Bekal, situated on the seashore of Pallikara village, is an important place of tourist interest in the district. It lies 12 kms. south of Kasargod town. According to Bekal Rama Nayak, a local Kannada writer, the word, Bekal is derived from the word Baliakulam, meaning Big Palace. The place is said to have been the seat of a big palace in the past. The term Baliakulam got corrupted as Bekulam and later as Bekal.
It was usual in older days for every royal palace to be protected by a fort. The Bekal for might have, therefore, existed even from early days of the Chirakkal Rajas. While giving a description of the Kolathiri Kingdom in his Kerala History, K.P. Padmanabha Menon writes; “The eldest of the male members reigned as sovereign Kolathiri. The next in succession, the heir apparent, was the Thekkelamkur. The residence assigned to him was the Vadakara fort. The third in succession was the Vadakkelamkur in charge of Vekkolath fort. This V(B)ekkolath fort is identified by some scholars as the present Bekal”.
H.A.Stuart, in his Handbook of South Canara (1985), makes this observation: “….. Several forts were built by the Shivappa Nayaks of Badnore between 1650 and 1670 A.D. The two forts of Bekal and Chandragiri were originally under the Kolathiri or Chirakkal Rajas until the time of Shivappa Nayaka’s invasion. Perhaps, the Bednore rulers might have rebuilt and improved it”.
The Bekal fort, which is of great historical and archaeological interest, is the largest and best preserved of its kind in the district and the land on which it is situated, runs into the sea with fine bay towards the south. According to the South Canara Mannual, Bekaln fort fell into the hands of Haider Ali in 1763. It housed the Huzur of Canara during Tipu’s time and the remains of a gallow reminiscent of the days of Mysorean occupation were seen here till a few years back. After the overthrow of Tipu Sultan in 1799, Bekal was incorporated into the dominions of the English East India Company. The erstwhile Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district was known as Bekal for more than half a century.
The Bekal fort is now under the Archeological Department of the Government of India.
There is a Travellers’ Bungalow, maintained by the PUBLIC Works Department of the State Government within the Bekal fort. The natural scenery at Bekal is alluring and makes a visit to the place an exhilarating experience. There is a recently renovated temple dedicated to Hanuman, at the entrance to Bekal. An old mosque is also situated very near the fort and this is believed to have been founded by Tipu Sultan.
Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC)
It was in the year 1992 the Government of India declared Bekal Fort as a special tourism area. It was with the intention of transforming Bekal Fort into international tourism centre that in the year 1995 the government formed Bekal Tourism Development Corporation.
It is in Chemmanad, Udma, Pallikkara and Ajanur Panchayats that the Bekal tourism project is implemented. At present the corporation is engaged in arranging basic facilities for the project. Corporation has decided to acquire 278 hectares of land for Bekal tourism development.
By this time, 178 hectares of land have been acquired. Towards the end of this year, land acquisition will be completed. The Bekal Fort is now under the Archaeological department of the Government of India. Of the 178 hectares of land taken over, 24 hectares are set apart for resort centres and 75 hectares for housing sites. When the land acquisition is over, programmes like water supply, total sanitation, waste incineration, road construction and installation of street lights will be implemented in the project area.
Six beach hotel resorts will be established in the project area on priority in the project area on priority basis. For each resort 30 acres of land will be provided. Of the six resorts two will be started in government sector.
Plans for bettering and increasing basic facilities will be implemented in the four panchayats where Bekal tourism project is implemented. Water supply scheme for the entire people of Pallikkara, Udma, Ajanur and Chemmanad will be implemented. A tank having the capacity of 7 billion litres will also be constructed. Total sanitation programme will be implemented in the four panchayats. As a first phase of this, latrines will be constructed and other sanitation programmes will be carried out in the coastal areas. In the first phase, programmes like waste incineration, road construction and installation of street lights will also be carried out.
A Bekal facility centre expending Rs. 35 lakhs was established in 1998 near Bekal Fort. In the facility centre there is an information centre. B.R.D.C. has programme to develop other tourist centres of the district as part of Bekal project. Many House boats have already started functioning at Valiyaparambu. Boats clubs will be established at Bekal and Chandragiri soon.