Varkala is a suburban coastal town situated in the city of Trivandrum, Kerala. Also known as ‘the land of cliffs’, this town is a significant and unique geological feature along the coast of the Arabian sea. Based on Hindu mythology, the sea at Varkala is considered to wash away the sins of anyone who takes a dip in its holy waters. Unlike other coastal regions in Kerala, Varkala is relatively calm, quiet, and secluded. The main attractions here, are the pristine beaches and Hindu pilgrimage sites. The closest airport and railway station to Varkala are both situated in Trivandrum.
Major Attractions :
● Varkala Beach- Trek up to the cliffs of Varkala to admire a breathtaking view of the sea. The escarpment surrounding the balmy ocean is a remarkable sight in this beautiful coastal state. The mineral springs near the beach are believed to have medicinal properties.
● Janardana Swami Temple- This 2000 year old temple is an important Vaishnavite* shrine and it houses a bell that was donated by the captain of a Dutch vessel that sank near Varkala. Learn about the folklore by being part of the Arattu* festival, which is celebrated for 10 days between March and April.
● Sivagiri Temple- Visit the tomb of Sree Narayana Guru, a social reformer and philosopher, who spent his last days here. This is an important pilgrimage site In Kerala, where you can learn about the Guru’s famous ideologies.
● Kappil Lake- This lake is situated at a distance of 4 km from Varkala. A boat ride on the lake is a tranquil experience, as the river curves through coconut groves before meeting the sea.
When To Visit :
The best time to visit Varkala is during the winter season, which is between October and March. The temperature is pleasant during this time and you can enjoy various outdoor activities like paragliding and surfing. The monsoon season, which is between June and August, is also a good time to visit as the weather is cool and breezy.
Indian Terms Explained :
Vaishnavite- A major branch of Hinduism that focuses on the veneration of Lord Vishnu*.
Arattu- Arattu is the closing ceremony of the ten day long festival celebrated in honor of Lord Vishnu*.
Lord Vishnu- One of the three supreme deities in Hinduism.