Set amid a beautiful setting about 10 km away from the calm and quiet hamlet of Varkala, Varkala Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand renowned for its solitude unlike other commercial beaches of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Also known as the Papanasam Beach meaning 'Destroyer of Sins', is unlike any other beach in the area with impeccable beauty. The water of Varkala Beach is regarded to own medicinal and curative properties. Visiting the beach is one of the top touristy things to do in Varkala.
Varkala is a beautiful coastal town in Thiruvananthapuram district. It is the only place in Kerala where the hills come close to the sea. The uniqueness of the place is the merging of cliffs with the Arabian Sea. One of the prime things to do in Varkala is experiencing the thrills of adventure sports. Varkala Beach is a popular beach where you can enjoy various water sports activities such as para-sailing and paragliding. Several water sports operators are to be found along the other beaches as well, and travellers can easily do a lot of water activities with good fun.
Kappil Beach is a strip of land by the Kappil Lake. The beautiful beach is lined with coconut trees and offers a beautiful view of the backwaters. A bridge used to cross the lake also is a good location to get a stunning view of the backwater including the point where the backwater enters the splendid Arabian sea.
One of the prime things to do in Varkala is visiting the Varkala Cliff. Varkala CLIFF is a geologically important site in the region. The cliff is formed by laterite and overlooks the Varkala beach. It has been declared as a Geological monument by the Geological Survey of India but the stunning view of the golden beach and the playful waves that it offers is worth a visit for beach lovers and photographers.
Ponnumthuruthu, also known as Golden Island is located 20 km from Varkala. It is popular for its 100 year old Shiva Parvathi temple situated amidst thick coconut groves stretched over the sandy beaches. Boats from Nedunganda can be taken through a 30 minute backwater ride to Ponnumthuruthu which offers a perfect getaway from the bustle of city life. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Varkala.
Anjengo Fort, situated 12 km off Varkala at Anjengo, is believed to have been built in 17th century. Presently the fort is protected by the National Heritage monuments. The cemetery in the fort shelters the deceased occupants of the fort. The popular Muthalapuzhi Lake is situated very close to the Fort. Autos or cabs can be taken to reach the fort. If you are a history buff, you should definitely include visiting here in your top things to do in Varkala.
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Kappil Lake is a mesmerising estuary famous for being a tranquil picnic spot surrounded by dense coconut trees. It further becomes a part of the Arabian sea and offers a breath-taking view that can be witnessed clearly from the bridge over the lake. The lake is also famous for pedal boating. The boats can be hired from the boat club located near the water body. People also come here with baskets of food and sheet to have a peaceful picnic by the waters. This is one of the top touristy things to do in Varkala.
InDa Cafe is one of the top places to chill and have amazing food, in Varkala. The USP of the cafe is to produce food which is not just tempting to the tongue but also the eyes. The chef's combine the Indian flavours with the Western style of cooking to create visually gorgeous, mouth watering food. The most recommended dish to try at the place is the Buddha Bowl.
Varkala Tunnel is an old tunnel built in 1867 by Sir T. Madhava Rao who was also the Dewan of Travancore during that time. This took about 14 years to build the tunnel that runs a little over 900 feet and allowed traders to halt before proceeding with their journey towards Thiruvananthapuram. This historic inland waterway is a great example of the Colonial era architecture in the region. Riding down the tunnel is one of the most popular things to do in Varkala.
Varkala Lighthouse was built in 1684 by the British to assist the navigation of ships coming from Britain. It stands 130 feet tall on the Varkala Beach and attracts tourists for a mesmeric bird's eye view it provides of the Arabian sea and the backwaters. It, therefore, is a perfect attraction for photographers, beach lovers and picnickers. Visiting here is among the topmost things to do in Varkala.
One of the most unique things to do in Varkala is visiting the Varkala Aquarium. Varkala Aquarium has a decent collection of fishes in a number of large sized that can be viewed from a walkway that spirals upwards. One can find a number of species including Karimeen, Pirahnas, Eels etc. The aquarium also has a 3D theatre where information about more species of fishes is given using the 3D technology. The aquarium is a perfect attraction to see over a day-long picnic.
Untouched and unspoilt by tourist activities, the Edava beaches are the virgin stretches circling a blue lagoon where sea and backwaters run parallel divided by a more-than-one km of straight road. There is also an estuary that connects the sea with the backwaters here. Be sure to include visiting here in your bucket list of top things to do in Varkala.
Asparagus is a store in Varkala where one can find ecological handicrafts and textiles that are dyed with natural dyes. Tourists can purchase artefacts and fabrics that are unique to the region. The friendly salesmen ensure the customers get the best products they have. They also have an in-house tailor who can sew garments according to specific requirements from the fabrics purchased. If you are a shopaholic, you should definitely include visiting here in your list of things to do in Varkala.
Located in Varkala, Janardhanaswamy Temple is 25 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the Arattu festival celebrated here every year is attended by thousands of devotees. The Janardhana Temple was built during this period and many Hindus still visit the place till day, for this very reason. The Varkala sands have become an ideal spot for confluence of various cultures. Varkala also houses a leading pilgrim centre in Kerala.
Darjeeling Cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Varkala, offering amazing food with an amazing view of the seaside. With a simple yet elegant decor, the place stands out from the rest. The meals are served in authentic South Indian style and have similar flavours. You should definitely check out this place if you are in town.
Lying 1 km off Thiruvamdabi road, this black sand beach adjacent to the North cliff is an ideal picnic spot amidst lush coconut groves to relax and unwind. Boating of immense natural beauty merged with indigo blue waters, the beach is almost always flooded with tourists. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Varkala.
Located at Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala is the one of the popular ashrams of Shri Narayana Guru, Sivagiri Mutt. This ashram celebrates Guru Deva Jayanti (in August) and the Guru Deva Samadhi (in September) every year. The Sivagiri Mutt is also the headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham, a religious organization established by the Guru to propagate his concept of 'One Caste, One Religion, One God'.
Kaduvayil Juma Masjid is dedicated to a Muslim Saint, Saint Kaduvayil Thangal who is believed to have magical powers. It is one of the important Sunni Pilgrimage Centres in the region but its beautiful architecture also attracts tourists. The well maintained structure possesses a divine vibe that can put a troubled soul at peace in an instant.
Located on the banks of the backwaters of Varkala, Saint Sebastians Pilgrim Church Moongodu is an important pilgrim centre for the Christians. It was built by the Portuguese Missionaries and is famous for Feast procession of Saint Sebastian which is held every year in the month of February when the beautiful church is transformed into a colourful and bustling attraction especially for the followers.
Vishnu Temple is an ancient temple dating back to around 2000 years. It is located very close to the Varkala Beach in Thiruvananthapuram. The temple dedicated to Janardan Swami who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The traditional Kerala Temple architecture with a dome made of copper sheets, beautifully carved Navagrahas on the wood and the copper plated roof is a treat to the eyes. The temple is often associated with a legend of Lord Brahma who had cursed his Prajapathis, and Narada, who had helped them absolve their sins.
Chilakoor Beach is located at a distance of about 15 kms from the town of Varkala in Kerala. Lined with gorgeous casuarina groves, the drive to the beach takes you through traditional coastal villages which lets you have a glimpse of the rural Kerala life. The beach is also popular for its serene environment and beautiful sunset views.