Here's Why Lonely Planet Thinks Kerala's Varkala Beach Is One Of The World’s Best

Here's Why Lonely Planet Thinks Kerala's Varkala Beach Is One Of The World’s Best
Kerala Toursim

Imagine walking on the golden sands of a pristine beach as the cool sea breeze weaves through your hair, tousling it gently and kissing your skin with a refreshing chill — in front of you lies the vast expanse of the sea, above which the sun is slowly dipping towards the horizon, casting a golden hue across the water — behind you lies towering cliffs — with a graceful roar, the waves are crashing onto the shore, sending droplets of salty spray into the air like sparkling diamonds catching the waning sunlight — the sound reverberates through your bones — you are truly experiencing what it is like to be in nature’s embrace.

Varkala Beach during evening
Varkala Beach during eveningIndia Narrative

I had a particular beach in mind when I asked you to travel through your inward eye. It is none other than Papanasham Beach, popularly known as Varkala Beach in southern Kerala. The name 'Papanasam' means 'washing away sins' because it is believed that taking a dip in the waters here can cleanse one's body and soul. Recently featured in Lonely Planet’s Best Beaches: 100 of the World’s Most Incredible Beaches guidebook, Varkala is truly a paradisiacal destination, located on the Arabian Sea. It is frequented by thousands of national and international tourists all year round.

Here's Why Lonely Planet Thinks Kerala's Varkala Beach Is One Of The World’s Best
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Reaching Varkala is not too difficult. The closest airport to Varkala is located in Trivandrum. Varkala has a train station and is approximately 1 hour away from Trivandrum's Central Station and Airport. The fare for a prepaid taxi from Trivandrum should be around 1,200 rupees. Additionally, you can reach Kochi in approximately 3 to 4 hours by train or public bus. The beach is ten kilometers away from Varkala, an idyllic hamlet. During the daytime, you can enjoy activities like swimming, sunbathing, renting a surfboard, riding on jet ski, canoeing, or kayaking. As the evening draws near, it is the perfect time for a peaceful walk, followed by visiting and relaxing at one of the several shops and restaurants on the cliff, that offer a lively atmosphere. Varkala Beach is the only place in southern Kerala where the cliffs overlook the sea.

Varkala cliffs
Varkala cliffsTravelsetu

The Janardhanaswamy Temple, a 2000-year-old shrine, is situated on the cliffs near the beach, where sadhus perform the last rights for the relatives of Indian pilgrims. Also nearby is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the revered religious leader and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru. The Guru's Samadhi, a place of final rest, draws numerous devotees annually during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage from 30th December to 1st January. Sree Narayana Guru advocated for the belief in one caste, one religion, and one God in a society plagued by the divisive caste system. Also, don't overlook the small streams of natural springs erupting from the cliff. A bath in one of those is sure to rejuvenate your spirits.

The Janardhanaswamy Temple in Varkala
The Janardhanaswamy Temple in VarkalaManfred Sommer

Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for tourists. If you are a sea-lover like me, Varkala Beach ought to be a must on your bucket list.

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