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Hotels of Varkala

A hotel in Varkala is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Varkala hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Varkala are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Varkala hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Varkala hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Varkala have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Varkala
An upscale full service hotel facility in Varkala that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Varkala hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Varkala
Full service Varkala hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Varkala
Boutique hotels of Varkala are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Varkala boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Varkala may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Varkala
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Varkala travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Varkala focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Varkala
Small to medium-sized Varkala hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Varkala traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Varkala hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Varkala
A bed and breakfast in Varkala is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Varkala bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Varkala B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Varkala
Varkala hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Varkala hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Varkala
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Varkala hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Varkala lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Varkala
Varkala timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Varkala often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Varkala on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Varkala
A Varkala motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Varkala for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Varkala motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Varkala

Traffic circle in Varkala
Traffic circle in Varkala
Varkala is located in Kerala
Varkala is located in India
Coordinates:  / 8.733; 76.717  / 8.733; 76.717
Country India
State Kerala
District Thiruvananthapuram
Talukas Varkala Taluk
• Total 15.42 km (5.95 sq mi)
Elevation 190 m (620 ft)
Population (2011)
• Total 40,048
• Density 2,600/km (6,700/sq mi)
• Official Malayalam, English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 695141
Telephone code 0470
Vehicle registration KL-16
Nearest cities Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam
Lok Sabha constituency Attingal
Website www.varkalamunicipality.in
Varkala beach
Natural spring in Varkala

Varkala is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the suburban town of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum city). It is located 50 kilometres (approx. 32 miles) north-west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and 37 km south-west of Kollam.

Varkala Maithanam
Varkala cliffs

Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These Cenozoic 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 numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs. In 2015, Ministry of Mines, Government of India and Geological Survey of India (GSI) have declared Varkala Cliff as a geo-heritage site.

Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year-old Janardana Swami Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the South). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.

Another major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala.

Varkala: History

Varkala: Legends

It is believed that a Pandyan King was instructed by Lord Brahma to build a temple at this very place to redeem him of his sins. But several other myths abound on the birth of Varkala. Another legend goes like this - when a group of pilgrims approached Sage Narada and told him that they had sinned, Narada threw his valkalam (a loin cloth made from the bark of a tree) and it landed at this scenic village and hence, the place came to be known as Varkala. Narada told the pilgrims to pray for their redemption at Papanasam, which literally means redemption from sins.

Varkala: Geography

Varkala is located at  / 8.73; 76.71.

Varkala: Geology

Varkala is an important place as far as Kerala Geology is concerned as it exposes sedimentary rocks belonging to the Cenozoic age, popularly known in the Geological literature as the Warkalli formation. Warkalli formation along with Quilon formation represents sediments laid down in the Kerala basin that existed during the Mio-pliocene times. Quilon formation of Miocene age is made up of limestones and the type area is Padappakara near Kollam (Same as Quilon) and the Warkalli formation of Mio-pliocene age (type area is Varkala) is made up of alternating beds of sands and shales exposed along the Varkala cliffs. Thin seams of lignite in the shales of the Warkalli formation suggests good vegetation at the time of deposition of the clayey sediments.

Varkala: Politics

Varkala assembly constituency is part of Attingal (Lok Sabha constituency), and current MP is Mr. Sampath. Current MLA of Varkala Municipality is Mr. Joy V.

Varkala: Economy

Varkala is a well-known tourist destination. The town has an average-rated water supply system, fire station, several post offices and a police station. The town has government-run medical facilities in addition to over 10 private hospitals and clinics. A government-run nature cure hospital is also near the Papanasam cliff. The District Ayurvedic Hospital is located in Varkala.

Varkala is an important hub for neighbouring places Attingal, Kadakkavur, Chirayinkeezhu, Kallambalam, Paravur and Kilimanoor.

Varkala: Demographics

In 2001, Varkala had a population of 42,273. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Varkala has an average literacy rate of 88%, with 92% of males and 85% of females literate. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

According to the 2011 Census of India, The Varkala Municipality has population of 40,048 of which 18,312 are males while 21,736 are females.

Population of Children with age of 0-6 is 4479 which is 11.18% of total population of Varkala (M). In Varkala Municipality, Female Sex Ratio is of 1187 against state average of 1084. Moreover, Child Sex Ratio in Varkala is around 981 compared to Kerala state average of 964. Literacy rate of Varkala city is 93.57% lower than state average of 94.00%. In Varkala, Male literacy is around 95.43% while female literacy rate is 92.04%.

The people of Varkala are generally employed in the service sector. A large number of them work outside India, mainly in the Middle East, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Varkala has a ratio of tourists to residents is 1:3.

Varkala: Transport

Trains in Varkala Sivagiri Railway station

Trivandrum International airport (55 km) is the nearest airport. Varkala Helipad at Varkala Cliff.


Varkala Sivagiri railway station is well-connected by regular trains from Thiruvananthapuram Central and major places in India.


Varkala is at a distance of 11 km from National Highway 66. Private buses and KSRTC buses ply through NH 66 and Varkala. State Highway 64 (Kerala) starts in Varkala and ends in Madathara. The highway is 45 km long.

Varkala: Tourism

Paragliding at Varkala Beach
Varkala Promenade

Tourism started thriving by the end of last century at the Varkala beach (Papanasam), which was earlier famous for Vavu Beli, a Hindu custom performed at the beach. Another beach is at Tiruvambadi, one kilometre away and en route the old palace.

There is a helipad close to the beach is the main transport hub and the most convenient way to get in and out of Varkala Cliff and the beach. Arabian Soul, a tropical guesthouse can be found close to the Helipad and is the most convenient place to stay on the cliff due to it's close proximity to everything tourists looks for yet set back in a tropical garden setting for seclusion and privacy.

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

Varkala: Hospitals

  • District Ayurveda Hospital
  • Govt. Taluk Hospital, Temple Road, Maithanam.
  • Govt. Nature Cure Hospital, Helipad.
  • SSNMM Hospital, Puthenchantha.

Varkala: Sightseeing Highlights

Varkala: 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.

Varkala: Cremations

Sections of Varkala Beach (Papanasam Beach) are used by Indians to scatter the ashes of their cremated dead relatives into the sea. 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.

Varkala: Paravur: Land of Backwaters, Estuaries and Beaches

Paravur: The land of estuary, beaches and backwaters

Paravur is another municipal town with estuary and backwaters, situated 13 km away from Varkala. One could easily enjoy the beauty of this blessed land by travelling on the way towards Pozhikkara, Thekkumbhagam and Kappil. Paravur is in Kollam district, sharing borders with the Thiruvananthapuram district. Paravur has an array of backwaters and lakes surrounding the town. But with the advent of roads and others means of transport the inland waterways have been neglected. But renewed efforts are under way to start linking the waterways to an ambitious inland waterways system being sponsored by the state government on the lines of what once existed.

Paravur Lake attracts a good number of tourists. The lake meets the sea and in between a small stretch of road which divides them can be viewed on the way.

Varkala: Kappil Lake

Edava-Nadayara Lake: A scene from Paravur Thekkumbhagam

Kappil Lake is about 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) north of Varkala Town. This serene estuary meanders through dense coconut groves before merging into the Arabian Sea. The bridge over the lake is quite a vantage point to view the backwater stretching white and grey to the distant blue horizon. Boating is another great way to browse this tranquil waterway.

Varkala: Anjengo Fort

Anjengo Fort is a fort near 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.

Varkala: Varkala Tunnel

Varkala Tunnel

Varkala Tunnel is a popular tourist highlight. It was a 924 ft long tunnel built in 1867 by Sir T. Madhava Rao the dewan of Travancore, and took 14 years to complete. Varkala Lighthouse is another tourist highlight in the vicinity.

Varkala: Religious centres

Varkala: Janardana Swami Temple

Janardhana Swami Temple Pond
Sivagiri Mutt

Janardana Swami Temple is a very important Vaishnavite shrine and attracts thousands of pilgrims. The temple is about 2000 years old. Facing the temple is the Papasnanam beach where devotees take a bath in the belief that the sacred waters will wash away their sins. A large bell washed up from the wreck of a Dutch merchant vessel is kept on display at the temple.

Varkala: Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt is a famous ashram in Varkala, founded by the philosopher and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. Sree Narayana Guru's tomb is also located here. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days 30 December to 1 January. The Sivagiri Mutt, built in 1904, is situated at the top of the Sivagiri hill near Varkala. Even decades after the guru breathed his last here in 1928; his samadhi continues to be thronged by thousands of devotees, donned in yellow attire, from different parts of Kerala and outside every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days - 30 December to 1 January. The Sivagiri Mutt is also the headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham, an organization of his disciples and saints, established by the Guru to propagate his concept of 'One Caste, One Religion, One God'. The Guru Deva Jayanti, the birthday of the Guru, and the samadhi day are celebrated in August and September respectively every year. Colourful processions, debates and seminars, public meetings, cultural shows, community feasts, group wedding and rituals mark the celebrations.

Varkala: Panayara Triporittakkavu Bhagavathi Temple

Panayara Triporittakkavu Bhagavathi Temple is the one of the most famous Devi temple in Kerala. The Triporittakkavu Temple located in Panayara at Chemmaruthi Grama Panchayath provinces of Varkala (Municipality and Local Assembly); the most famous tourist place in Thiruvananthapuram District. Triporittakkavu Temple was sustain ancientness and heritage up to this era with the deity of Sri. Bhadrakali Devi and the idol was emphasis status of Devi's motherhood, so the deity known as ‘Bhagavathi’. One of the most important statues of the temple was ‘Anakottile’ (elephant fort), it’s constructed with twelve stone pillars in a rectangular shape. The other standing inheritance symbols are 'Kalathattile' (platform for performances) and 'Nalambalam' (The traditional architecture is typically a rectangular structure where four halls are joined together with a central courtyard open to the sky) has construct with ancient carpenter technology known as Thatchu Shastra. These monuments are still breathing to realize the inheritance of Triporittakkavu Bhagavathi Temple The devotees were believed that Triporittakavu Bhagavthi temple constructed earlier than seven hundred years ago. Long time ago in this Bhagavathi Temple had celebrated the festival ‘Kaliyoot’ (Kaliyoot is the dramatic presentation of the genesis of Bhadrakali and Darika the representatives of good and evil respectively)’, once ‘Kaliyoot’ festival celebration was ended with unexpected incident and this circumstance bring to an end of the Kaliyoot festival forever. Meantime this incident (the real battle conducted and ended with bloodshed among the festival) had occurred renaming of the temple as "Triporittakkavu Bhagavathi Temple". This was the real myth alive in these days. Meenabharani festival is the chief festival in Porittakkavu temple, the festival celebrating the month of ‘Meenam’ (March/April) in Malayalam calender. The Meenabharani festival celebrating ten days and Bharani (Malayalam birth star) was the end day of merriment. These festival days thousands of devotees and believer visiting the temple for worship and blessing. Porittakkavu Temple geographically surrounded by paddy fields and beautiful greenish ambiance and the temple typically allied with harvest. ‘Vrischika Vilakku’ (Traditional event celebrating the month of Vrischikam in Malayalam calendar) celebrating the whole month, this traditional event not only presume that a celebration of Harvest or prosperity of surroundings but all so consider as a procedure of atonement, this was too noticeable in this Occasion . The Goddess Triporittakkavilamma consists of the divine powers showering to the devotees into different occasions for their accomplishment and prosperity. So the devotees believe that the goddess blessing is the only one way to the salvation.

Varkala: Sarkara Devi Temple

Sarkara Devi Temple is a famous old temple situated near Varkala at Chirayinkeezhu. The temple is famous for the Kaliyoot festival on the Malayalam month of Kumbham (March).

Varkala: Sree Saraswathy Temple

The Sree Saraswathy Temple, located in Venkulam, Edava, is a VidyaDevi temple famous for Navarathri Sangeetholsavam and Vijayadesami Vidyarambam.

Varkala: Kaduvayil Juma Masjid

Kaduvayil Juma masjid is situated on NH47 in between Kallambalam and Attingal, is a famous Sunni pilgrimage centre which attracts local Muslims and Hindus.

Varkala: Climate

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies Varkala's climate as tropical wet and dry . It has heavy rains during June–August due to a southwest monsoon. In summer, the temperature rises to a maximum of 32 °C (90 °F) and 31 °C (88 °F) in the winters. Record high temperature in neighbouring Thiruvananthapuram is 39 °C (102 °F). Annual average rainfall is 3,100 mm (120 in).

Climate data for Varkala
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.1
Average low °C (°F) 22.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 19
Average rainy days 1 2 3 8 10 19 17 14 11 12 8 3 108
Mean daily sunshine hours 9 9 8 8 7 5 5 6 6 6 6 7 6.8
Source #1: Climate-Data.org
Source #2: Weather2Travel for sunshine and rainy days

Varkala: References

  1. http://www.censusindia.gov.in/pca/SearchDetails.aspx?Id=679313
  2. http://www.varkala.info | Details of Varkala
  3. "Declaration of Geo-Heritage Sites". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  4. "Varkala cliff to be nation’s first geopark". The Hindu. 2012-07-07. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  5. "Varkala".
  6. "Varkala Beach". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  7. Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Varkala
  8. "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies" (PDF). Kerala. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-21. http://www.mpmla.in/mla.php?stcode=S11&pcno=21&acno=230. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  10. "Census of India 2011". Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  11. "Kerala PWD - State Highways". Kerala State Public Works Department. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  12. "Kerala". Explorra.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  13. "Climate: Varkala - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  14. "Varkala Climate and Weather Averages, Kerala". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
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