Nestled along the picturesque coastline of the southern state of Kerala lies the charming town of Varkala. This little piece of paradise is known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches, majestic cliffs, and natural springs that are believed to have mystical healing properties. A true gem among Kerala's many treasures, Varkala is a popular destination for tourists seeking tranquility, relaxation, and a deep connection with nature.

At the heart of Varkala is its crown jewel, the stunning Papanasam Beach, with its long stretch of powdery white sand and turquoise waters. Towering cliffs rise dramatically above the sea, adding an awe-inspiring element to the already mesmerizing landscape. And amidst all this natural splendor, the sound of waves crashing against the shore creates a soothing melody that's sure to calm any weary soul.But Varkala is more than just a pretty face. It's a place that's deeply rooted in spirituality and wellness and is renowned for its yoga centers and retreats. Here, people from all over the world come to practice yoga and meditation in a serene and peaceful environment. The town is also home to many ancient temples and shrines, including the revered Sivagiri Mutt, which pays homage to the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

The history of Varkala dates to 2000 years ago when Janardhan Swamy Temple was constructed. The water flowing from the natural spring is considered to have healing properties while the crashing waves of the sea offer ample opportunities for swimming and surfing. The hanging cliff is just right for paragliding too. With its stunning beaches, mystical springs, and rich cultural heritage, it's no wonder that this little town has captured the hearts of so many.

Places to Visit

  • Varkala Beach - This beach is located at the bottom of a cliff and is known for its golden sands, turquoise waters, and stunning views of the Arabian Sea. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, or take a leisurely walk along the shore. There are also many restaurants, cafes, and shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs along the beach.
  • Sivagiri Mutt - This ashram is dedicated to the teachings of the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, who preached the message of "one caste, one religion, and one God for all." The ashram is a peaceful place where visitors can learn more about the Guru’s teachings, meditate, or attend one of the many cultural events held throughout the year.
  • Janardhana Swamy Temple - This temple is one of the oldest in Kerala and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple architecture is a blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles, and the inner sanctum houses a beautiful idol of Lord Vishnu. Visitors can also explore the surrounding gardens, which are home to many exotic plants and trees.
  • Varkala Cliff - This cliff is a popular spot for tourists, offering breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding areas. Visitors can climb up to the top of the cliff to watch the sunrise or sunset or take a leisurely walk along the cliff-top path to enjoy the scenery.
  • Kappil Lake - This serene lake is situated around 7 km away from Varkala and is a great place for boating and sightseeing. Visitors can hire a boat and explore the lake, or take a stroll along the surrounding areas, which are home to many temples, shrines, and small shops.
  • Ponnumthuruthu Island - This beautiful island is located on the backwaters of Varkala and is home to a temple and a palace. Visitors can take a boat ride to the island and explore the lush greenery, ancient architecture, and serene surroundings.
  • Anjengo Fort - This historical fort was built by the British East India Company in the 17th century and is a popular spot for history buffs. The fort offers a glimpse into Kerala's colonial past and houses a museum displaying artifacts and relics from the British era.
  • Papasnanam Beach - This secluded beach is located around 3 km away from Varkala and is known for its clean water and peaceful surroundings. Visitors can enjoy a swim or sunbathe on the golden sands or take a leisurely walk along the shore to enjoy the scenery.
  • Varkala Tunnel - This unique tunnel was built during the British rule in India to transport goods from the coast to the interior areas.Visitors can explore the tunnel, which is carved out of rock, and marvel at the engineering ingenuity that went into its construction.
  • Odayam Beach - This serene beach is located around 5 km away from Varkala and is a great place to relax and unwind. Visitors can enjoy a swim, sunbathe on the soft sands, or take a stroll along the shore to enjoy the scenery. The beach is also home to many restaurants and cafes where visitors can sample local cuisine.


  • Relax on the Beaches: Varkala is known for its beautiful beaches, including Papanasam Beach, Black Beach, and Odayam Beach. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores, soak up the sun, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy the stunning views of the cliffs.
  • Explore the Cliffs: The cliffs in Varkala offer a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and the surrounding area. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the cliff-top path and enjoy the stunning views or go paragliding to get a bird's eye view of the area.
  • Experience Ayurvedic Massage: Kerala is famous for its Ayurvedic treatments and massages, and Varkala is no exception. Visitors can indulge in a relaxing Ayurvedic massage or try other Ayurvedic treatments for a rejuvenating experience.
  • Attend a Yoga Retreat: Varkala is known for its numerous yoga centers and retreats, which offer a peaceful and serene environment for yoga practitioners of all levels. Visitors can participate in yoga classes or attend a yoga retreat for a more immersive experience.
Adventure Sports in Varkala
  • Paragliding: Take to the skies and experience the thrill of paragliding over the beautiful coastline of Varkala. Professional paragliding operators offer tandem flights with experienced pilots, making it a safe and exciting adventure.
  • Surfing: Varkala's beaches are also great for surfing, with the best waves occurring between the months of September and March. Visitors can rent surfboards and take lessons from local surf schools to ride the waves like a pro.
  • Kayaking: Explore the backwaters and hidden coves of Varkala on a kayak tour. Paddle through the serene waters and soak in the natural beauty of the region.
  • Trekking: The cliffs of Varkala offer a challenging and rewarding trekking experience for adventure enthusiasts. Trek to the top of the cliffs to enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the surrounding landscape.
  • Scuba Diving: Discover the hidden treasures of the underwater world with a scuba diving excursion. Explore the coral reefs, colorful marine life, and shipwrecks off the coast of Varkala.
  • Snorkeling: Snorkeling is another great way to explore the marine life and coral reefs of Varkala's beaches. Visitors can rent snorkeling gear and explore the shallow waters for a fun and exciting adventure.
  • Cafe del Mar - Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea while sipping on coffee or tea at this cozy cliff-top cafe. Their menu includes a variety of breakfast options, sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas, along with refreshing beverages and decadent desserts.
  • Darjeeling Cafe - Transport yourself to Tibet with the authentic flavors and ambiance of Darjeeling Cafe. Indulge in the momos, thukpa, and other Tibetan dishes that are made with fresh ingredients and spices. Their menu also includes Indian and continental cuisine, along with a variety of beverages and sweets.
  • The Juice Shack - Quench your thirst and nourish your body with the healthy and delicious drinks and snacks at The Juice Shack. Their menu features a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, and shakes, as well as organic products and light meals.
  • Abba Restaurant - Immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings of Abba Restaurant, located on the cliff-top with panoramic views of the sea. Their menu includes a variety of seafood, tandoori dishes, and vegetarian options, along with a well-stocked bar serving cocktails, beer, and other beverages.
  • Coffee Temple - Satisfy your coffee cravings and sweet tooth at this charming cafe that serves delicious coffee and homemade cakes. Their menu also includes a variety of breakfast items, sandwiches, and snacks, along with refreshing beverages.
  • The Juice Shack - Located near Varkala Beach, The Juice Shack is a popular spot for healthy drinks and snacks. Their menu features fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, and shakes, as well as organic products and light meals.
  • Trattorias - Craving some Italian cuisine? Head to Trattorias for wood-fired pizzas, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and desserts that are authentic and delicious. Don't forget to try their selection of refreshing beverages.
Famous Food/Street Food
  • Fish Curry - Kerala is known for its fresh and delicious seafood, and Varkala is no exception. Fish Curry is a must-try dish, which is made with fresh fish and a variety of spices, served with steamed rice or appam.
  • Appam - Appam is a popular South Indian breakfast dish that is made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It is a fluffy, soft and crispy pancake that is served with stew or curry.
  • Puttu and Kadala Curry - Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake made with grated coconut, and served with Kadala Curry (chickpea curry), which is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala.
  • Kappa and Meen Curry - Kappa is a boiled tapioca dish that is a staple food in Kerala. It is usually served with spicy Meen Curry (fish curry).
  • Avial - Avial is a traditional Kerala dish made with mixed vegetables, coconut, and spices. It is a must-try dish for vegetarians.
  • Idiyappam and Egg Curry - Idiyappam is a rice flour noodle dish that is served with spicy egg curry. It is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala.
  • Prawn Roast - Prawn Roast is a spicy and delicious dish that is made with fresh prawns and a variety of spices. It is a must-try dish for seafood lovers.
  • Thalassery Biriyani - Thalassery Biriyani is a popular dish in Kerala and is known for its unique blend of spices and flavors. It is a must-try dish for biriyani lovers.
  • Payasam - Payasam is a traditional dessert in Kerala, and is made with milk, sugar, and rice or vermicelli. It is a must-try dish for those with a sweet tooth.
  • Banana Chips - Kerala is famous for its crispy and delicious banana chips. You can find them in many shops in Varkala.
  • Masala Dosa - Masala Dosa is a famous South Indian dish that is available in almost all restaurants in Varkala. It is a thin, crispy crepe-like pancake filled with spiced potato and served with chutney and sambar.
  • Samosa - Samosas are a popular Indian snack that are made with a crispy pastry shell filled with spiced potatoes, peas, or meat. You can find them at many street food stalls and restaurants in Varkala.
Traditional Markets
  • Varkala Beach Market - This is a popular market located near Varkala Beach. You can find a variety of items here, including beachwear, handicrafts, souvenirs, and local products.
  • Sivagiri Mutt Market - The Sivagiri Mutt is a famous pilgrimage center in Varkala, and the market here offers a range of local products, including traditional clothes, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
  • KaduvayilJuma Masjid Market - This market is located near the KaduvayilJuma Masjid, and offers a range of local products and handicrafts, including traditional clothes, jewelry, and spices.
  • Varkala Friday Market - This is a weekly market that takes place every Friday near the Varkala Railway Station. You can find a range of local products and handicrafts, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and clothes.
  • Janardana Swamy Temple Market - The Janardana Swamy Temple is a popular tourist destination in Varkala, and the market here offers a range of local products and handicrafts, including traditional clothes, souvenirs, and jewelry.
  • Edava Market - The Edava Market is a local market located near Edava Beach, and offers a range of local products and handicrafts, including spices, vegetables, and fruits.
Museums and Art Galleries
  • Sivagiri Mutt - This is a spiritual and cultural center in Varkala, dedicated to the teachings of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru. The mutt houses a museum that showcases the life and teachings of Sree Narayana Guru, as well as various artifacts and exhibits related to the history and culture of Kerala.
  • Varkala Tunnel - This is an ancient tunnel located near the Varkala Beach, which is believed to have been built by the British during the colonial era. The tunnel houses an art gallery that showcases the works of local artists and hosts various cultural events and exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Kashi Art Gallery - While not located in Varkala, the Kashi Art Gallery is a popular destination for art lovers in nearby Fort Kochi. The gallery showcases contemporary Indian art, including paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Festivals and Events
  • Varkala Beach Festival: This is a 10-day festival held in January every year. It features cultural programs, musical performances, food stalls, and adventure activities like paragliding, beach volleyball, and beach football.
  • Sivagiri Pilgrimage: This is a major pilgrimage festival held in December every year at the Sivagiri Mutt, which is located on a hilltop near Varkala. The festival is dedicated to the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, and features cultural programs, discourses, and processions.
  • Onam: Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala, and it is celebrated in August or September every year. Varkala also celebrates Onam with great enthusiasm, and the festival features traditional dances like Thiruvathirakali, Onappattu, and Pulikali.
  • Navratri: Navratri is a nine-day festival celebrated in October every year. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga, and Varkala celebrates the festival with traditional dances like Garba and Dandiya.
  • KarkidakaVavu Bali: This is a unique ritual performed by Hindus in Kerala during the month of Karkidakam (July-August) to pay homage to their ancestors. Varkala is also known for this ritual, which involves offering prayers and food to the departed souls.
Famous Shops
  • The Art of India
  • Ladies Corner
  • Buy The Way
  • Shalimar Weaves
  • Royal Art Gallery
  • Jewels Sky
  • Kollam Store
  • Titanic Shopping Center
  • Souvenirs By Sarwaa
  • Krishna Stores
  • New Entekada Supermarket
  • The Gateway Hotel JanardhanapuramVarkala - This is a luxury hotel located near the Janardana Swamy Temple and offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea. The hotel features spacious rooms, a pool, a spa, and several dining options.
  • Deshadan Cliff and Beach Resort - This is a popular mid-range resort located near Varkala Beach, and offers comfortable rooms, a pool, a spa, and a restaurant.
  • Clafouti Beach Resort - This is a budget-friendly resort located near Varkala Beach and offers basic amenities such as clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a garden.
  • Akhil Beach Resort - This is another mid-range resort located near Varkala Beach, and offers spacious rooms, a pool, a restaurant, and a bar.
  • Puthooram Ayurvedic Beach Resort - This is a unique resort that offers Ayurvedic treatments and therapies and is located near the Papanasam Beach.
  • The Oceano - This is a luxurious beachfront resort located near Varkala Beach. The hotel offers elegant rooms and suites with balconies overlooking the Arabian Sea, a rooftop infinity pool, a spa, a fitness center, and several dining options including a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Best Time to Visit

The months from October to February are considered the best time to visit Varkala, as the weather is pleasant with mild temperatures and low humidity. The average temperature during this season ranges between 22°C to 32°C, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as beach visits, water sports, and sightseeing.

How to Reach
  • By Air: The nearest airport to Varkala is Trivandrum International Airport, which is approximately 45 km away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Varkala.
  • By Rail: Varkala has its own railway station called Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station. It is well-connected to major cities in India like Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, and Mumbai.
  • By Road: Varkala is well-connected to major cities in Kerala and other neighboring states via roads. You can take a bus, hire a taxi, or drive your own car to reach Varkala.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Varkala famous for?

Varkala is a coastal town located in Kerala and is famous for its serene beaches, cliffs, ancient temples, beach parties, and water sports activities.

What kind of vacation is Varkala good for?

Since it is a beach town, Varkala is ideal for a perfect beach vacation with many beaches and shacks which offer delicious local cuisine and visitors can also enjoy several water sports.

Is there nightlife in Varkala?

Varkala is not an ideal place if you want to enjoy some nightlife with clubs and music. Although there are some hotels which have in-house bars and serve alcohol till late at night.

What is the best time to visit Varkala?

Winter months from October to February are the best months to visit Varkala as the weather during this time is pleasant and visitors can enjoy adventure sports and activities to the fullest.

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