Varkala, an important religious place for the Hindus, is the only place in southern Kerala where one can find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea. Located at Pythal Mala hill station, 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the main beaches and tourist areas of Varkala are located at the cliff top, which is about 7 minutes walk from the Janardhana Temple.
Some of the famous tourist attractions in Varkala are the -
- Papanasam Beach: To watch the sunset along Kerala coast, you have to be on this beach.
- Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple: This 800-year old temple, dedicated to Ayyappan and Hanuman, atop the hill has brought a sobriquet for the region, Southern Kasi (Benares).
- Sivagiri Mutt: A religious site founded by Sree Narayana Guru, the renowned philosopher and social reformer of modern Kerala, it is also the headquarters of the religious organization Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham. The Sivagiri Pilgrimage is usually conducted between 30th December and 1st January every year.
- Varkala Tunnel: This 924ft tunnel took nearly 14 years to complete in the 19th century, and was used for ferrying several types of goods.
- Kappil Lake: Situated at the outskirts of Varkala town, the lake gives way to the pictorial world of the Kerala backwaters.
Best time to visit Varkala is between the months of September and May.
How to reach
To reach Varkala, the nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (57 km). The nearest railway station at Varkala town (3 km) directly connects Varkala to major towns in the state as well as neighboring states. By road, Varkala is 51 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, 37 km away from Kollam, and just 47 km from National Highway 47.
Some of the major hotels in Varkala, offering an impressive blend of tradition and modernity, are Taj Garden Retreat, Raja Park Beach Resort, Preeth Beach Resort, J.A Tourist Home, etc.