Varkala – The pristine Cliff-side Beach
Varkala is a tiny village located some distance away from Thiruvananthapuram, boasting of a beautiful cliff-side beach. The Varkala beach is also known as Papanasam beach, which literally means “destroyer of sins”. It is said that a dip in the beach cures you of all sins. The waters of the beach are believed to have medicinal properties that purge the body of impurities.
Varkala beach is the only cliff-side beach in kerala, on the coast of Arabian Sea. Several water sprouts and spas can be found on the side of these cliffs. The beach is very popular among foreign visitors because of its idyllic location and the fact that it’s much less crowded than the other popular beaches in Kerala.
A trip to Varkala should also include a visit to the Janardhanaswamy Temple. This 2000 year old shrine stands on cliffs overlooking the serene beach. Several legends rest in the stones of these temples, amongst them the story of an ill-fated Dutch ship. It is said that the captain of the ship had a vision of the deity while the ship was sinking, and none of the sailors were hurt in the tragedy. Awestruck, the captain later gifted a bell salvaged from the shipwreck to the temple. The ancient bell can still be found in the temple.
The Sivagiri Mutt is also nearby, founded by the Hindu reformer Sree Narayana Guru. He was responsible for propagation of the idea of equality at an age where the society was deeply divided by the caste system. His final remains are housed in the Sivagiri Mutt.
Varkala has several excellent facilities for accommodation. In addition, the tourists can go for a traditional Ayurvedic Massage to rejuvenate the mind and the soul.