Varkala Papanasam Beach in Kerala India

Papanasam Beach or Varkala Beach is Hindu pilgrimage site as well as a well-known tourist destination in Kerala, India. Papanasam Beach lies 50 km to the north-west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and 37 km to the south west of Kollam city. This is a place where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. The beach is extended to 500 meters with white sand. Varkala Papanasam Beach is regarded as a holy beach and the literal meaning of this is “Destroyer of sins”. It is said that a dip in the holy waters of this beach will relieve us from all the sins that we have committed and it purifies our body and soul.

Legend of Papanasam Beach

It is believed that Lord Brahma instructed Pandyan king to build a temple here to wash away his sins. There is also a story saying that Sage Narada threw his ‘Valkalam’ (a loin cloth made from bark of a tree) to this place and asked the pilgrims to dip in that water to get rid of the sins committed.

Tourist Attractions

Papanasam beach is a calm and quiet beach away from all crowds and other disturbances that you see in other picnic spots. The resort area that lies that between two cliffs makes the beach looks stunning. Fine sidewalk along the cliff edges is a real once in awhile experience. Mineral water springs comes gushing out from these cliffs and are famous for their medicinal qualities which people drink as holy water and the narrow road leading to the beach is designed by paddy fields and tall palm trees on both sides. The beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming. The sunsets here, are an extra ordinary view and is considered to be the right time for a long walk.

Varkala Beach or Papanasam Beach in Kerala India

If you are looking for a cheap and peaceful picnic spot then there is no doubt that Papanasam beach is the right option. The site is peaceful away from all other interventions. It is a real chill out place for all the visitors accompanied by good food and hospitality.

Karkidaka Vavu Bali at Varkala Papanasam Beach

Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram KeralaPeople come here on the new moon day of Karkkidakam Malayalam month for doing the last rituals of their dearest ones and other ancestors whose soul rest in peace. This offering is called ‘Vavubali’. After this, people visit Sree Janardhana Swami Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, which lies facing to the beach and get the ‘Thilakahoma’ done there.

Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple

Janardhana Swami Temple is an ancient Lord Vishnu Temple situated near Varkala Beach. Janardanaswamy Temple is around 2000 years old and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south).

Varkala Tunnel

Another popular tourist highlight situated near Papanasam Beach is the Varkala Tunnel. This 924 ft long (around 55 km) tunnel was constructed in 1867 by T. Mahadeva Rao, the then Dewan of by Travancore. The tunnel was mainly used as a route of the trade center.

Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt is a famous Hindu ashram and major pilgrim centre in Kerala, established by philosopher and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The Samadhi of saint Sree Narayana Guru in Sivagiri Mutt attracts thousands of devotees here, especially during the annual Sivagiri Pilgrimage held in December – January.

Anjengo Fort and Varkala Light House are other tourist attractions in Varkala.

Best Time to Visit

The season to visit this place is from October to March. Outdoor games are played in this beach in the evening and Kathakali performances are performed during the night for the tourists to experience our rich cultural heritage. There are also a few quality yoga places and also a Nature care center run by the government. There are also lots of ayurvedic massage parlours adjacent to the beach.

Sea Food Restaurants in Varkala

Lots of small restaurants and snack shops are seen near or around the Papanasam beach and also some restaurants in the cliff which are seasonal and open up only during the tourist season. Sea food caught by the local fisher men are displayed in front of the restaurants where you can chose your dish and it will be prepared in the tandoor for you to enjoy the dinner along the sunset.

How to reach Varkala Beach

Varkala is well connected with major cities in Kerala by Road. Kerala State Transport Buses are available from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. Varkala Railway Station, on the Thiruvananthapuram - Kollam railway line, is the nearest railhead. The nearest Airport to Varkala is the Trivandrum International Airport.


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