Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where one can find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature in the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.
A famous beach resort, Varkala is also famous for its 3,500 year old Janardanaswamy temple, which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.
The landmark hill-top mausoleum of Narayana GuruAnother major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala. The adjacent hills house the East-West University of Brahmavidya and Sree Narayana Gurukulam.
Another important feature of Varkala is the now dilapidated Varkala Tunnel, part of the TS Canal, which was an important waterway during pre-independence times.
Janardana Swami Temple is a 2000-year-old temple situated in the municipality of Varkala city in Trivandrum. Janardana Swami is a form of Lord Vishnu. It is a very well known temple in Kerala. It is situated near the Arabian sea shore. The temple is located close to the Varkala Beach, which is considered to have medicinal properties since the waters wash the nearby medicinal plants.
Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasam Beach, is a cliff beach on the West coast of India, along the Arabian Sea. A dip in the holy waters is believed to wash away sins hence the name. Varkala is a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram that has attracted pilgrims and tourists for years. Its beach is famous for its natural springs.
Sivagiri is a pilgrimage centre in Varkala where the tomb of the spritual leader, social reformer and philosopher, Sree Narayana Guru is built. The town is also the place where the Guru believed himself to have become enlightened. Sivagiri Mutt is a renowned pilgrimage destination for followers. It is the headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham.
Varkala is the only place in Kerala where red laterite cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. It is a relaxed tourism destination for those looking to get away from hubbub of mainstream tourist areas. Varkala is situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the northern suburb of Trivandrum District.
In 2019, Varkala was selected as the most welcoming destination in India and the second most stunning cliff beach in the world.