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Varkala Tourism And Travel Guide
28.1° C / 82.5° F
October to February
2 to 3 Days
Trivandrum International Airport (55 kms)
Varkala-Sivagiri Railway Station (2 kms)
Varkala is an ancient suburban town that lies in Trivandrum district. This city facilitates the union of land and water in a phenomenal way. The beaches that stretch across the shores of Varkala are comparatively pristine and unblemished. Along with nature’s charm, Varkala also boasts of some of the most revered holy shrines in the whole of Kerala. The old-world Janardhana Swamy Temple is situated in this town. While hundreds of devotees throng the Papanasam Beach to visit the Bali Mandapam shrine during Karkitakam (July and August). These rich cultural roots add to the religious importance of Varkala.
Stunning beaches and landscapes to cherish help water-bound activities flourish in Varkala. Tourists can pick and choose from a variety of water sports as well as paragliding and wind sailing, owing to the tall cliffs that surround the area. These peaceful beaches are surrounded by a green necklace of coconut palms wherever you go. The idea of walking through paths like these itself is heavenly. If the waters of Varkala can amaze, so can the lands. A geological wonder, the lofty cliffs and pristine beaches ensure tourism in Varkala throughout the year. Let us look at this travel guide of Varkala and gain some more knowledge about the terrific tourist options available here.
How to Reach
Varkala provides secure commutation for visitors all-round the year, be it monsoon, summer, or winter. The city area is located about 11 km off NH47, the connecting national highway. This highway passes by the coastal region of Kerala. There are ample options to drive from the city of Trivandrum and make your way to Varkala. However, the fastest option is to first make it to Trivandrum International Airport by flight.
The Trivandrum International Airport is located about 55 km away from Varkala. It provides convenient accessibility to this temple town. Most of the prominent cities in India, such as Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Kochi have flights plying to this airport on a regular basis. Leading airlines such as Jet Airways, Indigo, Air India, Kuwait Airlines, and Spice Jet ply their trade in this region on a daily basis.
Varkala-Sivagiri Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Varkala. About 2 km apart from the town, it resides on the railway route between Kollam and Trivandrum. Most of the trains that ply to and from Trivandrum use this route. Trivandrum offers perfect accessibility to several prominent towns across Kerala. The prominence of this railway line makes it one of the busiest railways lines in the whole of Kerala.
Several buses travel to Varkala from Trivandrum, one of the eminent bus stations on this route. KSRTC buses run by the state government as well as private contract buses from companies such as KSBC Travels and Kallada Travels ply to Varkala from here. These buses provide excellent connectivity throughout Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. On the other hand, tourists can drive in their cars or hire a taxi to Varkala from Trivandrum. The ride lasts for about 45 min and provides breathtaking panoramas along the way.
The land of backwaters provides tourists with a serene mode of transportation through waterways too. Instead of going through the routine routes such as road or rail, you can get atop a cruise travelling to Kochi. Tourists commuting from other major cities such as Mumbai, Colombo, Goa, Male and Lakshadweep can get aboard a yacht or a cruise to travel to Varkala through splendid waterways. A cruise journey offers visitors with remarkable sceneries and will surely be an experience of a lifetime.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The tropical essence of Varkala allows tourists to visit the town throughout the year. The city receives precipitation throughout the year, but the climate remains pleasing for tourism. The months between October and February experience a welcome dip in temperatures with climate hovering around 25°C. This time of the year offers the best weather to explore the magnificent beauty of Varkala.
Summer (March to May):
The equatorial proximity of Varkala can result in summer season being pretty humid and taxing on visitors. Temperatures seem to touch about 40°C at times during this season. However, the presence of the ocean manages to still provide tourists with pleasing visits. Nothing better than taking a tan in the sun and lying relaxed on those serene beaches.
Monsoon (June to September):
Between June and September, monsoon season brings along relentless rainfall. However, the lush green surroundings that spring up offer a delightful trip to tourists. Adventurers would prefer this season, as the sceneries from atop hillocks and onboard their bikes would be nothing like they have seen before.
Winter (October to February):
With the temperature ranging between 22°C and 28°C during winter, the climate is appealing and entertaining for tourism prospects. Between December and February, Humidity levels drop a tad lower. This makes it convenient to take romantic strides along the shores of Varkala or enjoy relaxing spa treatment.
Things to Do
Holy Shrines and Festivals:
Varkala prominently showcases the diverse cultures that have resided in Kerala over the years. These Keralite traits can be observed in the religious shrines that are spread out across the region. Temples like Janardhana Swamy offer the faithful with a spiritual 2,000-year old shrine to pray at. Colorful and vibrant festivals are held at this temple, with “Vavu Bali” being performed at the beach during the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam. Sivagiri Mutt, raised by renowned social reformist, Sree Narayana Guru, also holds holistic importance for people of several faiths. The feast of the Nativity of Mother Mary is also celebrated with great aplomb at Christ the King Church.
Varkala is gaining popularity as a hot tourism destination mainly due to its dazzling beaches. The immaculate sands of Varkala offer views that are only seen in movies. You can either take a long walk along pathways confined by coconut trees or relax and soak in the atmosphere at shacks close to the beach. Visitors are sure to enjoy watersports such as wind sailing, parasailing, and surfing in these calm waters. Varkala’s colossal stretch of sedimentary cliffs also provide tourists with aerial activities such as paragliding. Imagine the prospect of dropping down from those towering cliffs into the cleansed beach sands below with only the Arabian Sea in sight ahead, one to treasure for sure.
Diverse Art Forms:
Varkala has nurtured ancient South Indian traditions over hundreds of centuries now. These varied practices are harnessed within cultural centers and spa treatment areas even today. Tourists can visit the Varkala Cultural Center and witness distinct art forms. They can be treated to some composite Kathakali dance moves or enthralled by local folk dances galore. These performances mirror the rhythmic instincts of a resilient community. Varkala also boasts of other art forms such as Koodiyattom and Kalaripayattu. The latter is a traditional fighting format that has garnered a lot of attention in Kerala over the centuries.
What to Eat
Owing to its coastal proximity, Varkala’s list of cuisines is blessed with abundant seafood. The several restaurants that dot the areas close to the beach sell seafood freshly snatched from the sea water by fishermen. Tourists can relish their seafood while sitting at a shack close to the beach. This provides an enticing option of watching the sun go down while feasting on some delicious food.
Sadhya is one of the better known dishes in the town. It includes an array of delicious veggies served on top of a banana leaf. These veggies are also accompanied by the usual boiled Kerala rice. Payasam is a delectable South Indian sweet dish that is served after food on a regular basis. I can assure you would never settle over just one serving of Payasam. The Nendranga brand of chips are prepared from Kerala bananas. These chips have gained popularity all around the world and become great take-aways for souvenirs as well as some TV snacking when you get back home.
The markets that fill the area surrounding the beach comprise some crafty handmade accessories and household material. These artisanal specimens are skillfully carved out of coconut husks. These shops turn radiant and bustle with night life after sunset.
Conventional ornaments and local clothing that the Tibetan people wear is put on display at these Tibetan stores. Amazing items that are Rajasthani or Kashmiri in nature can be found at these shops.
The cliffs of Varkala come alive once the sun sets into the abyss. The roads along the cliff turn into bustling street food reserves. The bars and restaurants offer several drinking and eating delicacies. The tourists would find this area perfect to chill after a long day in the sun and sand.