Nestled along the mesmerizing coastline of Kerala, Varkala is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape from the bustling cities. Known for its stunning beaches, picturesque cliffs, and vibrant cultural heritage, this coastal town has something for every traveler. In this blog, we will explore the top things to do in Varkala, providing you with a well-rounded experience of this enchanting destination.
- Soak in the Beauty of Varkala Beach:
Varkala Beach, with its golden sands and azure waters, is the main attraction that draws travelers from far and wide. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, bask in the warmth of the sun, and witness breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant hues. You can also indulge in thrilling water sports such as surfing, parasailing, and jet skiing, making your visit even more exciting.
- Explore the Magnificent Janardanaswamy Temple:
Situated near the Papanasam Beach, the Janardanaswamy Temple is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site with a history dating back centuries. Admire the intricate architecture, adorned with traditional carvings and colorful frescoes. Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance as you witness the evening prayer rituals and experience the serene atmosphere that pervades the temple premises.
- Discover the Majestic Varkala Cliff:
The striking Varkala Cliff stands tall, overlooking the Arabian Sea, offering breathtaking panoramic views. Take a walk along the cliff’s edge and witness the stunning vista of the expansive ocean and the rhythmic crashing of the waves against the rocks. You can find a range of charming cafes, restaurants, and shops nestled along the cliff, allowing you to enjoy a delightful culinary experience while soaking in the serene surroundings.
- Experience Ayurvedic Bliss:
Varkala is renowned for its traditional Ayurvedic treatments, offering a holistic approach to health and wellness. Rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with therapeutic massages, herbal baths, and yoga sessions. Expert Ayurvedic practitioners will guide you through personalized treatments, ensuring a truly immersive and revitalizing experience.
- Embark on an Backwater Excursion:
A short distance from Varkala lies the captivating backwaters of Kerala. Hop aboard a traditional houseboat and glide along the tranquil backwaters, surrounded by lush greenery, palm-fringed canals, and exotic birdlife. Immerse yourself in the calm ambiance, savor delicious Kerala cuisine prepared onboard, and witness the enchanting sunset over the shimmering waters.
- Witness the Charm of Anjengo Fort:
History enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to Anjengo Fort, a 17th-century Dutch and British colonial outpost. Explore the well-preserved fortifications, ancient cannons, and the old cemetery that echoes tales of the past. The fort offers a glimpse into Kerala’s colonial past and provides a serene setting for a leisurely walk while enjoying views of the surrounding backwaters.
- Indulge in Delectable Seafood Delicacies:
Being a coastal town, Varkala boasts an array of fresh seafood delicacies. Visit the local beachside shacks and restaurants to savor mouthwatering dishes prepared from the catch of the day. From spicy fish curry to succulent prawns and delectable lobster, the flavors of Varkala will surely tantalize your taste buds.
- Visit Sivagiri Mutt:
Sivagiri Mutt is a renowned ashram and pilgrimage center dedicated to the social reformer and spiritual leader, Sree Narayana Guru. Explore the serene surroundings, visit the Guru’s Samadhi (final resting place), and soak in the spiritual atmosphere. The ashram hosts the annual Sivagiri Pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees from around the world.
- Trek to the Edava Beach and Backwaters:
For adventure enthusiasts, a trek to Edava Beach and Backwaters is a must-do activity. Take a scenic hike through coconut groves, mangrove forests, and small villages, eventually reaching the tranquil Edava Beach. Marvel at the confluence of the sea and backwaters, and if you’re lucky, spot rare migratory birds along the way.
- Attend a Kathakali Performance:
Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural heritage of Kerala by witnessing a traditional Kathakali performance. Kathakali is a classical dance-drama that combines intricate dance moves, elaborate costumes, and expressive facial makeup. The performances depict mythological stories and offer a captivating glimpse into the rich artistic traditions of the region.
- Explore the Golden Island:
Located a short boat ride away from Varkala, the Golden Island (also known as Ponnumthuruthu) is a small, uninhabited island with lush greenery and pristine beaches. Enjoy a peaceful retreat amidst nature, spot exotic birds, and unwind on the golden sands. Don’t miss the historic Shiva Parvathi Temple, which adds a touch of spirituality to the island.
- Shop at the Varkala Cliff Market:
Indulge in some retail therapy at the bustling Varkala Cliff Market. Browse through an array of shops selling handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, spices, and souvenirs. The market offers a unique blend of local and international products, providing an opportunity to take home a piece of Varkala’s vibrant culture.
- Take a Dip in the Papanasam Holy Spring:
Papanasam Holy Spring is a sacred freshwater spring believed to have healing properties. According to local belief, a dip in these holy waters can cleanse one’s sins. Enjoy a refreshing swim or take a traditional Ayurvedic bath in the cool, crystal-clear waters, and experience a sense of rejuvenation and spiritual purity.
- Attend a Yoga Retreat:
Varkala is renowned for its yoga retreats and wellness centers, attracting yoga enthusiasts from around the world. Join a yoga retreat program or attend a drop-in class to practice yoga in serene settings, with the sound of crashing waves as your backdrop. Nourish your body, mind, and soul through ancient yoga practices and meditation techniques.
- Catch a Sunset Boat Ride:
End your day in Varkala with a serene boat ride during sunset. Drift along the calm waters, watch as the sun sets on the horizon, casting a golden glow over the landscape. The tranquil ambiance, coupled with the breathtaking views, creates a perfect moment of tranquility and beauty.
With its blend of natural beauty, spirituality, cultural heritage, and recreational activities, Varkala offers a plethora of experiences for travelers seeking a unique and enriching journey. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, a spiritual seeker, or a cultural enthusiast, Varkala has something to captivate your senses and leave you with cherished memories of your visit to this coastal paradise.