Lying at the northern tip of Kerala bounded by the Western ghats in the east and Arabian sea in the west; twelve rivers flowing across its terrain, Kasaragod is an enchanting beauty of Nature's creations. There are different views on the derivation of the name "KASARAGOD". One view is that it is the combination of two Sanskrit words kaasaara (which means lake or pond) and kroda (which means a place where treasure is kept). Another view is that it is the place where Kaasaraka trees (Strychnos nux vomica or Kaanjiram or Kaaraskara) are in abundance. Bothe views are relavant as there are large number of rivers, lakes and ponds in the coastal belt of the district besides thick flora consisting of innumerable varieties of trees, shribs etc. particularly plentitude of Kaasaraka trees.
The district is marked off from the adjoining areas outside the State by the Western Ghats which run parallel to the sea and constitute an almost continuous mountain wall on the eastern side. The Ghats dominate the topography. The coastline is fringed with low cliffs alternating with stretches of sand. A few miles to the interior, the scene changes and the sand level rises towards the barrier of the Ghats and transforms into low red laterite hills interspersed with paddy fields and coconut gardens.
There are 12 rivers in this district.The longest is Chandragiri (105 kms) originating from Pattimala in Coorg and embraces the sea at Thalangara, near Kasargod. The river assumes its name Chandragiri from the name of the place of its source Chandragupta Vasti; where the great Maurya emperor Chandragupta is believed to have spent his last days as a sage.
Kasargod offers a variety of patterns of arts which speaks volumes about the rich cultural heritage of regions. The spectacular pageant of Theyyam deities impassinated - raises Kasargod into a land of fabulous fantasies. The symphonic melody created by Yakshgana, Kambala (buffallo race), Cock fight etc. of the Thulanad culture, thrilling along with poorakkali, Kolkali, Duff Mutt, Oppana etc. enchants the visitors.
PLACES OF MAJOR ATTRACTION
- ADOOR 45 KMs east of Kasargod town. Famous for its ancient Siva Temple belonged to have been founded by Arjuna. The place where the Kiratha Yuddham battle between Arjuna and Lord Siva took place according to legend. The adjacent forest not frequented by men is considered the abode of Lord Siva and his divine consort. The stream below the valley is nature bounty.
- AJANOOR The famous Madiyan Kulom temple is situated in Ajanur village. It is about five kms. from Kanhangad. The main deity of the temple is Bhadrakali; but there are also other deities like Kshetrapalan, Bhagavathi and Bhairavan. A peculiarity of this temple is that a Brahmin priest performs pooja only in the noon, while the morning and evening poojas are performed by a sect called Maniyanis. The festivals in the temple fall during the months of Edavam (May, June) and Dhanu (December, January) and on these days all the poojas are performed in connection with this festival.
- ANANDASHRAM & NITYANANDASRAMAM These are the two notable asramams in Kanhangad. Anandashramam, situated about five kms. east of the Kanhangad Railway Station, was founded in 1939 by Swami Ramadas, a great Vaishnava saint of modern times. The main asramam and other buildings have a beautiful setting in the midst of shady mango, coconut and other groves. There is a hill to the east of the asramam, to which the devotees retire for quiet meditation and from its west, the surrounding extensive landscape can be seen in its natural grandeur. The spot at the highest point of the hill is so fascinating that the devotees, who go up the hill and sit silently, are blessed with deep peace and tranquility.The Nityanandasramam, which is situated on the hillock about half a km. south of the Hosdurg taluk office, was founded by Swami Nityananda. The spot was at first part of a forest area. Here Swami Nityananda constructed 45 guhas (caves) in a mountain slope. There is a temple built in 1963, after the style and design of the famous Somanatha Temple in Gujarat. A full size statue of Swami Nityananda in sitting posture made of panchaloha is one of the attractions of the asramam.
- ANANTHAPURA LAKE TEMPLE The only lake temple in Kerala and the Moolasthanam (original seat) of Ananthapadmanabha Swami (Sri Padmanbha Swami Temple) Thiruvananthapuram. is 5 km. from Kumbla. Local belief is that Ananthapadmanabha had settled down here originally.
- BEKAL FORT The largest and best preserved fort in the State. The alluring scene of the sea shore and its exhilarating natural scenery and beauty attracts the visitors.
- BELA CHURCH Our Lady of Sorrows Church - oldest in the district constructed in 1890 AD. 15 KM north of Kasargod. This Gothic style Roman Catholic church which is under the Manglore Diocese, has celebrated its centenary recently and also renovated.
- CHANDRAGIRI FORT Chandragiri lies three kms. south of Kasargod town. It has a large square situated high above the Chandragiri river on its southern bank. The fort it said to have been built in the 17th century by Sivappa Nayak of Bednore, who established his authority over the area and built a chain of forts. The Chandragiri river, on the bank of which it rises, marked the traditional boundary between Kerala and the Tuluva Kingdom. There is a beautiful bridge over the Chandragiri river at Thekkil, five miles from Chandragiri. A mosque is situated nearby and the view of the bridge with the mosque in the background is one of the most attractive sights on a drive along the NH 17 from Kannur to Kasargod. A longest railway tunnel in Kerala passes through Chandragiri Hills. A boat club has been recently started here.
- CHERUVATHUR The place of illustrious poets and scholars of Kuttamath Kunniyur family. The Veeramala hills at this place has the ruins of a Dutch fort built in the 18th century, is a picnic spot.
- EDNEER MUTT It is 10 Km. North East of Kasargod. This Mutt belongs to the Sankaracharya tradition, presently renowned as a seat of art and learning.
- HOSDURG FORT The fort with its round bastion looks imposing from a distance. Somashekara Nayak of Ikkeri dynasty built the fort. The place made well known by the Nithyanandasram with 45 caves.
- KAMMATAM KAVU An evergreen forest of about 50-60 acres with a perenial stream is a centre of worship connected with Kammadam Bhagavathi Temple.
- KANJAN JUNGA 16 KMs east of Kasargod is an artist village, established by Artist P.S.Pununchithaya, the renowned artist of the west coast
- KANWATHEERTHA BEACH RESORT 3 Km. north of Manjeshwar, has a large swimming pool lake, and a beach of 4 Km. length. The swimming pool is formed by sea water in the neat vast beach is one of the gifts of nature.
- KOTTANCHERI HILLS The rain forest near Konnakkad 30 KM north- east of Kanhangad. Beautiful picnic centre and ideal for trekking. Thalakkaveri in the Brahmagiri mountain of Coorg is near this hills. Reflection of genetic beauty of Kodaikkanal.
- KOTTAPPURAM Mud fort build by the Nileshwar Rajas and later annexed by Bednore Nayaks in the 18th century. A Juma masjid and a Hindu shrine stand close by.
- MADHUR 8 KMs north east of Kasargod. Famous Srimad Anantheswara Vinayaka temple is situated here. The rich architecture, imposing structure of the temple, with its turrests and gables and the copper plate roofing rises majestically against the beautiful land scape of hills paddy fields and gardens with the river Madhuvahini flowing leisurely in front of it. The Madhur Temple is a Siva temple with Srimad Anantheswara as its presiding deity. But importance is given to the deity Maha Ganapathi. The Sivalingam of the temple is said to have been found by a harijan woman, Madharu. The special festival of the temple is Moodappa Seva, which is covering the large figure of Maha Ganapathi with appam made of ghee and rice. The festival is conducted only periodically in view of the huge expenditure involved. It was celebrated in April 1962, after a lapse of about 160 years, and recently in April 1992. Namaskara Mandapam of the temple has been decorated with beautiful figures of puranic heroes in wood. A closer examination of the wood carvings would disclose the various episodes of the Ramayana, beginning with the Seethga Swayamvaram. The Mantapam in the interior of the temple building as well as the outside facade of the second and third storey of the main building are also profuse with attractive and exquisite wood carvings. It is said that the temple was attacked by Tippu Sultan of Mysore during his invasion and he felt thirsty and drunk the water from the temple well, which changed his mind and left the temple without damaging it. There is a mask on the temple which is said to be made by Tippu with his sword.
- MALIK DINAR MOSQUE Over the years, Kasargod acquired the considerable importance as a centre of Islam on the west coast. It is the site of one of the mosques believed to have been founded by Malik Ibn Dinar. The mosque, Juma Masjid, wh