One has to time-travel to the past to find something new in Kasaragod, the northernmost district of Kerala; specifically to the age-old Chandragiri Fort. The Payaswini River divides the ‘Tulunadu’, which comprises Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka and the northern parts of the Kasaragod district, with the Malayalam-speaking regions. And the river, which is also known as Chandragiri River, is the longest river in Kasaragod district. It is really exciting to follow the path of Payaswini River as it empties into the Arabian Sea.
The historic Chandragiri Fort is a vantage point to get a panoramic view of the bewitching river. The laterite citadel was built in the 17th century and was probably the main administrative centre of the independent kingdom of Chandragiri. Not many tourists frequent the landmark fort, which is a protected monument under the archaeology department. Though the citadel is a protected one, the upkeep of the structure is not up to the mark. The vista from the square walls of the fort is spell-bounding as one can see the estuary and fishermen’s small boats moving at snail’s space in search of marine wealth.
Undoubtedly, Chandragiri Fort is strategically located as it is situated atop a hillock overlooking the sea. As the river was used for navigation in olden times, the square-shaped roofless fort served as a surveillance point to keep tab on what’s happening in the water body. Huge laterite slivers were used to construct the walls and a small square-shaped path leads one into the structure. The walls are so broad that one can walk on top of it with ease, and the view of sunset from the fort is simply breathtaking.
As per unofficial records, the fort, which is 5km away from Kasaragod, is spread across seven acres of land. The citadel, which was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka belonging to the Keladi Nayakas, was later under the possession of Hyder Ali and the British. Though the fort is not as expansive as the more popular Bekal Fort in Kasaragod, Chandragiri Fort is a tourist destination of many travellers, including foreigners.
Dos and don’ts
Make it a point to leave the fort before dusk falls as the citadel is situated in a secluded place. If you are particular of going out in the evening, visit the fort as part of a group. It would also be difficult to avail the services of police or other officials. The fort is 500m away from Melparamb, which is on the Kasaragod-Kanhangad coastal highway.