Varkala is a lovely place to relax, revive and rejuvenate. It has the most breathtaking sunsets, grab a beach towel and simply watch the sun melt into the sea!
Varkala’s main beach is called Papanasam Beach, which means destroyer of sins. It is known to wash ones sins away. It’s divided into two parts — North Cliff and South Cliff.
South Cliff is the less touristic, more authentic and definitely less crowded side of Varkala. The beach at the end of the road leading from Varkala beach temple is considered divine and cherished by Hindus, a place where many gather to perform the last rites following the death of relatives or loved ones. A truly authentic experience.
North Cliff is the most touristy part of the beach, located past the mineral spring. The pathway that runs along this stretch offers dazzling views on the beach. A wide variety of shops, restaurants, and accommodations are located all along the cliffside.
Further to the north, where the cliff ends past Papanasam Beach, is another small beach with black sand, called black beach. This quiet beach stretch is unique and will most certainly catch your attention.
Just further north of Black Beach, quaint and tranquil Odayam Beach is just starting to be discovered and developed, it is still possible to enjoy an entire beach to yourself in this magnificent hidden corner of paradise.
Even further North, approximately 7km away from Varkalas main beach is Kappil, a definite must-see, where turquoise blue arabian sea, colossal rocky barrier and sandy breeze meet the quaint greenness of Edava Narayana lake, separated by a road 1 km long. This is a truly unique spectacle, a path one must travel down!
All the wonderful beaches of Varkala are linked by a coastal pathway, which provides km after km of superb views, friendly fishermen and idyllic views.
Temples and landmarks
Varkala is essentially a temple town, and the main Papanasham Beach is a holy place where, as mentioned above, Hindus come to make offerings for passed loved ones, assisted by priests who set up shop beneath the Hindustan Hotel. The suttle water passage that runs through the town is known for its healing properties and it is also said to bring forgiveness into ones heart, washing away all past sins. There are many sacred and holy places to visit in the surroundings, the main ones are listed below.
Janardana Swami Temple
Janardhana Temple is the main event in Varkala. The cliff town is famous for this 2,000-year-old Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India. It’s closed to non-Hindus, but you may be invited into the temple grounds where there is a huge banyan tree and shrines to Ayyappan, Hanuman and other Hindu deities. A truly magical place, where serenity meets the pandemonium of the local Sunday morning crowds.
Ponnumthuruthu (Golden) Island
The Shiva-Parvati Hindu temple, also known as the Golden Temple, is located in the middle of a palm grove, a place of absolute tranquility, about 10km from Varkala beach. The serenity found on the journey to this landmark is a rarity in this country of a billion men! The temple is also an ayurvedic treatment center. Absolute bliss!
Siva giri Mutt
The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala state. Around 3 km from the town of Varkala, spread in around 200 acres of holy land, Sivagiri Mutt is the final resting place of the most distinguished leader, saint and social reformer of Kerala, Sree Narayana Guru. Sivagiri is a picturesque pilgrimage centre where it is known the leader and guru found enlightened and reached salvation. The Samadhi, final resting place, of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days. It is a graceful and holy environment, where one will find calmness and peace of mind. A must-see!
Anjengo Fort is a historical foundation lying on the astonishing seacoast. Named Anjengo or Anjuthengu, it means five coconut trees. A place of historic importance as well as beautiful natural setting, Anjengo is an ideal day trip escape for those who enjoy walking around and exploring.
Yoga, Varkala’s cardinal charm!
Many travelers travel to Varkala for a yogic retreat, combining yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, but almost all travellers end experiencing it in the end.Whether you sign up for the entire package or not, Varkala has many options for all types of travellers and yogis. Most hotels and resorts offer a wide variety of yoga classes suitable for all levels. From Yin, to traditional hatha, ashtanga and vinyasa, one will not be disappointed with all the options out there! Some venues like Hilltop ayurvedic beach resort offer multiple classes a day and various styles of yoga, catering to your specific wants and needs. You will most definitely find your inner peace and suttle blissfulness in this yogic beach wonderland!