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Kasaragod ([kɑːsɑrɡoːɖɨ̆] (About this soundlisten) and Malayalam: Kanhirakode,[1] English: Kassergode, Arabic: Harkwillia[4]) is a municipal town and administrative headquarters of Kasaragod district of Kerala state in India. Established in the year 1966, Kasaragod was the first municipal town in Kasaragod district. It is the northernmost district of Kerala and is also known as Saptha Bhasha Sangama Bhoomi (The land of seven languages) as seven languages namely, Malayalam, Tulu, Kannada, Marathi, Konkani, Beary, and Urdu are spoken.[2]


Municipal Town
Bakel Fort Beach Kasaragod4.jpg
The oldest photo of Masjid.JPG
Chandragiri River.jpg
Bekal Fort Kasargod.jpg
Arikady fort.jpg
Chandrigiri Fort -Kasaragod -Kerala -file 1001.jpg
Ranipuram hill.jpg
The Land of Seven Languages[2]
Kasaragod is located in Kerala
Location of Kasaragod in Kerala
Kasaragod is located in India
Kasaragod (India)
Coordinates: 12°30′N 75°00′E / 12.5°N 75.0°E / 12.5; 75.0Coordinates: 12°30′N 75°00′E / 12.5°N 75.0°E / 12.5; 75.0
Country India
RegionNorth Malabar
Municipality Established1966
 • TypeDistrict
 • BodyKasaragod Municipality
 • Municipal ChairmanV.M.Muneer (UDF)
 • District CollectorDr. D Sajith Babu IAS
 • Superintendent of PoliceP B Rajeev IPS
 • MPRajmohan Unnithan
 • MLAN. A. Nellikkunnu
 • Municipal Town16.7 km2 (6.4 sq mi)
 • Metro
93.3 km2 (36.0 sq mi)
19 m (62 ft)
 • Municipal Town54,172
 • Density3,200/km2 (8,400/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • OfficialMalayalam, English[3]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registrationKL-14

Situated in the rich biodiversity of Western Ghats, it is known for the Chandragiri and Bekal Forts,[5] Chandragiri River, historic Kolathiri Rajas, natural environment of Ranipuram and Kottancheri Hills, historical and religious sites like the Madiyan Kulom temple, Madhur Temple, Ananthapuram Lake Temple and Malik Deenar Mosque. The historic hill of Ezhimala is located on the southern portion of Kavvayi Backwaters of Nileshwaram.

Kasaragod is located 50 km south of the major port city & a commercial hub Mangalore and 364 km north of the major port city Kochi. Kasaragod district has the maximum number of rivers in Kerala - 12.[6] The town is located on the estuary where the Chandragiri River, which is also the longest river in the district, empties into Arabian Sea.

Kasaragod is home to several forts which include Arikady fort, Bekal Fort, Chandragiri Fort, and Hosdurg Fort. Bekal Fort is also the largest fort in Kerala. Talakaveri, which is home to Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary where the 805 km long Kaveri River originates, is located closer to Ranipuram in Kerala-Karnataka border.


Until 16th century CE, Kasargod town was known by the name Kanhirakode (meaning, 'The land of Kanhira Trees') in Malayalam.[1] Kasaragod was under Kumbla dynasty until 16th century, which was vassal to the kingdom of Kolathunadu based at Kannur.[7] Kannada kingdoms focused on the port and surroundings in the 16th century CE. Kasaragod is the Kannada version of Malayalam term Kanhirakode.


Ancient eraEdit

The Ancient Tamil Works of Sangam Age records that the area covering the district was part of Puzhinadu which consists of the coastal belt from Kozhikode to Mangalore. Politically the area was part of the Ezhimala Kingdom with its Capital at Ezhimala in present day Kannur district. The most famous King of Ezhimala was Nannan whose Kingdom extended up to Gudalur and northern parts of Coimbatore. Poozhinad, along woth Karkanad which included the eastern regions of Ezhimala dynasty (Wayanad-Gudalur region with some portions of Kodagu), had its capital at Ezhimala. The Mooshaka Kings were considered descendants of Nannan. By the 14th century, Mooshaka Kingdom was known as Kolathirinad and the Rulers as Kolathiris. The Kolathunad Kingdom at the peak of its power reportedly extended from Netravati River (Mangalore) in the north[8] to Korapuzha (Kozhikode) in the south with Arabian Sea on the west and Kodagu hills on the eastern boundary, also including the isolated islands of Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea.[9]

Medieval eraEdit

Malik Dinar Mosque, Thalangara, Kasaragod, is one of the oldest mosques in India
Maipady palace

Kasaragod, about 50 km south of Mangalore city, was an important centre of trade in earlier times. Ramacharitam, probably the oldest literary work written in Old Malayalam, which dates back to 12th century CE, is thought to have written in Kasargod district as its manuscripts were discovered from Nileshwaram and the poem mentions about Ananthapura Lake Temple in Kumbla in detail.[10] Kasaragod was known to the Arabs by the name Harkwillia.[4] The Malik Dinar Mosque in Kasaragod town is one of the oldest Masjids in the Indian Subcontinent.[11] According to Qissat Shakarwati Farmad, the Masjids at Kodungallur, Kollam, Madayi, Barkur, Mangalore, Kasaragod, Kannur, Dharmadam, Panthalayini, and Chaliyam, were built during the era of Malik Dinar, and they are among the oldest Masjids in Indian Subcontinent.[12] It is believed that Malik Dinar was died at Thalangara in Kasaragod town.[11] Many Arab travelers visiting Kerala between the 9th and the 14th centuries visited Kasaragod, being an important trade centre then.

Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese traveler who visited Kumbla, near Kasaragod Town in 1514 recorded that rice being exported for coir to Maldives.[4] According to Barbosa, the people in the southwestern Malabar coast of India from Kumbla in the north to Kanyakumari in the south had spoke a unique language, which they called as "Maliama" (Malayalam).[13] If he is right, then Kumbla would be the northern end of Malayalam region in the first quarter of 16th century CE.

Until 16th century CE, Kasargod town was known by the name Kanhirakode (may be by the meaning, 'The land of Kanhira Trees') in Malayalam.[1] The Kumbla dynasty, who swayed over the land of southern Tulu Nadu wedged between Chandragiri River and Netravati River (including present-day Taluks of Manjeshwar and Kasaragod) from Maipady Palace at Kumbla, had also been vassals to the Kolathunadu kingdom of North Malabar, before the Carnatic conquests of Vijayanagara Empire.[14] The Kumbla dynasty had a mixed lineage of Malayali Nairs and Tuluva Brahmins.[7] They also claimed their origin from Cheraman Perumals of Kerala.[7] Francis Buchanan-Hamilton states that the customs of Kumbla dynasty were similar to those of the contemporary Malayali kings, though Kumbla was considered as the southernmost region of Tulu Nadu.[7]

The Kolathiri Dominion emerged into independent 10 principalities i.e., Kadathanadu (Vadakara), Randathara or Poyanad (Dharmadom), Kottayam (Thalassery), Nileshwaram, Iruvazhinadu (Panoor), Kurumbranad etc., under separate royal chieftains due to the outcome of internal dissensions.[15] Many portions of the present-day Hosdurg taluk (Kanhangad) and Vellarikundu were parts of the Nileshwaram dynasty, who were relatives to both Kolathunadu as well as Zamorin of Calicut, in the early medieval period.[16] The areas north to the Chandragiri river (present-day Taluks of Manjeshwaram and Kasaragod) were ruled by the Kumbala dynasty, which had 64 Malayalam and Tulu villages according to the legends.[7]

Kannada kingdoms focused on Kasaragod in the 16th century CE. The Vijayanagara empire attacked and annexed Kasaragod from the Kolathiri Raja with Nileshwaram as one of the capital in the 16th century. During the decline of the Vijayanagara empire, the administration of this area was vested with Ikkeri Nayakas.[4] At the onset of collapse of the Vijayanagara empire, Venkappa Nayaka declared independence to Ikkery. Kumbla, Chandragiri, and Bekal are considered to be the chain of forts constructed or renovated by Shivappa Nayaka.[4]

The Chandragiri Fort is built on the southern bank of the estuary of Chandragiri River, just opposite to Kasaragod town. The Bekal Fort at Bekal, Pallikkara, which is situated in the midway between Kasaragod and Kanhangad, and is also largest fort in Kerala, was built in 1650 by Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi.[17]

Colonial eraEdit

Sunset at Valiyaparamba beach
A map of Malabar District (Malayalam district) drawn by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in 1807. Kasaragod region of South Canara was also included in Malayalam region (just above the blue shaded region)

Francis Buchanan, the family doctor of Arthur Wellesley, visited Kasaragod in 1800.[4] In his travelogue, he recorded information on places like Athiraparambu, Kavvayi, Nileshwaram, Bekal, Chandragiri and Manjeshwar.[4] Hosdurg and Vellarikundu is part of Kolathunadu (south of Chandragiri river) and Kasargod and Manjeshwaram is in the Tulu Nadu region (north of Chandragiri river). In 1763, Hyder Ali raided Bedanoor (Bidnur), the capital of the Ikkery Naiks. His son Tippu Sultan raided much of Malabar region in Kerala. As per the Treaty of Seringapatam of 1792, Tippu surrendered Malabar, except Kanara to the British. The British occupied Kanara only after the death of Tippu Sultan.[4] it is said that Kinavoor Molom (Sree Dharma Shashtha Temple) is belonging to Karinthalam (one of 64 Brahmin villages in old Kerala). Initially South Canara was placed under the Bombay presidency.[18] Later on 16th April 1862, South Canara was transferred to Madras Presidency and Kasaragod taluk was formed by replacing the erstwhile Bekal taluk.[18] Kasaragod was the second-most populated Taluk in South Canara only after to Mangalore taluk, and also the second-largest Taluk.[19]


A Road Sign in Kasaragod town

Before the formation of Kerala, Kasargod was a part of South Canara district of erstwhile Madras Presidency. However, in 19th century CE, Kasargod Taluk witnessed many struggles to separate the region from South Canara and to merge it with the Malabar District as it was the only Malayalam-majority region in South Canara. Kasargod became a part of Kannur district of Kerala following the reorganization of states and the formation of Kerala on 1 November 1956.[20] Later Kasargod was divided into two Taluks for the ease of administration - Kasargod and Hosdurg. Kasargod was declared a district in the year 1984. The inclusion of Kasaragod with Kerala has been a contentious issue as there is a sizeable population that speaks Tulu and Kannada. At the time of 1951 Census of India, only 72.0% of the district's population chose their mother tongue as Malayalam.[21] 14.2% chose Tulu and 6.3% chose Kannada.[21] But it is noted that as per the 2011 census report only 8.8% and 4.2% of the total population in the district speak Tulu and Kannada respectively as their mother tongue. In 2012, the Second Oommen Chandy ministry appointed a commission under the leadership the former Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran to study about the backwardness and issues faced by this northernmost district of Kerala and to draw up special package for the district.[22] In 2013, two more Taluks, namely Manjeshwaram and Vellarikundu were formed in the district.[23]


Kasaragod acts as the administrative headquarters of Kasaragod district

The current Municipal Chairman of Kasaragod municipality is Adv. V. M. Muneer of IUML and the deputy chairperson is Shamseeda Feroz.[24]

The major political parties are Indian Union Muslim League, CPI(M), INC , CPI, and BJP. North Kasaragod is dominated by IUML which is followed by BJP, and the south is dominated by CPI(M). N. A. Nellikkunnu is the present Member of Legislative Assembly, from Kasaragod Assembly Constituency. It is a part of Kasaragod (Lok Sabha constituency). Indian National Congress [INC] member Rajmohan Unnithan is the present MP from Kasaragod [2019 Elections].[25]



Science and researchEdit

The Central University of Kerala is situated in the district.
The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute at Kasaragod was established in the year 1916
The Government College Kasaragod was established in the year 1957.

Kasargod district comes under the jurisdiction of Kannur University. Kasaragod is home to the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, originally established in 1916 as the Coconut Research Station. It is part of India's National Agricultural Research System under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.[26] According to the Institute, Kerala "lies in the heart of the major coconut growing areas of the country." It is also home to the Indian Society for Plantation Crops, which publishes the Journal of Plantation Crops and holds symposiums on the subject.[27] The Central University of Kerala is also located in Kasargod(Periya hills).

  • The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute at Kasaragod was established in 1916.[28]
  • Government College Kasaragod was established in the year 1957.
  • The Central University of Kerala was established in 2009.[29][30]
  • Malik Deenar Institute of Management Studies is located at Seethamgoly, Kasaragod.[31]
  • Lal Bahadur Shastry college of engineering, Kasaragod, was established in 1993.
  • College of Engineering Trikaripur was established in 2000.[32]
  • Khansa Women's College For Advanced Studies, Kasaragod
  • Jamia Sa Adiya Arts and Science College, Kasaragod
  • Sharaf Arts & Science College, Padanna
  • Zainab Memorial B.Ed Centre, Kasaragod
  • Peoples Arts & science college, Munnad, Kasaragod
  • Co-operative Arts & Science college, Badiadka, Kasaragod
  • St. Gregories college of engineering, Perla, Kasaragod


Religions in Kasaragod Municipal Town (2011)[33]

  Islam (54.65%)
  Hinduism (43.56%)
  Christianity (1.58%)
  Other (0.22%)

Kasaragod municipality had a population of 54,172 according to 2011 census report which constitutes 26,319 males and 27,853 females. The municipality is divided into 35 wards for which elections are held every 5 years. The female sex retio is 1058 against state average of 1084. The literacy rate of Kasaragod town is 94.76% higher than state average of 94%.[citation needed]

Languages in Kasaragod taluk[34]
Language Speakers
Distribution of languages
Source: 2011 Census



Kasaragod experiences a Tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. It receives a generous 3,825 mm (150.6 in) of rain annually.


Kasaragod has the maximum number of rivers in Kerala - 12.[6] All of them are west-flowing rivers.[35] The longest of them is Chandragiri River (105 km long). The Kasaragod town is located on the estuary of Chandragiri river. It empties into the Arabian Sea at Thalangara.[35] The Chandragiri Fort is built on its bank. The river originates at Pattimala in Kodagu (Coorg).[35] The smallest river of Kerala is also in the district.

Rivers of Kasaragod[35]
River Origin Length (km)
Total Navigable
1 Manjeshwar River Kadandur hills 16 3
2 Uppala River Kudipadi hills, Veerakamba 50 N/A
3 Shiriya River Kanakad hills, Anegundi Reserve Forest 61 5
4 Kumbla River Yedanad 11 3
5 Mogral River Kanlur, Karadka Reserve Forest 34 N/A
6 Chandragiri River Patti forest, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary 105 13
7 Kalnad River Chettianchal 8 N/A
8 Bekal River Kaniyadka 11 N/A
9 Chittari River Kundiya 25 N/A
10 Neeleshwaram River
(Thejaswini River)
Kinanoor, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary 47 11
11 Kariangode River Padinalkad, Coorg hills 64 24
12 Kavvayi River Cheemeni 23 10


Kasaragod district is the northernmost district of Kerala, which is much away from Thiruvananthapuram, the state headquarters, which is located in the southernmost tip of state. Manjeshwaram town is located about 600 km north of the state headquarters Thiruvananthapuram, about 30 km south of Mangalore, about 350 km west of Bangalore, the headquarters of the neighbouring state Karnataka, and about 950 km south of Mumbai city. In 2012, the Second Oommen Chandy ministry appointed a commission under the leadership of the former Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran to study about the backwardness and issues faced by this northernmost district of Kerala and to draw up a special package for the district.[36] In 2013, two more Taluks, namely Manjeshwaram and Vellarikundu were formed in the district.[23] Before it the district had only two Taluks. The decision to implement a gas-based powerplant at Cheemeni was took by the Second Chandy government.[37] A government medical college was allowed for Kasaragod district, as a part of the government's new policy to establish at ensure availability of at least one Government Medical College in all the 14 districts of state in the year 2013.[38][39]


Kottappuram walking bridge, Nileshwar
Panoramic view from inside Bekal Fort.

Notable peopleEdit

Panathur is an important hilly town in the district (Closer to Western Ghats)
Badiyadka town during night

Climate data for Kasaragod, Kerala
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.4
Average low °C (°F) 21.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1
Source: Climate-Data.org[45]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d S. Muhammad Hussain Nainar (1942). Tuhfat-al-Mujahidin: An Historical Work in The Arabic Language. University of Madras.
  2. ^ a b "Kasargod - the land of seven languages". invest kerala. Government of Kerala. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  3. ^ "The Kerala Official Language (Legislation) Act, 1969" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Kasaragod History". Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Draft Map" (PDF). keralaczma.gov.in. 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Rivers in Kasargod". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Sreedhara Menon, A. (2007). A Survey of Kerala History (2007 ed.). Kottayam: DC Books. ISBN 9788126415786.
  8. ^ Sreedhara Menon, A. (2007). Kerala Charitram (2007 ed.). Kottayam: DC Books. p. 175. ISBN 978-8126415885. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  9. ^ District Census Handbook, Kasaragod (2011) (PDF). Thiruvananthapuram: Directorate of Census Operation, Kerala. p. 9.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ a b Pg 58, Cultural heritage of Kerala: an introduction, A. Sreedhara Menon, East-West Publications, 1978
  12. ^ Prange, Sebastian R. Monsoon Islam: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast. Cambridge University Press, 2018. 98.
  13. ^ Barbosa, Duarte (1989). The Book of Duarte Barbosa: An Account of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean and their inhabitants (Volume 2). Asian Educational Services. pp. 1–7. ISBN 9788120604513.
  14. ^ M. Vijayanunni. 1981 Census Handbook- Kasaragod District (PDF). Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala.
  15. ^ Logan, William (2010). Malabar Manual (Volume-I). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. pp. 631–666. ISBN 9788120604476.
  16. ^ The Hindu staff reporter (21 November 2011). "Neeleswaram fete to showcase its heritage". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  17. ^ "A Portion of Kasaragod's Bekal Forts Observation Post Caves in". The Hindu. 12 August 2019.
  18. ^ a b M. Vijayanunni. 1981 Census Handbook- Kasaragod District (PDF). Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala. p. 11.
  19. ^ Government of Madras (1953). 1951 Census Handbook- South Canara District (PDF). Madras Government Press.
  20. ^ "Kasargod After District Formation". Kasargod District. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  21. ^ a b J. I. Arputhanathan (1955). South Kanara, The Nilgiris, Malabar and Coimbatore Districts (Village-wise Mother-tongue Data for Bilingual or Multilingual Taluks) (PDF). Madras Government Press.
  22. ^ Roy Mathew (24 May 2012). "Commission to draw up package for Kasaragod". The Hindu.
  23. ^ a b "12 new taluks to be formed in Kerala". The Hindu. 21 March 2013.
  24. ^ "Kasaragod Municipality Election (2020)". lsgkerala.gov.in.
  25. ^ "Kasaragod Parliament Constituency". Kerala. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  26. ^ "About Institute". CPCRI.in. Central Plantation Crops Research Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2016. The Coconut Research Station at Kasaragod in Kerala was initially established in 1916 by the then Government of Madras and subsequently it was taken over by the Indian Central Coconut Committee in 1948
  27. ^ "Indian Society for Plantation Crops". indsocplantationcrops.in. Indian Society for Plantation Crops. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Central Plantation Crops Research Institute(CPCRI)". cpcri. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  29. ^ Description on official website
  30. ^ Prospectus of Central University of Kerala
  31. ^ [2]
  32. ^ "CETKR | College Of Engineering Trikaripur". cetkr.ac.in. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  33. ^ "Religion – Kerala, Districts and Sub-districts". Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General.
  34. ^ "Census of India - Language". censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  35. ^ a b c d Government of India (2014–15). District Census Handbook - Kasaragod (Part-A) 2011 (PDF). Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala.
  36. ^ Roy Mathew (24 May 2012). "Commission to draw up package for Kasaragod". The Hindu.
  37. ^ "Kerala to get three gas-based power projects". Projects Today. 26 August 2013.
  38. ^ Special Currespondent (4 May 2019). "MCI recognition for Manjeri medical college". The Hindu.
  39. ^ Staff Reporter (2 September 2013). "A new government medical college in Kerala after 31 years". The Hindu.
  40. ^ Simran Gill (14 June 2020). "5 Lesser Known Forts in India". Outlook India. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  41. ^ Divakaran, Kattakada (2005). Kerala Sanchaaram. Thiruvananthapuram: Z Library. p. 925.
  42. ^ "Proposal Submitted to Government of India: Integrated Coastal Zone Management" (PDF). sisem.in. Government of Kerala. 2015. p. 60. Retrieved 12 September 2020. The area has rich biodiversity. The sacred grove viz. Edayilakkad island preserves many rare and endemic species.
  43. ^ Vishnu Mohan (27 July 2020). "6 Lesser-Known Places in Kerala for a Weekend Break". Outlook India. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  44. ^ Giridhar Khasnis (17 May 2015). "Finding everland". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  45. ^ "CLIMATE: KASARAGOD", Climate-Data.org. Web: [3].

Further readingEdit




District Census HandbooksEdit

External linksEdit