Historical Sites in India – Northern Kerala

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(Photo from: http://www.chaliyarresorts.com/jaintemple-pilgrim.html)

History of Kerala can be traced back to 4000 B.C., when Proto Australoid and Negrito race inhabited the land. Microlithic artefacts dating back to 4000 B.C. have been recovered near Calicut. Megalithic monuments like various kinds of burial stones and urns and some man-made underground chambers have also been found. By around 3000 B.C.

Kerala had trade relation with Sindhu Valley Civilization and its spices and commodities like Sandalwood, Ivory and Teakwood among other things were exported to many countries of the west. Kerala held a considerable position in the commercial map of the ancient world. It is believed that the Peacocks, Monkeys, Ivory and spices which King Solomon received, were exported from Kerala. The teak found in the ruins of Ur must certainly have come from the Malabar Coast. This means trade flourished around 3000 BC.

Cotton from this region was a favourite in Egypt, the Phoenicians visited the coast of Malabar around the same time to trade in ivory, sandalwood and spices. King Solomon is said to have sent his commercial fleet to Ophir which is said to be somewhere in Southern Kerala.

Muziris (Kodungalloor or Cranganore) is reputed to be the ancient world's greatest trading centre in the East for such highly prized possessions as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices. Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome), is said to have lamented the fact that trade with the East was draining the treasury of Rome.

By common consent among the historians, the earliest inhabitants of Kerala were the Pulayas, Kuravas and Vetas. It is at a much later time that migratory populations from the north subjugated them and ultimately enslaved them, a state to which they were in until the abolition of untouchability in the recent past.

Today we look at the historical monuments in the Northern districts of the state. North Kerala includes the districts of Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram.

Here are some of the most important places in this region.


Bekal Fort, Kasaragod

(Photo from: http://www.kerala.com/kerala_destinations/destination_bekal.php)

The 300 year old Bekal Fort is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala. This imposing circular structure of laterite sites rises 130 ft. above sea level and stands on a 35 acre headland that runs into the Arabian Sea.

Unlike most other Indian Forts, Bekal fort was not a centre of administration, for no remains of a Palace are found within the Fort.  Probably the fort was built for fulfilling the defence requirements.  The holes on the outer walls of the fort are so remarkable that they are specially designed to defend the fort effectively.

Some important features of this fort include the water-tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south, the magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad steps leading to the Observation Tower, which is a rarity. From there one has an ample view of towns in the vicinity like Kanhangad, Pallikkara, Bekal, Kottikkulam, and Uduma.


Chandragiri Fort, Kasaragod