Varkala Beach

Varkala Beach or Papanasam beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming. It is one of the most popular tourism destination in Kerala. The evening views of the sunset are worth lingering over. The cliff and the beach houses a lot of resorts, restaurants and other shops. The cliff has a long stretch of small shops which goes on for 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 colour.

This beautiful beach destination is been ranked as one of the 10 top seasonal beaches in the world by Discovery Channel.


Sections of Varkala Beach (Papanasam Beach) are used by Indians to scatter the ashes of their cremated dead relatives into the sea.The word Papanasam means wash away sins. 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.

Mineral Water springs

The mineral springs seen gushing out near the Varkala Beach is believed to have medicinal properties. Many people come to clear there ailments by drinking and bathing in the waters of the spring.


Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea.These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are lot of shops,restaurants and resorts on the sides of these cliffs.

Try the fresh fish or seafood from any number of the cliff-top restaurants. Seafood is caught by local fishermen and displayed in front of many restaurants. Select your food, have it prepared in the tandoor and enjoy the sunset while you dine.You can also enjoy north indian, chinese, arabic,italian, spanish, thai, mexican, russian and traditional kerala foods.

Massage Parlours

Scores of ayurvedic massage parlours line the promenade above the beach.

Varkala Tunnel

Backwaters of Kerala supported a much efficient transport system during the earlier times. It was through the network of backwaters that the goods have been transported from the north to the south of Kerala. Varkala was the southernmost part of this canal system. The travellers had to get down at Varkala and then walk a short distance in order to resume the travel through the backwaters which led to Thiruvananthapuram.  It was in order to overcome this difficulty, the British decided to construct a tunnel in Varkala in 19th century.

The project took almost 14 years to complete. It began in 1867 under the supervision of Travancore Diwan Sir. T Mahadeva Rao and was completed only in 1880, at the time of Diwan Sheshaya Sasthri.

The construction of tunnel was one of the major development works not only of Travancore but also of the entire Kerala during that period. It consists of two tunnels. The first was completed in 1877 while the second was completed in 1880. The first one has about 2370 ft while the second one has 1140 feet length.

Once the construction work had been completed, the tunnel was extensively used for ferrying of several kinds of goods. It was a major achievement as with its construction, water transportation from Tirur (of Malabar) to Trivandrum became a reality.

With the advent of advanced transportation methods through road, rail and sky, the transportation through Varkala tunnel has almost become negligible.

Kappil Lake

About 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) north of Varkala town is the serene and scenic Kappil Lake. Bordered with coconut groves and trees this tranquil estuary roves gracefully and merges into the Arabian Sea. Get on the bridge that is built across the lake and you will get the most fascinating view of the lake pacing toward the blue horizon. The more adventurous can go for boating to enjoy the beauty of this lake. The Department of Tourism has arranged a boat club from where one can hire pedal boats which is another way to browse this tranquil waterway. The serene atmosphere here, without the hullabaloo of town or a crowded tourist spot, is sure to calm your nerves.

Kappil beach is the meeting point of Kappil Lake and Arabian Sea. It is a secluded, rocky stretch lacing a grey sea. If you are a shutterbug don’t forget to take your camera; wherever you turn your camera a captivating frame is a sure result. You can visit Vettekkada beach as it is very near to this spot.

Anjengo Fort & Light house

Anjengo (Anjathengu as pronounced locally) is a fishing village. It was the part of the territory of Attungal Rani’s principality in the 17th century which later was merged with state of Travancore.

Anjengo Fort is a fort situated 12 km from varkala. It is a place of historic importance as well as beautiful natural setting, Anjengo is an ideal destination for those who don't mind walking around and explore what is in store.The historic significance tagged to Anjengo comes through foreign powers like the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the English East India Company. In the year 1684, the English East India Company chose Anjengo to establish their first trade settlement in Kerala. At Anjengo, one can find the remnants of the old English Fort, which was targeted several times by other foreign powers, who were at that time fighting each other to get a firm footing in Kerala. The Fort is now under the protection of National Heritage Monuments. There is also a cemetery inside the fort, which most probably would be having the remains of the occupants of the fort, and the oldest among the burial sites dates to 1704. The beautiful Muthalapuzhi lake is situated in Anjengo.

The  Lighthouse is situated very close to the fort.There is no evidence of any conventional aid to navigation existing prior to the present Lighthouse. It appears that in the beginning of 18th century, one of the round columns of the fort on sea side must have been in use for placing lantern whenever the vessel was expected to call.,+Varkala,+Kerala.jpg

Ponnumthuruthu Island

A delightful getaway surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters, this uninhabited isle is accessible by boat from the makeshift jetty at the nearby Nedunganda Village. A 100-year-old Shiva-Parvathi Temple, rebuilt a decade ago, is also situated here. Ponnumthuruthu Island is just 20 km away from Varkala, the famous tourist destination in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.The Ponnumthuruthu Island is located 12 kilometers south of Varkala.

Attingal Palace

The Attingal Palace had an important role in the history of Kerala. It played a significant role in the growth of the Tranvancore Dynasty.
The Attingal Palace gained prominence in the 14th century when Udaya Marthanda Varma ascended the throne of Travancore. He adopted two princesses from the royal family of the Kolathiris of North Malabar. A palace for each one of them was built by the king at Attingal and Kunnummel.

The palace witnessed the first ever united rebellion against the British. The first uprising took place on April 15, 1721. A British contingent comprising 140 men were killed. It triggered off a series of insurrections.

The walls of the palace are adorned with some of the most beautiful murals. The main edifice of the palace is now under the control of the Devaswom Board.