I left the car in the homestay and went ahead to explore Kannur. Colonial flavour runs high in this town. I had tea, tried some Neyappam and other delicacies in a street side shop and then took an auto to St. Angelo’s fort.
Fort St. Angelo was one of the most important seashore forts of the west coast of India during the colonial era. It is situated by the side of Mapila Bay on a cliff protruding into the Arabian sea. The fort is one of the earliest Portuguese establishments on the Malabar coast. The first Portuguese viceroy of India Dom Fransisco Almedia obtained permission from the Kolathiri Raja to construct a fort and it was completed in 1507 A.D. The fort had then changed hands to Dutch and then to English. Now taken care by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
St. Angelo fort is a massive triangular laterite structure flanked by gigantic bastions that make for an imposing sight. The fort is surrounded by a moat and has a lighthouse, horse stable, wells for fresh water, church and an underground cell for prisoners within its walls. There are a couple of left out canons and a few other structures inside it. One of the canons was dated 1854. This fort along with the other series of forts on the western coast played a significant role in the maritime traffic of the colonial era.
The view of the coast from the fort is beautiful. One would stand there on the rocks and watch the waves crashing into the cliff endlessly. We spent some time in the fort and moved on. Next to the fort is an army area. The road leading to the fort is surrounded by tall huge trees making our walk back beautiful.
My breakfast for the day was in a small roadside shop. Fish is available in almost all the shops and for all three meals of the day. I did try a new dish called Pathiri and had Pazhampori also. I liked Pazhampori a lot because of its sweetness. I do have a sweet tooth and like everything sweet.
My next destination was the Kannur lighthouse. When we reached there we realized it was closed. That’s when a friend mentioned that most of the tourist places are closed on Mondays because they are kept open on Sundays. So we took a stroll in the cliff walkway and spent some time watching fishermen catching fish. We found the Public Works Department (PWD) Rest house next to the walkway and was curious about the pricing in the establishment. I don’t remember the exact price, but it was cheaper. It’s a nice alternative for cheap and comfortable stays. But the problem is that one has to book a week in advance and the confirmation of your booking is posted 4 days before you stay there. In short, it’s complicated to make a booking online. But if you manage to do it you have cheap accommodation and this option is available in all places in Kerala.
Arakkal museum was on our list too, but we realized it was also closed since its Monday and we decided to hit the road again. Before leaving the town, we bought a new tyre and fixed it and made sure we are prepared for anything else that might go wrong with it.
Next in our itinerary was the Sree Peralassery Temple where the step well is famous. As usual Google landed us on a narrow road and we had to park the car away from the temple and walk. But when we reached the temple we saw a broad road leading to the temple with parking. Couple of my friends strongly believe that Google listens to us using our phones and recommends ads based on it. Google in case if you are listening, do take this as a feedback. Consider parking availability and narrowness of the road before suggesting to take it.
Yesterday, when we were navigating to the Theyyam temple, we were in a strip of road where not more than a car can go. Even if there was a bike from the other side one has to reverse the vehicle for the rest of the road. Luckily no other vehicle came in the opposite direction. Else someone had to reverse their vehicle to allow the next to pass. It becomes stressful to drive in such scenarios. And all this to save a minute in your journey. It’s better to make your own judgement when Google directs you into any small roads. This I have learned the hard way.
When we reached the temple, there was a festival going on in the temple. Since it was noon, food was served too. But the queue for the food was so long that we decided to skip it. Generally I never miss free food when I travel. The temple had a huge banyan tree and an elephant too. Elephants in Kerala temples are a normal sight. This is the second temple elephant on the third day of our trip. We also found a snake temple where eggs are offered to the snakes.
The step well was made with laterite and had greenish water. The water was filled with fish. People had come there to use the well as a foot spa. In metros like Bangalore, you have to pay a hefty amount to put your foot into a tub of water with fish. These fish were bigger than the ones in Bangalore. There were kids playing around and adults also enjoying the spa. I wouldn’t keep myself away from it and found a nice place to put my foot in. The fish were as big as your palm and when multiple fishes bite you at the same time, it gave you a tickling sensation. It was difficult to withstand the tickling sensation and still keep the foot inside the water. It was a nice experience. I did some small shopping in the shops around the temple. I got a Che Guevara key chain and a Kathakali toy for the car.
We started from there to Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach. I wanted to spend time there to watch the sunset for the day. We decided to reach the beach early and relax there till the sunset.
We were also discussing if we have to check out Parassinikadavu Sree Muthappan Madapura temple. We were told by few people that toddy is provided as prasadam in the temple and Theyyam is performed all the days of the year. These were the reasons we were attracted to the temple. But we decided against it since it’s far away from our current route and another reason being I will not be able to drink as I have to drive and decided to go to the beach instead.
This beach is located a couple of kilometers from Thalassery. It’s just not yet another beach on the western coast. The speciality of the beach is that the sand here is hard enough to drive an automobile on it.
I have tried taking my car into other beaches and have always faced problems. I had struggled earlier in the year to take my car stuck out of the beach sand in Mangalore. But this beach is different. Muzhappilangad beach is one of the best 6 beaches to drive a car in the world as per BBC Autos.
Life of Ram is a hero introduction song for the Tamil movie 96 in which the hero is a travel photographer. The song shows all the beautiful places in India. There is a shot where the hero makes 360 degree rounds in the Rann of Kutch with his car. That’s something which I had on my bucket list for a long time along with taking my car on a ferry. Both the items were crossed from my list during this trip.
I always felt like a kid. I used to say to others I haven’t grown up, just my toys have got costlier. This beach was one such place. Sometime back when I learned of the beach and saw some pics online I was so excited to go there. But a couple of my friends had put down my excitement saying that the beach is not that amazing. So I reached the beach without any excitement or expectations.
But the moment I entered the beach, I felt excited with what the other drivers were doing on it. I felt like a kid seeing a playground and running around crazy. The beach was my playground and my car the costly toy. I was driving at high speed, making 360 degree turns, reverse 360 degree turns and went fast over the water and got the salt water splashing all over the car.
The beach is a bit scary in a way. You will have to be careful because you might still get into the beach sand and the car might be pulled in. Or even worse since there is no lane discipline and every other driver in the beach is excited everyone is racing and one has to be careful not to hit others. Especially when making 360 degree turns and the visibility is less to be careful.
I reached one end of the beach, where there was less crowd and had a photoshoot with my car. I always feel like my car (read Buffalo) has given me wings. I am able to go anywhere I feel like it is because of my car.
After a huge photo session, we ended up in a small shop on the beach and tried Kallumakkaya. This is something my friend has asked me to try from the time I started planning for the trip. But it was so bad that I had to leave it without finishing it. Then it was time to find a place to stay for the night.
We made a couple of calls and found a property across the beach. Thanks to my friends bargaining skills, we cut down the price a bit. Then we spend our time on the beach watching the Sunset. After the sun was down, we left the car in the hotel and walked into the town.
It was a small town. We had our dinner and a haircut. We found a very good looking football ground in the village. The ground looked so out of space in a village. It was well lit and had a very nice floor. This kind of football ground was not something you expect to see in a random Kerala village. But Kerala is one such place.
When we walked back to the hotel, we heard some sound and went in that direction to find a function. The Muzhappilangad carnival. There were some songs being sung and it was not so great relative to the Nadan Paatu of yesterday night. We walked back to the hotel. The tide was high on the beach. The water had covered the places where I had driven the car a couple of hours back. We reached the hotel with wet feet and that’s how our third day of the trip came to an end.
This post is part of a series of posts. Do check the whole series here.