places to visit in varkala

Varkala, a picturesque coastal town in the Indian state of Kerala, is a unique blend of pristine beaches, natural beauty, and spiritual charm. Known for its red cliffs that overlook the Arabian Sea, Varkala offers a serene and rejuvenating escape for travelers. Let’s explore the enchanting places to visit in Varkala for a holistic experience.

1. Varkala Beach:

  • The jewel of Varkala, the Varkala Beach, is renowned for its golden sands and stunning cliff views. Relax under the swaying palm trees, take a dip in the turquoise waters, and witness the breathtaking sunset. Numerous beachside shacks offer delectable seafood and refreshing beverages.

2. Varkala Cliff:

  • The majestic red cliffs that line Varkala Beach provide a mesmerizing view of the Arabian Sea. Walk along the cliff, explore the numerous shops and cafes, and relish the panoramic vistas. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll at any time of the day.

3. Janardanaswamy Temple:

  • A significant religious site, the Janardanaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Dating back over 2,000 years, the temple features intricate architecture and is an important pilgrimage destination. The temple tank, known as ‘Vishnu Theertham,’ adds to the spiritual ambiance.

4. Papanasam Beach:

  • Located near the Janardanaswamy Temple, Papanasam Beach is believed to wash away sins. Pilgrims often take a dip in the sacred waters. The beach, with its serene surroundings, offers a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist areas.

5. Sivagiri Mutt:

  • Founded by the social reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru, the Sivagiri Mutt is a spiritual and cultural center. The samadhi (final resting place) of Sree Narayana Guru is here, attracting devotees and seekers of wisdom.

6. Anjengo Fort:

  • About 12 kilometers from Varkala, Anjengo Fort is a historical gem. Originally built by the Dutch in the 17th century, the fort has a rich history and offers panoramic views of the coastline. Explore the ancient architecture and enjoy the sea breeze.

7. Edava Beach:

  • A serene and less crowded alternative to Varkala Beach, Edava Beach is known for its tranquil atmosphere. Surrounded by backwaters, it’s an ideal spot for a peaceful getaway. The golden sands and swaying coconut palms create a postcard-perfect setting.

8. Kappil Lake:

  • Nestled between the Edava-Nadayara Lake and the Arabian Sea, Kappil Lake offers a tranquil setting for boat rides and relaxation. The serene backwaters and the merging point with the sea make it a scenic location for nature lovers.

9. Varkala Tunnel:

  • Also known as the Varkala Turuthu, this historic tunnel was used for transporting goods between the cliffs and the beach during the British colonial era. The tunnel adds an element of intrigue to the coastal landscape.

10. Ponnumthuruthu Island:

  • Known as the ‘Golden Island,’ Ponnumthuruthu is a tiny island in the backwaters. It is home to the Shiva Parvathi Temple and a serene grove of coconut palms. Boat rides to the island offer a peaceful retreat.

11. Kaduvayil Juma Masjid:

  • This historic mosque, situated in Kaduvayil, is known for its architectural grandeur and religious significance. It attracts both worshippers and those interested in the cultural diversity of the region.

12. Varkala Aquarium:

  • Perfect for marine enthusiasts, the Varkala Aquarium showcases a variety of marine life found in the Arabian Sea. It’s an educational experience for both adults and children.

13. Pullichira Church:

  • A serene and ancient church, Pullichira Church is a peaceful place for prayer and reflection. The tranquil surroundings and the historical significance make it a noteworthy stop.

14. Odayam Beach:

  • A tranquil and less-explored beach, Odayam Beach is known for its natural beauty. The long stretch of golden sands and the peaceful ambiance make it an ideal spot for solitude and relaxation.

15. Sarkara Devi Temple:

  • Located around 25 kilometers from Varkala, the Sarkara Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. The temple is known for its traditional architecture and the annual festival, attracting devotees from far and wide.

Tips for Travelers:

  1. Best Time to Visit:
    • The ideal time to visit Varkala is from October to March when the weather is pleasant. Avoid the monsoon season (June to August) due to heavy rainfall.
  2. Accommodation:
    • Varkala offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Stay in a cliffside property for stunning views or opt for a beachfront accommodation for easy access to the sea.
  3. Local Cuisine:
    • Indulge in the local Kerala cuisine, known for its delicious seafood and traditional dishes like Karimeen Pollichathu (pearl spot fish) and Kerala Sadya (feast).
  4. Ayurveda and Yoga:
    • Varkala is a hub for Ayurvedic treatments and yoga retreats. Consider indulging in a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage or joining a yoga session for a holistic experience.
  5. Beach Essentials:
    • Pack essentials like sunscreen, hats, and comfortable clothing for beach outings. Be cautious about strong currents while swimming and follow beach safety guidelines.
  6. Cultural Respect:
    • When visiting religious sites, dress modestly and show respect for local customs and traditions. Maintain a quiet and contemplative demeanor, especially in temples and spiritual places.
  7. Transportation:
    • Varkala is well-connected by road and rail. The nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport. Local transportation includes auto-rickshaws and rented scooters or bicycles.

Varkala, with its diverse attractions, offers a blend of relaxation, spirituality, and cultural exploration. Whether you are seeking a beach retreat, a spiritual journey, or a cultural escapade, Varkala caters to a variety of travel preferences.