This is the second entry in a series of posts describing my trip during the last week of 2010. In the last post I talked about Madikeri and the places we saw there. This post I will talk about our visit to Bekal a seaside town in the south Indian state of Kerala.
After we were done seeing Bhagamandala and Talacauvery we had planned to head to Bekal. I had done a lot of research about how to get to Bekal and from various sources (both internet and by word of mouth) heard that the drive from Bhagamandala is a good one. Whatever I heard made me excited and had decided to try it out. Let me tell you it did not disappoint us. To put it on record once more, it one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on.
In order to take this road (while coming from Talacauvery) cross Bhagamandala town (you will exit through an arch which is the entry point for Bhagamandala) take the immediate left turn. There are boards that point you to Karike and Panathur. Karike is the last town in Karnataka in Madikeri district. Panathur is the first town on the other side. Karike is about 25 km from Bhagamandala and the drive is a very picturesque one. Its a winding road which gets into steep ascends and descends at some points, but these are very limited in number. It is so beautiful this road that, almost every turning has a small stream running and that sound of water is amazing !!! There are stretches on this road where the vegetation is so thick that sun ryas struggle to reach the road, the rays sneaking through the canopy make a pretty sight. I have to alert you here about couple of things – this road is pretty isolated, there is no cell phone connectivity and drive carefully in the turns especially if a vehicle is coming in the opposite direction, the soil could be loose and you may loose control of your vehicle and get stuck. We actually found a Qualis stuck like that with a family stranded there. They were luck to have found a lorry to pull them out of the ditch. The road upto Karike is in decent condition with only about 5kms of the road in bad shape, but it is driveable. The winding roads start reducing once you cross Karike and enter Kerala. Panathur is the first town there and roads start improving after Panathur. Once you cross Panathur there are directions through for a town called Kahnangad in Kerala. The roads are excellent and one should reach Kanhangad in about 2 hrs after starting from Bhagamandala. When you reach Kanhangad you will hit NH 17 which is Kochi – Panvel highway. The stretch to which the Bhagamandala road connects is the bypass to Kanhangad. Bekal is about 10 km north of Kanhangad and just off NH 17.
There are two routes to reach Bekal – 1) Take the bypass, cross Kanhangad and take a left turn (there are directions) to reach Bekal. 2) Drive through Kanhangad town to reach Bekal. The second option is a much shorter route and also faster, as there is hardly any traffic in the town. You need to ask for directions on how to get to Bekal Fort and its fairly simple we found out after checking with a couple of people. There is a major intersection in the town where you need to take a right turn. This is the main road in the town and proceeding north for about 10km , you will go over a flyover and see the board for reaching Bekal Fort right after you get off that flyover. Our hotel was right next to the Bekal Fort and a good one. It was to be our home for the next 2 days !!!
We checked into our rooms and decided to checkout the Bekal Fort which was right opposite the hotel. To our surprise it was one of the most amazing places we had seen so far. The structure, the location, the grass, sand , sea and sunset made it a moment to cherish for life. We were so overjoyed and impressed with the place that we decided to come there for sunset the next day and spend as much time as possible there. That ended day one at Bekal Fort.
The second day we were relaxed and decided to check out some places close by. One was a backwater boat ride and the other was a temple in the middle of the lake and of course there was sunset at Bekal. The hotel staff mentioned that the lake temple was near Kasargod and since we were going to Udupi we can see that place on our way back. So we decided to have a relaxed day just doing the boat ride and taking a walk in the Bekal beach which is right next to the fort. So we went to place called Nileswaram south of Bekal and rented a house boat for an hour. It was one of the most amazing experiences we had and for the first time we saw a “river mouth”. Its the place where the river joins the sea. It was one of the most beautiful sights to watch a river flowing into the sea !!!
After this we went for a walk in the Bekal beach, which has some breathtaking views of the Bekal Fort.
It was lunch time on day two and we went back to our resort had lunch, rested for while and geared up for an evening in the Bekal Fort.
It certainly didn’t disappoint us. We enjoyed another beautiful sunset and retired to our resort for the night. The next day we headed to Udupi and back to Karnataka after couple of beautiful days in Kerala. That’s the next topic 🙂
Bekal is a beautiful place and it was unexpectedly the surprise part of the trip. It’s a recommended place to go see in Kerala. Its relatively less crowded and has some amazing views of the sea. Bekal Fort is another place that will remain in memory forever. Today it looks beautiful when bathed in sunlight during sunset and is a delight for any tourist. But from the inscriptions in the fort, it was a very strategic one and many rulers who ruled the Deccan plateau have tried to capture it or captured it.
That’s it for this travelogue, will post the next leg soon where we travelled to the lake temple and Udupi.