Bekal Fort is the largest fort in the state of Kerala, India, spreading over 40 acres (160,000 m2). An important features of this fort are the water-tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south, the magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad and wide steps leading to the Observation Tower which is a rarity. From there one has ample view of towns in the vicinity like Kanhangad, Pallikare, Bekal, Kottikkulam, Uduma etc. This observation center had strategic significance in discovering even the smallest movements of the enemy and ascertaining safety of the Fort.
The Fort appears to have been built up from the sea since almost three fourth of its exteriors is drenched and the waves continually stroke the citadel.
Bekal served as an important military station of Tipu Sultan when he led the great military expedition to capture Malabar. The coins and other artifacts unearthed by the archaeological excavation conducted recently at Bekal fort is a manifestation of the strong presence of the Mysore Sulthans. The death of Tipu Sulthan in Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799 saw the end of Mysorean control and subsequently the fort came under the British East India Company.
During the reign of the Company Bekal became the headquarters of the newly organized Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay presidency. South Canara became a part of the Madras presidency in 1862 and Kasargod Taluk was up in the place of Bekal Taluk. Gradually the political and economic importance of Bekal and its port declined considerably. Kasargod became part of Kerala with the state reorganization in 1956.
Its solid construction resembles the St. Angelo Fort at Kannur built by Portuguese and also the Thalassery Fort. The Ikkeri Nayakas had not developed guns to defend themselves from the invaders approaching from the Arabean sea route. But the western part of the fort is built in a solid manner with numerous slits on the walls for defending the fort from the naval power of other rulers. So it is believed that the present look of fort was the outcome of the conflict between European powers. Modification to the fort was made by all the rulers who ruled the land from before the time of the Ikkeri Nayakas. Moreover a number of forts built by the Ikkeri Nayakas have failed to stand the test of time and perished. Located at the centre of the fort is an Observation Tower built by Tipu Sultan, which offers a breathtaking view of the coastline. Also in existence is a rest-house built by the British Government. Presently the protection and preservation of Bekal fort has been entrusted to the Archaeological Survey of India.
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