Coconuts and elephants, ancient temples and lush green fields, sandy beaches, and breathtaking hill stations, Kerala does really ‘have it all’. It’s not a wonder that it is nicknamed God’s own country. Varkala is a wonderful place to relax and rejuvenate. It’s well known for its dramatic sunsets. Settle into one of the beach shacks with a drink, and you’ll have an uninterrupted view of the sun as it slowly sinks down the horizon.
The mineral spring that flows from the cliff at the southern end of the beach is believed to have medicinal properties.
Undoubtedly, enjoying the Ayurvedic and yoga treatments from the famous Yoga and Ayurveda centers like Kshetra Boutique Retreat gives you unforgettable moments. You can easily lose yourself in activities like Ayurvedic treatments.
Meditation and art/creative workshops are also offered from time to time. Shop ’til you drop at the endless rows of shacks lining the North Cliff, stocking everything from jewelry to handicrafts. Alternatively, get surfing lessons at Soul and Surf. They offer accommodations as well.
Around Varkala, it’s possible to take a canoe trip along the backwaters or walk 1.5 hours north to deserted Kappil beach along an oceanfront promenade.
Varkala’s main beach is called Papanasam Beach, which means the destroyer of sins. It’s divided into two parts — North Cliff and South Cliff.
South Cliff, The beach at the end of the road leading from Janardhana Swamy Temple is considered sacred to Hindus. It’s where they come to perform the last rites after close relatives have died.
North Cliff is the most touristy part of the beach, located past the mineral spring. The pathway that runs along this stretch is where most of the shops, restaurants, and accommodations are situated.
Further to the north, where the cliff ends past Papanasam Beach, is another small beach with black sand (affectionately called the Black Beach).
Just further north of Black Beach, quiet Odayam Beach is just starting to be discovered and developed. Head there if you want peace and quiet away from the action. From there you can walk further north up a coastal path to Edava Beach.
Varkala beach offers many beach activities like sightseeing, sunbathing, windsurfing, parasailing, and soaking. Adventure lovers can surf. The best time for surfing is from September to March. Snorkeling is also an exciting prospect.
Places to Visit in and around Varkala Beach
Janardhana Swami Temple
This famous temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu is 2000 years old temple and the festivals are celebrated here. It’s also one of the major centers for paying homage to the ancestors.
The Sivagiri Mutt
Located near Varkala, this ashram is dedicated to Sree Narayana Guru, who stood against inequity and was always in the favor of one religion, caste and one God for humanity.
Built by the regional rulers of Attingal Place, this tunnel enters to a canal which keeps going by the side of Sivagiri Mutt.
Anjengo Fort also known as Anchuthengu Fort and the lighthouse near Varkala is a wonderful place to visit. Anchuthengu means five coconut palms. The fort was established by the British East India Company in 1695. The lighthouse near the fort is around 130-feet tall and offers quite a view. If you are in Varkala, do check this place out!
An enchanting voyage enjoying the natural legacy of Varkala backwater which elongates straight to an estuary (at Kappil beach)which connects the lake with the Arabian sea.
The nearest hill station and tea garden from Varkala on the mighty Western Ghats. The Western Ghats houses to many endangered species which is also epic center and a perfect example of a bio-diversity sensitive area – recognized by the UN.
This beautiful island is located 27 km from Kollam and is named after Colonel Munroe, the British Resident of erstwhile Travancore State. Colonel Munroe was responsible for integrating several backwater regions by digging canals, using stone age tools and megaliths. This island shelter a quaint little village, which provides a true life of Kerela. One can experience a country craft cruise through Munroe Island and see the typical backwater island villages, shrouded in abundant flora.
Jatayu Adventure Centre
The world’s largest bird sculpture and within it a rock theme park for adventure enthusiasts is what today pays tribute to the mythical bird from the Indian epic Ramayana – Jatayu. Legend has it that Jatayu tried to save Sita (wife of Lord Rama) when Ravana, a demon king, was abducting her in his airborne chariot. Jatayu is said to have fought valiantly and fallen on these rocks, grievously injured.
Kottarakara Thampuran Museum
The man who founded the world-renowned art form called Kathakali – the mascot of Kerala tourism and the dedicated museum for this legend is situated at Kottarakara, which is half an hour drive from Varkala Beach. Hence site falls under the must-see list for all those who admire this a wonderful art form.
The Raja Ravi Varma
Another legend from the world of painting is born and bought up just 18 km west to Varkala beach. A portion of his palace is converted to a dedicated museum with his paintings and articles used by his highness’
Backwater cruising has become a must-do thing in the itinerary of Kerala travel. It is associated with Kerala tour packages provided by all travel agents and trip advisors from India. Varkala has a very vast backwater, connecting two southern districts of Kollam and Trivandrum. These waterways played a major role in the erstwhile Travancore history and fall in the national waterways connecting Trivandrum and Varkala.
Festivals – Local temples celebrate the annual ritual pooram festivals during the regular Varkala tourism season. Ornately decorated elephants are paraded in the procession taken out of the temple precincts. Kollam pooram, Janardhanaswamy temple, Paripally Gajamela is the major few.
Varkala cliff and beach are located a 10-minute drive away from Varkala town and railway station. Almost 20 Indian Railways trains stop at the station. If coming by train, take an auto-rickshaw from the station for about 100 rupees. Alternatively, there are airports at Trivandrum (an hour south of Varkala) and Kochi (around 4 hours north of Varkala).
Weather and Climate
Varkala’s climate is very tropical and humid. It receives rain from both the southwest and northeast monsoon, which produce intensely heavy downpours. The rain is at its worst from June to August and late October to December. Late December to March are the best months to visit, because the weather is dry and sunny every day, and the temperature hovers around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
The summer months of April and May become very humid and hot, with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).