Kerala is as much known for its historical heritage as for its scenic beauty. It witnessed many foreign invasions over the years and has a host of forts and palaces. They have a fusion of traditional Kerala and foreign styles of architecture.
Each of these forts has a different story to tell and these stories are etched on the walls in murals and other artistic forms. These forts are mostly located at captivating places making it even more compelling for tourists and scholars.
A well preserved fort of 18th century, it was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore. It’s a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India. The legendary Tipu Sultan, son of Hyder Ali, popularly known as the ‘Lion of Mysore’ fought many wars against the British and eventually lost his life in an encounter with the British. This fort is called as Tipu’s Fort and reminds the tales of courage and valour.
It is one of the 5 centres selected by the Government of India to be developed into a Special Tourism Area. It’s an International tourist destination today and a sought after shooting location for filmmakers. Built by Shivaappa Naik of Ikkeri Dynasty in 1650, it offers a fantastic view of Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers. It’s the largest, well preserved fort in Kasaragod and is surrounded by a splendid beach.
Famed for the Chinese Fishing Nets, Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, Portuguese and British architecture, Fort Kochi was the first European trade township in Indian history. Portuguese built the first European Fort – Fort Immanuel here.
The Dutch wrested it from them and made it a rich commercial centre, major military base, illustrious cultural hub, noted ship building yard and an age-old centre for Christianity. One can still see the splendid Indo- European architecture here. It has remained as the trade centre for spices and tea, over the years.
Situated at Vypeen Island in Ernakulam, it’s the oldest European Fort in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, it’s a prime tourist destination and a protected monument of the Archaeological Department. People visit this fort to admire its beauty. There is a catholic church nearby which is an important pilgrim centre.
05)St. Angelo Fort
This massive triangular fort is also known as the Kannur Fort. Built in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy, it’s a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. It offers a fascinating view of Moppila Bay( a natural fishing bay and a modern fishing harbour) and the Dharmadom Island, 100 metres away from the mainland in Arabian Sea.
06)Kunchan Smarakam Fort
30 kms from Palakkad, it’s not a usual historical monument. It’s a memorial in tribute to the great poet of Malayalam literature Sri Kunchan Nambiar, who introduced “ottenthullal” in the 18th century. He was a satirist with deep sense of responsibility, wit and humour. The fort is a true inspiration for all lovers of satire. Every year the poet’s birthday and navarathri are celebrated here with much fanfare.
22 kms from Kannur, it was built by the East India Company in 1708 as a testimonial for the colonial imperialism. It was a British Military centre and assumes much historical significance. It has a mystical ambience and has a lighthouse, cemetery, church and a collector’s mansion. It is believed that it has a secret tunnel that opens into the sea through which inhabitants escaped in cases of emergency.
This 17th century fort in Kasaragod is bordered by the beautiful Chandragiri River. It has 2 sides facing the sea and 8 view towers. The view of sea, sunset and the river is just unforgettable. One can take a boat ride to the nearby islands and palm groves. It’s a protected fort under the State Archaeological Department.
Situated in Thiruvananthapuram, it’s built around the Sree Padmanabha Swami temple. Completed in 1787, it has 4 gateways: kizhakke kotta(east fort), padinjare kotta(west fort), thekke kotta(south fort) and vadakke kotta(north fort). There are many palaces inside like ananthavilasam palace, krishnavilasam palace, sree padam kottaram, saraswathivilasam, sundaravilasam and kuthiramalika( which is a museum at present). It was declared a heritage site by the Government and is a protected monument under the Archaeological Department.
This 450 year old fort in Ernakulam is one of the oldest in India. It has valuable historical documents and relics on display. It has beautiful surroundings: hills, 3 rivers, a temple, church, mosque and a jewish synagogue- a standing testimony to national integration.
Located in Thrissur, it is also known as Kodungallur Fort. Built by the Portuguese in 1523 it changed many hands. Known also as Tipu’s Fort, Archaeological Department of Travancore took a pillar from this fort and preserved it as a public property.
12)Arakkal Palace and Kannur Fort
Standing in close proximity to each other, they remind the glory of the ancient and medieval times. Arakkal Palace is the only Muslim royal residence in Kerala. It is known for its grandeur of architecture. It was converted into a museum in 2005. It is preserved by the Archaeological Department and Kerala Tourism.