Varkala is a beautiful little coastal town located approximately 50 km north from Trivandrum city in Kerala, South India. Varkala is known as the spiritual center of the south and the home of India’s ancient system of natural medicine, Ayurveda. With a thriving yoga community, Varkala is becoming known as a popular destination for those who wish to rejuvenate, find peace of mind, and immerse themselves in the practices of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Varkala is a calm and peaceful town which runs alongside the Arabian Sea. While many tourists visit annually, it is still one of south India’s best kept secrets. With a relatively low population of just over 40,000 it is perhaps one of the only towns in India where you will see very little traffic, virtually no pollution from automobiles, incredibly clean streets and sidewalks, and you can enjoy clean tap water. There are many beautiful places to explore and visit while staying in Varkala such as long, unspoiled white sand beaches, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashram - Sivagiri Mutt which is located a short distance from the beach, and the nearby backwaters of Kerala.
The Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), is renowned for its powdery sand and the tall red laterite cliffs from which a natural spring of water flows. The union of the spring and sea water in this specific place is believed to have medicinal and curative properties. It is said that a swim in the holy waters at this beach will rid the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam beach'. It is for this reason that Papanasam Beach has great spiritual significance and is a very well-known pilgrimage site.
The nearby temple, 2000 year old Janardhanaswamy Temple, The Sivagiri Mutt, was founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928), and the final resting place of the Guru attracts thousands of devotees annually during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days. It was Sree Narayana Guru who made the courageous statement, "one caste, one religion and one god", in a society that was/is divided by the caste system. This Guru’s words made a lasting impression in the hearts of many and his imprint can still be seen in Varkala. Varkala is a town which welcomes and honors those of all religions, faiths, casts, cultures, and sexual preferences. It is a peaceful multicultural society where you will find those who worship in temples, mosques, and churches all living alongside one another in peace.
By Taxi: Thiruvananthapuram airport to Varkala by car is a very convenient option for travelers and students. It's a lovely scenic drive which take only 45 minutes so a pleasure after a long flight. The cost for the drive is only 1500INR and we will be happy to help arrange a driver for you in advance.
Airport: The nearest Airport to Varkala is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and it is located approximately 45 KM distance. This is such a charming airport. It is very small with only 3 arrival gates, yet flights connect to many major Indian cities in India and other international destinations such as the middle east. The staff are very friendly, relaxed and welcoming. The airport has a peaceful atmosphere for those travelers arriving from international ports.
By Train: Varkala railway station linked to major cities and towns and so is a very convenient option for traveller arriving to Varkala. Once you arrive in Varkala you will take a 5-10 minute rickshaw to your final destination. This is a very cost effective and scenic option for travelers.
By Bus: Varkala is only 45km away from Trivandrum and is well connected with state buses. A bus journey may take about 1 hour depending on the traffic. You can ask for details at the airport upon arrival. This is also a very cost effective and convenient way to travel to Varkala.