Varkala Beach – Cliff is captivating
Kerala, sometimes fondly called as "God's Own Country" is a wonderful and fascinating state located at the southern end of India's topography. Situated at a short distance of only 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram (or Trivandrum), the small town of Varakala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found near the Arabian Sea. These cliffs are unique geological features on the coastal line and are the main attractions for the tourists. The picturesque Varkala beach, on the other hand, is an eye-catching destination offering real peace and calm to the visitors. Most importantly, the location is not so commercialised like other beaches in Kerala.
The presence of paved footpath covering the entire surrounding of the cliffs and the plantation of coconut palm trees bordering the footpath add a serene beauty to Varkala beach. You can descend from the cliff top through a narrow way that takes you to a dazzling beach near the sea. The continuous splashes of the sea water on the beach keep the area quite comforting even in the summer season. Some hotels, resorts, guest houses, quaint shops, etc are made near Varkala beach with an objective to cater the tourists. There are long rows of small shops showcasing the local handicrafts, jewellery and other products.
Reaching Varkala is very easy. Just a 10 minutes drive from Varkala town and railway station will bring you at the beach. The climate of this place is very pleasant. The place receives heavy rainstorm both from the northwest and southwest monsoons. You can visit any time in this region, however, during the summer months of April and May, the tourist count falls due to the temperature reaching 35 degree Celsius or more. However, the view of sunrise and sunset sitting at the top of the cliff with a drink is something that cannot be elaborated in words. You can take bath in the narrow stream of water which flows from the cliff. Local people believe in the water having some useful medicinal properties.
Other than beaches in Varkala, there is an abundance of tourist destinations in this town. The main attraction here is the famous 2,000 years' old Janardana Swami Temple. Also known as Varkala Temple, this very old holy spiritual seat is a very important Vaishnavaite shrine in India. Thus, it is sometimes referred to as Dakshina Kashi (which means Kashi or Benaras of the South). The temple is located very close to Papanasam beach (the beach that destroys all the sins according to Hindu mythology). On the other hand, an attracting spot is Kappil Lake located at a distance of 4 km north of Varkala town. The dense groves of coconut trees and the presence of backwater make the ambience very serene and one can also go for boating in the waterways.
Here is located another historic site, Anjengo Fort that attracts majority of tourists in Varkala. Considered as one of the National Heritage Monuments, Anjengo Fort was chosen by the English East India Company for establishing their base of first trade in Kerala. One more attracting tourist destination is Varkala Tunnel. The 140 years old tunnel is 925 ft long and is a great place for boating.