82. Beaches of Kerala

@My favourite beaches, Kerala, India.
In the last few years, I have visited too many beaches in Kerala, and it is no surprise because the state has a long coast line compared to its total size. Most of the roads which we took were through the coastal areas too. The two places that come to the mind when talking about the same are the Kovalam beach and the Shankumugham Beach which I visited during my childhood, but due to the memories being mostly replaced, I would give them honorary status like the Great Pyramids has among the Wonders of the World and proceed to share something about my favourite beaches of Kerala, all of which I have visited in the last three years, a journey beginning and ending at Kollam Beach.
*^*Just my personal favourites; do not ponder over it.

10. Kappad Beach

Kappad Beach at night

Kappad Beach at night.

This is a place of high historical significance, as Vasco Da Gama landed here in 1498 and began an age of colonization which was to follow and to be taken over by the British. A new trade route from Europe to India was established in this part of Kerala which was to change the way in which Indian history was to be shaped later on. The beach is a nice little place, with not too much crowd, and there was a lot of developments going on there when we visited, and this is going to be a pretty nice place the next time we visit.
Nearest railway station: Calicut
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Calicut
District: Calicut (Kozhikode)

9. Calicut Beach

A sunset at the Calicut Beach

A sunset at Calicut Beach.

The Kozhikode Beach is a nice place in the heart of the city and is blessed by statues and remains of piers giving it a rather historical look. It has successfully joined the beauty of nature with the rush and modernity of the city and provides the visitors with a nice experience as it remains crowded. There would be no reason why one goes through the city and not take a look at this beach which is well maintained and is expected to be even further developed – this is the beach I visited earliest, among the beaches in this list and I feel that a lot have changed about this one.
Nearest railway station: Calicut
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Calicut
District: Calicut (Kozhikode)

8. Quilon Beach

The mermaid (jalakanyaka) statue at Kollam beach

The mermaid (jalakanyaka) statue at Kollam beach.

Known to many people as the Kollam Beach as well as the Mahatma Gandhi Beach, this is a wonderful location close to the heart of the city. Quilon has the history of being a very important seaport in the past, and is still the second largest port in Kerala after the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin. We can regularly see large ships moving around in the sea if we spend enough time at the beach. There is a lighthouse and the ruins of historical forts which form the mementos of European rule which existed there.
Nearest railway station: Quilon
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Quilon
District: Quilon (Kollam)

7. Kappil Beach

The sea on the left and the lake on the right.

The sea on the left and the lake on the right.

There are only a few beaches which can boast of having an identity different from the rest, and that too without being huge or without having any structure or monument, but Kappil Beach achieves that. The beach begins from the side of the road and goes on to an area where the sea and the lake are separated by a small stretch of sand a part of which where we can drive through between the coconut trees. There, we see a beautiful green world on one side and the sunset on the other, with jelly fish near the water around our legs!
Nearest railway station: Paravur
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Paravur
District: Trivandrum

6. Azhikode Beach

Azhikode beach with its Chinese fishing nets.

Azhikode beach with its Chinese fishing nets.

Located near Kodungallur, this is one of the lesser known beaches of the area, and we were glad to find it using the google maps, and let that not fool you because this is a beautiful beach with not much rush, and has a lot of areas to spend some lone time and also take photos. Known as the Azhikode-Munakkal beach, this has a big place in the history of Christianity in India, as Saint Thomas the Apostle is believed to have landed near this area. The first mosque in India is also not that far away from here.
Nearest railway station: Irinjalakuda
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: Kodungallur
District: Trichur

5. Varkala Beach

The parking is at the top, and so are the best viewpoints.

The parking is at the top, and so are the best viewpoints.

Also known as the Papasanam Beach, this is a nice place with a difference, and it remains calm and peaceful despite the good number of visitors, including a lot of foreigners. Its unique geography makes sure that there are cliffs surrounding the beach, something not common in Central and South Kerala. You can have a look from the cliffs when eagles fly closer. There are water spouts and nice restaurants around the beach, and there is enough parking as long as you make sure you come early.
Nearest railway station: Varkala
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Varkala
District: Trivandrum

4. Payyambalam Beach

This came as a pleasant surprise at that time.

This came as a pleasant surprise at that time.

Payyambalam is a beautiful beach where we can see the lagoon being separated from the sea from many angles. It is very close to the town of Kannur and is very clean. A number of Kerala’s prominent political and social leaders are also buried in an area at the beach including A.K. Gopalan, E.K. Nayanar, Sukumar Azhikode etc. You can also go to St. Angelo’s Fort, most commonly known as the Kannur Fort from there, a symbol of Portuguese dominance in that part of the country.
Nearest railway station: Kannur
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Kannur
District: Kannur

3. Fort Cochin Beach

There is always something about Fort Cochin.

There is always something about Fort Cochin.

The beauty of Fort Kochi beach is more in its own identity rather than just the sands. It lives in and breathes history like no other place in Kerala. There are lots of buildings which is of colonial architecture around the beach along with places of spirituality and religion, and the number of foreign tourists is enormous. I would suggest visiting the place during the next Kochi Biennale exhibition, and lets join the beauty of nature and historical monuments with art. You don’t always need to go to Goa or Pondicherry.
Nearest railway station: Cochin (Ernakulam)
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: Cochin
District: Ernakulam (Cochin)

2. Cherai Beach

They wanted me to write down something on the sand.

They wanted me to write down something on the sand.

There are only a few beaches which can grow with the pace that Cherai has developed from just another sea-side to the most visited beach in Central Kerala. There is a lot of development still going on there, and it is a very long extending by road to what is called Munambam, which is rather another beach where one can see the river Periyar flowing into the Arabian Sea, surrounded by Chinese fishing nets, an inspiration for any poet or photographer deprived off ideas by modernity.
Nearest railway station: Aluva (Alwaye)
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: North Paravur
District: Ernakulam (Cochin)

1. Muzhappilangad Beach

The best beach is where the Beat goes.

The best beach is where the Beat goes.

How can you not visit the largest drive-in beach in Asia? To be frank, I don’t know about any other beaches in India where you can drive this long on the sands. As we reach here through a small road surrounded by coconut trees which bows their heads towards the road and reach the nicely maintained beach which seems to stretch towards eternity, there is an unbelievable amount of happiness that we feel in our hearts. It is a lesser known destination, and it is going to develop a lot considering its potential.
Nearest railway station: Thalassery
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Thalassery
District: Kannur

Other mentions: Puthuvype Beach (Ernakulam/Cochin), Snehatheeram Beach (Trichur), Aleppey Beach (Alappuzha), Munambam Beach (Ernakulam/Cochin), Chavakkad Beach (Trichur).

Diving out —>
TeNy

72. Legend of District 13

@Kannur, Kerala, India.

DSC04923

In the absence of Triskaidekaphobia, and with an admiration for Friday the 13th, my wishes were always with something with a “13”. That makes the KL-13 registration of Kannur significant and something special. The theory that Jesus Christ’s last supper, there was the presence of thirteen people around the table, including Jesus and the twelve apostles – doesn’t really make the number 13 unlucky, for it was a presence which made the God’s will possible. The presence of that exact number of people led to the calendar being separated by BC and AD. The fact that King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar on a Friday 13th was just an incident of history. Our Lady of Fátima apparitions to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal was on the thirteenth day of six consecutive months in 1917, beginning on May 13. Saint Anthony of Padua also has his feast on June 13th, and the number being associated with him would just make it more important; famous and not notorious. A traditional devotion known as the Thirteen Tuesdays of Saint Anthony involves praying to the saint of Padua every Tuesday over a period of thirteen weeks. Another significant devotion, Saint Anthony’s Chaplet, consists of thirteen decades of three beads each.

Keeping all these in mind, one can only feel that the number 13 has been thus elevated and honoured beyond the materialistic world, and to the District 13, I had to go. This was a remarkable journey in many ways. A road trip from Kannur to my hometown would be the longest route I have ever taken in my life in one stretch without stopping for more than just a tea or two. It was also that test which my car had never taken before. The largest city in North Malabar region and the sixth largest in Kerala proved to be one of the worthiest destinations, as surrounded by history and geographical beauty. The Land of Looms and Lore was a destination which I should have visited long ago. Did I need inspiration to visit such a good destination? What took me so long is a question which is more rhetorical than anything else. But the fact remains that I was late and I would surely admit that. But being late has its charms; and being early always has so many negative things. This late-Kannur-coming was more positive than any other early visits to the other places. It created more wonderful moments than what was possible if the journey had happened long ago.

St. Angelo Fort deserves the first mention, not only as one of the most important seashore forts of South India, but also as a former stronghold of many powers, the Portuguese, the Dutch, Arakkal and the British. It is one of the earliest Portuguese settlements on this side of India. Built in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India on the Arabian sea coast, only about two or three kilometres from Kannur town, is a strong defensive position as it proved during the Siege of Cannanore in 1507. The Dutch capturing the fort is more of a sign of its strategic importance than its weakness or inability to defend. Its significance can only be overtaken by its beauty. It has more than one entrances and the inside of the fort is beautifully preserved. There are cannons and greenery around, and those old structures are well preserved. There are also the beautiful flowers and the well-maintained trees which add the much needed looks to the historical and cultural interest. The cannons which face the outside, towards the sea, gives the visitor an idea of how the battles used to take place and how well the fortress has served as a fantastic defensive position for the Portuguese and the later owners.

The look from the top of the fort gives another perspective of the sea. What I could see was a version of “The Old Man and the Sea”, not of Ernest Hemingway; and “The Riders to the Sea”, not of John Milton Synge and not of Latin America or the Aaran Islands. There was one lone fisherman on the rock, which was somewhat away from the land, like a very small island. This was more of reality than fiction, not free from cruelty, but close enough to truth. The scenes were always thought-provoking. The yellow flowers which lead the sides of the watery path to the sea; what a sight it would provide! The imagination brings ships or boats through that watery path triggering an invasion of the mind, a nightmare of creative vision which is no less than a powerful creation of fictional conquest – no vanity there. Who would want to leave that one fort? Who would not have wished to conquer the fortress? One can’t really blame the Dutch or any of those conquerers in wishing to live in the glory, safety and beauty of such a place. What poetry or prose might have the structure inspired and was later lost in the seas during a return journey to Europe? At the bottom of the saline waters, what might the future find more than a question? Not of my authority to answer.

There was the Hebich’s Church which was found looking for the Kannur Cathedral. The Holy Trinity Cathedral was still not be hidden for that long time, as its looks were not to miss getting caught in the eyes of the common man. There was a cone on the front and a dome on the back; there were small cones all around and the inside was in no way inferior to what was on the outside. There was one tree quite close to the church building and it reminded more of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”, if not about T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”. It looked quite dead at that time, or may be it had just shed all its leaves. But when caught in the camera with the cathedral’s dome, it created a good shot. But there was no Vladimir, Estragon, Pozzo, Lucky or even the Fisher King to be found nearby. No they hadn’t gone to Payyambalam Beach, as I was there too. It was one of the most beautiful beaches around, and the area around it which looked like a lagoon, was even more beautiful with the support of the rich greenery. The rocks, coconut trees, sands, sea weeds and the waves had created a scene of natural beauty which would inspire the best of mermaids.

The Cannanore lighthouse is also located near the Payyambalam Beach. There is no surprise about that one though; the existence of the beacon at this location can shock not many people of this world and the other. Meenkunnu Beach and Thottada Beach are also to be kept in mind on such a journey. But what strikes the most might still be the blending of history to the nature, this time with the sands of many beaches – resembling the sands of time which continues to disappear into that void of worthlessness, that black hole filled with white sands. The Prince of Persia was surely not the one person to understand the importance of time, and the total number will not be limited to a few. The hourglasses will continue the job and the world will continue to have its not-so-Persian princes. One can bid adiue to an ancient sea port, but how long until it fades away? The centuries of history would support the cause of the sea port to live in the minds of people. What about Thalassery, Mahe and Muzhappilangad? That would be another story, or more than just one tale of travel. For now, the world revolves around one sea port.

Diving out —>
TeNy