alappuzha
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 85 km from Alappuzha Town

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Anchuvilakku – stone lamp post in Kottayam

Anchuvilakku is a stone lamp post and a typical example of Kerala architecture, was built near the Changanacherry boat jetty by the renowned freedom fighter Veluthampi Dalawa. The Changanacherry or Changanassery market, one of the largest in Kerala, was also established by the freedom frighter. The five lamps on this post are lit using kerosene.

Getting there

Nearest railway station: Changanassery, about 2 km; Kottayam, about 21 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 111 km