Is Varkala the next Goa in Kerala? Find the top attractions here
Imagine long stretches of laidback beaches, contrasts between adventure activities and serene waters, and the only place in the south of Kerala where vistas of the sea with adjacent cliffs greets your eyes. Yes, we are talking about Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram – often touted as the 'next Goa' by travel enthusiasts and tourists.
If you are looking for a beach destination in India that offers a mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure activities, you may want to consider Varkala for your next getaway. Many compare this coastal town in Kerala to Goa, the famous party hub of India, but with a more laidback and calming vibe. Varkala has something for everyone, whether you want to relax on the sandy shores, explore the ancient temples, or try some thrilling water sports.
So, what makes Varkala so special? Here are the top 5 attractions you should notice when you visit:
Want a hallowed turf to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, paragliding, or just watching the sunset from the beach – all to your heart's content? Then head to the famous Varkala Beach. Also known as Papanasam Beach, this is the main attraction of Varkala. The beach and surrounding cliffs offer stunning views of the Arabian Sea, while featuring a plethora of cafes and restaurants along the cliff where you can savour delicious seafood and local delicacies.
Janardhana Swamy Temple
If you want to tune into divinity, visiting one of the oldest temples in Kerala is a must. The Janardhana Swamy Temple in Varkala dates back to the 12th century and is said to have been built in dedication to Lord Vishnu. Many believe it to have healing powers which is why hundreds of pilgrims come here to perform rituals and offer prayers. The temple is also known for its architecture and sculptures that reflect the traditional Kerala style.
Varkala can also be a place for you to find inner peace and seek spirituality. The Sivagiri Mutt is an ashram dedicated to Sri Narayana Guru, a social reformer and spiritual leader who advocated for equality and justice for all. This ashram is a pilgrimage for his followers and a centre of learning and culture. You can visit the samadhi (tomb) of Sri Narayana Guru, the museum that displays his life and teachings, and experience the various festivals and events held here throughout the year.
Take a trip down the history route to visit Varkala's popular Anjengo Fort. The Portuguese built this historical fort in the 17th century and later, it came under the occupation of other nations, such as Holland and Britain. The fort is located on an island near Varkala and offers a glimpse into the colonial past of Kerala. You can see the old lighthouse, the cemetery, and the bastions that are still intact. The coconut groves and backwaters that surround the fort add to its almost old-world charm.
Where there is the sea, there is a vast array of marine life! Well, Varkala Aquarium is a must-visit for nature lovers and kids. The aquarium showcases a variety of marine life including fish, turtles, sharks, rays, and corals. You can also see some rare species that are endemic to Kerala. The aquarium has a spiral shape design that allows you to walk through different levels and observe the aquatic creatures from different angles.
Just a short drive from The Leela Kovalam, A Raviz Hotel, Varkala is the perfect alternative to a vacation in Goa. It has all the fun, frolic, and youthfulness of the popular Indian state with Kerala's charm, historical legacy, and cultural splendour. With the right accommodation at a 5-star property such as The Leela Kovalam, A Raviz Hotel, you can enjoy exceptional hospitality and curated experiences that might move you one step closer to Varkala and its natural beauty.