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A day visit to Bekal Fort and Bekal beach

Date: February 2nd, 2014

Done with my Philippines series, I had no other trip report to write about after that. Being in Kannur, I had always wanted to go to Bekal Fort in Kasarkode district, north of Kannur. Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala. I had vague memories of visiting the fort when I was very young… but my mom insists I had never been there. She say it must have been St. Angelo’s Fort I got confused with and said she herself has never been to Bekal Fort!

So on a fine Sunday morning, we went to Kannur’s ‘private bus stand’. We chose to go by bus thinking it would be easy to get one as Bekal was only 90kms away. The route on Google Maps showed one long road up north and it would take no less than 2 hours. Trouble is, there was some railway crossing repair work going on along the way and because of that, the route buses would be taking today would be longer. But we were only told of this while we waited for the bus to arrive. We (myself, my mother and my cousin brother) contemplated going by train but because we wasted more than half-an-hour waiting for the bus, we missed the trains going north. Finally we boarded a bus going to Kanhangad as we were told we could catch another bus going to Bekal Fort, or Pallikere (the place), from there. So at 9:45 am, the bus finally left Kannur ‘private bus stand’ and we began our long journey to Bekal.

A bus ticket to Kanhangad costs Rs. 50 ($0.80/€0.60) per person.

Railway bridge Kannur backwater
One of the reasons why I wanted to go by bus is to the see the places along the way. While coming back we decided to take the train for a different view.
Timber factory Kannur
There were quite a few timber, wood and tile factories along the way

The bus filled up with passengers after picking up more people from the municipal bus stations along the way. It was a good thing we got seats.

Vegetable farm Kannur Kerala
We would pass many farms along the way
Chuch Kannur Kerala
And a few churches

As I looked at the time, I realized we would only arrive at Bekal Fort past noon. I was disappointed knowing I would miss the morning blue skies and would instead be shooting during the dreaded 11am-1pm time slot — the period during which the sun is at its brightest and washes out all the blues in the sky in photographs.

Kannur backwaters Kerala
Still, I enjoyed the sights along the way
Dry brown grass Kannur Kerala
I also realized how sparsely populated and barren Kannur district is outside of Kannur town

Past noon, we had reached Kanhagad. From there, we saw a bus with Bekal Fort written on it (in English) and so we knew that was our next bus. We boarded it (Rs. 10 for ticket) and it was another 30 minutes until we reached the road leading to Bekal Fort.

Road to Bekal fort Kerala
From here it was just a short walk to the fort
Bekal fort parking KTDC
Good parking space for cars right outside the fort
Entering Bekal fort
Finally we were at Bekal fort!
Bekal fort rules Kerala
Temple at Bekal fort Kerala
This was the Mukhyaprana Temple
Bekal fort entrance Kerala
Tickets cost Rs. 5 for Indian citizens and Rs. 100 for foreigners. I don’t agree with this sort of dual-pricing, but it’s what it is. Archeological Society of India (ASI) should raise it to at least Rs. 10 for us. Rs. 5 is too low. Every Indian can afford Rs. 10!
Bekal fort entrance
I could already see how big Bekal fort was
Bekal fort walk way Kasragod
And I was also pleased with how clean and well kept it was
Bekal fort observation tower
This was an observation tower. I just had to climb it to see what the views from up there were like.
CCTV Bekal fort Kerala
They have a CCTV installed up here
Bekal fort observation tower panorama
I took a panorama but oddly the camera wouldn’t focus
Bekal fort burnt grass Kerala
The ‘black’ you see below is because they burnt the dry grass
Bekal fort beach view panorama
Another panorama. That’s Bekal beach in the distance.
Bekal fort stone view
Through the rocks
Bekal fort view observation tower panorama
Another panorama

Unlike St. Angelo’s Fort in Kannur, which was built by the Dutch, Bekal Fort was built in 1650AD by Shivappa Nayaka, an Indian ruler. You may read about the fort’s history on Wikipedia.

Bekal fort panorama
A panorama of the other side
Bekal fort aerial view Kannur
That’s the entrance
Bekal fort observation tower view
We went back down

Bench Bekal fort Kerala

Viewpoint wall Bekal fort

Amma Bekal fort
That’s my mother
Bekal fort rock Arabian sea
This is what they were looking down at
Bekal fort stone bricks
We walked along the outer wall

Wall Bekal fort walk path Kerala

Bekal fort Arabian sea panorama
I wanted to get to that beach
Way to sea Bekal fort Kerala
This was the way to get down below

Bekal fort steps to beach

Bekal fort going down
You have to go down a few (large) steps
Bekal fort sea extension
From the extension. Bekal Fort was the setting for the song “Uyire” from Bombay.
Bekal fort small beach
There was a sign saying not to enter the beach or the water. I’m assuming it was largely because there is no one to watch over you if something were to go wrong.
Bekal beach Kasaragod Kerala
You have beaches on either side of Bekal fort
Bekal village coconut trees by beach
A view from back up the fort

Inside Bekal fort Kerala

Inside Bekal fort Kasarakode
There was little else to see
Bekal fort wall
We were making our way back to the entrance

Bekal fort tourists

Bekal fort panorama Kerala
The final panorama
Bekal fort Mithun mother
One photo of ourselves

… and we were out. It was 2pm and we were hungry. There weren’t any restaurants to be found outside Bekal Fort, so we had to eat from the closest resort.

Nirvana resort Bekal fort Kerala
Nirvana Resort is the nearest hotel to Bekal Fort. Like, right outside the fort — that near! We didn’t find any other restaurant nearby so we just ate here. The food was nothing special and not really worth how much they were charging, but you don’t have any choice.
Outside Bekal fort Kasrakode Kerala
We then left Bekal fort and figured how to get to the beach
Path trees outside Bekal fort
We walked down a small village path
Fence Bekal fort
That led us just outside the fence bordering Bekal Fort
Backwaters Bekal Kerala
My cousin isn’t peeing, just keeping the phone back in his pocket 🙂
Bekal fort beach
The path we took was far from the right way to get to the beach, but it’s a shortcut
Bekal beach Kerala
Finally… time to walk barefoot!
Shell beach water Bekal Kerala
The beach was filled with small green shells
Bekal fort from beach
Goodbye Bekal fort
Fishing boats Bekal beach
Pretty big beach
Blademon boat name Kerala
Blademon, which literally translates to “blade son”. Okay Blademon 🙂
Air India boat Kerala
Funny, both the boat and the airline have a chance of sinking
Fishing boats Bekal beach Kerala
Fishing boats have registration numbers much like vehicles have license numbers

Fishing boats Bekal KasrakodeWhen we reached Bekal Beach Park, a security guard ran towards us and told even if we walk across on the beach without even entering the park, we still need to pay Rs. 10 per person.

Bekal beach park Kerala
Rs. 10 to enter a state-run park? Hmmm.
Camel ride Bekal beach Kerala
Camel rides in Kerala

There’s a “zoo” but that costs extra and it was largely domestic animals, so we just walked away. Instead my mom bought us “kids” some cone ice cream.

When I went to use the park’s toilet, even there they were charging Rs. 5 for using it! So Rs. 10 is for you to walk in the vicinity. Rubbish! And so was the condition the toilets were in going by how much they were charging.

Anyway, we asked the security guard how to get to Kanhangad railway station and he gave us the directions to the main road from where we could board the bus.

Railway line Kanhagad Kerala
We crossed a railway track
Inside Kerala bus
And got a bus going to Kanhangad town

When we arrived at the town bus stand, we crossed over to the other side to get to the railway station. The next train to Kannur was only at 5:20pm, but we had no choice. We bought three tickets (Rs. 50 per person for General class) and went out to drink some chai.

Kanhagad railway station Kerala
We sat at Kanhangad railway station platform for an hour
Kanhagad railway station platform
The Mangalore -> Chennai Express train arrived at 5:20pm… with a few extra minutes added to it

It was crowded inside the general compartment, as expected, but I had no issues standing because I wanted to take photos.

Kerala village coconut trees
The sights along the journey were largely that of village life and paddy fields…
Football paddy field Kerala
… and a lot of football being played on the now dry paddy fields
Muslim Kerala sunset
North Kerala (Malabar) has a long history with Islam
Sunset Kerala backwaters
Me and my cousin stood by the door to make sure I could get photos of the sunset
Houseboat sunset ride Kerala backwaters
That’s a houseboat in the distance. Quite the glorious way to catch the sun set.
Kerala train passing by India
This train would only stop briefly at two stations before stopping at Kannur
Sunset Kerala paddy field
Beautiful Kerala

Sunset Kerala field

Crossing river railway bridge
The sun had set by the time we crossed the river you see in the very first photo above

The train reached Kannur station a few minutes before 7pm. After helping a French tourist who was in the same train with some travel advice, we all left the station.

Overall, the trip was good and I’m quite pleased with the photos I got using only my Sony Xperia Z1 phone camera. This is the first trip taking photos only using my phone and I am now confident that even if I don’t have my DSLR, the photos I get from my phone would still serve me fine.

But a bit of advice, if you wish to visit Bekal Fort from either Kannur or any other cities south of Kerala, just take the train. The buses aren’t as frequent as I thought they would be and it takes longer depending on the time of the day. The ticket rates are the same anyway and although you may not get a seat in some of the general class trains, you get to Kasragod district a lot quicker. Also, try and get to the fort by 9am or post lunch so you can watch the sun set from Bekal Fort itself.

Kannur may have St. Angelo’s Fort but trust me, Bekal Fort is a lot bigger and well worth the views.

Diwali in Bangalore – A pictorial

Just a few shots I took on the night of Diwali outside the apartment complex I stay at. All the residents had gathered at the public park in front to burst firecrackers.

Public park Diwali celebrations Bangalore
Quite a few families had already begun with the noise
Mickey Mouse firework Diwali
Mickey doing his magic

Arkere Mico layout Diwali celebrations

Nithin Anand lighting firework
My brother (in the back) and his friend lighting a firework

Shadow firecracker on ground Diwali India

Sparkler stick closeup Diwali celebrations
Sparklers are of course, a perennial favourite. I hate the bombs – mostly because I can’t stand the noise. Sadly, with fireworks costing as much as they do come festive season, I can see why Diwali gets louder and louder each year.

Kid holding sparkler stick Diwali Bangalore

TV Tower firework Bangalore India
The names they come up with for fireworks these days. This one’s called ‘TV Tower’.
Red firework Bengaluru India
Surprisingly this one isn’t called ‘S.O.S’

Fountain fireworks Diwali in Bangalore India

Foreigners playing with fireworks Diwali Bangalore
Even visitors couldn’t resist joining in on the festivities

Fountain firework Diwali BangaloreMan walking fireworks Diwali Bengaluru IndiaSparkler fireworks spinning Deepawali India

Colourful fireworks bursting in the sky
Whereas up in the sky…

Fireworks bursting Diwali Bangalore IndiaFireworks Diwali night Bangalore IndiaFireworks night sky Diwali Bangalore

Yellow firework Diwali Bangalore
I got tired of the noise and returned home

L & T South City apartments Diwali lightsHope everyone celebrating had a prosperous, and more importantly, a safe Diwali this year!

Above & Beyond Live in Bangalore: Photos and videos from TATW 450

Date: November 10th, 2012

Finally! The last time Above & Beyond played in Bangalore, I missed it. I hoped they would return but I never expected my favorite trance outfit to return like this. I couldn’t believe Submerge managed to snag an epic event like this and bring the group down to Bangalore for it! Trance Around the World, my favourite trance podcast, episode 450 – which they announced at the end of episode 449 would be their last – was going to be transmitted live from Bangalore!

Six hours of amazing trance with other Anjunabeats artists such as Jody Wisternoff, Andrew Bayer, Norin & Rad, Mat Zo, and finally Above & Beyond taking the stage for a two-hour set. Since I knew I couldn’t dance for six hours straight, I only made it to the venue at around 5:30pm just as Andrew Bayer was on stage.

Andrew Bayer Tatw 450 Bangalore India
The stage setup, the sound, the impressive venue… it was all really well put together
Andrew Bayer Tatw 450 Bangalore
I really enjoyed Andrew Bayer’s set — pure trance at it’s finest
Norin and Rad TATW450 Bangalore India
Next up was American duo Norin & Rad
Norin & Rad Tatw450 Bangalore live
Didn’t dance a lot to their set, although they were great in getting the crowd pumped up
Norin Rad Tatw450 Bangalore concert
A good hour-long set none the less
Submerge says dance bucket Bangalore
Submerge says dance, and dance we did!
Above & Beyond TATW 450 live in Bangalore
I still couldn’t believe after all this time I waited to see Above & Beyond in concert, it would be for a live recording of the final episode of the trance podcast I’ve been listening to since 2006!
Mat Zo TATW 450 live in Bangalore
Mat Zo, the final ‘warm-up’ act took to the stage for his hour-long set
Mat Zo TATW 450 Bangalore
His set was much better!
Crowd Tatw450 Above & Beyond Bangalore concert
They had streams of colourful cloth spreading through the crowds. It was symbolic for it is the graphic that represents Group Therapy Radio – Above & Beyond’s new radio show
Above and Beyond stage group therapy
As the clock struck 8pm, it was now time for the main act. The crowd went wild as three men took to the stage.
Paavo Jono Tony Tatw 450 Bangalore India
(L-R) Paavo, Jono and Tony – or better known as the legendary Above & Beyond! I won’t mention their DJ Mag ranking… mostly because I don’t give a shit how high they rank!
Above & Beyond Tatw 450 Hello Bangalore
Needless to say all of us were going bonkers seeing all three of them on stage together (Usually two of them go on tour while one stays back in the studio)
Above & Beyond group therapy Bangalore concert
The end of Trance Around the World and the beginning of Group Therapy Radio episode 001
Above & Beyond stage Bangalore Tatw 450
The played classics from like “Liquid Love” and even some world-exclusive first listens. If it weren’t for ‘Tri-State,’ I wouldn’t have heard of Above & Beyond.
Above & Beyond live Bangalore India
But of course, there’s always that one moron who keeps shouting for “Sun and Moon” right from the start. Ugh. (They played it towards the end of course)
Above & Beyond confetti concert India
Epic six-hour long live broadcast ended with an epic shower of confetti!
Paavo hugging Tony end of TATW 450
Paavo and Tony seemed pleased
Above and Beyond members Bangalore concert
So were we
Above & Beyond Group Therapy Bangalore India
I began to leave the venue as they closed out with “Good For Me” (from ‘Tri-State again). I was kinda disappointed they didn’t play “Good Day” as it was the one song I was so looking forward to singing as loud as I could.
Above & Beyond Group Therapy radio Bangalore
But this being a ‘good night,’ play “Good Day” they did. Although it was the vocal mix. Still, it didn’t stop I or anyone else from singing along.
Jaymahal palace concert venue Bangalore
Nikhil Chinapa, who is one of the men behind Submerge, then took to the stage to thank his home crowd for an amazing night

This year marked the 10th anniversary of Submerge, an institution that started out as a platform for Indian DJs back in 2002 and which has since grown into a tour de force in the promotion of electronic dance music in India. You’ve really got to hand it to them. Even Nikhil Chinapa said he never expected they would get this far, but all the applause he got from the crowd was well deserved. Sunburn Festival, all the international DJs they bring to India, and the Submerge nights… Nikhil has done EDM in India a world of good!

As for videos from the night, here are a bunch of clips recorded on the Samsung Galaxy SII (also used for all the above photos). You might want to turn down the speakers as I was close to the stage, and so there’s a lot “brrrr brrr”. Also, if you’re epileptic, you have been warned!

You can listen to TATW 450/Group Therapy 001 in full here.

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