Varkala Travel Guide
Designed and dedicated to all traveler`s type, Varkala City Guide has exclusive sections on how to reach, accommodations, excellent places to see, tempting excursions, sea-side-dining-choices and a detailed quick guide. Aforethought to meet requirements of traveller and explorers, the guide is a virtual trip to the Varkala -- the Sea Coast Settled destination. Just with all other facilities, Varkala Travel Guide is power-packed with on-spot hotel booking convenience. Revealed here is a wide range of budget hotel for you to handpick your choices.
Varkala Beach, a beatification of tranquillity and solitude, straddles unending against ruffling ocean, and is crowned with laterite red cliffs. Varkala, also known as the Dakshina Kashi, is a famous Hindu pilgrimage, where thousands of Hindus visit to wash their sins in the waters of Papanasham Beach and pay reverence to the Samadhi of Shri Narayan Guru, located on the cliff top. The beach-wet spirit of Varkala appeals pilgrims and ardent travellers, alike. Contrastingly, on one side where it is a venerated Hindu pilgrimage, on the other it is populated by hip hep hippies lazing on the sea-shore, showcasing the verisimilitude that Varkala is.
A handful of nature, a bag filled with handicrafts and mind smeared with quietude Varkala is an experience. Visit this season.
Driving Directions to Varkala
Varkala town is located in Trivandrum district, Kerala, South India. It is a place where hills are located close to the sea. The revelers here can go for the adventure activities like paragliding and other sporting activities. Further more if the travelers are traversing to Varkala by road then they can make a visit to Varkala beach, Janardhana Swami Temple, Sivagiri Mutt and Vishnu temple. The Trivandrum airport is the nearest airport to Varkala. It is just 45 kilometers away from Varkala and can easily be reached by taxi or bus. The Varkala Rail Head is the nearest rail head and most of the trains coming from Kochi or Trivandrum stop at Vrakala railway station. The Kerala state transport buses also provide regular services up to Varkala. The people who are travelling Varkala by their own vehicle can take NH 47 road route link to reach Varkala.
How to Reach Varkala
Varkala Beach, a long stretch of sand against the Arabian Sea, lies 54 km away from northwest of Thiruvananthpuram and 20 km south of Kollam beach in the state of Kerala. Known for its tempting beaches and serene aura, away from the plaudits and throngs of city, it is commended for its sanctities of pilgrimage and emerald water lure. Hit in thousands by tourists all from across the globe, the beach has been modified with proposed plans for toning the infrastructure and connectivity up to Varkala. The arterial connection, linking the Varkala to other parts of India, lies 10 km away at Kallamballam Junction which is connected with NH-47. There is yet another way for transportation, i.e. Boat Ferry. An important transit point along the National Waterway No 3, linking Colachal (Tamil Nadu) in the south with Kottapuram in Kerala, Varkala is coming out a big way, easing and facilitating the journey for its tourists.
Hit Varkala for a rendezvous with its seascape and composed air. Check here to choose your means of transportation.
Sun, sand and surf … go hand in hand at Varkala beach. Conjure this … a long stretch of powdery white sand, an array of ragged red cliff lining the sea shore, grove of green coconut palms silhouetting the azure sky and hues of emerald sea waves splashing against the rocky formation! A fancied destination of many … Varkala is ever-enticing stretch of tourist’s spots. Small boondock with counted population, Varkala`s allure lies solely on its elongated beach and the activities thereon. Varkala`s claim to fame lies in its tranquillity and seclusion which is oft-not-found at Kovalam. Hailed for its unparalleled beauty of backwaters, natural springs and fountains, the panorama of setting sun steals away the limelight. It is just at Varkala in entire Kerala where one can enjoy the sight of sun melting into the sea to the fullest.
Unchanging as Varkala`s beauty is, it is also far famed for its significance as a pilgrimage. There are many temples and sacred water bodies revered by Hindus here. Even years after it was recognised as potent tourist destination explorers are rewarded with the same favour till date. Get greeted with undiluted joy of visiting Varkala as we bring you the handpicked touring destinations of Varkala.
Soothing! Serene! Refreshing!!! Varkala beach is tucked against the vast sea stretch, powdered with talcum-like-sand and picturesque-coconut trees scaled along the beach expanse Read More...
A secluded stretch of crescent-shaped beach, mainly known for its mineral spring and silvery sand, Papanasham Beach has a rich cultural and historical background Read More...
Janardana Swamy Temple
Two millennia old, Janardana Swamy Temple, contrastingly, paints the surrounding in fervent religious hue. Located on steep perilous slope, Janardana Swamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu Read more..
The first sight of green, untreated, yet, manicured lawns with rare plantations species of plants in contrast of unending horizon of sea and sky, is a resplendent sight to behold Read More...
This sightseeing place is 18-12 km away from the fort; easily accessible through an auto ride. Nevertheless, the drive along the sea and coconut woodlet is the best part of reaching Anjengo Fort from Sivagiri Mutt Read more...
Varkala Tunnel or Varkala Turuthu’, as known locally, is a 942 m long stretch of inland waterway constructed during the British era. The most important remnant of British Raj in Varkala, the tunnel so obviously displays it 14-year-long construction. Used as a canal way to ferry goods from one to other place during pre-independence times, Varkala’s TS canal passes through this dilapidated structure. It is a must-see for everyone who visits Varkala.
Scientific School of Yoga and Ayurveda
There are a plenty of yoga and massage centres in Varkala that can be visited for regular massage. Two very prominent centres are ‘The Scientific School of Yoga & Massage’ and ‘Progress Yoga Centre’, where learning Yoga is considered a good option. Another recommended place is Dayana which has a shack on the beach and shop on the road.
Kaduvayil Thangal Dargah
Kaduvayil Thangal Dargah, on the National Highway, is a popular spot attracting people from all walks of life. A small Dargah (mausoleum) of a sufi or Muslim saint is housed here. As believed by the localites, this place is a sanctified piece of land that begets good fortune.
Lesser known but very beautiful Ponnumthurut Island can be reached by cruise boat. There is a Shiva-Parvati Temple in the close vicinity of the island.
Varkala Excursions & Getaways
Beaches near the beach, with crowd and hues of sand. Excursions near Varkala offer bounties of nature. The sea coast strip near Varkala gives it a tourist edge, as it lies in the neck of the other beaches. Near and around 70 km of Varkala, hoards of beaches, right from Varkala to Thiruvananthpuram toward the Southern tip, as well as Varkala to Alleppey toward beginning north, dot the excursion areas. Ample of water sports and activities can be enjoyed on these interesting spot; whereas Spa at Kovalam throws the greatest tourist lure. Catch some of the seaside bits near Varkala.
Distance: 6 km from Kappil Beach
The Kappil beach sprawls across 25 acres of land, and even beyond that. It is one of the hot weekend getaways, famous for confluence point of lake and sea, which is very much visible to in the water there. Kappil Beach is a picturesque destination, cocooned away some 6 km from Varkala, with other-worldly serenity and nature’s best. Aqua activities such as swimming and water sports can be enjoyed here. Sun-bathing makes up the paramount activity here. Further 6 km is located Bekal Fort that can be traversed by auto rickshaw. Kodi Cliff and Dolphins are an added attraction on the Kappil Beach. A quick and hot getaway, Kappil beach is an excellent visit. read more
Kollam (Quilon) Beach
Distance: 20 km from Varkala
Located on the banks of Asthamudi Lake, the beach at Kollam is highly recommended getaway from Varkala. Offering an array of full time beach activities, it is mostly known for its Cashew Industry. A port city and one time active harbour for Chinese ships and trade, it is home to Chinese fishing nets, huge Chinese Water Pots, blue and white porcelain and sampan-like boats even visible today. Read more...
Distance: 50 km from Varkala
Entertainment and beauty coalesced into one; Kovalam is an enrapturing treat to eyes. A popular beach embellished with the sobriquet-Paradise of South- it is famed for its coconut groves, studding the whole of beach expanse with its dense wood lets. Kovalam, a crescent shaped beach has three parts: Light House, Samudra and Hawah. Read more...
Thiruvananthpuram or Trivandrum
Distance: 46 km from Varkala
Thiruvananthapuram is a mouthful moniker given to Kerala’s quayside state capital, but thankfully everyone calls it by the name of Trivandrum. Trivandrum is the main entry point to Kerala is Trivandrum, or what is called Thiruvananthpuram. It is the abode of the sacred snake Ananda on which Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, reclines. Read More...
Poovar Islands (river of flowers)
Poovar is a tiny fisherman’s boondock tucked in quietude of Thiruvananthpuram. Embraced by enticing beach on one side and backwater on other, Poovar is a newly emerged tourist destination without any large crowd. Dominated by water routes, canals and estuaries, deltas and interspersing of 43 rivers into Arabian Sea, Poovar Islands has had the honour of being a high-flying trading centre during the British Raj. Backwater lagoon is a wonder striking gift to the place. Many people get a bagful of sand from there. It is just 15-min-ride to Poovar from Thiruvananthpuram.
Once set your foot in Thiruvanthapuram, Vizhinzam becomes mandatory for it is so difficult to sideline an international sea harbour. Acclaimed as a natural port, Vizhinzam is just 16 kms from the city of Trivandrum; 1 km approx from city bus stand. In the coming years Vizhinzam will have the prospect of being the richest port in the world. Fishing and boating are favourite sea side activities to indulge in. Swimmers must draw a line of caution as there are high current and sea is deep here.
Located on the border of Alleppey and Kollam district, Ochira is the best known for its Parambrahmam Temple which spreads spaciously on 36 acres of huge land. Apart from the rustic scenery, the temple is renowned for its belief of one god and one place. An unusual temple of its kind, Ochira Temple has no idol and priest in the temple confines. Structurally, the temple boasts of not-so-regular architecture and varies vastly from other temple site. Best time to visit the temple is during the Ochira Kali festival where one can get to see mock fights as well as physical skills of the participants.
Ponmudi Hill Station
A picture-pretty hill station in Thiruvananthpuram district of Kerala, Ponmudi is linked by narrow winding offering scenic view on all sides. Lying in the southern Cardamom Hills, it is the only hill station of note near Thiruvananthapuram. The Hill range is altogether more interesting; it offers not just a day’s excursion in the state, rather whole holiday out in the open. With mod cons available, the way has become easier. Ponmudi is not the easiest stretch to travel in but offers visitors an enjoyable experience altogether. Read more...
Veli Lagoon is located 8 km from Thiruvananthpuram district of Kerala. It is located at the conflux of Veli Lake and Arabian Sea and is flanked by two scenic hill hocks on each side. It is a pretty picnic place provided with the facilities of water sports, swimming, floating restaurants, amusement parks and boating (pedal boat).
Neyyar and Wildlife
Neyyar wildlife sanctuary lies on the fringes, around 22 km of Thiruvananthpuram. Neyyar Dam is a panoramic dam and just above it is located a wildlife Sanctuary covering a total of 128 km area. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Kerala, India, running parallel southeastern side of the Western Ghats. Enriched with tropical wet evergreens to grasslands, Neyyar Wildlife Park records of many species in fauna and flora. The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of Neyyar Reservoir located 32 km from the state capital of Thiruvananthpuram. Read more...
Distance: 16 km toward north of Thiruvananthpuram.
Aruvikkara Dam is located on the outskirts of Thiruvananthpuram, near Kollam city (23 km). A pictorial dam, Arruvikara Dam is hottest hunt of tourists in Arruvikara near Thiruvananthpuram. The scenic locale is sanctified by Durga Devi Temple which rests in close proximity of the dam.
Varkala - Kiomoi Must Dos
The beach fever leave the city din and follow your heart to the sandy terrains in Varkala.
A castle on black sand, yes!!! Varkala has a bet for its black sand. Wet, Set and Go.
Ramble now here in the palm grove and now there on the sea shore. Walking down the sea shore is really rejuvenating, especially during the morning.
Yoga on beaches, beneath the azure sky cleanses every vein and all pores of the body. Get registered with Scientific School of Yoga for daily routine.
Search a reposing cove to sunbathe on the soft and lovely sands on the beach.
Visit Narayan Guru Samadhi...
Varkala Eat n Dine
Trying out local dishes is always a traveller’s uncharted itinerary, inescapably. Moreover, eating your heart out fits the bill when touring southern cities of India. And why not, you wake up to the world’s best breakfast!!! Varkala being a foodies’ paradise, serves excellent sea side (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) food such as s marlin, teamed or coconut-curried freshly caught shark, fresh fish thali plates or butterfish, as well as pasta, pizza and. Many and most of the restaurants in Varkala are located on North Cliff; few good ones can be spotted on the South Cliff too. As a speciality, all the restaurants are sea-facing and serve South Indian, though scarce, Italian, French and Continental. Gauge your pick from the list of restaurants and hotels to gorge on the most delicious food you ever had.
Budget Vegetarian Restaurants
JA Tourist Hotel: The restaurant is famous for rooftop location and serves excellent food, including Chinese and Italian.
Cafe Italiano: Masters Italian food: pizza, spaghetti and bread. Mama Chompos Pizzeria specializes in pizza, pasta and breads, alongside local gourmet.
Oottupura Vegetarian Restaurant is decent enough place for mouth-watering vegetarian food. It serves breakfast (puttu), dinner and lunch.
Anandan Tourist Home, just across the railway terminal has excellent variety of South Indian delicacy.
Shri Padman, situated next to temple tank, it has too good food and comparatively cheap food. Juice Shack: Pocket sized juice bar which has all kinds of juices.
Sea Rock Cafe (Non-Budget Class): Serves both, Kerala and Italian Food.
Kerala Coffee House offers scrumptious Italian Sea Food; Cocktails; Pizzas.
Seaview Beach Resort serves all kinds of decent Chinese, Kerala and Italian cuisine.
Trattoria: A Tibetian Restaurant which well-prepares western food.
Cape Comorin Restaurant (Taj Garden Retreat)
A fabulous restaurant, it is only the stylish restaurant in Varkala proffering excellent view from the top of the hotel which gives an added edge to the hotel. Highlights constitute of local Kerala dishes from drumstick theeyal to beef ullarthiyathu; ‘Bar’ – Snacks and Refreshments; ‘Sunken Bar’ – Cocktail bar with great views; ‘Sunset Lounge’ – Snacks and drinks bar by the sea-side.
Kiomoi TIP: Sample out the sea food in Varkala, taste and try the South Indian Cuisine, hunting for north Indian delicacies chances to be rare.
Kiomoi TIP: Pick up the raw seafood, displayed in front of every hotel, and get it prepared for you.
Kiomoi TIP: Cafe Restaurants near beach are opened till midnight; catch it during the pricking silence of night.
Shopping at Varkala
Shopping makes up a favourite time pass and a way to explore real Varkala. The main bazaar and markets are located on the beach side which appears more resilient in the evening with merrier crowd emerging from all sides. Colour filled stalls of all sizes, selling abundance of handicrafts, align the beach expanse. There are souvenir shops, old bookstalls and handloom products in all colours. Painted with hues of setting sun, the beach emerges even more beautiful with shops and eating joints on scaled all along. The beach and its shops provide a resplendent sight for tourists.
Speciality: Varkala is one place to fill your bags with local traditional handicraft, artefacts, beach crafts, trinkets and knick knackers. Don’t forget to pick up the conch shells, interiors and souvenirs. A speciality of the beach side shops are horn-carved decorative piece that can be found in the whole of Kerala. As the beach is quiet popular for coconut trees, coconut shell items can be found in abundance. Another item of purchase is utilities made of coir. Besides the regular items of purchase, one can shop from Tibetian shops, traditional attire and local jewellery. Artificial ornaments and jewelleries from Rajasthan and Kashmir sweep the jewellery stall.
Moving ahead toward the city market you can lay your hand on of aromatic spices, tea or coffee.
Tips for shopping at Varkala
- Varkala is not a place to look for brands.
- Bargaining is allowed but depends on the individual.
- Fetch and try your hand more at sea side restaurants and shops.
- It is always better to buy local goods and handicrafts.
- Language can be a problem to converse with the locals, so better is to give in sign language.
Varkala Important Phone numbers
|Nedumangad||0472- 2802396/ 2812235|
|Trivandrum Central||0471- 2323979/ 2323886|
|Trivandrum City||0471- 2461013/ 2463029|
|Vizhinjam||0471- 2480365/ 2481365|
Varkala Useful Facts
STD Code: 0470
Pin Code: 695141
Location: Located in the southern state of Kerala, Varkala is about 50 Km North of the state capital ‘Thiruvananthpuram’.
Famous for: Beaches, Resorts, Spa, and Religious Spots.
Languages Spoken: Hindi, English and Malayalam
Best Visiting Time: September to May
- UCO Bank Address:- Maithanam,Temple Rd, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram – 695141
- The State Bank of Travancore will exchange travelers` cheques, but will not exchange cash. The Federal Bank changes money. There is an exchange counter at the Taj Garden Retreat. A good palce to change money is UAE Money Exchange (607378), next to the railway station, Hours Mon-Sat 10am-5:30pm
- State Bank of India:- Shams Complex, Railway Station Road, Varkala, Kerala
Ambulance: 91-471-2333101, 101
Police Phone Lines: 100
Connectivity: Easy cellular networks operating here are Airtel, BSNL CellOne, Hutch and Idea, Reliance and Tata Indicom (both CDMA).
Internet Services: Plenty of slow internet places along the cliff; major broadband services are provided by BSNL DataOne, Asianet Dataline and Siti Cable. Many of the private providers like Relaince, VSNL, Airtel and Satyam also are present in the city.
Nearest Railway Station: Varkala.
Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthpuram International airport, nearly 57 km away.
Varkala Tourist Offices
|District Tourism Promotion Council Kowdiar PO, Vellayambalam, Trivandrum||Tel: 0471-2315397, 2462471|
|Kerala Tourism Dev Corp Limited Mascot Square, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 033||Phone:91-471-2316736,2725213|
|Tourist Reception Centre, Thampanoor, Thiruvananthapuram-1||Phone:91-471-2330031|
|Tourist Reception Centre, Tamilnadu Tourism Complex, Wallajah Road Chennai - 600 002||Phone: 044-25369789|
Banks & ATM of Varkala
|South Indian bank||11/439,Maidanam, Varkala|
|State bank of Travancore||P.B.No1, Thavakkal complex, Varkala, Pin-695141|
|State Bank of India||Shams complex, Railway station road, Varkala|
Varkala Local Holidays
Given below is the list of public holidays in Kerala for the year 2009
|11-09-2009||Sree Krishna Jayanthi|
|21-09-2009||Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi|
- The calendar is provided for the purpose of information and doesn’t stand responsible in-case of any discrepancy. Please verify with other sources.
- Exact date depends upon the moon.
Varkala Holiday Checklist
Those beaches, hills, rivers, pilgrimages send tempting vibes aint they? While you have made up your mind on these holidays, set aside all your temptations and quickly take a fleeting glance at the things-you-do prior to your travel date. Here is the list.
Before leaving your house
- Empty your letter box
- Fix up security for your house or ask some one to look after
- Water your plants and ask some one to take care of it
- Ask your newspaper vendor and milkman to stop supply
- Clear out the fridge.
- Switch off the electric appliances
- Empty out kitchen, waste/dust-bin and kitchen area
- Lock doors and windows
- Recharge your mobile or carry coupons
- Carry traveller’s cheque or ATM cards
- Pay all due bills * Turn off gas/water/
- Call up the taxi driver/railway station/hotels and other important numbers to confirm and re-confirm
- Rail Tickets and travel documents should be checked twice
Packing your luggage
- Woollen/cotton clothing
- Extra towels
- Extra pair of socks
- Night wears
- Bath robes
- Jumper and track suits
- Battery Charger
- Mobile Charger
- Torch/Emergency Light
- Brochures or holiday book
- Sewing kit
- Important stationary(scissors, tape and glue)
- Film rolls and digital chargers
- Ear Plugs
- Address Book
- Shoulder bags/ Safety pins
- Important Telephone Addresses/Travel Consultant
- Few non perishable eatables
- Books / magazines to read
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Diving License
- Maps/ directions(when in car)
- Photocopies of documents
- Traveller’s Cheque
- Passport/Visas (For travelling abroad)
- ID Cards
- Small First Aid kit
- Sickness Pill
- Mosquito and insect repellent
- Vitamin and medications
- Pain Killers/Balm
- Personal hygiene items
- Anti-infection lotion