Varkala is a coastal town situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the suburban town of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum city). It is located 50 kilometres north-west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and 37 km south-west of Kollam city.
Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These Cenozoic sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spason the sides of these cliffs.
Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year old Janardana Swami Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi .The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre.
The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.
Another major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala.
Shree Janardhana Swamy temple.: It is 2000 years
old. Varkala has been a Hindu pilgrimage site since the 12th Century. The
Janardhana Temple was built during this period and many Hindu's still visit
Varkala to this day, for this very reason. The Varkala sands has become an
ideal spot for confluence of cultures exotic and alien. Varkala also houses a
leading pilgrim centre in Kerala. The temple, dedicated to Vishnu and Hanuman,
atop the hill has brought a sobriquet for the region, Southern Kasi (Benares).
Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the inner sanctum but can hang around the
Sivagiri. Sree Narayana Guru (1855-1928),
saint, social reformer, philosopher and leader of Ezhava community, made
Varkala his headquarters. Sivagiri mutt, instituted by Sree Narayana Guru, is
another major pilgrim centre here.
The 'Sivagiri Pilgrimage'
is usually conducted between 30th December and 1st January every year. The
Sivagiri Mutt - a religious retreat was founded by Sree Narayana Guru (1856 -
1928) the renowned philosopher and social reformer of modern Kerala. Even
decades after the Guru breathed his last here in 1928, his Samadhi (resting
place) continues to be thronged by thousands of pilgrims. The Sivagiri Mutt is
also the headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham, a religious
organization established by the Guru to propagate his concept of 'One Caste,
One Religion, One God'.
Edava Beach: Beautiful and serene beaches where you
can bask in the sun and salubrious climate. In fact Edava beaches are yet to be
explored by the tourists. If you go further towards Kappil you will find blue
lagoon, where sea and backwaters running parallel divided by a more-than-one km
of straight road. There is also an estuary that connect the sea with the
Varkala Tunnel. Built by the British in 1880.