Varkala Cliff, Varkala: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips

About Varkala Cliff

Varkala cliff is a famous beachfront which is a massive cluster of old times rock formations.Varkala is uprearing the popularity ladder with immense speed and has become a thriving place in the last couple of years. The laid-back town is situated around 40 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram which is the capital city of the state of Kerala. Varkala cliff is now challenging the upbeat hippy destinations of India like Goa and Gokarna with its surging popularity.

It features some colossal rock formations, hillsides, balmy beaches, hidden ruins and forts along with cloistered lighthouses and placid lakes. The unique feature of Varkala cliff is that it appears as a dramatic horizon that is merging with the Arabian sea. The cliffs are also named as the Varkala Formation by the Geological Survey of India. Formerly named as
Udayamarthandapuram after the king of Travancore, a colossal development to the coastal stretch was made.

Moreover, the presence of 2000 years old Janardhan Swami Temple near Varkala cliff often earns it the title of Southern Varanasi. Beaches like Papanasam, Varkala, Odayam are the most cherished among the sunbathers. You can also tour some marvelous architecture such as Anjengo fort and Janardhan Swami Temple nearby. The backwaters of Kappil beach and Ponnumthuruthu island have the ability to engross you completely. Kappil Pozhi or Kappil lake has a great setting to also enjoy boating.

Varkala cliff is declared as a geo-heritage site in India due to the unique sediments that laid adjacent to the Arabian sea. It is one of a kind formation on the rather flat coastal plains of Kerala which magnetizes backpackers and pilgrims from around the world.

This quaint pilgrimage town is also known for its ayurvedic spa centers. Arattu is a holy bath festival that goes on for ten-days mostly in the months of March and April. The ancient Janardhana Swamy temple serves as the celebrating ground for this festival. Words fall short to describe the beauty of Varkala, it is a place that leaves you speechless.

Best time to visit:

Tucked away in the south-western corner of India,
Varkala cliff is a petite coastal hamlet that experiences moderate to extreme climate. Winter season is a highly recommended and suitable time to explore Varkala. The place is humid throughout the year but winter months are comparatively pleasant with calm wind and suppressed heat.

Starting from October, the following months like November, December, January, and February are the only months when the mercuric scale fluctuates between a bearable temperature range. The benign weather of the winter season in Varkala enables the travelers to explore the nooks and crannies of this coastal town at ease.

The minimum temperature goes between 21 degrees C to 24 degrees C in the winter months while the maximum can be expected around 30 degree C. The winter in Varkala has a balmy mood, scented wind, and azure sky. On the contrary, summers experience hot and humid weather with the temperature rising to 40 degrees C on an average.

Monsoon is not always considered to be an ideal time to visit Varkala because of the torrential downpours. However, being an offseason for tourism, there is a noticeable bargain on the tariffs. With keeping an eye on the weather forecast, you can make good use of the place during monsoon as well.

How to reach:

Varkala is connected by all the three major modes of transport. Thiruvananthapuram is located at around 40 kilometers away, serves as the closest stop for major trains, planes, and buses.

By air: 
Reaching Varkala cliff or Varkala beach by air is the most commodious way of traveling. Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) airport is located at a distance of 45 kilometers from the sleepy beach town of Varkala in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram being the nearest and a significant airport down South that caters to more than 40 national and international flights every day. Thiruvananthapuram has strong connectivity to major metro cities of India such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi etc. It is also well-networked with other countries via international flight operators.

By train: 
Varkala train station is a tiny stop that falls on the connecting route from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam. There are dozens of trains that stop at Varkala station (VAK) such as Amritha Express, Malabar Express, Ernad Express, Chennai Mail etc. However, the halt duration is hardly a minute or two. Being the nearest alternative, Thiruvananthapuram serves as a prominent railhead which is well-connected to almost all the major stations across the country.

By road: 
KSRTC shuttles across the entire state, connecting Varkala to all the major cities and towns of Kerala. There are Volvo buses or independent operators plying from cities like Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram. Attingal is the nearest bus stop for most of the privately operated bus services. The distance between Attingal and Varkala is of 16 kilometers. The other options can be a cab/car drive till Varkala from nearby cities like Pondicherry, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Mysore etc.

Local commuting: 
Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available in abundance to save you from the tedious task of local traveling. You might need to learn some bargaining skills as the meter-installed auto rickshaws are less likely to be found in Varkala.

Attractions & Activities:

As the laterite cliffs hug the coastal strips of Varkala, the shoreline commemorates some world-class beaches. Beaches like Papanasam and Varkala are even considered divine for
  taking holy-dip during the aeons old festivals in Varkala. The assembled list of places may not be comprehensive but is enough to draw your attention to the hippy hamlet of Varkala.

Varkala Beach:
The popular Varkala beach is around 10 kilometers away from the sleepy hamlet Varkala. It forms a landscape of sedimentary cliff formations facing the ebb and flow of the Arabian sea in combat. Varkala beach is also known as Papanasam Beach.

Sivagiri Mutt:
Set away over a 200-acres of land on a plateau that is blanketed by blooming Neelakurinji- Sivagiri Mutt is a spiritual center that helps heal thousands of believers every year. The Mutt houses a samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru’s who is also the founder of the sanctum.

Thiruvambadi beach:
Thiruvambadi beach is one of the unfrequented beaches on the Varkala cliff radius. The black sand beach is only 3 kilometers away from Varkala main town .

Edava Beach:
Edava Beach is another offbeat location after Thiruvambadi beach on the Varkala cliff. It rewards the visitors with a sight of backwater running parallel the ocean with soaring palm trees scattered across the stretch.

Anjengo Fort:
Instituted by the British East India Company in 1696, Anjengo Fort became the first ever signaling station on the Malabar coast for ships sailing from England to India. It is a great example of architectural intelligence.

Ponnumthuruthu:
Ponnumthuruthu is a secluded island which features  Anjengo backwaters and Akathumuri lake. This island is a bird watcher's paradise which lies 20 kilometers away from Varkala. Easily accessed by a jetty ride from Nedunganda Village. 

Vishnu Temple:
Vishnu Temple belongs to the same complex of Janardhana Swamy Temple which is 2000 years old. The temple is close to Varkala beach and is known for its unique architecture that includes a copper-plated roof and dome.

Kappil Lake:
Fringed with coconut groves and palm trees, Kappil lake is spotted 6 kilometers North of Varkala Cliff.  There is a boat club arranged by the tourism department that enables smooth boating experiences to the visitors.

Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Church:
Constructed by Portuguese missionaries, Saint Sebastian’s Pilgrim Centre is a significant landmark situated along the backwaters of Varkala cliff.

Kappil Beach:
Kappil Beach is an untrodden coastal stretch which is closely located to Kasaragod. Kappil is a village near Varkala and this beach is a bit away from the pilgrimage town but is worth a visit.

Janardhana Swamy Temple:
Janardhana Swamy Temple is a primitive edifice that is admired and worshipped for its glory that stands unhindered for more than 2000 years. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple serves as the fate ground for the famous Arattu festival that attracts hordes of people from around the world.

Activities: Varkala beach is highly celebrated for water sports like paragliding, parasailing, jet ski, banana boating etc. Kappil lake is where you can enjoy a peaceful boating ride.

Places to stay near Varkala Cliff:
Varkala has a string of tastefully designed resorts and hotels to stay on your trip. Most from this pack nestle opposing the sea. The beachfront resorts and hotels are relished among all types of travellers and Varkala indeed impresses everyone.

Inda hotel:
InDa hotel invokes a laid back feel to the entire vacation if you plan to stay here. The double bed deluxe rooms feature free wifi and essential modern amenities. It is in proximity to most of the attractions like Janardhana Swamy Temple, Sivagiri Mutt, and Ponnumthuruthu Island etc.

Mint inside beach hotel:
The views from the super cozy cottages and bungalows of Mint Inside is a treat to the sore eyes. Characteristics like high ceilings, sea-view patios, and balconies, garden seating area, and classy wooden-furnishing adorn the place.

Maadathil Cottages:
Maadathil cottages offers a range of standard, deluxe and super deluxe cottages along the seashore of Odayam beach. The campus is encircled with coconut and almond trees, the room walls are embellished with local wooden-art pieces. The lotus pond is another fascinating character of this place.

Palm Tree heritage:
The well-appointed suites and bungalows at Palm Tree Heritage overlook the unending horizon of the sea in
Varkala Cliff. A few rooms are also installed with a balcony and a common terrace.

Varkala Marine Palace:
Varkala Marine Palace is nestled in the middle of North cliff and the South cliff on the Papanasam beach. There are 18 well-appointed rooms with patios and verandas facing the sea. The resort is situated 2 kilometers away from the railway station in Varkala.

The Eco:
The Eco is a resort that offers some unparalleled seascapes from its rooms. The large pool inside overlooks the ocean and bestows some beckoning coastal sunset sceneries. It is situated at a distance of three kilometers from the main town.

Satta Beach Residence:
Satta Beach Residence is a premium resort that features a grand pool and a carefully manicured garden. The rooms are spacious and neat with an attached balcony that either overlooks the garden or the sea.

Jicky’s Nest:
Jicky’s Nest is an easy to locate beach resort that is a kilometre away from Varkala main town. The rooms boast of some vivid and colorful mural art. The whitewashed building is run by a family and is sure a happy place to spend a couple of days.

Krishnatheeram Ayur Holy Beach Resorts:
Peppered with coconut trees and palm fringes, Krishnatheeram Ayur Holy Beach Resorts is a top-notch place with a view of the sea and a king-sized swimming pool.
  Living in the traditional simple cottages at this resort will even give access to their private beach which is famous for the stunning sunset views.

Arya Villa Heritage:
This quaint traditional style architecture villa offers budget as well as premium rooms with a balcony and a huge terrace. The heritage house remains quite in demand because of its chic ambiance.

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