Posts Tagged ‘Chandragiri estuary’

Sandpipers Wintering in Kerala: Kutipuram, Kadalundy and Chaliyam

// January 6th, 2013 // No Comments » // Culture and Ecology, Eco Watch

Tereck Sandpiper at Chaliyam beach, Calicut. 6 Jan 2013.

Tereck Sandpiper at Chaliyam beach, Calicut. 6 Jan 2013.

A Common Jezebel gliding away from the blossom at Kutipuram.  5 Jan 2013

A Common Jezebel gliding away from the blossom at Kutipuram. 5 Jan 2013

 

A solitary Marsh Sandpiper in Nila at dusk.  Kutipuram, 5 Jan 2013.

A solitary Marsh Sandpiper in Nila at dusk. Kutipuram, 5 Jan 2013.  Also saw around 1000 Small Pratincoles on the sand beds downstream further late in the evening.

An ancient sacred grove-shrine Kurumba Kavu, Sobha Parambu, Tanur.  Rare wild trees are still left in the grove though vanishing.

An ancient sacred grove-shrine Kurumba Kavu, Sobha Parambu, Tanur. Rare wild trees and medicinal plants are still left in the grove though vanishing.

 

Terek Sandpiper and Sand Plover at Chaliyam, 6 Jan 2013.

Terek Sandpiper and Sand Plover at Chaliyam, 6 Jan 2013.

Itty Achuthan Vaidyar Memorial Sasya Sarvaswam, Chaliyam

Itty Achuthan Vaidyar Memorial Sasya Sarvaswam, Chaliyam, Calicut.  Bass relief of Itty Achuthan and Van Reid on the gateway.  An asylum for endangered flora built on the old Chaliyam railway yard. Now with Forest Dept. of Kerala.

 

A Green Shank at Puthiyam beach, between Vallikunnu and Kadalundy.  6 Jan 2013.

A Green Shank at Puthiyam beach, between Vallikunnu and Kadalundy. 6 Jan 2013.  The migratory shore birds have decreased considerably this winter on these coasts says Vijesh a nature photographer from Kadalundy.

River mouth of Kadalundy where it empties into the Arabian Sea.

River mouth of Kadalundy where it empties into the Arabian Sea.

 

Gulls in Kadalundy community reserve. 6 Jan 2013.  Mostly small gulls including black and brown headed ones.  Vijesh says that their numbers have drastically declined.  A view from the road bridge.

Gulls in Kadalundy community reserve. 6 Jan 2013. Mostly small gulls including black and brown headed ones. Vijesh says that their numbers have drastically declined. A view from the road bridge.  Increasing pollution and encroachment could be the reason for the decline in number of birds and species.  Vijesh reports Curlews and whimbrels from the sea shore.

At the river mouth of Kadalundy, 6 Jan 2013.

Self portrait at the river mouth of Kadalundy, 6 Jan 2013.

 

Terek Sandpiper feeding crustaceans with its long slightly  upward curved  bill at Chaliyam beach.

Terek Sandpiper feeding crustaceans with its long slightly upward curved bill at Chaliyam beach.

Old British bungalow now turned in an interpretation centre at Chaliyam Itty Achuthan Sasya Sarvaswam.

Old British bungalow now turned into an interpretation centre at Chaliyam Itty Achuthan Sasya Sarvaswam.  This was part of the old Chaliyam railway station and yard abandoned with the extension of the rail line to Calicut in late 19th century.  Chaliyam to Tirur was the oldest railway line in Malabar in the 19th century.

 

A group of Terek Sandpipers at Chaliyam beach, 6 Jan 2013.

A group of Terek Sandpipers at Chaliyam beach, 6 Jan 2013.  I remember seeing a couple of them some two years ago in Chandragiri and Manjeswaram estuaries in Kasaragod during 2010-11 winter season.

 

Riding into the sea.  Wave breaker or Pulimuttu at the mouth of Chaliyar that allows the Bepur port and fishing docks in Chaliyar estuary.

Riding into the sea. Wave breaker or Pulimuttu at the mouth of Chaliyar that allows the Bepur port and fishing docks in Chaliyar estuary.

A Western Reef Egret by the wave breaker at the mouth of the Chaliyar.  Pacific Reef Egrets were also seen but could not shoot as I was riding.

A Western Reef Egret by the wave breaker at the mouth of the Chaliyar. Pacific Reef Egrets were also seen but could not shoot as I was riding.

 

The laterite projection guarding the southern shoulder of Kadalundy river mouth.  It formed an ancient way in for the ships and became renowned all over the world as Kadalundy Nagaram.

The laterite projection guarding the southern shoulder of Kadalundy river mouth. It formed an ancient way in for the ships and became renowned all over the world as Kadalundy Nagaram, the port city of Kadalundy. It was famous as Tyndis or Thondi during the early common era. Road bridge also in the right backdrop.  I remember visiting the place way back in 1995 some eighteen years ago as I was teaching in a school in Kottakal for an academic year soon after my TTC, just before my BA. The road bridge was not there then.  Vijesh Vallikunnu the native says that the bridge is also scarring away the migrant birds  from distant shores.

Common Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper (upper right) at Chaliyam.  Common Sandpipers have become extremely uncommon this winter on the Malabar coast.

Common Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper (upper right) at Chaliyam. Common Sandpipers have become extremely uncommon this winter on the Malabar coast.

 

Ruins of the old British structure at the mouth of river Kadalundy.  Kadalundy Nagaram was known as Tyndis or Thondi during the Sangam age.

Ruins of the old British structure at the mouth of river Kadalundy. Kadalundy Nagaram was known as Tyndis or Thondi during the Sangam age.  Roman, chinese and Arab ships used enter Malabar coast through this river mouth.

Bepur port from Chaliyam.  Bepur was made his second home by Bepur Sultan Basheer in the 20th century and Chaliyam was made into a strategic vantage by Tipu Sultan in 18th century.

Bepur port from Chaliyam. Bepur was made his second home by Bepur Sultan Basheer in the 20th century and Chaliyam was made into a strategic vantage by Tipu Sultan in 18th century.  The Zamorin raised down the fort at Chaliyam built by the Portuguese in 1503.  The relics are still seen in Chaliyam beach.

 

Puzhakara Pally founded by MaliK Dinar in AD 7th century (Hijra 22).  This ancient Islamic monument was rebuilt several times later and was originally part of the ten seminal mosques established by Hazrat Malik-ibnu-Dinar in various regions of Kerala including Thalangara/Kasaragod, Cheraman Pally/Kodungallur and Thazhathangady Jumath Pally/Kottayam.

Puzhakara Pally founded by MaliK Dinar in AD 7th century (Hijra 22). This ancient Islamic monument was rebuilt several times later and was originally part of the ten seminal mosques established by Hazrat Malik-ibnu-Dinar in various regions of Kerala including Thalangara/Kasaragod, Cheraman Pally/Kodungallur and Thazhathangady Jumath Pally/Kottayam.

A view of Chaliyam beach from the wave breaker projecting into the sea.  Tipu Sultan's fort was located towards the right.

A view of Chaliyam beach from the wave breaker projecting into the sea. Chaliyam fort was located towards the right.

 

Certificate given by Itty Achuthan Vaidyar for Hortus Malabaricus in Kolezhuthu script in his own hand in the 17th century to the Dutch.  Displayed in Chaliyam Sasya Sarvaswam, Calicut.

Certificate given by Itty Achuthan Vaidyar for Hortus Malabaricus in Kolezhuthu script in his own hand in the 17th century to the Dutch. Displayed in Chaliyam Sasya Sarvaswam, Calicut.

The gate of Puzhakara Pally, Chaliyam.  AD 7th century.

The gate of Puzhakara Pally, Chaliyam. AD 7th century.

Chaliyam fish landing.  6 Jan 2013

Chaliyam fish landing. 6 Jan 2013

 

Marine crabs at Kadalundy river mouth.

Marine crabs at Kadalundy river mouth.

Old oval pond in Chaliyam.  Could be an ancient pond and water source.  The British made it part of their railway yard, now protected by the Forest Dept.

Old oval pond in Chaliyam. Could be an ancient pond and water source. The British made it part of their railway yard, now protected by the Forest Dept.

 

Self portrait from the end of the wave breaker at Chaliyam, one mile off shore. 6 Jan 2012

Self portrait from the end of the wave breaker at Chaliyam, one mile off shore. 6 Jan 2012.  Not much pelagic life, just a few terns and gulls…

Chandragiri Fort: A Landmark on the Kasaragod Coast

// May 18th, 2011 // No Comments » // Cultural Politics, Culture and Ecology

Fort Chandragiri, Kasaragod, Kerala

Though there are plenty of places called Chandragiri in south India including the ones in Tirupati in Andhra and Sravanabelgola in Karnataka the Chandragiri in Kasaragod is unique in its history, antiquity  and cultural and ecological geography.

River Chandragiri joins Arabian sea: A view from fort Chandragiri at 50 m. MSL, Kasaragod

Fort Chandragiri stands atop the small hillock at the southern bank of the mouth of  river Chandragiri  near Kasaragod in north Malabar.  Chandragiri river was the traditional boundary between Tulunad and Kolathunad or Malayalam speaking regions in northern Malabar.

Pregnant with pasts: Fortifications and citadels at fort Chandragiri, Kasaragod

The laterite mount that rises up to 50m above sea level overlooks the Chandragiri or Thalangara estuary and the Arabian sea.  The northern bank of the river houses Pulikunnu and Thalangara regions that are also important in many ways.

River Chandragiri, Pulikunnu, Thalangara and Kasaragod town regions from fort Chandragiri

The river originating from Kodagu called Payaswini till it reaches the coastal planes (by flowing through Sullia in Karnataka to reach Kasaragod coast) becomes river Chandragiri as it meets the Arabian sea at Chandragiri.  It is sure that the Chandragiri region is a geo-politically and culturally important location due to its geographical and ecological distinctions.

Laterite stone architectural motifs in fort Chandragiri, Kasaragod

The very name Chandragiri connects it with the mount in Sravanabelgola that is named by the ancient Jain sages after Chandranatha Thirthankara.  Jains used to name places and hillocks after their saints and gurus.  Pallypuram and Kalanad Dharma Sastha temple are still surviving around the hillock.

Arabian sea, river mouth of Chandragiri, Thalangara estuary, Kasaragod harbor, rail bridge from fort Chandragiri

The place name Pallypuram (Pally premise or surrounding) clearly shows that there was a Pally or ancient Jain/Buddhist shrine on the hill top.  Sastha is also a Hinduized form of Jina or Buddha.  Dharma Sastha is the synonym of Buddha still in the Malayalam lexicon.

Chandragiri river mouth and rail bridge connecting Kalanad and Kasaragod

The place name Kalanad may be connected to Kalabhra dynasty that exercised remarkable influence through out south India or the ancient Tamilakam from AD third to seventh century.  The Kalabhras patronized Jainism and Buddhism and they established plenty of Sramana vestiges all around the subcontinent.

Pallypuram and Kalanad regions from atop Chandragiri fort, Kasaragod

Kalanad may also be related to the maritime history of the place as Kalam means Kappal or ship.  It is also notable that Malik Dinar landed nearby in Thalangara and established one of the ancient Islamic mosques in south India on the northern bank of river Chandragiri in early 8th century AD.

Pipal tree near Kalanad Sastha temple: From fort Chandragiri, Blue Arabian sea behind

The location, setting and architectural relics reinforce the Sramana connection of Chandragiri fort.  The very gateway and architectural patterns and motifs in huge laterite boulders closely resemble the stone structures at Sravanabelgola, Moodbidri and Karkala that are surviving examples of Jain architecture in stone just a few hundred miles away in the north east.

Kalanad Dharma Sastha temple (right) and Pipal from railway station

The meandering flight of steps and the surrounding walls and structures clearly echo the erased and modified Jain structure.  I felt like entering the Gomateswara shrines at Sravanabelgola or Karkala as I ascended the steps to enter the gateway of Chandragiri fort in January and March 2011.  It is important to observe that most of the present forts and Hindu temples are built over ancient Sramana sites of greater antiquity.

Kalanad and Pallypuram from Chandragiri fort, Kasaragod

It is also notable that Pallykara Panchayat that hosts Bekal fort is just to the south of Chandragiri and Pallypuram.  Bekal fort was also a sacred Sramana site of archeological importance.  Detailed excavations may reveal the real past of Kasaragod coast.  It is remarkable that two Jain temples are still surviving in Manjeswaram towards the north of Kasaragod.  Kodagu and Hassan districts in Karnataka  that border Kasaragod were also ruled by Jain dynasties till the 13th century.

White-bellied Sea Eagle soaring above Chandragiri, Kasaragod

Fortunately it is now with the Archeological Survey of India and it is highly desirable that they conduct further excavations and detailed studies on the pasts of these forts along the coast of Kasargod from Manjeswaram to  Kumbala, Chandragiri, Bekal and Hosdurg (Kanjangad).

Summer rainbow above fort Chandragiri, from Chandragiri rail bridge, Kasaragod, early 2011

The Keladi Nayiks of Ikkeri who fortified these strategic locations after the fall of the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th and 17th centuries probably erased the presence of Sramana antiquity and replaced the original Pallys or Sramana shrines with some Hindu Hanuman temples.  Kumbala and Bekal forts still hold these Hanuman temples.  The reference to stone or Kal in the place name Bekal is also a Jain marker.

White-bellied Sea Eagle near its nest on the Pipal, Kalanad Sastha temple, Kasaragod

These forts and associated temples must be preserved for posterity and detailed archeological, historical and inter disciplinary cultural studies by ASI and free researchers may expose the realities of the pasts.  These important monuments must be kept intact for the sheer beauty of their locations and ancient ambiance.  Irreverence for cultural history and critical humanities that is growing among the so called techno-trained people in Kerala  could be a clear symptom of collective amnesia, political illiteracy and social ignorance.

Sunset in Arabian sea beyond the mouth of river Chandragiri, a view from the fort in mid 2010