Air: Nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 55 km away.
Rail: Varkala has its own railway station. You can board a train from Thiruvananthapuram to Kollam or Kochi and get down here. However you need to check if the particular train has a stop at Varkala.
Road: Varkala is nearer to Kollam (35 km). It is on the NH 47 to Kallambalam Junction via Pallipuram and Attingal as well as the State Road to Varkala. It takes 1 hr from Kollam, 2 hrs from Thiruvananthapuram and 4 hrs from Ernakulam.
Tourist information office: Govt. Guest House Ph: 2602227
This serenely beautiful destination along India’s western coast is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam (cloth made from the bark of a tree) into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption came to be known as the Papanasham Beach (Papanasham means redemption from sins). The calm and secluded beach is much-loved by tourists.
In And Around Varkala
Varkala: (45 km from Thiruvananthapuram, 1 ½ hrs) The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. The 2000-year-old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple where Hindu pilgrims flock to perform the final rites for the deceased and the Nature Cure Centre are the other main attractions here. A century-old tunnel is yet another landmark. The Varkala Kathakali Centre near the North Cliff organises Kathakali and Mohiniattom performances in the evenings. Visitors can watch the make-up process of the artistes and a performance backed by English commentary. Timings: 1700 - 2000 hrs. Ph: 0470 -2603612
Papanasham Beach: (10 mts from Varkala) A dip in the Papanasham sea is considered holy. A remarkable feature here is the long stretch of red laterite cliffs fringing the beach. The cliff-top is an ideal place to watch the spectacular sunset. A natural spring, said to have curative properties, originates from the cliff.
Janardhana Swamy Temple: (Open 0400 - 1200 hrs, 1700 - 2000 hrs) Believed to be two thousand years old, the current structure dates back to the 12th century. The deity of the temple is Vishnu and Hindu pilgrims come here to perform final rites for the deceased. Ph: 2607575
Sivagiri Mutt: (Open 0530 - 1200 hrs, 1630 - 1800 hrs) 200 acres of sanctified land, this is the final resting place of the most eminent leader, saint and social reformer of Kerala, Sree Narayana Guru. SNDP (Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam), the organization he founded for the upliftment of backward classes, is headquartered here. The Mahasamadhi of the revered guru is located on top of a hillock. Further down is the guru’s residence, where his humble belongings are kept on display. Ph: 0470-2602807, 2602455
Thiruvambady Beach: (1 km from Thiruvambady Road) Calm and serene, this solitary beach is adjacent to the North Cliff. Thiruvambady or the Black Sand Beach is an ideal place for those seeking peace and solitude and can be easily reached by climbing down the cliff or driving down a kilometre.
Kappil Beach and Backwaters: (53 km from the city and 8 km north of Varkala) A confluence of the sea, river and the backwater, this secluded, picturesque spot is worth visiting. The Priyadarshini Boat Club here offers boating facilities.
Anjengo Fort: (20 km south of Varkala) Originally built by the Portuguese as a depot to store merchandise, it was converted into a fort by the British. Sandwiched between the sea and the backwaters, the fort premises shelters ancient tombstones and a garden.
Ponnumthuruthu Island: (20 km from Varkala) A delightful getaway surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters, this uninhabited isle is accessible by boat from the makeshift jetty at the nearby Nedunganda Village. A 100-year-old Siva-Parvathi Temple, rebuilt a decade back, is situated here and the entire island is temple property.
Places to Stay
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|Taj Garden Retreat
|Thiruvambadi Beach Retreat
|Preeth Beach Resort
|Sea Pearl Chalets
|Varkala Marine Palace
|Nikhil Beach Resort
|Kerala Village Resort
|Akshaya Beach Resort
Varkala Cultural Centre: Kathakali performances are staged on most evenings during season. Timing: 1830 - 2000 hrs Ph: 2608793, Entrance fee: Rs.175 per head
Travels and tours:
Anil’s Tours and Travels, Near Helipad, Papanasam Ph: 3090361
Rentals: Car: Rs.1000 Bike: Rs.350 Scooter: Rs.250 Bicycle: Rs.50
Priyadarshini Boat Club Safari Boat (8 pax) Rs. 250 (20 min), Rs. 500 (40 min), Rs. 600 (1 hr) Row Boat (4 pax) Rs. 75 (30 min), Rs. 150 (1 hr) Ph: 0470-2662323
- Oottupura (veg) Ph: 2606994
- Mamma Champos Ph: 94479 04102 (Italian menu)
- Uthradam Restaurant Ph: 2600300