For a traveller intending on exploring the unexplored, Varkala, a suburb of Thiruvananthapuram presents innumerable opportunities. It is well-connected by road, rail and waterways, too, and is situated 37 kilometres from Kollam. As it is relatively newly developed tourist destination, you will find it comparatively less crowded and more economical too! With its healthy mix of natural beauty, spirituality and historicity, Varkala has something to offer to keep engaged every of your interests. Avoiding the downpours of the monsoon, the best time to visit Varkala is from the month of December to March.
There are a great number of tourist destinations in and around this pretty town which should be on your MUST SEE list:
Varkala Beach: This beach that lines the town of Varkala is also known as Papanasam (literally meaning “destroyer of bad karma”) Beach, and is considered to be as holy as river Ganga. This beach is geologically outstanding due to the existence of the cliffs that run parallel to the beach presenting a dazzling contrast of turquoise blue of the sea-scape and the lateritic brown of the landscape. Apart from its spiritual significance, Varkala beach is one of the best beaches in Kerala for sun-bathing and swimming as well as adventure sports like paragliding.
Janardana Swami Temple: This 2000-year old divine abode is one of the oldest temples in Kerala, situated just two kilometres away from Varkala railway station. For the pious-minded this temple is so significant that it is considered to be Dakshin Kashi i.e. as sacred as the holy city of Varanashi. Situated nearby a scenic pond and surrounded by emerald greens, the temple stands tall in the vicinity of Papanasam Beach presenting a picturesque sight even for the religiously not so inclined. The temple is also significant for its architectural style which stands out distinctly from its counterparts in Kerala on this count.
Sivagiri Mutt: Built on the top of Sivagiri Hill near Varkala, this ashram is only three kilometres away from Janardana Swami temple, well within walking distance. It was founded by the saint, philosopher and social reformer, Sree Narayan Guru in 1904. It houses the Samadhi (the final resting place) of Sree Narayan Guru, which makes it an important place of pilgrimage where thousands throng on the occasions of birth and death anniversaries of the Guru every year.
Paravur: If even the crowds of Varkala are too much to bear for you, you can head straight away to Paravur which is located just 13 kilometres away from Varkala. This small town is famous for its pristine palm-lined beaches, lakes, estuaries and backwaters that present the opportunities for the explorations of the serpentine water-bodies on long cruises. For the eco-conscious, Paravur is of special interest: it has the only Municipality in Kerala that functions entirely on solar power!
Anjengo fort: Apart from the nature-lovers and the devout, the locality of Varkala has something to offer even to those fascinated with local history. The historical fort at Anjengo, a remnant of the colonial rule, was built by the East India Company in 1684 and has witnessed a great many tussles among the warring powers including the Portuguese, the Dutch and the locals. With its walls and ramparts still holding against the mighty Time, one can experience the magnetic pull of Kerala’s not so ancient history while taking a stroll across the expanse of this fort.
We have found the solution to your lodging and boarding woes at the luxuriant yet economical Vedanta Wake Up, Varkala. This backpacking hostel in varkala has a great variety of things to do in Varkala during your stay here. So simply venture out and explore Kerala like never before with these activities on your MUST DO list:
Varkala Tunnel: In the very town of Varkala is situated its central attraction for the tourists: the Varkala tunnel which was built in 1867. You can hire a paddle boat and ride down the stream trough this tunnel that stretches up to 924 ft. It will certainly prove to be an exhilarating ride to remember for life.
Boating on Kappil Lake: This serene lake on the outskirts of Varkala is yet another destination for a quiet and calm boating experience. Hiring a houseboat and setting out for a long cruise down the backwaters into which this lake opens should feature higher on your must do list in Varkala.
Kathakali shows: For a piece of the local culture, you can visit a Kathakali (an indigenous dance form) show which is held every evening in the Varkala Culture Centre. Not only can you witness the mesmerising performances of the nimble-footed dancers, but yourself can be an integral part of the performance by getting a thorough elaborate make-up just like the performers.
Ayurvedic Massage and Yoga: If all this hustle and bustle tires you out, you can simply visit a nearby spa for the most rejuvenating ayurvedic massage.