Kasaragod district is located in the northern end of Kerala, bordering Karnataka. Unlike other regions, people in this town follow different cultures and speak various languages. Even the Malayalam spoken here is different and influenced by Kannada, Tulu, Urdu, and Konkani. It is also famous for its lush green lands, unique traditions, and beautiful Western Ghats. Kasaragod is renowned for its temples, kaavus (shrines), unique rituals, and various religious festivals. Nileshwar, the cultural capital of Kasaragod, gets its name from the Lord Neelakandeshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva or Neelakandan (the one with the blue neck). Visit us if you’re looking for customized Nileshwar travel packages that include the best of this region.

Kasaragod has been an influential trading center for hundreds of years, drawing Arab traders between the 9th and 14th centuries. These traders have left an indelible impression, permanently altering the local culture and cuisine.

For instance, unlike the rest of Kerala, which loves a kattan chaya or black tea, natives of Kasaragod prefer their Sulaymani – a sweet black tea flavored with lemon. The tea probably gets its name from the traditional drink of the Sulaymani Bohras, a trading community from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Similarly, the Mapilla Muslims of the Malabar region are more culturally close to the people of Hadramawt and Sumatra.

Nileshwar Tour Package

Why Visit Nileshwar?

Nileshwar is located strategically between two rivers: the Nileshwaram puzha and the Thejaswini puzha and the vast Arabian Sea on its west. It is the perfect place to understand the rich culture, traditions, and architecture of North Kerala. As earlier said, Nileshwaram is culturally significant thanks to the ancient temples and beautiful palaces belonging to the Nileshwaram rajas of the Kolathiri Family. The town once served as the seat of power for the Nileshwar royals and was also part of the war between local rulers and the Bednore Nayaks.

Besides the numerous temples and churches, tourists often visit Nileshwar for houseboat cruises to experience holistic well-being at one of the many Ayurveda resorts. The Bekal Fort is equally famous for its picturesque location and rich history.

Like every region in Kerala, Nileshwar has its own traditions and festivals. Theyyam is perhaps the most spectacular of these rituals, a tradition that could be over eight hundred years old. Some temples where theyyam is celebrated include the Sree Chaamakkavu Bhagavathy Temple, the Sree Menarayaroth Bhagavathy Temple, and the Payyanur Karim Chamundi Temple.

Top Nileshwar Tourist Destinations Included in Our Nileshwar Travel Packages

Fort Bekal

Fort Bekal was under the control of the Chirakkal Rajas, the rulers of the Kolathiri Kingdom. The fort was believed to have been built by Shivappa Nayaka, while others believe that Chirakkal Rajas constructed the fort and Shivappa Nayaka rebuilt it during the 1660s. It briefly came under the control of Tipu Sultan, who considered it a base for his military expedition of Malabar, before coming under the control of the British. Currently, Bekal Fort is a major tourist attraction and was even featured in movies.

Chandragiri Fort

The Chandragiri Fort is an hour’s drive from Nileshwar and situated on the banks of the Payaswini River. Shivappa Nayak built this 17th-century fort along with the Bekal Fort. While this fort isn’t as popular as Bekal, people visit here to admire the beautiful sunset from the Kizhur Siva Temple and the serene location of the lush landscape nearby.

Nileshwaram Palace

This palace was once the residence of the Nileshwaram Rajas, who built the palace using Kerela’s unique architectural style. The palace is a two-story building that showcases the state’s unique woodwork and is surrounded by amazing kaavus or shrines built in memory of local deities. It was recently renovated by the Archeological Society of India, which also transformed it into a fabulous folklore center.

Ranipuram Hills

Ranipuram Hills rise over 750 meters over sea level and is the highest altitude in the district. This hill is around an hour’s drive from Nileshwar and is popular for its scenic landscape, including the wild flora and fauna native to the Shola Forests. The entire stretch of Ranipuram includes beautiful meadows, moors, and a wide range of flora and fauna endemic to the Western Ghats. You could even stay at one of the many cottages built by the Distritc’s tourism promotion council. They have also planned a dedicated wildlife sanctuary to protect local animals like the ele[hants, leopards, macaques, jungle cats, and Malabar giant squirrels.

Ananthapura Lake Temple

The lake temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who sits on the Adishesha. It is believed to be the moolastana of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This 9th-century temple also depicts the stories from the dasavatharam carved in wood and adorning the ceilings and walls.

Valiyaparamba Backwaters

Valyaparamba gets its name from the Valyaparamba island. You must visit this place at least once to admire the local avian population, including over 90 species of birds. As earlier said, a visit to Nileshwar is incomplete without a backwater cruise experience.

Other Popular Attractions You Mustn’t Miss in Nileshwar



Theyyam is the most popular folk art of Kasaragod, performed by the tribal communities to seek the blessings of the divine forest spirits. The word Theyyam comes from Daivam, meaning God, but includes revering the trees, plants, animals, and Hindu gods. This ancient ritual predates Hinduism but has been adapted to include some Hindu elements. Theyyam is generally celebrated during the dry season, from November to March. The artist performing the Theyyam is dressed extravagantly and is believed to be possessed by the divine spirit during the performance. The costumes, elaborate makeup, and accompanying music add to the fervor, culminating in the spirit blessing the devotees and even curing their illnesses. But Theyyam isn’t always celebrated in Temples; in some places, it is celebrated in Kaavus. If you’d like to witness a theyyam in person, we suggest you contact our tour operator when booking Nileshwar travel packages.

Mallikarjuna Temple Festival

The Mallikarjuna Temple was built around the 17th century by the Ikkeri kings but gradually came into neglect until it was renovated and reconstructed in 1977. The annual temple festival here is one of the most important festivals in and around Kasaragod, attracting thousands of people from neighboring districts. The 5-day festival is held every March or April, with the last day ending with a Yakshagana. In this theatrical dance form, artists adorn grand costumes and narrate old folklore and mythological stories.

If you want to experience these festivals and understand a culture that predates Hinduism, we suggest booking Nileshwar travel packages from November to April, as this is when most temples conduct their annual festivals. Besides Nileshwar, some places you must include in your itinerary include, Karivalloor, Kurumathoor, Cherukunnu, Ezhom, and Kunnathoorpadi.

And if you are looking for expert advice on places to visit in Nileshwar, contact us.

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