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4.3 /5 137 votes


Best Time: Throughout the year Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Trivandrum Check Flights

"The hidden treasure of Kerala"

Varkala Tourism

Varkala is a coastal town in the southern part of Kerala known for the unique 15m high 'Northern Cliff' adjacent to the Arabian Sea. It is popular for its hippie culture, shacks on the cliff serving great seafood and playing global music and the samadhi of Kerala's saint Sree Narayana Guru. Varkala is also known for Jardana Swami Temple, also known as Dakshin Kashi.

Varkala has some of the best pristine beaches, hills, lakes, forts, lighthouses, natural fisheries and springs - all of this together makes this town a little paradise. You will also find a lot of shops with signboards in Hebrew selling Yoga mats, oxidised silver jewellery and harem pants made of cotton. Ayurvedic spas, affordable resorts, hostels, clean beaches make it a must-visit city of Kerala.

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Dangers and Thing To Watch Out For!

  1. Carry a flashlight as power cuts are frequent and it becomes quite dark post-sunset on the beach
  2. Take care while walking on the cliff path at night, as it can get quite slippery and there is no fence in some parts
  3. There are a lot of insects on the beach - including mosquitoes, so it is a good idea to come prepared with mosquito repellent creams
  4. It is better to be conservatively dressed on the beach keeping in mind local sensibilities
  5. Wear a sarong over your bikini. Also stay away from drunken strangers, beggars and hawkers Varkala has dangerously strong currents, and even expert swimmers need to be cautious in the waters.

History of Varkala

Varkala was once known as Udaya Marthandapuram, after the 16th century Travancore king Udaya Marthanda Varma, who contributed immensely to the development of this little coastal town. Sometimes referred to as the Southern Varanasi, Varkala has some fascinating legends associated with its historical origins. According to the popular myth, King Pandyan built the famous 2000-year-old Janardhan Swami temple here as a redemption for his sins, as instructed by Lord Brahma. Another story tells the tale of a group of pilgrims who sought Lord Narada’s help in atoning their sins. The Lord flung his loincloth or valkalam, which landed on the seaside, thus giving the town its name. The pilgrims had to offer prayers here, giving rise to the tradition of Papanasam or redemption of sins by dipping in the holy waters of the sea.

Restaurants and Local Food in Varkala

The cuisine here is similar to the areas around it with a dash bit more dominance of seafood and a unique culture about it. Seafood is caught by local fishermen and displayed in front of many restaurants. You can select your own food right from the source, have it prepared in the tandoor and enjoy the sunset while you relish one of the freshest items the state might have to offer. Vegetarian food is also available at a lot of places. Bars are also spread across the town.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Varkala preferably by noon and take some rest. In the evening, you can go to the main market for a stroll, especially where you can buy precious curios and souvenirs, which you can take home for your families.  

Day 2: The 2nd day should be the ideal time for starting your trip through Varkala. You should begin ideally with Varkala beach, an astounding creation of nature, famous for its solitude, unlike the commercial beaches in Goa. Thereon, you can proceed to Sivagiri Mutt, another favourite tourist hotspot in Varkala.

Day 3: This day can be reserved for a visit to one of the famous temples of Varkala, i.e. Janardhanswamy Temple. Thereon, you can go towards the historical Anjengo Fort.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

A beautiful confluence of nature and spiritualism. An offbeat destination with pristine beaches, calm atmosphere and mesmerising views.

What's Not So Great?

Not easily accessible as it is not directly connected to an airport. Hostile in summers. People force selling.

For Whom?

Ideal for bold adventurers. Extremely suitable for people in the Southern part of India though it is visited by tourists from all over. Perfect for people looking for a laid back vacation near a beach.

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How To Reach Varkala

Varkala is well connected to the rest of India by rail and road. Regular rail and bus services ply to and fro the city of Varkala; buses being operated both by private and government owners, especially the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. There is no direct flight connectivity, however, to Varkala. Some 40 km away is the Thiruvananthapuram airport, which is the nearest airport that connects Varkala to the rest of India.

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Varkala Reviews

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Kovid Kapoor 5 months ago
The view from the cliff is absolutely amazing, and the walk all along the cliff is great as well. We spent a lot of doing just that - and taking breaks at multiple beaches along the way.
Indhumathy Ravichandran 7 months ago
Chennai-Trivandrum flight Trivandrum-Varkala Sivagiri (train)
Ayush Baheti 1 year ago
- If you're looking for beaches and are fed up with the crowds and prices atåÊKovalam, then its well worth checking out Varkala.
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