Located at the northernmost tip of Kerala, Kasaragod is known globally for its coir and hand-loom businesses. It is a land of abundant natural beauty and cultural and historical significance. The 12 rivers scattered across its terrain adds to its enchanting beauty. The derivation of the name Kasaragod, has two theories associated with it. One is that it is derived from two Sanskrit words “Kaasara” meaning lake and “kroda” meaning where a gem is reserved. The other theory is that it got its name due to the abundance of Kaasaraka / Kaasakra (Strychnos nus vomica) trees.
Kasaragod has seen many rulers along it past. The Kolathiri Raja and Ikkeri kayaks has led Kasaragod. Tippu Sultan dominated the district and later admit defeat it to the British Administration in 1792. After the independence Kasaragod belonged to Karnataka state. It became part of Kerala in 1956 and a separate district in 1984. Kasaragod has a strong foot hold in the ethnic cultural landscape of Kerala. It is famous for the art forms of Yaksha Gaana, Bombeyatto and Theyyam. Poorakkali, Kolkali, Oppana etc add colour to the lives of this land. Reasons to visit Kasaragod do not end there. The golden sandy beaches, forts which stand as tall testaments to the historical and archaeological significance of the land, mesmerizing hills and rivers and the warm and embracing people make this district a must stop destination for tourist.
Some Places to visit in Kasaragod
Situated 16 km south of the Kasaragod town, is the towering Bekal Fort dating back to the glories of 17th century Kerala. The huge keyhole formed fort that altered hands over many dynasty of Indian rulers, finally ended up in the hands of British Empire about two centuries ago. It went through many transitions along the journey, as K.P. Padmanabha Menon writes in his book on Kerala History. The current day Bekal fort formerly built by the leaders of the ancient Kadampa dynasty is believed to be the residence allotted to the Vadakkelamkur, the third son of Kolathiri or Chirakkal Rajas until Shivappa Nayaka of Bednoor invaded the region in 1650. It was Hyder Ali, the Mysore ruler who then captured the stronghold on Bekal. During Tipu Sultan’s boundless military voyage to capture Malabar, Bekal Fort served as his important military station for his army. It was at the fourth Anglo-Indian war that Tipu was defeated by East India Company and fort became the headquarters of the newly organized Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay presidency.
The near railway station is Kasaragod, on the Kozhikode-Mangalore- route, about 16 km away and the next-door airport is Mangalore, about 50 km from Kasaragod town.
Madhur Temple or Madhur Madanantheswara Siddhi Vinayaka Temple located 8kms away from Kasaragod town is the most famous Ganapathi temple amongst the six temples of ancient tulu nadu. Though the preceding deity is Siva the temple is famous for lord Ganapati who is also worshipped here. Set against the enchanting landscape of Madhuvahini River, the temple architecture has influences of both Hindu and Jain architectural styles which in itself is a peculiar combination. Thus it attracts not only devotees but also architectural students and enthusiasts.
Situated about 750 meters above sea level, Ranipuram is a trekker’s paradise. Within close proximity to bhagamandala forests, this region is blessed with abundant natural beauty. Its varied vegetation includes evergreen shola woods, monsoon forests and grasslands all of which add to the charm of the place. Ranipuram is often compared to Ooty due to its scenic beauty. It was earlier known as Madathumala, whose extensive forests merged into those of Karnataka. This offbeat place tucked away from the concrete jungles is a much loved destination for trekking enthusiasts.
Situated about 30 kms from Bekal, Valiyapramba in Kasaragod district is slowly finding its way into the tourist maps of Kerala. It is the northern part of Kavvayi backwaters. It is the third largest backwaters in Kerala. The unspoilt beauty of these backwaters are enough to capture the attention of any nature lover. Fed by four rivers and dotted with numerous islands valiyaparamba backwaters exude a rustic charm. Handloom, agriculture, fishing and coir industries of Valiyaparamba have only added to its appeal.