About Varkala

Varkala - Pearl of Arabian Sea

Varkala is a beautiful coastal town 51 kilometers away from Thiruvananthapuram, on its northern side. Well known for the Varkala Beach, which is naturally abundant, Varkala Tourism has the charm and potential to attract tourists from all over the world, and Varkala, with its high cliffs and mineral springs, is ranked by Discovery Channel as one of the best beaches in Kerala and among the top 10 beaches in the world. The beach is quite popular among foreigners as its tourism offers many exciting pursuits such as sunbathing, boat riding, and Ayurvedic rejuvenation.

Popular Places In Varkala

Here are some of the best things to do in Varkala to cherish your trip to this city of Kerala throughout your lifetime.

1. Janardhana Swami Temple

Janardhana Swami Temple is a 2000-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is so popular as it is the only shrine dedicated to Vishnu in the name of Janardhana in this part of the country, with the temples usually being dedicated to Krishna. It is one of the best places to visit in Varkala. The temple aptly follows and echoes the aesthetics of traditional South-Indian architecture.

The main idol has a remarkable appearance, with four arms having all the attributes of Vishnu. In the southwestern corner and on the north-eastern side of the outer enclosure are the shrines of Sasta and Shiva with Nandi. The Arattu festival at this temple is celebrated every year in Meenam (March–April), commencing with Kodiyattem (flag hoisting) on Krithika Day and ending with Arattu on Uthram Day. A colorful procession led by adorned elephants is one of the prominent features of the festival. This place is also called ‘Dakshina Kasi’ or the Varanasi of South and is important for ‘Pithrutharpanam'—an offering in honor of their relatives who have departed from this world. The temple was maintained by the Pandya Kings.

2. Varkala Beach & Cliff

Varkala Beach is famous for its rocky cliffs, pristine sands, blue waters, and mineral springs. One of the ideal things to do in Varkala is definitely enjoy the serenity of the beaches here. The cliff-accommodating stretches of shops, restaurants, resorts, and beach houses provide everything a tourist is looking for. The view of sunrise and sunset from Varkala Beach is an exotic treat to watch. The beach, popularly known as Papanasam Beach since it was used by Hindus to scatter cremated ashes of their relatives, has now emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala.

Varkala is a quiet and isolated sandy expanse where you can have a relaxing beach holiday without the crowds and bustle of some of the busier beaches in Kerala, like Kovalam. The mineral springs near Varkala Beach are considered to have medicinal properties, and many people come here to drink and bathe in the spring. The landscape in Varkala is unique, with a high rocky cliff ending abruptly and a stretch of clear sand extending down to the sea. The contrast between the cliffs, sand, and sea makes Varkala Beach striking, and it is one of the best places to visit in Varkala. Water sports are the best things to do in Varkala, near the beach.

3. Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt, the head office of Sree Narayana Dharma Sangam, is situated at a distance of 6 miles from Varkala and is also the resting place of the very popular community reformer and thinker, Sree Narayana Guru. The Sivagiri Mutt was designed in 1904 on top of the Sivagiri mountain by Sree Narayana Guru, who is famous for the slogan "One caste, One religious belief, One God.”. The Mutt is situated above the Sivagiri mountains near Varkala. Guru’s last relaxing position, or ‘Samadhi’ is also situated here. A large number of pilgrims come to Sivagiri annually during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage.

The Guru Deva jayanthi, the marriage of the expert, and the Samathi day are recognized in August and September, respectively. Vibrant processions, community conferences, community reveals, team feasts, team marriages, and traditions indicate the festivities. Historic images of Guru and his valuables are kept in the Sivagiri Mutt. Individuals that belong to all castes and faiths are permitted to check out Sivagiri Mutt (Madom). A trip to the mutt guarantees calm and the much-wanted ‘peace of mind’ which makes it one of the best places to visit in Varkala.

4. Kappil Lake

Kappil Lake is popular for its serene atmosphere and the coconut plantations. The lake is situated 4 kilometers away from Varkala town. The backwater and its view from the bridge above the lake are indeed a treat to the eyes. Kappil Lake is an excellent getaway from the daily hassle.

5. Anjengo(Anchengo) Fort & Light House

Anjengo, or Anjuthengo, originally meant a bunch of five coconut trees in Malayalam. The fort here is served by the one-time bastions of the British East India Company, second only to Bombay. Anjengo was raised as a signal station (the Light House) in 1695 for ships and cruises from England. The fort was then one of the major depots for the coir and pepper trade for the British East India Company. Anjengo Fort is situated very close to Varkala town (10–12 km away) and can be easily accessible by an auto ride. Anjengo Fort is a National Heritage Monument tagged with foreign connections (Dutch and Portuguese); the fort shelters quite an old cemetary and burials inside.

Visiting the lighthouse is one of the most fun and exciting things to do in Varkala. A walk around the fort is the best way to experience the place and have a look at the pillars and high-rise ceilings that have a history inscribed on them. A walk through the backwater stretch brings more memories to your mind of the historic battlefield between the colonial powers like the Dutch, French, and British in Travancore.The bird's-eye view of the surrounding vistas, the Arabian Sea, and the coastline is breathtaking and makes it among the most ideal things to do in Varkala.

6. Varkala Tunnel

Varkala Tunnel is a popular tourist highlight for its magnificent construction, which was done by digging Varkala Hill in 1880. It was a 924-foot (277-meter)-long tunnel built in 1867 by the then dewan of Travancore (Attingal Palace), T. Mahadeva Rao, and took around 15 years to complete at an expense of 1.7 million Indian rupees.

This tunnel opens to Varkala’s TS canal, which runs on the side of Sivagiri Mutt, and is a standing symbol of Kerala’s forgotten trade route to ferry people and goods between Trivandrum and Quilon (Kollam) and its commercial past. Some unorganized trips to the canal bring a strange feeling among the travelers. Etched out under a cliff, this century-old tunnel is about 41 kilometers (25.6 miles) from Trivandrum. A huge vent on the roof opens up this dark underground structure to fresh air and sunshine. One of the adventurous things to do in Varkala would be to explore these places.