When we speak of Kerala, the first thing which pops up in our minds is the luscious greenery and exuberant natural bounty that the state possesses. The long highways, playful mountains, and splendid waterfalls are well renowned all over the globe and thus collectively, they are called ‘God’s own country’. However, while Kerala does, undoubtedly, have a vast treasury of natural resources, it is not far behind in terms of history either. Kerala is plenty endowed when it comes to history and culture and a strong testimonial to this would be the grand forts of Kerala. These forts speak for themselves. They expertly showcase all those magnificent stories of Kerala which are yet unknown to most. These hidden gems resonate with a rich historical heritage about the empires gone by and deserve to be heard by every single person. So come along and read about some of the best and most interesting forts of Kerala!
1. Palakkad Fort
Any place associated with Tipu Sultan is bound to be nothing short of fascinating, and this remains true in the case of the Fort of Palakkad as well. This amazing fort was constructed in its present form by Hyder Ali in the year 1766 before it was annexed by the British sometime later. The fort is also called ‘Hanuman Kotta’ due to the presence of a tiny shrine dedicated to the Lord. It is often believed that Tipu Sultan would worship the Lord and would pray to him to protect them against enemies often. Currently, the Palakkad Special Sub Jail is also housed inside the fort as well A children’s play area provides a good resting place for tourists to enjoy the panoramic view.
2. Bekal Fort
If you wish to visit the largest fort in the state of Kerala, Bekal Fort is your place to be. The spectacular Bekal Fort was constructed sometime in the 17th century and it is located on a long piece of land, stretching to 40 acres. Originally built by Shivappa Nayaka of Kaledi, several Archaeological sources suggest that Tipu Sultan, and his father Hyder Ali before him, had extensive control over the Fort. The fort served as a strategic military base for Tipu Sultan he had and made several advances in it. One special aspect of the fort is the fact that about three-quarters of its outer side touches the water. There are several other structures in the fort which are worth exploring as well. Visit the Bekal Fort to witness the fine history of the place!
3. Thalassery Fort
Located in the Kannur district of Kerala, the Thalassery Fort was an important hold for trading and supervision under the British raj. It is also a symbol of the once expanding powers of the British and was crucial in the development of Thalassery. The fort is built with colossal walls and many trap doors. It is situated in proximity to the ocean and is built squarely. Get a taste of the authentic history of Kerala by visiting the Thalassery Fort!
4. Pallipuram Fort
A splendid structure indeed, the Pallipuram Fort happens to be the oldest structure built by the Europeans in Kerala. Lesser-known as Castelo em Cima, this brilliant fort was established by the Portuguese only to be captured by the Dutch in the later centuries. The fort is hexagonal and itself contains several trap doors within its premises. The Fort is surrounded by dense vegetation and is frequented by tourists every year.
5. St.Angelo Fort
Located in Kannur (and is also known as Kannur Fort), St Angelo Fort is an important landscape in the pages of history. The fort was constructed under the supervision of Francisco de Almeida. The history of the Fort follows the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in India for the first time. When he arrived at the Malabar coast, he was given a piece of land to build on by the local ruler. Consequently, Da Gama appointed Francisco de Almeida in charge of the construction of the Fort. Presently, the fort is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is an important historical landmark.
6. Anjengo Fort
The Anjengo Fort, also popular as Anchuthengu Fort, is a historical fort situated in Varkala. It was established in the 17th century and was the first framework of imperial rule in Kerala. Many believe that the site was gifted to the British by the local queen of Attingal to carry out trade and commerce. Today, the place is charming with a backwater and a beach on either side. One will also find coconut grooves at the Fort which only add to its beauty. The Anjengo Fort is a fine picnic spot and is famous amongst tourists for its architectural and natural resources.
7. East Fort
Slightly different from all the other forts, the East Fort (or Kizhakke Kotta) is situated at the heart of Thiruvananthapuram. The busy street once housed the entire city within the premises of the fort. When traveling within the Fort area, one will come across several old forts and palaces formerly used by the royal family. The East Fort is also an important commercial area hustling and bustling with people throughout the year.
8. Chendamangalam Fort
The Chendamangalam Fort is one of the oldest living structures in Kerala, having been established about 450 years ago. The Fort is surrounded by soul-soothing forestry and tourists can also visit the neighboring churches, temples, and mosques. The fort showcases several numerous historical relics, sources, and artifacts. Truly a quaint destination!
These ancient forts teach us about the absorbing history of these places. Indeed, it is said that our past still plays an indispensable part in our present and by studying the past, one can prepare for the future. The stories that such forts narrate form the basis of our cultural heritage and identity. Doubtlessly, to preserve our heritage, it is most crucial to pass on these resources to our younger generations and make a point to know about them. So, the next time you’re in Kerala, do make a point to pay a visit to these fabulous places with your friends and family!