Kerala boasts of some of the best coastal towns in India and Varkala ranks among the very best. With the picture-perfect beaches, the ambience of the place, the lip-smacking food, and the calm that prevails, Varkala has become a popular tourist destination over the years. It is also known as a popular religious site and thousands of devotees throng to this place.
According to the Hindu religion, the beaches of Varkala are Pappanasham which means that when someone takes a dip in the waters, the sins are washed away. The region was ruled by the Sangha Dynasty and finds mention in ancient texts such as Periplus of the Erythraean Sea for being a popular trading spot.
Things to Do and Major Attractions:
The Varkala Beach which is only about 10 km from the town is a popular tourist spot as people relax by the sea in the beautiful beach shacks. The sunrise and sunset from this beach is a spectacular view and is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Many take part in water sports such as parasailing, jet-skiing, etc. Other beaches such as the Edava beach and the Thiruvambadi Beach are also very popular among travelers for the scenic beauty and the extraordinary view of the ocean.
Kappil Lake and Kappil Beach are also some major attractions for those looking for a stunning natural view. Besides these, there are places of historic importance such as the Anjengo Fort and places of religious importance like Janardhanaswamy Temple, Ponnumthuruthu, Vishnu Temple, and Juma Masjid. While in Varkala, do stop by the Varkala Cliff and Varkala Lighthouse for some mesmerizing views of the ocean from there.
People and Culture:
The popularly used languages by the people here are Malayalam and English. The people of Varkala have preserved their culture over the years and passed it to the next generation. The people are helpful and welcoming and some festivals such as Ekadasi Festival and Annual Festival are celebrated in style by the locals.
Local Food and Popular Shopping Items:
There are a lot of specialties of this region and it is mostly a seafood-based cuisine. The catch is fresh and they are prepared as per the local recipe at the beach shacks and restaurants. You will also find the usual South Indian dishes like Dosa and Idli in Varkala. There are lots of flea markets and other such shopping destinations and shoppers can pick from the Kasava Mundu and Dresses, Coconut and coir products, Khadi Products, etc. Some of the popular shopping sites are the Tibetan Shops, Beach Bazaars, and Khadi stores.
Best Time to Visit:
If you are planning a visit to Varkala, it is advised that you pick the winter months from October to February. During this time the humidity remains less and the cool breeze brings soothing relief to the traveler.
Availability of Accommodation Type:
In Varkala, the tourist footfall is high and the living options plenty. So you can stay put in budget hotels like Bamboo Village, Woodhouse Beach Resort, etc. and also pick from the more extravagant ones such as Gateway Varkala. There are hostel and homestay services available as well. A Zostel in Varkala is popular among the bag-packing tourists.