Varkala beach (also known as Papanasam beach) is situated on the outskirts of Trivandrum, at 51km away. It is only 37km south of Kollam. It is called Papanasam beach (remover of sin) because it is believed that a dip in the water destroys all kind of sin. And so, a lot of people offer ‘vavubali’, an offering of rice, in honour of their ancestors. The 2,000-year-old Sree Janardhana Swami temple that over looks the beach, and the mineral springs nearby are the main attractions of this place. Sree Janardhana Swami is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu.
Varkala is a calm and quiet hamlet, which has now been taken over by resorts, massage centres and hotels. It is a centre for medical tourism, too. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and Philosopher Sree Narayana Guru is located nearby. There is an Ashram and devotees are given a meal here.
Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna Temple at Manthara in Varkala celebrates many colourful festivals. You can see performance of folk arts such as Ammankudam and Mayilattam. The Thiruvambadi beach is a less-frequented beach. The original temple was destroyed by tides. Many years later, a Pandya king came to the site to do penance to Lord Brahma. He pardoned the king and, asked him to build another temple at the site. It is believe that the location of the original idol that was lying in the sea came to the king in a dream. After obtaining the idol from the sea, it was installed in the temple. Non-Hindus aren’t allowed into the sanctum sanctorum.
A tunnel whose construction began in 1867 and finished after about 13 years is famous here. It is locally called Varkala Thuruthu, and was built during the tenure of Divan Sheshaya Shastri. Another popular place is the Kappil Lake. At six km from Varkala, is just a few minutes’ ride to this place. You can go boating on it. Sometimes the Air Force conducts adventure sports events like parasailing, canoeing, water skiing, boat riding and aqua parasailing.
- “You will definitely make this part of your annual vacation if you’ve visited Varkala at least once.”Sandra Coechlin
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