IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th October, 2023 History

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


First public sector caravan park in Kerala to come up at Bekal.


  • Bekal Fort, situated in the Kasaragod district of Kerala, India, is a magnificent historical edifice that stands as a symbol of the region's rich heritage and maritime history.
  • Built by Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi in 1650 AD, this colossal fortification is renowned as the largest fort in Kerala, encompassing a sprawling 40-acre area.

Architectural Marvel

  • Bekal Fort boasts a distinctive keyhole-shaped structure when viewed from above.
  • The fort's strategic location near the Arabian Sea makes it appear as though it emerges from the waters. Its architectural features include:
  • Laterite Stone Construction: The fort is constructed primarily from laterite stones, showcasing the architectural expertise of its builders.
  • Moats and Bastions: Surrounding the fort are wide and deep trenches, designed to serve both defensive and aesthetic purposes. Several bastions and watchtowers are strategically positioned within the fort.

Historical Significance

  • Ancient Origins: While the exact date of its construction remains a subject of debate, Bekal Fort has ancient origins, potentially predating its official establishment.
  • Tipu Sultan's Influence: Under the reign of Tipu Sultan in the late 18th century, the fort underwent significant expansions and renovations, becoming a strategic military outpost.

Defensive Strategy

  • The fort's defensive features include a zigzag entrance, surrounding trenches, and strategically placed holes in the outer walls designed for effective defense against naval attacks.
  • The upper, middle, and lower holes were meant for targeting distant, intermediate, and nearby enemies, respectively.

Historical Journey

  • Early History: Bekal was part of the Mahodayapuram during the Perumal Age and later came under the control of the Kolathiri Royal Family in the 12th century.
  • Nayaka Dynasties: Feudatory chieftains, including the Keladi Nayakas (Ikkeri Nayaks), held sway over Bekal during the period following the Battle of Talikota in 1565.
  • Construction and Expansion: The fort's construction was initiated by Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka and completed in 1650 AD by Shivappa Nayaka. It served as a pivotal hub for dominating and defending the Malabar region.
  • Tipu Sultan's Era: Bekal Fort played a crucial role during Tipu Sultan's military campaigns, especially in his quest to capture Malabar.
  • British Control: Following Tipu Sultan's death during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799, Bekal Fort came under the control of the British East India Company.

Tourism and Cultural Significance

  • Tourist Attraction: Today, Bekal Fort is a prominent tourist destination, attracting visitors from across the globe. Tourists can explore the fort's historical relics and enjoy panoramic views of the Arabian Sea.
  • Religious Harmony: The presence of the Mukhyaprana Temple of Hanuman and an ancient Muslim mosque near the fort exemplifies the religious harmony that has historically prevailed in the area.

Tourism Development

  • Government Initiatives: Recognizing its cultural significance, the Kerala government declared Bekal Fort a special tourism area in 1992. Subsequently, the Bekal Tourism Development Corporation was established to promote and develop this historical site.

Cinematic and Artistic Recognition

  • Film Appearances: Bekal Fort has been featured in various films, including the Tamil movie "Bombay" (song: 'Uyire') and the Malayalam movie "Madhuranombarakattu" (song: 'Dwadashiyil').


Bekal Fort stands as an architectural masterpiece, a historical treasure, and a thriving tourist attraction that beckons visitors to explore its rich history and breathtaking surroundings. It serves as a living testament to the enduring legacy of Kerala's maritime heritage and its cultural diversity.


Q. Which ruler is credited with the construction of Bekal Fort in Kerala, India?

a) Shivaji Maharaj

b) Shivappa Nayaka

c) Tipu Sultan

d) Krishnadevaraya

Answer: b)