, or Papanasham beach
, is a gorgeous coast in the south of Kerala. From God’s own state, Varkala is known to be one of the favorite destinations for backpackers. This town is around 40 km North to Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. It is also a famous spot for international tourists. But it wasn’t always this well known and only gained popularity in the past few years. It is especially known for its cliff beaches, which one isn’t likely to come across everywhere. These cliffs are known as the Varkala / Varkali formation and it is said that they date back to the Cenozoic age, which is around 66 million years ago, which is when that era began. These cliffs are really important from the geological perspective, which is why this place is also a UNESCO Geo-heritage site, and this is the only place in Kerala where you will find these formations. Varkala is called as the Banaras, or Kashi of the South.
The main attraction in Varkala is its magnificent beaches, and rightly so. Besides for the famous cliff beaches, numerous other beaches here are just as amazing. There is a stretch of around 4-5 hours of beach, where you start off at the Varkala cliff and you start walking towards the right side. Here, you will come across a beach with entirely black sand. This one of the most unique beaches you will ever come across. This is called the Black beach. Next is the Odayam beach where there are mostly locals around. Further along, there is Edava beach which is known for its fishing culture. At the end of the stretch is the Kapil beach. If one is into walking and exploring places on foot, this is one outing you will definitely enjoy thoroughly. It can also be done by a drive, and the views from the car are just as beautiful.
The Varkala cliff is divided into two parts, the South and North. The North side of the cliff is more habituated and popular than the South side. If you are looking for more peaceful and buzz-free stay, chose the south side of the cliff. The home stays and resorts both offer phenomenal views of the beaches. The Varkala cliff beach has become recently popular in just a handful of years. This cliff beach is actually extremely popular for surfing in India. You will come across everyone, from amateurs to professionals surfing along the Varkala cliff beach. Surfing crash courses are also a thing you can do here. Another popular activity that is seen here on a large scale is beach yoga. This is seldom seen anywhere in our country, apart from places like Mysore. Paragliding is also something you can definitely do here.
There are some really interesting legends associated with Varkala. An interesting historical anecdote is about Sage Narada or Naradmuni, who was approached by 9 pilgrims / parajapathis who wanted to red themselves off their sins. So, what Narada did was, he dropped his upper garment which is called as a Varkalam, on earth and told those pilgrims to go and pray there & achieve their redemption. Since then, this beautiful place came to be known as Varkala. Another interesting fact is that Papanasham actually means washing off ones sins. So both names are linked to this one story.
This was a little about Varkala, one of the most unique and brilliant coasts in India. I absolutely love this place and is one of my favorite coastal destinations in India. I hope you enjoyed this article, do comment down below if you did! Also let us know what your favorite vacation spot is.
- Kinjal Dixit