Now, Goa is well known for all things portuguese including vinho and sussegade. Calicut in kerala is however one of the earliest places where Vasco da Gama is supposed to have landed. Unlike Goa, Kerala has little obvious Portuguese influence left in its daily life. On a recent trip to Kannur in North Kerala, we were therefore surprised to learn that Fort St. Angelo, an early sea-facing stronghold built by the Portuguese, still stands.


The fort stands at the edge of the sea, overlooking some fishing villages. It feels ominously quiet, and one can hear the waves on the rocks below. I imagine some Portuguese general standing at the top, watching out for the English, the French, the other invaders only too eager to get a piece of India.

Now, the fort is quiet though. Overgrown shrubbery left untended, invades its grounds. The dingy barracks for the men still stand, their walls looking sooty and crumbly. The cannons have been left behind, mute witnesses of a colonial past that many here no longer remember.