Varkala Beaches: It was as a part of my long journey to Rameswaram, that I set foot on the lovely lands of Varkala. The road trip from Kochi to Varkala, was entirely gratifying for me and my friend. We drove along coastal roads. With all those lovely beaches playing hide and seek with us all the way, it was a wonderful experience. The close of the day brought us to a magnificent resort settled in the lap of nature. Next day was to treat us to more.
If you haven’t read about our road trip until Kochi, please check it out here.
Abode amidst nature
This is how I would describe the ‘Marine Palace Resort,’ which was our home in Varkala, for a day. The exquisite place was just a stone’s throw from the Papanasham beach, the most famous among Varkala beaches. Lush greenery covered the resort on all sides. Monsoon is the slack season in Varkala, and guess what? There was not a soul in the entire place except us, and of course the staff. I failed to understand why it was called an ‘off-season.’ For me, nothing was ‘off.’ The caressing of raindrops, soothing of winds, and music played by oceans, what more do you need for a blissful evening? And when I slept, crickets sang lullabies for me, surely a luxury for a resident of urban jungles!
Early morning stroll in Papanasham beach
I had planned to wake up before the sun. But it was the first sun rays that woke me up from my deep slumber. I hurried to the beach, wondering whether I had missed the beauty of early morning. Varkala beaches are known for their serene atmosphere. Papanasham is a place where Hindus perform rituals for their ancestors. It is also believed that taking a dip in the waters of Papanasham will rid you of all your sins. I saw many people on the shores, paying homage to their departed souls, and priests guiding them through the process. Apart from those small groups, the beach was almost deserted, which suited me all the more.
Sun was still timid, waiting to take its fierce form, breeze was cool, and I was relaxed. Early mornings have such a calming effect on your senses, especially if you have tranquil nature accompanying you! There was a small stream on the shores, which giggled and gurgled as it joined the mighty ocean. It reminded me of some old movie. As I strolled forward, I saw some fishermen mending their fishing nets. What was a perfect relaxation for me, was a means of livelihood for them!
What makes Varkala beaches stand a notch above the rest of Kerala beaches, is the beauty of cliffs adorning the shores. I had heard of this before, but to be honest, I had not expected such loveliness. Reaching the cliff-side, I was guided by a passer-by, to a set of stone steps going up. Climb these, cross over, and go to the ‘Black beach’ on the other side, he said. I followed his advice and took the steps.
I was spellbound by the magnificent views from top of the cliff. Ocean looks inviting when seen from close, but from far above, it looks simply majestic, and even a little intimidating. The path on the cliff was lined with restaurants, which provided local sea food. There were some fantastic resorts too. A place to enjoy the local delicacies, soaking in the poetic beauty around. This was surely one of the places to visit in Varkala that I would strongly recommend to anyone.
The tiny black beauty
As I descended the stairs on the other side, a tiny beach welcomed me. This was the ‘Black beach.’ The beach was small, but pretty, with lines of coconut trees on its shores. I came to know that this was a place where families enjoyed picnics and baths in the peak season. A plan formed in my mind to make the next trip to Varkala beaches, with my family. Kids would love the place.
sands. Out of curiosity, I scraped off a little sand with my feet, and yes, deep down, it was black indeed. So that was how the beach got its name. Or it could have been from the black stones on the shore, I am still not sure. There were some boys trying to catch fish with a fishing rod. Every time the waves brought back their bait, they threw it back into the ocean. Their relentless efforts amused and inspired me.
I would have loved to spend an entire day enjoying Varkala beaches, but I had to move to my next destination, which was the capital city, Trivandrum. Dragging my lazy feet that refused to leave the place, I moved on.
Other places to visit in Varkala
Varkala beaches were not the only attractions there. Though time constraints stopped me, I am listing them here, so that you make the most out of your trip.
Mayyanad also has a lovely beach, and is close to Varkala beaches. A half hour’s drive from Varkala will take you there. Lakshmipuram in Mayyanad has facilities for kayaking and canoeing too.
This tiny slice of heaven is located in the Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam district. Though not very close to Varkala, Munroe Island will be a totally different experience. Hop on to a boat and cruise along tiny canals, to enjoy the views of rustic Kerala.
This is one of the most holy places to visit in Varkala. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is an architectural marvel, and also a spiritual sanctum. A temple so old that the date of construction is unknown, is really worth a visit.
Varkala Light House
Built in the British era, the light house in Varkala is the perfect place for enjoying endless panoramic views. This is very close to Varkala beaches, and provides picture-postcard views of the Arabian Sea.
Located close to the light house, this fort is another remnant of the British reign. The fort offers commanding ocean views, and is neatly kept. Though the fort is not very huge, it is a lovely picnic spot.
If you love to see the sea creatures, this aquarium can be included in your list. It has a collection of rare and exotic species of aquatic animals.
This is comparatively lesser known, among Varkala beaches. Kappil is a beach-cum-backwater destination. Beach on one side, and backwater on the other. Enjoy the waves, and placid waters, in one go.
Paragliding deserves a mention, as it is one of the popular tourist activities in Varkala. It is conducted only in peak seasons. Imagine the fun flying from over the cliffs, above the enormous ocean! But only for the adventure-crazy.
So this was all about Varkala. More of my travel diaries coming up soon.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com