When you travel to Varkala, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Varkala, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Varkala to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Varkala things to do can include exploring Varkala attractions and visiting the places of interest.
This place holds a monumental value in the region, as this ashram founded by Sree Narayana Guru is a major pilgrimage destination in India for devotees of Sree Narayana Guru. Built in 1904 on top of Sivagiri Hill near Varkala, the Matha is a major hub for studying the philosophy of the celebrated social reformer.
This is a famous fort previously the centre point of foreign strong hold in Kerala. In 1684, Queen of Attingal granted East India Company to establish a factory and a fort at the location. The fort was witness to many attacks from Portuguese, Dutch and British for supremacy in the region and is under National Heritage Monuments.
Built in 1867, this 924 feet tunnel built by Sir T. Madhava Rao the, then, Dewan of Travancore is a must visit. It took 14 years to complete the tunnel that is now a major tourist highlight in Varkala.
Wonderla or Wonderland Amusement Park in Pallikara, Kochi is a famous among locals and tourists, kids and adults alike. The park is certified for safety and environment regulations and has a number of kid’s rides, water rides and a wide range of other enjoyable activities. It is located 188 kilometres from Varkala via NH47.
Happy Land Water Theme Park is 48 kilometres in Kuthirakulam and Magic Planet is 36 kilometres in Kazhakuttom widely popular theme parks in Thiruvananthapuram. The kids will also love the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo and Museum on Kanak Nagar Road (49 kilometres). It has a reptile house as well.
This 2000 year temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his incarnates. The Swami Janardana as the name suggests is the presiding deity whereas other major Hindu Gods and Goddesses also reside in the temple. The idol of Swami Janardana is facing east with one hand performing Achamanam (a purification ritual) and other one raised towards his mouth. It is believed that when the hand reaches his mouth, the world will come to an end marking the end of Kali Yug. It is located 25 kilometres from Trivandrum city and 2 kilometres from Varkala-Sivagiri Railway station.
This is another popular temple in Varkala near Chirayinkeezhu where the presiding deity is Bhadrakali, a ferocious form of Goddess Kali.
A major Sunni pilgrimage destination located between Kallambalam and Attingal on National Highway 47. It is popular among both Hindus and Muslims of the region.
This is a temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of Vidya (Wisdom & Education), located in Venkulam in Edava. It is located five kilometres from Varkala.Other religious places are Shiva Temple on Kappil Road, Kannamba Temple and Saint Sabastian Church in Trivandrum.
Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are the prominent places to explore the history of the region. Both are located in Thiruvananthapuram within the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo complex. Napier Museum, established in 1855, houses a collection of historical artefacts, ornaments, bronze idols, ivory carvings, temple chariot etc. Natural History Museum, on the other hand, is quite famous among anthropologists. The Science and Technology Museum and Tagore Centenary Theatre & Museum are other important museums in the region.
Zoological Garden in Thiruvananthapuram Zoo Complex is a major attraction for visitors. Eden Park and Municipal Park of Varkala are other known spots in Varkala that can be navigated with local help. You can also visit The 'Jawaharlal Nehru Park of Traffic signs for children', a fun and educational park aimed at acquainting the kids with traffic rules.
Kerala being ‘Gods Own Country’ has no dearth of places blessed by god with ethereal natural beauty. Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram- the capital city of Kerala is home to many religious and cultural monuments and is located just 50 kilometres from Varkala. Other popular places are Cochin or Kochi, Munnar, Thekaddy and Kovalam. Cochin is a beautiful cosmopolitan city of Kerala known for trading of spices. Munnar is a famous hill station known for vast tea plantations whereas Thekaddy is a hub for activities like Bamboo Rafting, Border Hiking, Jungle Patrol, Nature Walk etc. Kovalam is known for its four virgin sand beaches. There are other smaller, less explored places like Kollam, Ernakulam which can be explored.
Varkala Beach or Papanasam Beach is known for its purifying powers to wash away sins. The beach is also a major Ayurvedic treatment centre. The Varkala Formation on the beach is a geological monument as these sedimentary formations are a rare presence on an otherwise plain Kerala coast. There is another beach called Tiruvambadi Beach in Varkala. Kappil Lake, located 4 kilometres north of Varkala, is an estuary passing through dense coconut plantation finally merging into the Arabian Sea. It is the best place to capture the scenic backwaters of the region. Samudra Beach, Kovalam Beach, Hawah Beach, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary all in Thiruvananthapuram and Back Waters in Paravur, are other prominent natural spots in the region.
A ten day Arattu Festival is celebrated at Swami Janaradana Temple in March on the day of Uthram. Arattu is the ceremonial procession taken out at the end of ten day celebration. Other popular cultural attractions of the region are the Kaliyoot Festival and Meenabharani Festival at the Sarakara Devi Temple. Kaliyoot is an art form describing the confrontation between Goddess Bhadrakali and Evil Darika and Darika’s eventual extermination. It is an elaborate and colourful dance-drama performance for celebrating the presiding deity. Meenabharani Festival is a ten day festival witness to a number of rituals and ceremonies such as Kodiyettu, Arat and Pallivetta. Sivagiri Matha is also host to a number of cultural shows, processions and community feasts. Navarathri Sangeetholsavam and Vijayadesami Vidyarambam are other cultural events popular in the region.
Varkala Cliff is a geological monument and landmark not only for Varkala but for entire Kerala. The 3 kilometres long cliffs have been registered as National Geological Monument by Geological Survey of India. These cliffs are the sedimentary rock formation of the Mio-Pliocene Age and are known as the Varkala Formation. These cliffs are present only in Varkala on the entire west coast of India. Another prime landmark on the face of Varkala is the Sivagiri Matha. This hill top mausoleum dedicated to Sree Narayana Guru is very popular pilgrimage destination in Varkala.
Edava Beaches are virgin beaches less explored but full of picturesque views. Other spots with scenic beauty are Kappil Lake, Paravur etc.
Trekking is the most common adventure that you can do in Kausani. As you start trekking you will get to see the beautiful and panoramic view of the snow capped Himalayas. Some of the popular and significant trek routs of Kausani are Base Kausani Trek, Adi Kailash Trek, Bageshwar- Sunderghuna Trek and some more. Most of the trek routs are dangerous and strainus so, taking a professional guide is a must.
Varkala is a hub for Ayurvedic Spas and Treatment Centre. Nature Care Centre on Varkala Beach is a major spot. You can also look for Yoga at centres like Haridas Yoga and Surf n Spa.
Rock n Roll Cafe is a popular night place for listening to trance and local music live while savouring a beer. There are number of spots on Varkala Beach with daily musical events.
There are a number of restaurants around Varkala serving various local and foreign cuisine dishes. Trattoria’s is the best place to savour Italian, Japanese and Thai food whereas another restaurant Calfouti is a prominent place for South Indian cuisine lovers. For the coffee lovers Coffee Temple, Rock n Roll Cafe, Kerala Coffee House and Cafe del Mar are the places to be. Other prominent restaurants are Shiva Garden Kerala Restaurant for traditional Kerala food, Hotel Suprabhatham for vegetarian, Ootapura Vegetarian Restaurant, Eden Restaurant for continental and Tuman for Thai, Russian etc.
You can savour south Indian, Tibetan, fresh sea food dishes and other foreign cuisines in Varkala. Rice, Dosa, Idli etc with Sambhar is staple food of the region. Malabar Biryani and full course meal called Sadya is popular in the region. Among the deserts, Pazham-Pori, Kozhakkatta (sweet mixture of molasses and coconut stuffed in rice dumplings), Ilayappam (rice, jaggery and coconut mixture) and Churuttu(sweetened rice filling in rolled flour bread), are popular. Varkala is also known for mouth watering pickles of Fish, Prawns, and Mango.
Sky Lounge and Chill Out Lounge are two popular nightlife spots popular among locals. Nearly all the resorts have in-house discotheques with free entry for guests.
There are number of bars and cafes on the Varkala Cliff serving all types of alcoholic beverages. KTDC's Beer Parlour located 6 kilometres from Papanasam at Puthanchanda is a prominent place. Other popular spots are Varkala Park Bar and KR Bar near Railway Station, Babuji Bar and Karthika Bar in Maidanam.
The beach markets of Varkala are full of small shops selling shell and coir items, carved horns and other trinkets. Varkala Beach Market and Markets along the Varkala cliff are very popular.
Shalimar Weaves and Perumkuddy Shopping Complex are the best places to buy local handmade fabrics and Khadi items like shawls, scarves etc. Umer Arts & Crafts and Moon Stone Arts are two prominent stores for buying local jewellery designs. There are number of Tibetan and Khadi shops in Varkala that can be explored with local help.
There is a cluster of shops selling prayer items, handicraft and souvenirs near the Swami Janardana Temple and the Napier museum.