We started our backpacking trip of North Kerala from Kasaragod, a small town on the northern tip of Kerala. North Kerala is not so famous amongst tourists but it has hidden gems like Kasaragod which have a lot to offer both in terms of beauty and peace. With life moving at a slow speed, people are friendly and are eager to offer help with a smile as soon as they find you confused searching either for a route or a place.
We stayed in Kasaragod for a day and visited 2 prime tourist destinations which are located in two opposite directions from the city. Ananthapura lake temple located around 15 KM to the north is a famous Lord Vishnu Temple. Bekal Fort, located 15 KM south of Kasaragod is the largest fort in Kerala. Mani Ratnam’s famous movie ‘Bombay’ has been shot here.
Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kasaragod
(Location) This is a beautiful temple constructed right in the middle of the lake. Lake water is super clean and you can easily see fishes swimming under the wooden bridge. Dedicated to Lord Vishu, this is a peaceful place where you can sit and meditate in silence. We reached in the afternoon just before the Aarti. Temple closes post Aarti and then reopens in the evening, so please plan you visit either in the morning or in the evening. Temple priest is a really nice person. He briefed us and all visitors about the temple and its history. Temple serves tasty lunch as Prasadam and temple priest serves himself.
Since this is Lord Vishu temple, so all men have to remove their shirt and wear dhoti. However temple staff was cooperative and did not create any fuss and also provided dhoti. Temple also has a vegetarian crocodile with the name of Babia. Babia stays in a small pond in the temple compound only and eats only Prasadam prepared in the temple. When we visited the pond, he was sleeping in one corner 🙂
Bekal Fort and Beach in Kasaragod
(Location) Bekal Fort is another tourist destination in Kasaragod where you will find peace, greenery and serenity at one place. Very well maintained and clean, situated right on the beach, Bekal Fort is a treat to eyes and soothing to heart. Place is not at all crowded and you can sit under the shade of a tree or walk along the wall of the Fort to enjoy the beeach and sunset. Spread over 40 acres, it will take you around 1-2 hours to take a complete round of Bekal Fort.
Just below the fort, is situated Bekal Beach with stunning views. In evening, you can sit on the side and watch the sky colour change from blue to red as sun sets right in front of you. Birds flying over the water with fishermen dragging their boats out looks like directly out of some artist’s painting.
North Kerala is still untouched as tourists mainly through to the southern cities and thus you will find the places clean and almost completely to you without any hustle bustle. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Kasaragod and Bekal Fort before we moved to our next destination: Valiyaparamba back waters.
How to reach Kasaragod
Kasaragod is well situated on the railway route connecting it with all major cities. We took a night train from Bangalore to reach Kasaragod in the morning.
How to reach Ananthapura Lake Temple in Kasaragod
Kasaragod has a good local bus network and you can easily get a bus to all nearby places. Kasaragod has two bus stands – Old one and New one. We took a local bus to Kumbla (Rs 14 per person, 30 minutes ) and then changed another bus at Kumbla that dropped us on main road (Rs 7 per person, 20 minutes) from where we had to walk 1.5 Kms to reach the temple. Bus service is good and regular on both routes. There is no entry fee for temple. You can donate to the temple as per your wish.
How to reach Bekal Fort in Kasaragod
You can easily get a bus from Kasaragod New Bus stand to Bekal Fort. Bus will drop you on the main road from where you have to walk half a kilometer inside to reach Bekal Fort. Rs 15 is the entry fee for the fort. To return to Kasaragod, buses are available till 9 PM through same route.
How to reach Bekal Beach in Kasaragod
Though beach is right behind the fort but security guards at fort do not allow going down as waves are very high around that part. You have to come back to the main road and then walk firther down to south for a km before reaching the beach.