Varkala: A Paradise on the Cliffs


Varkala, in Kerala’s south Indian state of Kerala, is an idyllic coastal destination tucked along the Arabian Sea. Boasting breathtaking cliffs, golden sandy beaches, spiritual allure and wellness retreats – Varkala offers an exquisite blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage and wellness retreats that caters for travelers of every kind – offering relaxation or adventure – something suitable for every traveler’s tastes!

Varkala as a Pilgrimage Destination

  1. The Iconic Janardanaswamy Temple

The Janardanaswamy Temple is an important pilgrimage site and one of the oldest temples in Kerala. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple attracts devotees and tourists alike with its magnificent architecture and spiritual aura. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum houses a mesmerizing idol of Lord Vishnu that is believed to be more than 2,000 years old.

  1. The Holy Papanasam Beach

The Papanasam Beach, well-known for its spiritual significance and legendary associations, is located close to the Janardanaswamy Temple. Those who take a bath in the beach’s holy waters are said to receive salvation and have their sins washed away. Papanasam Beach offers a calm and tranquil setting for reflection and spiritual renewal because it is surrounded by cliffs and coconut plantations.

  1. Rituals and Traditions at Varkala

Varkala is home to various religious ceremonies and rituals that attract devotees from far and wide. Witnessing the vibrant festivals, such as the Arattu procession and the Kathakali performances, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. The rhythmic chants, colorful processions, and traditional art forms add to the unique charm of Varkala.

Varkala as a Beach Destination

  1. Pristine and Serene Beaches

Varkala boasts a collection of pristine and untouched beaches that cater to different interests. The main Varkala Beach, with its golden sand and clear waters, offers a perfect setting for relaxation and sunbathing. Adjacent to it is the Black Beach, known for its unique black sand, which is believed to have medicinal properties. These beaches provide an idyllic retreat for beach lovers and sunseekers.

  1. Activities and Water Sports

Apart from sunbathing and swimming, Varkala offers a myriad of water sports and recreational activities. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in activities like parasailing, surfing, and jet skiing, providing an adrenaline rush amidst the tranquil surroundings. The favorable wind conditions make Varkala a popular spot for paragliding, offering breathtaking aerial views of the coastline.

  1. Cliffside Resorts and Restaurants

One of the highlights of Varkala is its unique cliffside setting, where resorts and restaurants are perched atop the towering cliffs, overlooking the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. These establishments offer panoramic views, mesmerizing sunsets, and a tranquil ambiance. Visitors can relish delicious seafood, authentic Kerala cuisine, and international delicacies while enjoying the spectacular vistas.

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Varkala

  1. Varkala Tunnel and the Coastal Pathway

The Varkala Tunnel, also known as the Edava-Nadayara Tunnel, is an engineering marvel that connects the Edava beach to the backwaters of Nadayara. Walking through the tunnel is an exhilarating experience as you traverse beneath the cliffs and emerge into a scenic coastal pathway. The pathway offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the surrounding natural beauty.

  1. The Edava-Nadayara Lake System

Varkala is blessed with the mesmerizing Edava-Nadayara Lake System, comprising interconnected lakes and backwaters. Exploring these serene water bodies on a boat ride or a kayak allows visitors to witness the tranquility and beauty of the region up close. The pristine waters, lush greenery, and diverse birdlife make it a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatching enthusiasts.

  1. Kappil Lake and Estuary

Situated a few kilometers away from Varkala, Kappil Lake is a scenic marvel where the lake merges with the Arabian Sea through a narrow estuary. Boating on the tranquil waters of the lake, surrounded by coconut groves and mangrove forests, offers a unique and enchanting experience. The Kappil Beach adjacent to the lake provides an idyllic spot for picnics and sunsets.

Ayurveda and Wellness in Varkala

  1. Healing and Rejuvenation Centers

Varkala is renowned for its Ayurveda centers and wellness retreats, providing holistic healing and rejuvenation to visitors. Trained practitioners offer a wide range of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies, tailored to individual needs. From soothing massages to detoxification programs, these centers aim to restore balance and promote well-being.

  1. Ayurvedic Treatments and Therapies

Visitors can indulge in various Ayurvedic treatments, such as Panchakarma, Shirodhara, and Abhyanga, which cleanse the body, relax the mind, and rejuvenate the soul. These ancient therapies, coupled with herbal remedies and nutritious diets, provide a holistic approach to wellness. Ayurvedic consultations and personalized treatment plans ensure a transformative experience for each individual.

  1. Yoga and Meditation Retreats

Varkala is a popular destination for yoga and meditation enthusiasts seeking a serene environment for their practice. Numerous yoga schools and retreat centers offer a range of classes and workshops, catering to all levels of experience. Practicing yoga and meditation amidst the natural beauty of Varkala fosters a sense of serenity, mindfulness, and self-discovery.

Cuisines and Culinary Delights in Varkala

  1. Fresh Seafood and Authentic Kerala Dishes

Varkala’s coastal location ensures an abundant supply of fresh seafood that forms the backbone of its culinary offerings. From succulent prawns and flavorful fish curries to delectable crab dishes, seafood lovers are in for a treat. Additionally, Varkala showcases the authentic flavors of Kerala through its traditional dishes, including appam, puttu, and karimeen pollichathu.

  1. Beachside Shacks and Cafés

The cliffside shacks and beachside cafés in Varkala offer a delightful dining experience with a mesmerizing view. Visitors can savor their meals while relishing the gentle sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves. These cozy establishments serve a variety of cuisines, ranging from continental and Italian to fusion dishes that cater to diverse palates.

  1. Exploring Local Food Markets

For those interested in immersing themselves in the local culinary scene, Varkala’s bustling food markets provide a sensory delight. These vibrant markets offer a wide array of fresh produce, spices, and local delicacies. Engaging with the friendly vendors, learning about the regional ingredients, and sampling street food provide an authentic and enriching experience.

Best Time to Visit Varkala

Varkala enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year, with moderate temperatures and high humidity. The best time to visit Varkala is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is pleasantly cool and comfortable. The monsoon season, from June to September, offers lush green landscapes and fewer crowds, but heavy rainfall may limit outdoor activities.

Accommodation Options in Varkala

  1. Resorts and Hotels

Varkala offers a range of resorts and hotels that cater to different budgets and preferences. From luxurious cliffside resorts with panoramic views to budget-friendly accommodations near the beach, visitors can find suitable options to suit their needs. These establishments provide comfortable rooms, modern amenities, and warm hospitality, ensuring a memorable stay in Varkala.

  1. Homestays and Guesthouses

For a more intimate and personalized experience, travelers can opt for homestays and guesthouses in Varkala. These family-run accommodations offer a glimpse into the local way of life and provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Guests can enjoy authentic home-cooked meals, interact with the locals, and gain insights into the culture and traditions of Varkala.

  1. Budget Accommodations

Varkala also offers budget-friendly accommodations, including backpacker hostels and guesthouses, ideal for those traveling on a tight budget. These establishments provide clean and comfortable rooms, communal spaces for socializing, and a vibrant atmosphere that appeals to young travelers and solo adventurers.


Varkala, with its stunning cliffs, pristine beaches, spiritual sanctuaries, and natural wonders, offers a unique and enchanting experience for travelers seeking solace, adventure, and cultural immersion. Whether it’s exploring the breathtaking landscapes, rejuvenating through Ayurvedic therapies, savoring delectable cuisines, or simply unwinding on the sun-kissed beaches, Varkala promises an unforgettable journey. Plan your visit to this coastal paradise and embrace the beauty.

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