South India, Kerala (God’s Own Country), Varkala beach, one of the Top 10 beaches in India, rated 3rd place by Tourists, and one of the First 30 Tour Destinations in the Planet, rated 28th place among the 100 top ‘Best Value Index’ around the globe.
The main beach is Papanasam beach. The word Papanasam means washing away sins. The legend says, that to take a dip in the waters of Papanasam Beach washes away all the sins in one’s life.
Shakti Home is located 5 min. walking distance from Papanasam beach, 10 min by rickshaw from Varkala town and 20 min from the picturesque Backwaters.
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For Accommodation, please click here.
HOW TO GET THERE
For information about how to travel to Varkala, please click here.
TIPS TO TRAVEL TO INDIA
For information about how to Travel to the Mother India, please click here.
Welcome to South India, Kerala state, “God’s Own Country”, Varkala city!
First of all, even though many people expect India to be a third world country, that there are cities in India that are highly developed, and not all that different to some of the cities in the Western World. There are also places that are very traditional and other villages which are not yet developed at all.
India is a big, passionate country with more than 5000 years of cultural history, and ancient practices, with many contrasts, cultures and religions. In Varkala city, as well as in many other cities in India, you can find Hindu Temples, Muslim Mosques and Catholic Churches, depending on which village you visit. If you go to North India, you can find larger numbers of Buddhist Temples.
In most touristic places, you can easily find restaurants and resorts with free wi-fi and Western, Tibetan, Thai and Indian food restaurants.
Amazing, right? India is a beautiful place that is worth visiting at least once in your life.
In Varkala in general, and in Shiva Garden Home Stay, we have guests that return every year, to stay during the season time, (6 months, from September/October to March/April) just to enjoy life in Varkala.
Kerala State, kindly known as “God’s Own Country“, is located in the South West coast of India, and is the birth place of Ayurveda, Yoga, Kailari, Kathakali dance and other Ancient spiritual practices.
The language spoken is Malayalam, with approximately 56 letters. In each state of India you can find a different language with a different alphabet. Mostly they come from the root of Sanskrit, originally from the state of Tamilnadu, just next to Kerala, in the South East coast of India.
Varkala is a touristic beach town in South India, located along the coast of the Arabian Sea, in the state of Kerala, 50 km north of Trivandrum, (the nearest airport), and is home of the popular Papanasam Beach.
Papanasam beach means to “wash away sins”. It is believed that a dip in the waters of Papanasam Beach washes away all the sins in one’s life.
The tropical beaches around this area are beautiful and if you’re looking for a cheap holiday, Varkala should definitely be on your list. At the main beaches you can find Lifeguards and signs with the best spots to go out to the sea. Papanasam Beach is cleaned every morning by the staff of the Kerala Department of Tourism. Here you can find umbrellas, beach beds, surf and body boards to rent. At the beach you can also find people selling fruits, chai (black coffee with milk), accessories and drums.
Our Home Stay, Shakti Home, open since 2018, is located 5 min. walking distance from the main beach, called Papanasam Beach, located along the North Cliff.
Varkala is quite a recent place to visit in India and has only been developed as a tourist destination since around 1985. Slowly “North Cliff” of Varkala Beach became developed for tourists. There is a promenade built by the Department of Tourism, which allows a scenic walk for about 1h30 heading North, passing Odayam beach, until the famous Kappil beach, were the backwaters meet the sea. Often in high season, during the morning time, you can see dolphins around the coast, specially in the more peaceful beaches like Black Beach, Odayam beach, until Kapphil Beach.
The Samadhi (funeral monument) of Kerala’s saint Sree Narayana Guru is situated in Varkala, and hence has become a place of pilgrimage. Sree Narayana Guru created a big social revolution in Varkala, and in Kerala. He was a close friend to Gandhi.
Varkala city is known as the “Varanasi” of South India, because of the many Temples that you can find here, and highly spiritual Energy. The oldest temple is Janardanaswamy Temple, which is 2000 years old.
Many people that are in processes of spiritual, inner & life changes, feel attracted to come to India, and, specifically, to Varkala. If you are in a Life Change Moment, this is one of those special places for you to come.
Varkala is a paradise for those who search for healing and answers for their life. Every season you can find therapists, teachers and healers from several esoteric and alternative healing areas.
For the ones who enjoy sports, you can find Surfing, Stand Up Paddle (SUP), Para-pent, running, badminton, volleyball and football (on the beach).
A good amount of hot spots, courses, classes, activities and therapies are available during the season time.
Here you can find many different kinds of therapies and activities, beaches to explore and long beautiful path walks along the sea side and cliffs.
It is an inspiring place for artists like painters, photographers, poets and writers.
In the off season it’s mellow and relaxed. It’s the ideal time to embark on long term Ayurvedic treatments (7, 14, 21 and 30 days Panchakarma), sleep and chill out.
After 26th of December Varkala gets really busy and the prices start going up until the end of February, when it starts to quieten down.
During the New Year period, Varkala is absolutely full of people and full of high vibrations.
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 spas on the sides of these cliffs.
BEST TIMES TO COME TO VARKALA
If you want to enjoy the beach, the best time to come to Varkala, is in the high season, between December and March when the main beach in North Cliff extends out all around the cliff face for 500 meters, the weather is warm, calm and pleasant and the sea waters are warm. In this season, between 6h30 and 11h am, it is possible to see dolphins along the coast, especially around Odayam Beach (20 min. walk from the main Papanasam beach).
September and October are the mid season time, and is also an excellent time to come. The weather is pleasant, from September you can enjoy the beach in Black Beach.
Between April and middle of May it’s the mid season, in this time, the weather is hot.
From the middle of May until around middle of July is the low season, with monsoon time. Every year is different, sometimes it rains all June and July is good weather, sometimes it rains for two months, sometimes it rains at night and during the day is good weather. If you would like to come in this time, we suggest that you check about the weather here, or contact us directly.
In November in the mid season, there is a second monsoon time, (less rainy than in June), with a mix of short rains and sun. In general, the weather is good.
December to March, High season, excellent weather and beach.
April & May, low season, hot weather., beach is good until 15th May.
June, July, off season, Monsoon time with a lots of tropical rains*, no beach**, min temperature: 15°c.
August to October mid season, good weather and beach.
- In November there is the second monsoon, which is smaller and lighter than in Jun/July. Often rains during the night and in the day time the sun is shining.
* The rain changes each year, some years it rains for one or two months in a row, some years, we have sunny weather and the rain comes on and off, sometimes it rains during the night, and during the day it is sunny.
** In off season we have two good choices of swimming pools just next door to Shiva Garden, that you can use paying fee of 200 or 300 Inr, depending on the resort, and quality of the pool.
To see the weather in Varkala, please click here.
THINGS YOU CAN DO
Surf, Para-gliding; Stand Up Paddle (SUP), Flute Classes, Indian Cooking Classes, Vedic Astrology, Play Cricket, Volleyball or Football on the beach most days from 4 pm. See who’s about and ask for a game;
Daily Evening shows of the traditional Temple Dance Drama of Kerala – KATHAKALI. ( north Cliff near Clafouti and Thanal Beach Resort in the Varkala Culture Centre) Entrance fee around 250 Inr, which includes the Make-up from 5pm – 6:45 and the show from 6:45 – 8:15pm.
RESTAURANTS & SHOPS
There are many restaurants in the Cliff. Most of them are open from August to April.
Enjoy the magical sunset view from the restaurants, try the fresh fish or seafood. Seafood is caught by local fishermen and displayed in front of many restaurants. Select your food, have it prepared in the tandoori (local barbecue).
If there is a storm, it is also quite spectacular to sit in a restaurant at night time, and watch the lightnings across the sea.
Most restaurants in the Cliff, offer free WI-FI connection and serve Indian, Kerala, Thai, Italian and Western food.
In North Cliff:
Shiva Garden Kerala Restaurant – Traditional Kerala food. “Traditional Kerala Thali everyday”. Vegetarian and non-veg restaurant. Open all year.
- ABBA, the food and service are excellent, open during the season time.
Cafe del Mar, the food is good, open all year.
Cafe Italiano Open all year.
Coffee Temple, open in the season time, always with a good ambiance and excellent breakfasts.
Marina Bay, the food is good, open in season time.
Rock n Roll Cafe Open in the season time, all day and night, with regular live music. Located on the Cliff towards the black beach. Its one of the night popular spots. TV Screen is available to see International football matches.
In Varkala City:
- Dwaraka Hotel offers excellent local and cheap food, and the service is fast and good.
- Hotel Suprabhatham, offers vegetarian food, and is the only 100% veg restaurant in the city.
- Reena Bakers serves pastries and cakes.
Numerous small shops line the cliff-top, selling both local and touristy attire.
For Crystals we recommend the Tibetan shop Wind Horse.
For Tatoos and ArtWork we recommend the artist Tenzin Khechok, in the Tibetan Karma Shop.
In the Cliff and near areas you can find small supermarkets with all the essential things.
In Varkala city, 8 kms from North Cliff, you can find the biggest supermarket, “Kollam Store”, where you can find practically all kinds of things for the house and cooking, both Indian and Western.
Stavyah Lifecare Centre,Varkala. T: +91 470 6453636, 2607766 ( S U T Medical College Urban Health Centre,Varkala );
Sree Narayana Medical Mission Hospital;
Varkala Government Hospital;
Government Ayurvedic Hospital;
Mangala Medical Mission hospital.
GET AROUND & VISIT IN VARKALA
Backwaters Tour in the poetic and romantic backwaters landscapes;
The town of Varkala is about 5 km inland, centered around the train station, and can be reached via auto-rickshaw for around 90 INR.
The resort area lies along two Cliffs, North and South, overlooking the beach areas.
The main Papanasam beach is between North and South Cliff, while less crowded Black Beach and Odayam beach are more north.
This entire area is easily accessible by walking or cycling the fine sidewalk along the cliff edges.
From Varkala to Anjengo, towards South, there are many deserted beautiful beaches, still to explore.
Nature Care Centre. Papanasam beach;
Varkala Tunnel. Built by the British in 1880;
Fishing Hamlets of Anjengo and its British Fort;
Coir Processing Centers. In the Backwaters of Akathumuri, Kadakkavur;
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 the 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 backwaters here;
Shree Janardhana Swamy Temple 2000 years old. Varkala has been a Hindu pilgrimage site since the 12th Century. The Janardhana Temple was built during this period and many Hindus still visit Varkala to this day, for this very reason;
The Varkala sands, have become an ideal spot for confluence of cultures. Varkala also houses a leading pilgrim center in Kerala.
The temple, dedicated to Vishnu and Hanuman, on the top of the hill has brought abundance of visitors for the region.
Sivagiri, Sree Narayana Guru, saint, social reformer, philosopher and leader of Ezhava community, made Varkala his headquarters. Sivagiri temple, instituted by Sree Narayana Guru, is another major pilgrim center here;
Sree Narayana Guru (1855-1928), was Gandhi’s friend, and lived in the same time of other Saints known in India, as Sivananda and Yogananda, the Yogi Gurus. He created a Social Revolution in Kerala, (starting from Varkala), by giving human rights to women, and teaching people to accept the other ones casts and religions, and bringing to the people a more profound spiritual knowledge and human rights for everyone.
- 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, the renowned philosopher and social reformer of modern Kerala. Even decades after the Guru breathed his last breath, 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’.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KERALA
Kollam – about an hour north by taxi, 20 min. by train, an easy half-day trip to take a boat ride on the backwaters. Visit Amma Ashram;
Kottayam– about two hours by frequent train, with backwaters and Kumarakom bird sanctuary;
Alleppy– a beach and backwaters place in Kerala, north of Varkala, with houseboats, snake boat races (in August). Allepy is the Venice of South India. From Varkala, 3 hours by Train. 2 days there is enough. We recommend the House Boat experience (24 hours);
Cochi – A city in north of Kerala, with a strong Portuguese, British and other cultures influence. At Fort Cochi, you can find the Chinese Fishing Nets on the Port, head to Kashi Cafe, an art cafe and enjoy the variety of monuments around this area. 3 days is enough to see all this area. 4h by train from Varkala;
Kumily – A beautiful Hills area, located in the north interior of Kerala. Watch every day the Kalari shows (Kerala ancient martial art), elephant ride on the mountain, tea plantations, spices tour, High point views, jungle trips, walks in the forest, watching the monkeys, wild pigs and much more. Here, you can easily stay at least 5 days.