Distinct already in its locational presence within the bountiful expanse of what is God’s very own country, the region of Kasaragod in the Indian state of Kerala is one dwelling in lavish beauty. With of course the famed Kerala backwaters drenching its vibe in one of charming serenity and the majestic profusion of the Western Ghats endowing upon it that characteristic visage in magnificent resplendence, Kasaragod might stem out like any other region fortunate enough to find nestling in the heavenly ambience of what characterise the entire southern belt of the country. The greens and the blues abound in this abode of all immaculateness even as hues of the cultural and the historic paint it also in an allure defining of its status and significance in exclusive right of its own. But the diversity of its beauty aside, it also is the diverse nature of its identification itself as a land of myriad musings, each standout in its own that makes this particular region of Kerala present itself as a kaleidoscope of images alluring indeed in every extent of their reach.
Eloquently extolled as the Saptha Bhasha Sangama Bhoomi or The Land of Seven Languages, Kasaragod also lays claim to such epithets as being the land of Gods, Forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches. What’s more, immensely rich also in the extent of its cultural heritage that it shares with the neighbouring state of Karnataka is what renders Kasaragod a uniqueness prominent enough to present it as a tourist destination compelling in the sheer variety of whatever it is that it encompasses. With a confluence of elements both natural as well as those drawing from the fore of human civilisation characterising the Kasaragod narrative in its existence through the times, this northernmost district of Kerala charts out for itself an essence exquisite indeed in the entirety of what it professes in immense beauty. And thus Kasaragod spans out as a tale in compelling character of the most charismatic rendition to ever be, and with it unfurls a specimen in ultimate scenery and utmost spirit otherwise inconceivable almost in the dual dichotomy of their reference.
To say that Kasaragod represents within itself a fulfilment in calibration of the riches that it rears would for sure not be any exaggeration of what one would experience the instant they get as much as a whiff of the air that permeates this place of all peace and calm. Not just the atmosphere though, the exclusivity of Kasaragod is such that sees it steeped indeed in all instances of rarity. With as many a dozen rivers running through it- the most of all districts of Kerala and boasting also in that stature an eponymous town situated on the estuary of its longest river, the Chandragiri river, the very evocation of the Kasaragod name is one inalienable from all ideas of individuality. And the fact that it manages to foster this definite distinction in identity along not just one but all strands of its sensibility is what makes Kasaragod even more inviting an enigmatic depiction in reality that it already is by virtue of its endowing in the picturesque Kerala scape.
Beyond its abundance in natural treasures of the hills and the rivers and the beaches and the like, Kasaragod also has a trove of man made wonders to revel in as part of its distinguished past leading it upon the way of continuing beauty. The Bekal fort in particular is one of the most phenomenal of such presence further upping the appeal of the district. A special tourism area since 1992, this medieval structure located in a namesake town manifests also as the largest of all forts in Kerala. Spanning an area of 40 acres is this magnificent form that appears to emerge from the depths of the sea, acquiring thus a character captivating in the very sight of it.
With also a more than three centuries old heritage to cater to, this impressive presence on the shores of the Arabian sea that is shaped like a giant keyhole might be a fortified assertion all right but it also harbours in its vicinity an element of utmost harmony. Flanked by a Hanuman temple and an ancient Muslim mosque in close proximity with each other, the Bekal Fort stands out as a specimen in religious coexistence asserting once again the diversity embedded in the very existence of Kasaragod. And that perhaps even accentuates the assertion of the aesthetics allowed by the fort from upon its essentially functional observation tower centrally located within, opening up enthralling vistas in vision of the enormous expanse of the blue sea along the shores from which it rears its form in all might of an awestriking sight.
This man made entity of the Bekal Fort might sum up as the most prominent landmark of Kasaragod and one that is gaining fame also in the global context but venture into dwellings eked out by the unparalleled workings of nature and Kasaragod is a haven of prettiness to lose oneself in. Identifying as the village of Ranipuram is this immensely famous tourist attraction besotted with every possible charm of the mountain greens and the mesmerising woods creating a marvel nestled at some 780 meters above sea level. Once known as Madathumala, this is a hilly terrain offering some of the most marvellous trekking trails for adventure seekers and nature lovers to embark in open mouthed delight. Quiet enough in quite hillstationesque an allure of it and thrilling still in every spectrum of prevalence is this mound of beauty that characterise once again the true nature of Kasaragod as being a bevy in all beauty.
Seeking out grandeur beyond what appeals in their appearance and immersing instead in the true measure of what they harbour is also a prospect more than explorable along the Kasaragod trail in tourism. And fanning the promise of delight delivered in this line of revelation is the town of Nileshwaram or Nileshwar oft exalted as being the cultural capital of the region since times in antiquity. Formerly the seat of the Nileshwar Rajas is this major town of today’s times that though continues to enjoy the rich run of history whether it be in the architecture of its palaces or the archaeological significance running through its folklore.
Also profusely marked by the flow of divine energy with shrines and temples dotting this premise in trademark Kerala pristinity and prettiness, so much so in fact that the town takes after the Thaliyil Siva Temple (Neelakanteshwaran) in name. Nestled between the rivers Nileshwaram Puzha and Thejaswini Puzha is this land of Lord Shiva, holy indeed to infuse in the minds of all and sundry visiting it a certain peculiar calmness resonating almost the tranquil environs of the state as a whole. Also as the venue famous for a whole lot of temple festivities to unfurl and for folk arts to gain centerstage while being as prominent a wellness retreat in all its serendipitous discovery in piousness and serenity alike with the eminent prevalence of its cultural status as well, Neeleswaram is yet another projection of a whole world of diversities rolled into one in as Kasaragod a way of being as possible.
So embodying of the classic Kerala charm is Kasaragod through multiple avenues of its beauty that any venturing into this abode of mavericks galore warrants also for blissful basking in all glory of the coastal characterisation. And there indeed exist options manifold for one to explore in its stretch along the sea, with the Bekal beach and the Kappil beach and the Pallikady beach each presenting such dimensions in indulgent beauty and carefree relaxation that one would be more than tempted to seek out. Nileshwar though stands out once again in this context as well, with its stretch of the Thaikadappuram Beach famous for the rare Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest there every monsoon proving to be a once in a lifetime opportunity of glimpsing those exotic creatures stuttering about the vibrant golden sands that make up the beach.
The Thaikadappuram beach is a wonder in its exotic faunal spawn all right but no less spellbinding is the beauty of what conjures up this coastline in all impeccable view of it. Shaped up by a confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Thejesweni river in the small namesake town, the beach makes for a place of immense succour and calm, lined as it is by palm trees much like any coastal stretch of the sandy shimmers even as the last rays of the sun descending upon this particular presentation in paradisiacal prettiness make for even enormous a sight to savour and cherish and capture in all its collecting of the scattered hues of the setting.
Much like the unmissable presence of the beaches, the coastal charm of Kerala manifests also as much through the beauty of its famed backwaters no matter in whichever region of the state one finds themselves in. In the Kasaragod context, it is the Valiyaparamba Backwater that stems as the most prominent such wonder to visit in all definiteness. Numerous small islands and beaches characterise this part of the town that is famous for its avian richness while nestled in that splendid aura of areca nut and coconut palm lined expanse of pristinity. One among the important fishing centers as well of the state, the backwaters make for not just a picturesque destination to wade along but also presents as a quaint hub of activity giving out the true feels of the Kerala way of life.
For those preferring of the heights of the hills over the depth of the waters and the lengths of the shores, Kasaragod can prove to be as enriching an experience in the sky high reach of the verdant peaks. The Kottancheri Hills is a case in point in this regard, manifesting as a rain forest with all the dense mystery of its beauty playing out albeit in all lush vibrancy. No wonder in its breathtaking visage of vivid greens reaching out towards the sky blues Kottancheri hills also is a favored picnic spot of the region. Trekking and hiking is the other fore of expression that the hills account for as well, with its wide variety of flora and fauna catering to either realm of pleasure seeking with perfection.
Whether one wishes to let loose their soul and spirit in soaking in the majestic beauty of this place or choose instead to take it all in as they make their way all along the mildly adventurous expanse of its harbouring, the Kottancheri hills make for an experience to remember in either case. And it is the very locational setting of the hills aiding its dual residence in distinction. A part of the ever so enigmatic beauty unfurled along the Western Ghats and an extension of the Ranipuram wildlife sanctuary, this is a tourist hotspot abundant in whatever it is that one aspires for in their quest for soul satisfying travel feeds.
The landscape of Kasaragod might be what sums up the Keralan essence of it being a part of the divine dwelling. But it also are the intangible constituents of what defines Kasaragod that present equally enthralling an expression of its identity. Revered in its cultural richness is the Kasaragod existence that plays out through a melange of artistic sensibilities endowed in the form of reverberating ravishes. The ritual folk art of Theyyam is the most prominent of them all even as varied expressions of Yakshagana, Kumbla (buffalo race), Poorakkali, Kolkali too mesmerise locals and visitors alike with their display of the culture and the arts. As a space marked by so many and so different elements of what it takes for an idiosyncratic identity of one’s own to eke out, the Kasaragod encounter in the heart of Kerala surely makes for an experience enticing beyond measure.