VARKALA:(45Km from Thiruvananthapuram,2hrs)A seaside destination ,red laterite cliffs rise majestically from its coastline. The famed Papanasham beach, believed to wash away all sins, is a paradise for those who worship the sun, sand and the surf. Serene backwaters, natural mineral springs and secluded coves make this place really special. Sivagiri Mutt and the nature cure centre are the other main attractions here .A century-old tunnel is yet another landmark.
IN AND AROUND VARKALA:
ANJENGO FORT: (20 km south of varkala) Originally built by the Portuguese as a depot to store merchandise, it was converted into a fort by the british. Sandwiched between the sea and the backwaters, the fort premises shelter ancient tombstones and a garden.
PAPANASHAM BEACH(10minutes from varkala)This serenely beautiful destination along india’s western coast is an important hindu pilgrimage centre .A dip in the papanasham sea is considered holy. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his Valkkalam (cloth made from the bark of a tree) in to the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption came to be known as the papanasham beach (papanasham means redemption from sins).This calm and secluded beach is much-loved by tourists.A remarkable feature here is the long stretch of red laterite cliffs fringing the beach. The cliff-top is an ideal place to watch the spectacular sunset .A natural spring, said to have curative properties, originates from the cliff.
PONNUMTHURUTHU ISLAND :(20km from varkala)A delightful getaway surrounded by the anjengo backwaters, this uninhabited isle is accessible by boat from the make shift jetty at the near by Nedunganda village. A 100-year-oldsiva-parvathi temple, rebuilt a decade back, is situated here and the entire island is temple property.
SIVAGIRI MUTT:200acers of sanctified land, this is the final resting place of the most eminent leader, saint and social reformer of kerala , Sree Narayana guru. SNDP (Sree Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana Yogam)the organization he founded for the upliftment of backward classes, is headquartered here. The mahasamadhi of the revered guru is located on top of a hill rock. Further down is the Guru’s residence, where his humble belongings are kept on display. (open 0430-1200hrs,1630-1730hrs).ph:2602807, 2602455.
JANARDHANA SWAMY TEMPLE: Believed to be two thousand years old, the current structure dates back to the 12th century. The deity of this temple is lord Vishnu and hindu pilgrims come here to perform final rites for the deceased.(open 0400-1200hrs, 1700-2000hrs)ph:2607575.
THIRUVAMBADY BEACH(BLACK SAND BEACH:Calm and serene, this solitary beach is adjacent to the north cliff. This is an ideal place for those seeking peace and solitude and can be easily reached by climbing down the cliff or driving down a kilometer.
THE VARKALA KATHAKALI CENTRE: The centre near the north cliff organizes kathakali and Mohiniyattom performances in the evenings. Visitors can watch the make-up process of the artistes and a performance backed by English commentary.Timings:1700-2000hrs.ph:2603612
ATTRACTIONS OF VARKALA
KAPPILBEACH AND BACKWATERS:(53 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 8km north of varkala) A confluence of the sea, river and the backwater, this secluded, picturesque spot is worth visiting. The Priyadarshini boat Club here offers boating facilities.timings:1000hrs to 1800hrs.
Pedal boats:(4 seater):30 min:Rs.100.(2 seater)30min:Rs.60
Safari boats: 1hr.Rs.750, 40min.Rs.600, 20min.Rs.400
Speed boats: 30min.Rs.900, 10min.Rs.400
for details ,contact: Manager, Priyadarshini boat club.ph:91470-2662323
TELEPHONE ACCESS CODE: +91-470
AIR: Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram international airport (55km)
RAIL: Varkala has its own railway station. You can board a train from Thiruvananthapuram to Kollam or Kochi and get down here. However, you need to check if the particular train has a stop at Varkala.
ROAD: Varkala is nearer to Kollam (35km) and is on the NH 47 to Kallambalam junction via Pallipuram Attingal. It takes 1hr from kollam, 2 hrs from Thiruvananthapuram and 4hrs from Ernakulam.
VARKALA GOVERNMENT GUEST HOUSE: PH2602227
Telephone access code:+91-471
Air: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport(6km from the city)has over 30 air links with convenient connections to colombo , Maldives, Singapore and the middle east. Indian Airlines , jet airways and many major airlines operate domestic flights to different parts of the country.
Rail: There are direct trains from Thiruvananthapuram to all the main towns in kerala as well as the major cities in india. Railway enquiry ph: 139.
Road: Long distance buses operate from the Central Bus Station at Thampanoor, opposite the railway station. KSRTC ph: 2323886.Short distance buses operate from the city bus station ,East fort ph:2575495.Taxi fare: minimum charge Rs.250(Non A/C)and Rs.300(A/C):Rs.7 per running km(Non A/C) and Rs.8 per running km(A/C).Autorickshaw fare minimum charge Rs.12;Rs.7 per running km.
|Airport Authority of india||471-2501424.|
|Indian airlines, mascot jn||471-2316870, 2501537.|
|Jet airways, sasthamangalam||471-2721018.|
|Air india, Vellayambalam||471-2310310,2501426.|
|Oman Airways, Kowdiyar||471-2437017,18.|
|Kuwait Airways, Vellayambalam||471-2720013,2500434|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||471-2721321.|
|Qatar Airways||471 -3919091,391909|
Tourist information offiices:
|Tourist facilitation centre, department of tourism, park view||471 2321132|
|Tourist information centre, railway station Thampanoor||471 2334470|
|Tourist information centre,Domestic Airport||471 2501085|
|Tourist information centre,International Airport||471 2502298|
|Tourist facilitation centre,kovalam||471 2480085|
|Tourist reception centre,Thampanoor||471 2330031|
Hotel Mascot :471 2316736.
District tourism Promotion council