Varkala is one of the most popular secluded tourism destination in Kerala – A favourite with backpackers for years. Varkala Beach or Papanasam beach, along the Arabian Sea, part of the Indian Ocean is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming.
Varkala beach is also known for its white, silvery stretch of sand, mineral springs and rocky cliffs. Varkala is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. The final resting place of Sree Narayana Guru, the great social reformer of Kerala, is near Varkala atop a hill named Sivagiri. High cliffs from mineral springs majestically rise is a scene typical of Varkala
Janardhana swamy Temple
The Janardhana Temple is said to be 2000 years old and has a Vishnu shrine. It is said that the original temple was engulfed and destroyed by tidal waves. Years later, a Pandyan king came to the site to do penance to Brahma for a sin he committed. The Lord pardoned the king and in return, asked the king to build another temple at the same site. The story goes that in a dream he was informed of the location of the original idol that was lying deep in the sea. With help of fishermen, the king reclaimed the idol and reinstalled it in the temple.
The Sivagiri Mutt was devoted to Sree Narayana, who was the key player of a social revolution of Kerala, which changed the caste-ridden society of Kerala. He worked very hard for betterment of the Kerala society. He fought for his own philosophies like ‘one-caste, one religion’ and ‘one God for man’. He fought against the caste domination as well as untouchability and religious fanaticism practiced by them.
Near to varkala is the site of the Dutch East India Company’s main garrison, Anjengo Fort. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the fort protected their powerful position in the state.