With a long stretch of red cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea surrounded by coconut trees, shacks, and guesthouses, it’s no surprise that Varkala Beach also called the Papanasam beach is considered among the best Beaches in India. There is plenty to do in Varkala, whether you’re a foodie, adventure lover or just want to enjoy beautiful sunsets, Varkala has it all in plenty. Here, you can relax as this beach is way less crowded than most tourist beaches like Kovalam. If you’re looking for a party spot, this might not be the place for you as Varkala is a holy town, but if you want to unwind and destress, it might be just the place for you.
Varkala is a town 40 km i.e around an hour away from Trivandrum. It’s known for its ancient Janardanaswamy temple which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
How To Get To The Beach?
The town of Varkala is pretty well connected with many trains stopping at the station. The nearest airports are Thiruvananthapuram and Cochin. You can also avail of the bus services with regular buses coming in from nearby towns such as Trivandrum and Kollam After that, the beach is just 10 mins away from the main town. You can easily hire autorickshaws or cab services to get to the beach.
Best Time To Visit
You should plan your visit somewhere between the months of December and March as the weather is at its most pleasant at that time of the year. You’ll experience minimal humidity and pleasantly sunny weather with clear skies. Anytime before that, you’ll experience heavy downpours and anytime after, hot and humid weather. During the monsoon season, the entire Papanasam beach becomes submerged in the ocean water
Where To Stay?
The North Cliff is the most in-demand place with lots of hustle-bustle although the South Cliffside is cheaper. But, it would be a wiser choice to find accommodations near the North Cliff as the South Cliff is nearer to the side of Papanasam Beach known for its rituals. It is not the tourist part of the beach. Also, during the monsoons, the entire Papasam Beach is submerged underwater with heavy currents, proving to be very dangerous. You should definitely not stay in the main Varkala Town as it is far away from all the fun and action. Therefore, the North Cliff is your best bet.
Tourists can find all kinds of accommodations suiting every price range. You can find luxurious resorts, big family homes, and backpacking hostels too. You can also look for places to stay at Odayam beach which is only a 10 min walk from the North Cliff. It’s easy to find a place that suits your needs and price range. You can choose from resorts that offer swimming pool facilities, homestays with delicious homemade food, or budget hotels and backpacking hostels. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a low budget or a spending spree, you can find just the right place to spend your time in this heavenly place.
What To Do In Varkala?
As mentioned before, Varkala is a tourist paradise. There are many fun activities to be a part of and fascinating places to see and explore.
Places to visit in Varkala
Following are the various places to visit in and near Varkala:
The Varkala/Papanasam Beach
The cliffs adjacent to the Arabian sea on Varkala beach are a geographical wonder as they have been formed by sediments on an otherwise flat Kerala landscape. You will find many sprays and water jets on these cliffs which provide the perfect spots to sunbathe and relax. There are also a lot of shacks and little shops on the Varkala cliff.
Many pilgrims come here to take a dip in the water as it is believed that it will wash away their sins. The name “Papanasam” literally translates to the destroyer of sins.
The Janardhanaswamy Temple
The Janardhanaswamy temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The 2000 year old temple, also called as Varkala temple holds a festival during the months of March and April. This annual festival known as Arattu( the holy bath) is a 10 day affair which starts with ritualistic processions and ends with a display of the traditional Kathakali dance. To reach the temple, one has to climb a long flight of stairs. The temple might also interest ones who have a keen eye for fine architecture as it is one of the best examples of Kerala style architecture.
The Anjengo Lighthouse offers a beautiful view from the top of nearby scenery, the crashing waves of the ocean along with the thick lush cover of coconut trees. The lighthouse was built by Britishers almost 100 years ago and stands tall with almost 11 floors. The thought of climbing 200 stairs might seem daunting, but the view from the top is worth it. The lighthouse is located around 11 km from Varkala and you’ll have to buy a ticket to get inside.
Bekal Beach, also known as Kappil beach is the perfect place to chill and enjoy with the family. It is almost as famous as Varkala beach but is way less crowded. It is a paradise surrounded by coconut palms. Although it is inadvisable to go swimming in the waters of this beach as there are no lifeguards present, you can relax, watch the sunrise or sunset and the scenic view of the Arabian Sea.
The Kappil Pozhi lake is a peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful lake just around 5-6 km from Varkala. The waters of this lake go on to join the Arabian Sea. You can enjoy the reflection of the blue sky on the lake, coconut palms bending towards the water, and the beautiful aura of peace and tranquility. There are also boat rides available if you want to explore the waters. You can hire pedal boats and go boating with your family away from the cacophonous noises of the city.
The Black beach in Varkala is the quietest of all. It is a surfer’s paradise as there are a lot of small waves in the waters. Out of all the beaches in Varkala, Black Beach is the most serene and the best place to sunbathe and surf. It is a hidden gem with many small shops that sell various kinds of souvenirs that you can take home with you to remember your stay.
Things To Do In Varkala
There are various fun activities ranging from adventure to food that you can be a part of in Varkala. Below are the various things to do in Varkala:
The cliff of Varkala provides many spots for paragliding. If you want to soar like a bird in the blue sunny sky, paragliding over the beaches is a must. With the help of experienced pilots, you can soar from the top of the Varkala helipad and go where the winds take you. It will for sure be an experience that you won’t forget.
Feast On The Seafood
The serene atmosphere and the cool breeze will make your dining experience in the restaurants worth every penny you spend. Most restaurants offer a wide variety of seafood right from fish to crabs and lobsters. If you are a seafood lover, Varkala is a place right from your dreams. You can choose from an array of restaurants and dine in a place that best suits your budget and taste. You can also ask for fishermen to catch fresh fish for you which the cooks will then turn into a delicious dish.
Enjoy the Nightlife
If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil night environment with quaint little shops and beautifully decorated shacks, then you’ll enjoy the nightlife of Varkala. Keep in mind that you can’t consume alcohol in Varkala as it is a holy place but some restaurants still sell it illicitly. So, if the nightlife that you crave involves pubs, partying, and dancing on the latest tracks, then this might not be the best place for you.
As aforementioned, Varkala is considered one of the top beaches of India and you should definitely not miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful and picturesque location. Before making any plans you should know the best time to visit to make sure that your stay here won’t be ruined by unpleasant weather. You should also plan beforehand and make an itinerary of the places you want to visit here.
In Varkala, you’ll find scenic locations and economical accommodations along with a number of fun and historical places to visit. You can also satisfy your adventure needs by partaking in paragliding activities. You can also satisfy your hunger pangs by feasting on the delicious seafood the restaurants have to offer. Whether you crave long peaceful walks on the beaches along the Arabian sea or boat rides with your family, Varkala has got it all. So don’t think twice before finalizing this awe-inducing beauty of a town as your next travel destination.