Location: Thiruvanathapuram, Southern Kerala
Climate: Hot in summers and pleasant in winters.
Places to See: Janardan swami temple, Sivagiri mutt, Papanasham beach etc.
Best Time to Visit: October to March, avoid summers, monsoon is good for budget travellers.
Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasham Beach,is a beach in Karkala,along the Arabian Sea.The word Papanasham means wash away sins. It is believed that a dip in the waters of Papanasham Beach washes away all the sins in one’s life.
A little paradise, Varkala is replete with clear, pristine beaches, hills, shrines, lighthouses. Varkala beach is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea.These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India.
Tourist Attractions in Varkala
There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.The beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming. The evening views of the sunset are worth lingering over. There are several small restaurants and snack shops near and around Papanasham beach, which attracts the maximum visitors both for leisure as well as for religious reasons.
The famous Janardan Swami Temple is situated near the Beach. It’s famous for a 10-day festival held twice a year, called Arattu.
Sivagiri Mutt is another important attraction, located atop the Sivagiri hill.
Anjengo(Anchengo) Fort & Light House –Anjengo or Anjuthengo originally means a bunch of five coconut trees in Malayalam. The fort here is served to the one time bastions for British East India Company, second to Bombay. Anjengo was raised as a signal station (Light House) in 1695, for ships and cruises from England. The fort,then was one of the major depots for coir and pepper trade for British East India company. Anjengo Fort is situated very close to Varkala town (10-12km away
Varkala Tunnel, Popularly known as Varkala Turuthu, is historic sites and an epitome of architectural excellence that describes the engendering skills and talent of Colonial era in India. The tunnel was constructed to serve as inland waterways for the easy and timely transportation of goods from North to South Kerala.The construction of the tunnel was started in 1867 under the supervision of Travancore Diwan Sir. T Mahadeva Rao and after 14 years of its commencement, the construction of the tunnel was completed in 1880.
Excursions from Varkala
Varkala beach is known for adventure and leisure activities such as boat riding, parasailing, jetting and horse-riding
The beach or the island is located 20 away from the Varkala town and is encircled by cool and pristine Anjengo backwaters. Those who wish to get to this untouched and unspoilt beach can take boats from Nedunganda village that would easily take them to the place in around 30 minutes.Visiting during evening time is much rewarding as the view of sunset from the beach is stunningly beautiful and aesthetic. Apart from scenic natural charm, you can also see an ancient temple dedicated to lord Shiva and his half Parvati which is referred as huruthu Kshethram’ by local residents. The temple is believed to be more than 100 years old which has ruined earlier but was rebuilt later. During the auspicious occasion of Sivaratri, a huge number of devotees flock to this place and offer pujas.
Kollam Beach– Kollam beach is located about 20 km from Varkala. The beach is located on the bank of Asthamudi Lake. It is also one of the famous beach of Kerala that attracts lots of tourist.
Thiruvananthapuram– The capital city of Kerala is located about 46 km from varkala. The city has a historical importance and a famous destination. There are various pilgrimage places , historical monuments and many tourist spots to visit. Thiruvananthapuram is the largest city of Kerala.
Ponmudi Hill Station– The hill station is located in Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala. Lying in the southern Cardamom Hills it is a beautiful serene hill station.
Ponnumthuruthu Temple– Ponnumthuruthu Temple is Shelter a century old temple dedicated to lord shiva and parvathy . Surrounded by the Anjenjo Backwaters , this island set Amidst thick coconut Groves is Accessible by boat from the Makeshift jetty at the Nedunganda Village located 20 km away from Varkala.
Accommodation – Hotels/Resorts in Karkala
Varkala has all range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to reasonable Hotels and homestay. Popular Hotels are The Taj Garden retreat, Blue Water beach Resort, Anamika Ayurvedic Resort,The Gateway Hotel. Cuisine here is similar to the areas around it with a dash bit more dominance of seafood and a unique culture about it.
How to Reach
By Air- Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport, which is at the distance 51 Km from the destination.
By Rail- Varkala Railway Station is the nearest railhead that is 3 km away from Varkala.
By Road- Varkala Bus Station is well connected to all major cities of India. Varkala is just 47 km away from the NH 47. Though, this place is connected with all cities and towns, but if you wish you can avail bus from Kochi and Trivandrum to reach the destination.