Here is another wonderful vacation spot for you. The only place in Kerala with steep rock faces along the Arabian Sea !! A perfect destination for Ayurvedic facilities too !!
Varkala is a small but famous coastal town situated approximately 50 km. from Thiruvananthapuram. It is a popular holiday spot among tourists because of water spouts and spas. The water spouts and sandy beach of Varkala give a pleasant and colourful feeling during the sunset. Varkala is blessed with natural beauty and peaceful environment. Secondly, this is a renowned holy place and is known for temple festivals. It is also rich in context of medical facilities.
Places To Visit
Purify your soul... Get redeemed of your sins !!
Varkala beach is famous for its unique rocky cliffs. The beach is popularly known as Papanasam Beach which has some mythological aspects. In Sanskrit, “Paap” means Sins, and “Nasam” symbolizes Redemption. This beach and the nearby mineral springs whose waters have some medicinal properties heals & cures many disorders of humans. People come here to drink and bathe in the water of the mineral springs. Hindu families also drain the mortal remains of their relatives in this holy sea.
This beach has a temple called Janardanaswamy Temple, which is an important Hindu pilgrimage. This temple has a shrine of Lord Vishnu that is believed to be more than 3500 years old. Ideally, Papanasam/Varkala beach is not a long beach of Kerala as Kovalam and others, but it is still preferred over the others because it is less crowded and less commercialized. This sandy beach is surrounded by coconut palms and high red cliffs.
Varkala beach offers excellent Ayurvedic, Yoga & Meditation facilities. You can find several resorts and treatment centres along the beach whose treatment courses are helpful in the healing of almost all kinds of physical, psychological or spiritual disorders.Beach activities at Varkala include swimming, volleyball, scuba diving, wind surfing, etc. You can also go for a boat cruise to nearby places to explore the exotic flora & fauna and natural beauty of paddy fields. Many tourists approach this calm beach just for strolling along the beach side and soaking the sun. Papanasam or Varkala beach is a tropical heaven and a perfect spot for relaxing.
Varkala is a renowned tourist place for its 3500-year old Janardanaswamy Temple. This is the ancient shrine of Lord Vishnu and is located at Papanasam beach.. Non-Hindus do not have the permission to enter the inner sacred or private place, but they can walk in the premises. The temple witnesses all the holy activities of the town including traditional festivals with cultural processions and colourful dance performances. The Janardanaswamy temple is located just 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 37 km from Kollam. The temple is also famous as an Ayurveda treatment centre.
Papanasam Beach, on which this temple is located, is not a long beach of Kerala as Kovalam and others, but is still preferred over others as it is less crowded and less commercialized. The area is surrounded by coconut palms and high red cliffs. This long sandy beach has several mineral springs. This secluded beach is also linked with some Hindu myths. As the name symbolizes, Papanasam ('Paap' means Sin and 'Nasam' means Redemption) is famous for redemption from sins. Hindu families also drain the mortal remains of their relatives in this holy sea.
Sivagiri Mutt is another wonderful place to visit, just 3 km. from the Janardanaswamy Temple. This mutt was built by Sree Narayana Guru who was a social reformer. The city is also known for the hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru. This mutt is the head-quarter of Sree Narayan Dharma Saghom Trust. It is a tribute to Sree Narayan guru and it still works on the philosophy of guruji, i.e. “one god, one caste & one religion.”
Kappil Lake has been added in Varkala's backwater tourism recently. It is rapidly gaining popularity among tourists. Kappil lake is 6 km. from Varkala. Tourists enjoy boat cruises here and explore the beauty of the place through waterways. It provides a perfect view of Varkala's scenic beauty including exotic marine life and flora & fauna.
One a trip to Varkala, you should not miss visiting the great Varkala Tunnel or 'Varkala Turuthu’. The tunnel is 924 ft long and was constructed by T Mahadeva Rao of Travancore. It took 13 long years in all to complete (1867-1880) it. It was built for easier and faster transport of goods for business.
Coming to temple festivals, Arattu is an important one, which lasts for 10 days (March-April). The Arattu festival is celebrated with caparisoned elephants. During the festival, people enjoy traditional dance performances and other art forms. Ornamental silk umbrellas, peacock feathers etc. are carried during the dance performances.
Ayurveda, Yoga And Other Medical Facilities
Varkala is famous for world class Ayurveda and Yoga Centres. Most of these centres run several treatment or healing programmes varying from one week to one month. They have proper facilities for meditation classes. These centres help people in learning complete yoga padhdhiti. The treatment is based on methods of natural healing. Natural herbs, jadi-butis, herbal powders, medicated oils etc. are used in the healing processes. These centres are capable of providing divine mental relief. Besides, Varkala is a popular spot for Spas as well.
It has a proper facility of modern medicines as well, in several big and private hospitals and clinics. The government has also established a nature cure hospital at Papanasam cliff. The District Ayurvedic Hospital is also located at Varkala.
Flora And Fauna
Among the dense greens, you can find a few elephants, leopards, sambar and a large species of birds. Apart from this, you can observe fish and other common aquatic species while boat cruising or roaming along the waterways.
Vegetation is quite thick in Varkala. Coconut palms are, quite naturally, found near the beach. Besides, there are green paddy fields in the mountainous area.
Varkala's specialty lies in little trinkets which are found on the shops located along the beach. These jewellery items are made of local pearls, shells etc. Most of the markets are situated at Varkala family beach. A small Tibet Refugee market is also there.
Climate And Best Time To Go
The months of September to February are considered pleasant with temperature varying from 22 degrees to 26 degrees. Temperature falls to 20 degrees during the monsoon. The best time to visit Varkala is between October to March.
How To Reach
Being near Thiruvananthapuram (50 km.), it is easily approachable by air. Besides, Varkala is the second major railway station after Thiruvananthapuram. It is linked with all the major cities of Kerala via national & state highways. You can also avail of KSRTC bus services from Thiruvananthapuram.