After Allappey, my next stop was Varkala. Varkala is a coastal town in the Thiruvananthapuram district. There aren’t many buses to this place so travelers will need to know about bus timings before traveling here. Some trains stop at the Varkala station but some don’t. There are many taxis that do take you to Varkala. I took a Thiruvananthapuram bound bus from Allappey at 11 in the morning. I got off the bus at a place called Kallambalam, and then took another bus to Varkala which is 11 KM from there. Varkala is a small town, and the best way to explore Varkala is on a Honda Activa. But you would prefer walking too. Make sure the vehicle you hire is in a good condition.
The Varkala Beach is also known as Papanasanam Beach as it washes away sins. People cremate their dead relatives and scatter their ashes in some part of the beach. Varkala is also known for its temples too. If you have time for some local culture, pilgrimage, make time to visit the 2000 year old Janardhan Swamy temple. People also call it the ‘Dakshin Kashi’. The temple has a bell donated by a Dutch captain from his ship after it was shipwrecked but without causing casualties. Best to look up places to visit on Lonely Planet before venturing out here, even otherwise people are happy to suggest places to you.
The Varkala cliff. The Varkala beach contains Thorium oxide.
‘The Varkala Formation’ as known by geologists because of the sedimentary formation on the cliff
This promenade overlooking the beach on the top of the cliff has many restaurants, souvenir shops, Ayurveda spa’s, and cafe’s.
Before you leave Varkala try ‘God’s Own Country Kitchen’. They have a cool vibe. They claim they have the best fish in town, and they are right. I had two great dinners here. They may take a longer time to serve you that’s because I found them better cooked than the one’s I tried in other restaurants. The second time I was here, I came here with some friends that I made in the hotel I stayed.
If you come here in the afternoon, maybe you may spot few dolphins at the sea. Besides there is live music in the evening every alternate days. There are many other restaurants that are as good as this one. A Kerala woman and her English husband run Coffee Temple, a nice, quaint by the cliff. They have brilliant coffees, teas, and other assortments. Great people to talk to. So have a listen to them. They are glad to talk to you if they don’t have many customers.