Ranked as one of the "Top 10 Seasonal Beaches in the World" by the Discovery Channel, Varkala Beach, aka Papanasam Beach, is a calm and quiet settlement, situated 51 km of the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. The beach is considered to be a delight for swimmers and sunbathers. And the dazzling scenery of the sun rising from beyond and immersing into the sea is sure to please the senses of the gazers. Varkala, besides hosting this spectacular beach, is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage since it is a belief that a dip in its water purges the body of all impurities and sins. Located nearby is the Janardhanaswamy Temple, a 2000-year old shrine that stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach. The Sivagiri Mutt founded by the great Hindu reformer and Philosopher Sree Narayana Guru is also situated close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru at Varkala attracts thousands of devotees every year.
Varkala has several other places of tourist interest like Anjengo Fort and lighthouse with historical relevance of British East India Company's first settlement in 1648 AD. The construction of the fort was started by the Dutch in mid 17th century but was completed by Britishers. Another amazing attraction is the 5 meter long Varkala tunnel built in 1880. Until 50 years ago, the tunnel was navigable and connected Trivandrum with Tirur. However, today, only some parts are accessible but are a good place to explore. Just 8 km off Varkala, is the Ponnumthuruthu Island, meaning Golden Island, which is home to rare migratory birds, offering you to spend ideal time in the nature's vicinity at its best. Varkala provides excellent accommodation and other related facilities for tourists. It is rapidly growing as a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centers. The nearest railway station is Varkala Sivagiri Railway Station, while the nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, nearly 55 km away.
The Varkala beach is situated on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala.