Places to Visit in Varkala
Varkala, a city in Kerala, located on the cliffs adjacent to the Arabian Sea, is known for its several Ayurveda treatment centers and spas. The city enjoys a favorable climate throughout the year and due to its religious importance, is often referred as the ‘Kashi of the South.’ Varkala’s beaches are less crowded and cleaner than the bustling ones at Kovalam and are thus a favorite spot for the people who like to relax in a serene environment.
Here’s the list of the best places to visit in Varkala.
The Sivagiri Mutt was constructed in 1904, atop the Sivagiri hill and marks the tomb of the sage Narayana Guru. The mutt was a hermitage open for the people who followed the teachings of Narayana Guru and also contains a school for the illiterates and untouchables. The temple’s beautiful stupa shaped architecture makes it a popular attraction for the tourists who visit Varkala.
Shree Janardhanaswamy Temple
Also known as the Varkala Temple, the temple is believed old around 2000 years ago and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple’s origin has been cited in the Vedas and has also been visited by Lord Balaram during the events preceding the Mahabharatha war. The deity Lord Vishnu is praised as Janardhanaswamy and is best visited during the annual temple festival between march-April.
Varkala Cultural Centre
Kathakali performances are organized at the Varkala cultural centre every evening during tourist season. The shows are held from 6.30 PM to 8 PM. You can watch the martial prowess of Kalaripayattu masters at the Sudarsana Kalari Sanghom situated at Mundayil. Kalaripayattu is an ancient Indian martial art practiced in several parts of Kerala. The Varkala cultural centre is a must-visit if you wish to have a sneak peek into the culture of Kerala.
Anjengo Fort and Lighthouse
Anjengo Fort also known as Anchuthengu Fort and the Lighthouse are certainly worth a visit. Anjengo is now known as Anchuthengu, which means five coconut palms. The British East India Company established the fort in 1695 after the Queen of Attingal gave permission. The fort served an important purpose during the Anglo-Mysore war. The lighthouse near the fort is around 130-feet tall and offers quite a view. If you are in Varkala, this place is certainly worth a visit!
The serene Kappil Lake lies a few kilometers from central Varkala. The picture perfect lake is the best place to view the backwaters of Kerala. The lake is surrounded by lush green scenery and the fact that it’s tucked away from the crowded city; it’s the perfect place to attain peace of mind. One can hire a boat to laze around on the lake waters.
Constructed by the British in the 19th century and was built in a span of 14 years. Varkala Tunnel was built to facilitate water transport from the backwaters of Malabar to Trivandrum and is a great tourist attraction in Varkala. The Varkala Tunnel although not much used for transportation, is a well-frequented tourist spot especially for people who set on a backwater cruise in Kerala.
Located in the Edava village, the beach is the perfect location for those who want to explore the unknown terrains surrounded with lush green vegetation and lagoons. Edava Beach is the best visited during the monsoon season when the water from the lake and its adjacent rivers gushes out to meet with the Arabian Sea. Do not forget to try the amazing seafood offered here.
Also known as Varkala beach, the Papanasam Beach is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea and is a major pilgrim spot in Varkala. The beach is one of the few beaches with adjacent cliffs along the shoreline. This is considered to be a unique formation and has been declared as a geological monument.
Ponnumthuruthu Island, located a few kilometers from Varkala, is a tiny island full of serenity. It is a beautiful getaway surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters. Ponnumthuruthu means the golden island. According to legends, the Queens of Travancore Royal family used to hide their gold on the island to keep it safe, and hence the name. A 100-year old Shiva-Parvathi temple, which was rebuilt a decade ago, is also located on this isle.