The north of Kerala is largely untouched in terms of tourism as compared to the south. No doubt facilities leave a lot to be desired but all that is slowly changing. Big hotel chains have or are in the process of setting up exclusive resorts on the white sandy beaches which stretch for miles and miles. Old fishing villages are suddenly waking up, tourists though not much in numbers are passing by and the north Malabar coast seems to be shining bright nowadays.
We started our drive from Mangalore in Karnataka. A few kilometers south and we entered the northern most district of Kasargod. Along the way we passed the small towns of Ullal, Manjeshwar and Kumbla. Kasargod town is almost an amalgamation of Malayali and Kannada culture it being at the cross roads of both states.
The cuisine here is unique and stands out in flavour from the rest of Kerala. Malabar spices, coconuts and ghee are key ingredients of this cuisine which traces its roots back to traders from Arabia as well as the Portuguese and Dutch rulers. Mutton, fish and fruits are a essential part of the Moplah cuisine as it’s commonly know in these parts. Moplah cuisine has been made famous nowadays by Ms. Abida Rasheeda, who is popularly known as the queen of spices !
Kasargod district boasts of virgin beaches like Bekal. Stretches of long sandy beaches are a hallmark of this area. Long forgotten the beach is now home to hotels both midscale as well as luxury. The popular Taj Group had its Vivanta by Taj Bekal property located here. Bekal Beach Residency is also a popular budget property. Close by is the Pallikere beach. Bekal is also known for its centuries old Bekal Fort.
Driving further we pass by the towns of Kanhangad, Nileshwar and Payyanur before we exit Kasargod district. A notable property located at Nileshwar is the Neeleshwar Hermitage. The hinterland also boasts of vast spice and rubber plantations. A drive to these interiors are an experience by itself. Life is simple, the locals are dependent in agriculture and local produce is in abundance. Flora and fauna can be seen in their natural environments here. The greenery in the interiors is just amazing. We drove to the small villages and towns of Beemanady, Vellarikundu and Chittarikal.
End of Part 1.