Varkala Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: October to February Read More

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"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. Located approximately 50 kilometers north of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital city of Kerala, Varkala offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, spirituality, and cultural charm. 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 Janardana Swami Temple, also known as Dakshin Kashi.

Varkala is renowned for its stunning cliffside views overlooking the Arabian Sea, creating a breathtaking backdrop for relaxation and exploration. The town's iconic cliff, known as the Varkala Cliff, is a geological wonder that attracts visitors from far and wide. Perched atop the cliffs are numerous cafes, shops, and guesthouses offering panoramic vistas of the sea, making it an ideal spot for leisurely strolls and sunset watching.

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.

One of the highlights of Varkala is its vibrant yoga and Ayurveda scene, drawing wellness enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike. The town is home to numerous yoga centers, retreats, and Ayurvedic spas, offering a range of holistic wellness experiences. Visitors can indulge in rejuvenating yoga sessions, meditation practices, and Ayurvedic treatments amidst the serene surroundings of Varkala's coastal landscape.

In addition to wellness activities, Varkala offers a variety of recreational pursuits for travelers to enjoy. Popular water activities include paragliding and swimming at Varkala Beach, where golden sands meet turquoise waters, creating a picturesque setting for beachgoers. Adventurous souls can also explore the nearby backwaters, take surfing lessons, or embark on boat rides along the tranquil waterways. 

For those interested in cultural exploration, Varkala boasts several notable attractions and places of interest. The Sivagiri Mutt, a pilgrimage center founded by the revered social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, offers insights into Kerala's socio-religious history and traditions. The ancient Janardanaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, stands as a testament to the town's rich spiritual heritage and architectural splendor.

Must Know Before You Travel to Varkala

  • Safety: Take care while walking on the cliff path at night, as it can get quite slippery and there is no fence in some parts.
  • Dress Code: It is better to be conservatively dressed on the beach keeping in mind local sensibilities. Wear a sarong over your bikini. Also stay away from drunken strangers, beggars and hawkers.
  • Rough Sea: Varkala has dangerously strong currents, and even expert swimmers need to be cautious in the waters.
  • Things to carry: Carry a flashlight as power cuts are frequent and it becomes quite dark post-sunset on the beach. There are a lot of insects on the beach - including mosquitoes, so it is a good idea to come prepared with mosquito repellent creams.
  • Beach Closure: Occasionally, Varkala Beach may be closed to visitors during high tide or rough sea conditions. Check local weather forecasts and beach conditions before planning your visit.

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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 for Varkala

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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FAQs on Varkala

What are the places near Varkala?

The top places near to Varkala are Kovalam which is 46 km from Varkala, Kollam which is located 21 km from Varkala, Alleppey which is located 85 km from Varkala, Poovar which is located 60 km from Varkala, Trivandrum which is located 51 km from Varkala

What are the things to do in Varkala?

The top things to do in Varkala are Water Sports in Varkala, Varkala Beach, Edava Beach, Thiruvambadi Beach, Anjengo Fort, Sivagiri Mutt. You can see all the places to visit in Varkala here

What are the top hotels in Varkala?

There are 232 in Varkala which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Varkala are Blue Waves Beach Residency, MakeMyDream, CEMARI RESORT, Thathamma homestay, Ganga Yamuna Retreat, The Veda Village. You can see all the hotels in Varkala here

How much does a package cost for Varkala?

The packages for Varkala start at INR 9000 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the best way 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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What is the 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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What is the best time to visit Varkala?

The mesmeric hamlet of Varkala, owing to its geographical location on the south-western coastline of India, mostly experiences moderate to high temperatures throughout the year. The seasonal changes are very subtle, but the mercury levels play a significant role in defining a good time to visit the region. So Winters (between October and February) is the best season for a visit to Varkala because the temperature is more relaxed and the sun is gentler compared to the summers. One can expect a decent level of humidity all through the year but winters, bring colder air and pleasant ambience that add to the fun of exploring the charming village. Summers are a complete no-no for tourists as the heat levels touch a sweltering 40°C every year during the peak season. Monsoons, on the other hand, can be a good time for budget travelling but the peak months must be avoided as the region is susceptible to extremely heavy rainfall putting a halt to tourism for months till winter begins.
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Who should visit Varkala?

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.

What is not so good about Varkala?

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

What is famous about Varkala?

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

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Popular Questions And Answers on Varkala

Q. I am planning to go to trip from coimbatore to varkala.


6 years ago
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Varkala Reviews

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Kovid Kapoor

4 years 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

5 years ago
Chennai-Trivandrum flight Trivandrum-Varkala Sivagiri (train)

Ayush Baheti

6 years 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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