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4.2 / 5 137 votes


Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best time: Throughout the year (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Trivandrum (Check Flights)


"The hidden treasure of Kerala"

Varkala Tourism

Popular for its natural fisheries and springs, and the samadhi of Kerala's saint Sree Narayana Guru, Varkala is a coastal town with pristine beaches, hills, lakes, forts and lighthouses - all of this together makes this town a little paradise located on the uniquely formed Cenozoic sedimentary cliffs in Kerala.

Varkala in the Trivandrum region of Kerala is a lesser known but a complete and ideal tourist destination. Experience the freshness in air, untouched beaches surrounded by hills, springs and fisheries. One must visit the Papanasam Beach, Varkala Beach which offers a number of activities including paragliding and parasailing, Kappil Lake and lighthouses in the area. Varkala has a lot of architecture too, to attract tourists such as the Janardhana Swamy Temple, Anjengo Fort, Vishnu temple and Sivagiri Mutt.

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  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.

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 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 loin cloth 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.

Nicknamed so for being an obscure wonder, though extremely close to Kerala's capital, Varkala is a beautiful coastal town in the state of Kerala. Apart from being the holy samadhi of popular spiritual leader, Shri Narayana Guru, this is an adventurer's heaven, blessed with adequate facilities for adventure based sports, whether air or water based. Besides, Varkala is also home to numerous pristine beaches, fisheries, forts as the list goes on. So if you crave for some adventure in Kerala, Varkala is the right place for you.

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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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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Varkala Reviews

10 months ago by Ayush Baheti

- If you're looking for beaches and are fed up with the crowds and prices atåÊKovalam, then its well worth checking out Varkala.

10 months ago by Saurabh Mittal

Great food! Go to not so good looking places they have great food Great crowd 31st Dec best day to be there Too much of legwork is required to roam around no transport it's all abt the beach and cliff

10 months ago by Brahmani Keni

Varkala is the perfect destination for tradition and culture experience at the same time it does not compromise on amazing beach fun. The Varkala beach and papanasam beach are auspicious and famous family hang out. The beach here is clean and quiet! One should not miss the fortunate and lucky Island (considered by civilians) i.e the Ponnumthuruthu (Golden) Island.

10 months ago by mvs sumeshkumar

This is not Lord Vishnu temple, this is Lord ayyappa temple ( Lord saastha temple)

Review for Vishnu Temple, Varkala

10 months ago by mvs sumeshkumar

There near also another temples , Lord Vishnu temple, eezhamvila sree bhadhrakaali temple, ammummakkaavu, etc etc

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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.

Hotels in Varkala

Top Hotels in Varkala

  • InDa hotel

    INR 1,530 /night onwards

  • Ashiyana Cliff and Beach Resort

    INR 800 /night onwards

  • Seawin beach resort

    INR 500 /night onwards

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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, especi... (Read More)

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