Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lying on the outskirts of Trivendrum (Thiruvananthapuram) district, has distinct attractive destinations to capture your mind, body and soul. A sensational Papanasam beach (or Varkala beach), a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashram – Sivagiri Mutt lay a short distance from the Varkala beach.
The Papanasam beach or Varkala beach, which is ten kilometers away from Varkala City, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy sea-waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’.In the midst, the brilliance of a two thousand year old shrine, the Janardhanaswamy Temple, stands tall on the cliffs overlooking the beach, gracing thousands of devotees at it.A peaceful Samadhi, theSivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928) is treasured by many.This Samadhi commonly referred to as the final resting place of the Guru, has been welcoming thousands of devotees, who dedicate themselves to prayers and blessings every year, during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days from the months of December to January.
The inspiration of Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: “one caste, one religion and one god”, in a society torn by the taboos of caste system.
Shree Janardhanaswamy Temple
Also known as the Varkala Temple, the temple is said to have been built around 2000 years ago and is dedicate 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.
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 striking stupa shaped architecture makes it a popular attraction for the tourists who visit Varkala.
Also known as Varkala beach, the Papanasam Beach is located at 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.
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 lagoon and its adjoining rivers gushes out to meet with the Arabian Sea. Do not forget to try the amazing seafood offered here.
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.
The rich cultural history of Varkala attracts several tourists each year due to its pristine beaches, lagoons, and backwaters. The natural surroundings of Varkala are a geological masterpiece and the above-mentioned places will make you experience the city in the best ways.