This is one place on the Arabian coast of India where history has stood still. Approximately 3 kms west of Kannur city is Fort St. Angelo,dramatically silhouetted against the sea, its massive laterite blocks give this fort, built by the Portuguese in 1505, a faintly menacing air. At one time nearly thousand people lived within Fort St. Angelo´s walls, from where one can enjoy commanding views of the sea and of the legendary ´Moplah Bay´. Here the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, the French and finally the English have fought amoung themselves and against local rulers. We can still see the influence of the British in Thalassery and that of the French in Mahe. They established their supremacy in the region by exploiting the discord among local rulers. Portugeuse ruled supreme till 1663 when the Dutch captured the fort. Years later the British led by General Abercrombie, besieged the fort on December 14, 1790. They later rebuilt it and made it their most important station in the region.
The most interesting thing currently in the Fort is the 450 year old stone inscription which puzzled everyone for a long time. A skull symbol, which was part of it gave rise to strange rumours. But recently Constable Satyan of the Tourism Police Department with the help of some visiting Dutch scholors deciphered the inscription which turned out to be written in an old Dutch dialect. Please see the photographs for more details. Constable Satyan is an authority on the history of the Fort and has just won this years state government award for the best tourism police officer and is stationed at the Fort itself. One can find several cashew trees within the fort walls. They are said to have been planted by the Portuguese, who introduced the plant to India. It’s interesting to note that cashew trees are called ‘parangi mavu’ in malayalam, the meaning of which is foreign mango. Without doubt, visiting this wonderful place was a moving experience for me. This place has something special about it. It may not have the majestic looks of the other famous forte – Bakel in Kasaragod. But i felt fully at ease here and really enjoyed looking into the bay from the fort walls for hours transporting your mind in an HG Wells’ type time machine to a different age at least for a few wonderful minutes.
It is fascinating to think of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British who once lived and died inside these fort walls after braving the sea to get here from their home lands. There is a lot more to see for a prospective visitor to Kannur and there are good hotels to stay in the city. As I intend to do another blog on Kannur City soon, I shall refrain from writing more on Kannur here. On the whole it was a very interesting outing indeed. I would like to use these blogs to introduce north Kerala (or Malabar as we call it) to you fellow bloggers as it offers a totally different experience from the much publicized south. I sincerely hope that these short blogs with a few pictures can paint an attractive picture of the wonderful Malabar and persuade you to seriously consider a visit to the north, while in Kerala. The six northern districts of Kerala – Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanadu and Kasaragod are un-explored, wild and really exciting. I hope to cover all these areas in months to come. Thank you for reading my blogs. Enjoy your holidays where ever you are and carry on blogging.
Take care and do stay in touch.
I wish you well!