Kasaragod: Bekal Fort received a celebrity guest this weekend. He was welcomed by a party of peacocks with their feathers spread in all glory.
Karnataka deputy chief minister and the state's Congress president D K Shivakumar and his family flew down to Kasaragod for possibly their first vacation after the party's thumping election victory in May.
"I was surprised to see one dozen peacocks welcoming (me)...," he said on his experience at the 17th Century fort that sits on the edge of the land overlooking the Arabian Sea.
According to officials, the family arrived on Friday and flew back to Bengaluru Sunday evening.
They stayed at Taj Bekal Resort & Spa in Bekal, 12 km from Kasaragod.
For the past year and a half, he was engaged in hectic political activities to help the Congress wrest back the power from the BJP, they said.
On Saturday, Shivakumar and his friends visited Bekal Fort though his family did visit the fort.
"Happy to see Bekal Fort," he wrote in the visitor's book. "For the first time in my life, I saw (a welcome with) so many peacocks with their feathers spread open," he said.
He said the fort -- the biggest in Kerala -- is well maintained.
Bekal Fort is central to the Kerala government's plans to develop Kasaragod as a tourist destination.
In July, Minister for Tourism P A Mohammed Riyas roped in Mani Ratnam to endorse Kerala's 'Cinema Tourism' and the filmmaker agreed to promote Bekal Fort where he shot the 1995 blockbuster Bombay's song Uyire Uyire (Tu hi re).
Kasaragod is at the bottom of the tourist arrival table. In 2022, 458 foreign tourists and 2.9 lakh domestic tourists visited Kasaragod, the lowest in both categories.
Shivakumar's visit would give another fillip to the destination.
The deputy chief minister also visited and prayed at Sri Mukhyaprana Hanuman Temple at the entrance of the fort. The temple has a "long history," he wrote in his visitor's note.