A peep into mysterious fort

WITNESSING history: A partial view of Tellicherry Fort in Kerala. DH Photo Sandhya C D’SouzaThe weapon room, prison, secret chambers, cannon holes and light house built by the British to withstand the unwanted force is today a hot spot of tourism.
Tellicherry was one of the most important European trading centers. Located about 22 kms from Kannur, this fortress is symbolic of the humble beginnings of trade of the British East India Company in the Malabar region though it later on became a witness to the colonial rule.

History

Attracted to the rich spices of Malabar, the East India Company landed in the region in 1683 and opened a factory north of Tellicherry. In 1708, they obtained a site from Vadakkelamkur, the de facto ruler of Kolathunad and established a factory at Tellicherry.

The Udayamangalam branch of Kolathiri family and Korangoth Nair, the local chieftain resented this action and they attacked and caused serious damage to English property and destroyed the preserved cardamom and pepper. The English informed the Vadakkelamkur about the persistence done by the Korangoth.

As the damage was done by the enemies of Vadakkelamkur, he had to take the responsibility of protecting the business centre and thus permitted the British built a fort around the out laying hills of Tellicherry.

The French had first come to Tellicherry for trade had a strong grip on Mahe, 5 kms south of Tellicherry town. The French occupation of Mahe in 1725 compelled the British Compnay to strengthen the fortification. In 1736, the British took the possession of Dharmadam Island. The British sustained a strong military establishment at Tellicherry, from 1776 to 1784. The fort was made an administrative centre by the British in 1776.

Full of mystery

The magnificent citadel effluent with rich historical significance is built with laterite blocks and has loop holed walls with strong flanking bastions.

The fort overlooking the seas rises to a height of 10 m and it is oblong on plan. The entrance of the fort is on top of a giant wall. The fort has two underground chambers. Walking through a corridor one can reach a tunnel like room in the Western part of the fort. This tunnel leads to the sea, an important escape point during the time of the attack.

The second underground cell was used to store spices. The highest point in the fort is a light house which can be reached by climbing winding staircase. The fort is well maintained with a garden within its premises. The fort is a centrally protected monument under the control of Archaeological Survey of India since 1921.

One can visit the fort between 8 am to 6 pm.

How to reach

You have to reach Mangalore or Calicut (Kozhikode) airport if you are travelling by air. The nearest will be Kozhikode at about 100 kilometers from Tellicherry.
If you are opting to travel by rail, a number of trains are available from Mangalore Railway Station to Kannur or Tellicherry.

Since the fort is just 22 km from Kannur town, getting there is not a problem. Kannur is well connected to all major places in Kerala by a wide network of roads.
There are quite a few home stays in Tellicherry. One can even opt for hotels in Kannur or Tellicherry.

 

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