Varkala is a coastal town known for its serene and spectacular beaches. This second most popular beach in Kerala after Kovalam is located in Thiruvananthapuram district. Aside from its stunning seaside charm, another striking attraction of this tourist destination is its 2000-year-old Lord Janardhana Swamy temple. Both the beach and the sacred temple make it among the most sought-after tourist destinations in the state. This ancient temple is believed to build in the 13th century. There is a bell in the temple which was presented in the 17th century by a Dutch sailor.
Varkala is almost 50 kilometres away from Thiruvananthapuram. The main attraction of this destination is the clean stretch of Papanasam Beach. A lot of visit this beach to take a dip in the holy waters as it is a belief that one can redeem his or her sins by taking a dip in the waters of this beach. Besides, many religious people visit here to immerse the ashes of the departed souls.
Varkala is a very enchanting tourist destination where you can see cliffs adjacent to the panoramic Arabian Sea. There is land on top of the headland that stretches a few kilometres. You can find many shops and hotels in this land which faces the sea. October to April is the tourist season in Varkala. Travellers love to watch the lovely cliff during their visit to this mesmerizing beach destination. Simply go through the walkway along the edge of the cliff to enjoy the spectacular views of the beautiful area.
Like Lord Janardhana Swamy temple, Sivagiri Mutt is also a popular attraction of Varkala which has been founded by Sree Narayana Guru, a great saint, philosopher and social reformer in Kerala. In fact, the destination rose to fame after this great sage. A lot of followers visit this Mutt every year.
The cliff located on the edge of Varkala Beach is made up of laterite. It is believed that the water in this area is good for health because of the mineral elements in it. This destination is also popular for several mineral water springs and Natural treatments.
One of the great advantages of Varkala is that you can find accommodation suitable for all budgets. Besides, the hotels in this destination are sea-facing providing panoramic views. Some of the must-visit places in Varkala include Sivagiri mutt, Ponnumthuruthu Island, the Anjengo fort and the Kappil Lake and estuary.
Located nearly 40 km north of Thiruvananthapuram, Varkala is a favourite destination of many beach lovers. The main attractions of the destination are Papanasam Beach and Sivagiri, the Samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru, a great saint and social reformer of Kerala. It is a famous pilgrim centre in the state.
A striking feature of Varkala is that it is the only destination in the southern part of the state where cliffs can be seen adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These cliffs, which are the tertiary sedimentary formation are a unique geological feature. The Geological Survey of India declared this area a geological monument. You can find several spas and water spouts on the sides of the cliffs of Varkala.
Known for its lovely beaches, the water in Varkala is shallow and clear. A lot of people visit this area to face the mesmerizing sea-facing cliffs which provide breathtaking views. This feature makes Varkala Beach unique from other beaches in Kerala.
Varkala Janardhana Temple
The 2000-year-old Lord Janardhana Swami temple is certainly a must-visit attraction in Varkala. One of the ancient temples in Kerala, the Janardhana temple is a major pilgrim spot in Varkala. This ancient temple, referred to as the Dakshin Kashi is an important shrine for the Vaishnavaite which lies near Papanasam Beach. People who visit the temple visit the beach also to take a dip in its holy waters to wash away their sins. This destination is also famous for its prominent Ayurvedic centres. There is a bell in this temple which was donated by the captain of a Dutch Vessel as the vessel sank in this area without any losses.
Sree Narayana Guru was a saint and social reformer in Kerala and the Sivagiri Mutt is the final resting place of him. This ashram in Varkala has been established by Guru himself and today it has become a popular pilgrim centre in Kerala. The hilltop mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru in this region is a popular monument in the state. The adjacent hills of it are Sree Narayana Gurukulam and the East-West University of Brahmavidya.
Varkala Tunnel is definitely another great attraction in this beach destination. Although this century-old tunnel has been in a dilapidated situation, it was a prominent waterway during pre-independence times.
Varkala – a calm and serene destination
Varkala can be a good recommendation for people who come to the state for spiritual salvation. The tranquil and peaceful atmosphere of this beach destination is truly fascinating. A lot of tourists visit every year to explore the secluded beauty of this seaside picnic spot. The relaxed and serene ambience makes it an ideal destination for people who love beaches and the lapping of the waves. Even if you are on a budget, you can enjoy a wonderful time as Varkala is an inexpensive holiday hideaway.
The main season in Varkala starts from Dec 1st to Mar 31st. However, you can see the biggest rush in the destination during the months of December and early January.
Varkala is a blessed beach destination with a moderate climate. Temperature rises up to 350C during summer which starts during March-May. Mid-June to Sept is the Monsoon time in Varkala and winter starts from Sept and continues till February. The average rainfall in the destination is 310 cm.
By Air : Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest airport to Varkala which is about 50 km away.
By Rail: Varkala is a well-connected beach destination by Rail Network. Varkala Railway Station is the nearest railway station.
By Road: This tourist destination is well connected by both state and National highways.
It will not be a problem for the travellers to find regular buses to/from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam that go through Varkala.
What to Do in Varkala?
Enjoy Swim in the beach
Watch the spectacular sunset
Take a shower at Papanasam in the mineral water gushing from the hill, which is believed to have healing properties.
Relax and enjoy Ayurvedic Massage
Enjoy a variety of cuisines including spicy fish and seafood preparations. You find dishes of almost every country in the restaurants and eateries in Varkala.
Varkala, near Kerala`s capital Thiruvananthapuram, is another backpackers’ haven offering the perfect combination of peace, calm and natural beauty. This seaside destination is popular among backpackers for its sunbathing opportunities, swimming, water sports, seaside walks or just sitting on the beach, raising a toast to the setting sun. While there, you could spend your time visiting the 2,000-year-old Janardhana Swamy Temple to witness the evening aarti, exploring the 17th century British-constructed Anjengo Fort, or taking a trip to the Sivagiri Mutt, headquarters of a sect that follows the 20th century social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
The beaches hold a special attraction in and around here. Visit the scenic Kappil Beach or the even more awesome Varkala Beach. The latter is sometimes underrated, it could easily compete with the beaches of Phuket and Penang in terms of natural beauty! That is perhaps why you will find so many foreign tourists at Varkala much more than what you see at the more famous Kovalam Beach in Thiruvananthapuram situated only 50 km away.
WHO YOU’LL MEET
You’ll meet plenty of Indian tourists clamouring for a dip in the holy waters of Papanasam Beach at the North Cliff according to Hindu belief, a dip here is believed to absolve people from all their sins. You will also see a lot of western tourists spending their days soaking in the sun, sea and sand.
HANG OUT AT
The Rock N Roll Cafe has an exhaustive list of cocktails for as little as ‘100 each and is also equipped with a dance floor. The Chill Out Cafe allows you to do just that till the wee hours of the morning. Cafe del Mar offers Indian, Italian and Mexican food.
Not every train originating or passing through Kollam or Thiruvananthapuram stops at Varkala Sivagiri Station. Do check before boarding.
Before you choose a homestay, inquire about the facilities provided. Breakfast may not always be included in your room tariff; it will be offered only if you ask.
Hire a scooter—it’s the best way to explore Varkala.
Air : Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest airport, at a distance 51 km from Varkala.
Rail : Varkala Railway Station is the nearest rail head.
Road : Varkala Bus Stand is well serviced by buses from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Varkala is less than 50 km away from National Highway 47, which means it’s well-connected by road.
While it’s hot and humid most of the year, the months between December and February are pleasant for visits.