Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach.
The Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’.
Built sometime in 12th century, the Janardana Temple is another important tourist attraction in Varkala. From the cliff top where most of the hotels and restaurants are located, the temple is a short walk away. The original temple, a Vishnu shrine, was destroyed by the tidal waves. Many years past, when a Pandyan king did penance to Lord Brahma, was instructed to rebuild the temple. Non-hindus are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum.
The headquarter of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust, founded by Sree Narayana Guru is located just 3kms away from the Janardana Temple.
No description of the tourist attractions in Varkala is complete without the mention of Varkala Tunnel. The 924ft tunnel took nearly 14years to complete in 19th century. The tunnel was used for ferrying several type of goods.
At the outskirts of Varkala town, the lake gives way to the scenic world of the Kerala backwaters.
Apart from the above, Anjeno Fort, the Lighthouse also feature among the tourist attractions in Varkala.
Air:Trivandrum International airport (55 km) is the nearest airport. Varkala Helipad at Varkala Cliff.
Rail:Varkala Sivagiri railway station is well-connected by regular trains from Thiruvananthapuram Central and major places in India.
Road:Varkala is at a distance of 11 km from National Highway 47. Private buses and KSRTC buses ply through NH 47 and Varkala.