Forts in Kerala

posted in: India, Heritage, Kerala | 60

As scenic as the landscape is with abundant natural beauty, the state of Kerala is also a proud host of historical wonders. Fancy discovering relics and ruins? First, book a cab with Savaari Car Rentals. Then plan a trip to explore the forts in Kerala – God’s own country’.

Kannur Fort - One of the Forts in Kerala
Kannur Fort – One of the Forts in Kerala
Here are 4 best forts in Kerala

Bekal Fort – one of the forts in Kerala

About 65 KM from Mangalore, perched on a cliff across the Bekal beach is the Bekal Fort in Pallikera village. As the largest historical fort in Kerala, this is a standing testament to the state’s rich heritage.

It is believed that Shivappa Nayaka of the Ikkeri dynasty established this fort in the 1650s. Across generations, the fort had seen dynasties ruling over this fort – from the Kolathiri Rajas, to the Vijayanagar Empire, Tipu Sultan and finally the East India Company. By the 20th century, the Bekal Fort had developed to become a popular destination for international tourists and Indian filmmakers. The views from the turrets make for a breathtaking view.

Bekal Fort - Forts in Kerala
Bekal Fort – Forts in Kerala                                                                                              Photo Credits: Pixabay under CC0

During high tides, the Arabian Sea splashes onto the stone-walled citadel of the fort. The rocky-sandy beach, dotted with palm trees with the ominously overlooking edifice, collectively render a pleasantly mysterious vibe.

Bekal beach is close to Kerala’s northern borders. This makes it easily accessible from Goa, Mangalore, Bengaluru and adjoining towns.

Arikady Fort

This is one of the rare fort structures in the region which is wrapped in lush greenery. The colonial architecture blended with natural beauty adds to the charm of the Arikady Fort. Yet another historical fort in Kasaragod, this fort was also established by Shivappa Naik of the Ikkeri dynasty.

Though not preserved or maintained like other major forts, tourists still throng to this site. With a watch tower looming over the edifice, overlooking the sea, Arikady still holds a magnificent view for the sore eyes.

St Angelo Fort

The St. Angelo Fort or the Kannur Fort is a colossal structure, standing on the Arabian Sea. Located 3 KM outside the Kannur city, this historical edifice is a remnant of the powerful Portuguese rule in India.

Built in 1505 by the Portuguese Viceroy – Don Francesco de Almedia, this fort too had passed hands from the Portuguese to Dutch and then the British. Eventually post-independence, the fort premise has been preserved and protected by the Archeological Survey of India and is a significant tourist destination of the state.

Kannur Fort or St. Angelo's fort
Kannur Fort or St. Angelo’s fort

Using blocks of laterite soil, the architecture was made resilient to stand the test of time. The highlight of this fort is that unlike regular rounded structures, St. Angelo features a triangular, palatial roof, flanked by fortresses on all sides.

Scenic spots in Kannur Fort
Scenic spots in Kannur Fort

The outdoors feature a centrally located moat, expansive gardens with decorative plants, barracks, and a watchtower. A hanging cliff-like edge of the fort makes for a scenic viewpoint. There’s a dedicated area for graves of the rulers who once reigned the fort. For a photo moment, stop by the remnants of the old oil-lamp lighthouse.

Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is like a wonderland from the old fairy tales. The entire town happened to be the fort area during the Portuguese rule. The structures feature Dutch, Portuguese and British architectural elements.

In 1553, the Fort Immanuel, the first European fort in India was established by the Portuguese, right on the beach where Fort Kochi lies. The fort changed hands and went to the Dutch after their invasion. Today, the relics of the fort remain as a witness to the intensive history of the town.

St Francis Church, Fort Kochi
St Francis Church, Fort Kochi

A museum in the vicinity preserves the 1000-year old heritage of the fort and of Kochi.   Book an outstation cab to explore the eclectic blend of classic and contemporary, the museum houses antiques, artifacts and relics of the original Fort Kochi. Don’t miss the St Francis Church in Fort Kochi for that is where the famous explorer – Vasco Da Gama was buried.

Forts in Kerala

This Post is authored by Archana P .  Archana is a passionate traveler and blogger, who loves exploring new places.


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60 Responses

  1. Danila Caputo

    Bekal Fort would definitely be the highlight of our trip to Kerala. We love to explore historical buildings, forts and castles and this one looks pretty old, gosh, it’s from the 1650s!!!

    • Ami

      It is quite an old fort and you will love it for its natural setting. Hope you get to Kerala soon. Cheers

  2. Danik

    I love visiting a good fort but didnt know India had them as well. Hoping to Kerala region soon so hopefully I can check some out.

    • Ami

      India has tons and tons of forts. And all with different styles. Check out some of my other fort posts. Bet you will love them.

  3. Anuradha Goyal

    So you know of Shivaji’s forts in Kerala. I have always heard of them but never actually read about them.Except fort Kochi I have not been to other forts in Kerala – hope to see them sometime.

  4. Nisha

    Wow! Never knew there so many forts in Kerala. It shows how little I have explored “Gods Own Country” 🙂 🙂 I found Bekal fort impressive, especially because of its location. I must add it to my list .

    • Ami

      Bekal fort is quite scenic. I loved St. Angelo’s too. Hope you can visit all of them soon.

  5. Medha Verma

    Your pictures are breathtaking, and I really didn’t think of Kerala as city with forts, I thought more of forests, backwaters, wildlife, tea plantations, lakes and beaches. Good to know that there’s so much history there as well!

    • Ami

      Most of us make that mistake. Kerala has a lot more than just beaches and nature. Hope you get around to checking these out. Cheers

  6. Meg Jerrard

    Oh wow, Bekal fort is stunning! I had heard of Kerala for the backwaters and the beaches, but wasn’t aware there was such a rich heritage in terms of fortifications. The greenery of most forts, and how the plantlife has taken over the structures is so vibrant and makes photos look stunning! Stunning photographs, thanks for shedding a bit more light on things to do in Kerala 🙂

    • Ami

      Thanks Meg. Most of us forget about the rich history of Kerala. And these like you pointed are amazing owing to scenic settings.

  7. Lisa

    These forts look incredible! I love the history behind them too, and it really reminds you of the colonial past. Nice photos as always Ami, keep it up!

  8. Aisha

    Oh wow what an absolutely breathtaking site! I love visiting forts when I travel not only for the history, but also for the views and Bekal and St. Angelo seem to deliver on both! I truly hope to visit Kerala some day and if I do I’m definitely adding these stops to my list 🙂

    • Ami

      Glad you are adding these to your list. They sure are the best owing to their combination of nature and heritage. Cheers

  9. Charles turrell

    Kerala is so famous for its backwaters, I’ve never read much about its forts. These look stunning and seem to have a real mystic feel about them!

    • Ami

      These forts are not really castles but am sure you will enjoy them for its setting and history. Cheers

  10. Lauren

    I always think about the boat rides in Kerala, and the beaches, but who knew there were so many forts!? Thank you for showing me another side to a place that is on my bucket list! Such an amazing history here.

    • Ami

      Thanks Lauren for stopping by. This is a forgotten aspect of Kerala. Now that you know am sure you will plan to see it. Cheers

  11. Claire

    I didn’t know that there were so many forts in Kerala, and going back to the 1505! They look beautifu, especially contrasting against the blue water of the sea. I would love to visit Kerala, and see some of these for myself.

  12. shwetadave

    I would want to visit them all, but the Beak fort looks so amazing. Given its nature, forts take a side seat but these incredible pictures and information makes me want to visit them 🙂

    • Ami

      Thanks Shweta. I agree, the forts go forgotten in Kerala owing to its landscapes. It would be good to rediscover them.

  13. Siddhartha Joshi

    Wonderful post Ami! I never ever thought there would be so many forts in Kerala…have been to only Fort Kochi and loved it. As I plan a trip to Kerala soon, I will try to include some in my itinerary too.

  14. Umang Trivedi

    I love the forts post monsoon, when the green carpet covers them. Some of the images captured by you are very stunning!

  15. Pooja Bhatt

    Kerala has always been highlighted for its Backwaters and Beaches. i never knew it is so generously awarded with such Beautiful Forts! Beautifully composed Post 🙂

    • Ami

      Thank you Pooja. Forts are always in the background when it comes to Kerala. Glad that we got that in the forefront

  16. Samantha Taki

    Great post and wonderful pictures. The Port Kochi looked cool and reminded me of one of the 21 missions along the California coast. Thanks for sharing these.

    • Ami

      Glad you liked it. Don’t know much abt the 21.missions but will be looking it up. Cheers

  17. Indian Eagle

    Thank you for sharing great information on Kerala fort. In fact Kerala has had a long line of rulers and armies that have shaped the culture and architecture of the State over centuries.

  18. OurSweetAdventures

    The fort on the Arabian Sea is amazing! What a view. A fort with a moat? That sounds amazing! Like we are back in the days of old. It’s amazing that these forts have stood the test of time.

  19. Paula - Gone with the Wine

    This was very interesting! For a long time now, I have wanted to visit the beautiful Kerala. I did not know there are these forts over there. Now I can add the to my list to see there.

    • Ami

      The forts are often forgotten owing to the tremendous other natural destinations here but these have their own tale to tell. Hope you can visit some of them. Cheers

  20. Sandy N Vyjay

    These are real treasures of a different kind of Kerala. One normally does not associate Kerala with Forts. Forts bring Rajasthan into mind more. Kannur fort is indeed a revelation and the pictures bring alive the beauty of the fort. This is one place we want to go to soon.

    • Ami

      Indeed.. Most of us forget about the colorful history of Kerala. Glad to see that these forts remind us of the same. You should plan a visit soon

  21. 2 Backpackers

    Kerala is truly a beautiful place. I did not know that Kerala boasts of so many forts. This interests me more as I am always in lookout for old places and stories! The tourism should highlight the forts more, I think.

    • Ami

      In some ways, these do get lost with the other bounty of treasures the state offers. However, I am with you on highlighting them. Which is why this post. 🙂

  22. Saumya Rai

    Forts have always fascinated us. Loved the details shared on the different forts of Kerala. The pictures are beautiful too.

  23. Cinemawaali

    These forts look like quite an experience to explore. Unfortunately so much gets lost when it comes to Kerala, with major tourism getting concentrated in the backwaters and hill stations. Would definitely love to check out some of these, especially Bekal!

  24. Gogeo Holidays

    Kerala is a God’s own country with beautiful tourist places. The Historical centres show the tradition and culture of Kerala… Nice information, Keep writing.

  25. sarahclark

    the green layer over the wall and aesthetic appeal are the beautiful scenes of kerala always.My all time favourite place which on imagining left us with breezy mind

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