Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasham Beach is a beach in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, along with the Arabian Sea, part of the Indian Ocean. 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, lighthouses, altogether making it a subtle bit of paradise in Kerala.
Varkala beach is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. Counted as one of the top ten seasonal beaches in the world by discovery channel, this beach has a stunning beauty of landscapes, brown sand, and sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast are known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. It’s a perfect spot to relax with a laidback atmosphere. Popular for beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, this beach offers a striking sunset view. It can simply take your breath away with its long winding stretch of a cliff that expands over the Arabian Sea.
Varkala Beach is also called Papanasam beach as it is believed that taking bath here wash away all sins. It is the ideal tourist spot surrounded by the greenery, beautiful meadows, deep puzzling valleys, and dales. The enchanting hill station dotted with tea gardens will soon be one of India’s foremost eco-tourism projects. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’. Welcome to a land which would make you come back again and again.
Varkala beach offers many beach activities like sightseeing, sunbathing, windsurfing, parasailing, and soaking in the beauty of this calm beach resort. Varkala beach offers many beach activities like sightseeing, sunbathing, windsurfing, parasailing, and soaking in the beauty of this calm beach resort. Varkala has a lot of architecture too, to attract tourists such as the Janardhana Swamy Temple, Anjengo Fort, Vishnu temple and Sivagiri Mutt.
Janardhana Swami Temple:
This 2000-year old divine abode is one of the oldest temples in Kerala, situated just two kilometers away from Varkala railway station and a famous tourist spot. Its spectacular architecture attracts travelers from all over the world. It is so popular as it is the only shrine dedicated to Vishnu in the name of Janardhana in this part of the country, with the temples usually being dedicated to Krishna. There is an old banyan tree on the temple ground along with idols of Gods and Goddesses. Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the inner sanctum but can hang around the temple. Janardhana Swamy temple is also famous for the festival known as “Arattu” which falls in the month of March or April.
Sivagiri Mutt is the headquarters of one of Kerala’s most important guru Shri Narayana Dharma. Built on the top of Sivagiri Hill near Varkala, this ashram is only three kilometers away from Janardana Swami temple, well within walking distance. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days – 30th December to 1st January.
Anjengo (Anchuthengu Fort) Fort:
Anjengo Fort also known as Anchuthengu Fort and the lighthouse are certainly worth a visit. Apart from the nature-lovers and the devout, the locality of Varkala has something to offer even to those fascinated with local history. Apart from the nature-lovers and the devout, the locality of Varkala has something to offer even to those fascinated with local history. Anjengo Fort is a National Heritage monument tagged with foreign connection-Dutch and Portugese; the fort shelters quite an old cemetary and burials inside. The fort served an important purpose during the Anglo-Mysore war. With its walls and ramparts still holding against the mighty Time, one can experience the magnetic pull of Kerala’s not so ancient history while taking a stroll across the expanse of this fort.
Ponnumthuruthu, also known as Golden Island is located 20 km from Varkala. This island in the middle of a backwater lake is home to the Shiva-Parvati Hindu temple. According to legends, the Queens of Travancore Royal family used to hide their gold on the island to keep it safe, and hence the name. It’s also a major heritage center that has so many historical values. From the cliff, you can view the fresh water spring at the beach. Taking bath over here is very important as it is believed that it will clean away all your sins.
Best Time To Visit:
Winter is the best time to travel to Varkala, From September to April. As Varkala is located to the south of Kerala it experiences a hot and humid climate most of the year while winters are pleasant and comparatively cooler.
How To Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is the Thiruvananthapuram Airport (50 km), Which is well connected to all major city of the India.
By Rail: Varkala has its own railway station and is well connected with major cities in South India and New Delhi.
By Road: Buses are available from both Kochi and Trivandrum. KSRTC buses are frequent and the can be boarded from the respective main bus stands.
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