What to do in Varkala?
March 1, 2019
by Hanne Nousiainen
Varkala is an Indian city, which is located in Kerala state in Southern India. The city is situated about 50 kilometers to the northwest from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, or more easily Trivandrum.
Best time to travel Varkala is from October to February. And this period of time can be considered as high season. If warm weather is something that you enjoy, you should know that monsoon in Varkala starts in June. So, even after February, there is plenty of sunshine that the place has to offer, the only difference is, that the weather is going to be hotter after February. Also, there is not going to be that many possibilities to shop or dine during the time of the low season.
I have spent the past five months in Varkala. And I want to share a few things that you can do while staying in here. Before you start to plan your holiday, you should know, that there are two cliffs in Varkala and this might play a significant role in your holiday. If you are seeking a relaxing and peaceful holiday, the South Cliff is probably a more appropriate place to stay with fewer restaurants and shops. If you enjoy having more people around and a place that is more happening then the North Cliff is probably a better option for you. Most of the hotels, restaurants and of course shopping possibilities, can be found at the North Cliff. Both Cliffs have their pro’s and con’s for sure, and the distance between them is not too bad, so whichever place you choose it is easy to move from one cliff to another. And if you ask me, I am giving my vote to the South Cliff, but that is just me.
If you are looking for a place to sunbathe or enjoy ocean activities, Varkala is the place for you. Unlike for example Goa, there aren’t any restaurants right there on the beaches in Varkala. And if you choose to sunbathe at the North Cliff side be aware that you need to “exercise” a little to get food or beverages in front of you. Meaning you get to enjoy those few steps up to the Cliff from the beach.
Papanasham Beach, also known as Varkala Beach, is a beach which is located down from the Varkala Cliffs. The word Papanasham means to wash away sins. It is believed that if you take a dip in the waters of Papanasham Beach it washes away all the sins in your life. Beach is spread down from the North and South Cliffs. All and all since the North Cliff is a more happening place you’ll find more people on the North side of the beach. On the South side, you can find a Hindu Temple called Bali Mandapam. And the beach just goes further to the south from here. The current on Varkala beach is a little bit rough so that is something to be aware of.
More peaceful beach, the Black Beach, can be found from the north, about 1 kilometer away from the North Cliff side of Varkala beach. It is easy to reach this beach by foot from the North Cliff and enjoy a nice ocean view on the way. The current on the Black beach might also be a little bit more settled than on Varkala beach.
A little bit more to the north from Black beach is Edava Beach. It is located about 2 kilometers to the north from the Black beach. In case you fancy for a little longer walk from the North Cliff or from the Black Beach, you can just walk to Edava beach or grab a rickshaw on the way.
In general, all these beaches and of course the Cliffs, are just perfect places to spot the most amazing sunsets in Varkala. And those are something that you should not miss!
Even though laying on the beach is nice, it might not be the only thing you want to do while holidaying in Varkala. If you love the sun and the ocean, Varkala might be just the place, where you would start surfing or improving your surfing skills. One of the first surfing schools in Varkala is Soul & Surf, which is located on the South Cliff. I also tried surfing for the first time with them. As a side note, I didn’t become a surfer, but for sure I might try that again at some point. There are, of course, other places that offer surfing lessons as well, and just by walking at the North Cliff and looking and asking around, you surely are able to find just the right place for you. And next just hit the ocean and enjoy the waves.
Now, what would holiday in India be without yoga? Whether you are a beginner, or already familiar with yoga, Varkala is a great place to practice. Most of the hotels are offering yoga classes, so it really shouldn’t be difficult to find a place where to practice. At the south side, my recommendation for a place to practice yoga goes to Soul & Surf. On the north side, you can find many places, so it is certain, that you are able to find a place which is just right. During the high season, there is also the possibility to attend one of the beach yoga classes and those are mostly free classes. There are also a number of yoga schools in Varkala, in case you want to deepen your knowledge in yoga and become a yoga teacher. Finding the place might be challenging, and my advice is, to pick a place that resonates with you the best. And you will surely know which place is right for you.
Now I have to repeat myself, but what would India be without Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a system of natural healing and its roots go as far as 5 000 years in the Vedic culture of India. Varkala is just the right place to get familiar with Ayurveda. Just like yoga, there are lots of possibilities you can choose from, especially at the North Cliff. Picking up the right place for Ayurveda might be the biggest challenge. Whether you are into just one massage session or treatment package, you might want to check out the place called Ayursoul, which be can found on the way to the helipad at North Cliff.
Here it is, four main topics for things to do while holidaying in Varkala. There are also, of course, many more options around Varkala when going a little bit further from the Cliffs. Now might be the time for you to start planning your holiday.