Bekal and nearby Palakunnu and Udma, in Kerala’s far north, have some long, white-sand beaches begging for DIY exploration. The area is gradually being colonised by glitzy five-star resorts catering to fresh-from-the-Gulf millionaires, but it’s still worth the trip for off-the-beaten-track adventurers.
The laterite-brick Bekal Fort, built between 1645 and 1660, sits on Bekal’s rocky headland and houses a small Hindu temple and plenty of goats. Next door, Bekal Beach encompasses a grassy park and a long, beautiful stretch of sand that turns into a circus on weekends and holidays when local families descend here for rambunctious leisure time. Isolated Kappil Beach, 6km north of Bekal, is a beautiful, lonely stretch of fine sand and calm water, but beware of shifting sandbars.