Bekal – An Insignia of Feudal Defense Strategies

The pre-British Raj period has seen much warfare among small and big feudal rulers. The politics of war was the ‘Mantra’ for the rulers to rule over others. ‘Might is right’ was the determining factors for ‘who to rule whom’. Thus defense was the major military strategies for every ruler, big or small. ‘Fort’ was the citadel for feudal rulers to keep themselves safe and secured from the attack and invasion of others.

Bekal is a small region in Kerala that still has a ‘fort’ of the king of Mahodayapuram. The Bekal fort lies in the shoreline of the Arabian Sea in Pallikare village in Kasargod district of Kerala. 300 old Bekal Fort sprawls over an area of 40 acres exhibits its military excellence.

Tourists get deeply inclined to minutely observe the special features of Bekal Fort. The water tank has its flight steps. The tunnel for reaching to the top of the fort opens towards the south. The magazine for storing ammunitions are elaborately positioned and broad steps lead to the observation tower from which the activities of enemies could be sighted for taking offensive action.

With elaborate observation, tourists could find a four stage military strategy that the Bekal Fort afforded for defensive and offensive activities. At each stage there was dark points or holes which could not be spotted from outside by the enemies. The ‘holes’ on the outer walls were specially designed for defending the fort effectively. The holes at the top were designed to aim at the enemies quite at a distance. The third stage of holes, located below was meant to strike the enemy that reached nearer. The 4th stage of holes was underneath used for a point blank attack on the enemies.

It would be very interesting to find that temples in Bekal are owned by families and enshrine the deities of the respective owners. Theyyam Performance is a kind of ritual dance associated with the temples. Traditional dancers, dressed elaborately with faces painted with bright red and orange parade round the temple with the recitation of mantras and telling of stories. Tourists can watch this special dancing ritual by visiting Bekal during January to March.

Moving just a kilometer away from the Bekal Fort, tourists can reach the Bekal Fort Beach which has huge surface area of white sand. The two sculptures of Theyyam, made out of laterite of the beach and a rock garden draw attraction of visitors. The Kappil beach, 6 km away from Bekal Fort is an exciting location for relaxing.

Peaceful sojourning in the exceptionally comfortable house boats is a must-to-have experience for vacationers and honeymooners.

Chandragiri Fort
lies at a distance of 10 km from Bekal which is located on a hill, 183 meters above sea level. The southern part of hill is strongly walled. The main building is Raj Chandragiri Mahal, from where the Chandragiri river and the Arabian Sea could be viewed.

The Bekal Fort stands as a perfect testimony of the scientifically developed military strategy of the erstwhile feudal rulers that provided safety and security to the rulers as well as to the ‘ruled’.