Perched on the clifftops overlooking the Arabian Sea, Varkala is a popular beach resort on the Kerala coast. It’s home to an ancient Hindu pilgrimage temple and beautiful beaches and is also a hub for Ayurvedic treatments and yoga.
Things to do in Varkala
Varkala clusters around picturesque Papanasam Beach, where it’s believed that swimming in the water washes away all sins. It’s a popular spot for sunbathing, parasailing and horseback riding, in addition to watching memorable sunsets from atop the red laterite cliffs.
If you want to explore the beaches further afield, follow the promenade that hugs the cliffs north to scenic Odayam Beach. The trail continues past the serene beaches and tranquil backwaters of Edava and on to Kappil and its famous Bhagavathy Temple.
Varkala’s 2,000-year-old Janardana Swami Temple attracts Hindus from across India who pay their respects to Vishnu and Hanuman. It features a historic bell that was retrieved from a Dutch shipwreck and paintings of Lord Hanuman in different poses. Many believe that praying at the temple will relieve you of a variety of ailments.
Varkala is also known as a hub for therapeutic treatments, with countless spas offering Ayurvedic massages and detox treatments. Yogis will find a range of schools offering drop-in classes, retreats and teacher training, while traditional Kathakali dance performances are held each evening at the Varkala Culture Centre.
Getting around Varkala
Varkala is just over one hour drive north of Trivandrum International Airport and there are regular trains to both Trivandrum and Cochin from Varkala Railway Station. Auto rickshaws are a convenient way to access Varkala’s beach resorts, while the town and coast are easily explored on foot.