Varkala is an attractive beach destination in Kerala and it's the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. This tertiary sedimentary formation cliff is a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formations and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are numerous water sports and Spas on the sides of these cliffs.

The cliff has lot of small shops that stretches over a kilometer. The black part of the sand on the Varkala Beach contains Thorium-oxide which is a radioactive substance. Thorium and Thorium-oxide and its isotopes are found all over Kerala and can be identified by its black color. Radiation levels are proven too low for danger to tourists.

Sightseeing Places

Varkala Beach

Varkala Beach is a wonderful destination for those who love sun-bathing and swimming. If you ever come to Varkala, it important that you experience the sunset as it is a memorable experience.

Papanasam beach or Cremation center

A part of Varkala beach is known as the Papanasam beach and is being referred to as a cremation center in the South. Papanasam beach has been used to scatter the ashes of their cremated dead relatives into the sea. Devotees believe that the strong religious properties of the water will extend to the souls of their most recently departed. Despite this burial activity, the sea is popular with swimmers both locals and foreign tourists.

Janardanaswamy temple

Janardana Swami Temple is a very important Vaishnavite (People who follow Vishnu) shrine and attracts thousands of pilgrims. The temple is about 2000 years old it is facing the Papasnanam beach where devotees take a bath in the belief that the sacred waters will wash away their sins. A large bell washed up from the wreck of a Dutch merchant vessel is kept on display at the temple.

Shivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt is a famous ashram in Varkala, founded by the philosopher and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. His tomb is also located here. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days (30 December to 1 January). The Sivagiri Mutt was built in 1904, is situated at the top of the Sivagiri hill near Varkala. Even decades after the guru breathed his last here in 1928; his samadhi continues to be thronged by thousands of devotees, donned in yellow attire, from different parts of Kerala and outside every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days.

Sarkara Devi temple

Sakara devi temple is another import temple dedicated to goddess Parvathi, is 15 km from Varkala. She is also known as Badrakali and the Kaliyoot festival celebrated in the month of March is a notable one.

Important festivals

Onam festival Starting between end of August and mid-September
Temple Arattu In March or in April
Aranmula snake boat race In September
Ganesh Chaturti In September
Thirupunithura Athachamayam In September
Champakulam boat race In June


Airport The nearest international airport is in Trivandrum, 47 km from Varkala.
Train Varkala has a rail head and is just a 15 minutes journey.
Weather It is sunny most of the months and rainfall expected in May, June and July. The winter starts in November and ends in February.