Sight seeing around varkala
A Place Where Beauty Abounds
Varkala, an internationally renowned tourist destination, sets stage for a memorable vacation with its long stretch of beautiful beaches, historic monuments and prominent Hindu pilgrimage spots. The place with its vibrant historic legacy still exudes a warm aura of its glorious past. The Janardhana Swamy temple, believed to be around 2000 years old, and the Anjengo Fort built by the Dutch are some of the well preserved historic landmarks of Varkala. The Sivagiri Mutt, a major centre of Hindu pilgrimage, built by the saint, sage and social reformer of Kerala - Sri Narayana Guru, is located in Varkala.
The 'Papanasham beach', tops the list of the popular tourist haunts in Varkala. The beach is unique and one-of-a-kind with its rocky cliffs and mineral water sprouts. These cliffs - a unique geological formations known as 'Varkala Formations', add a surreal charm to the beauty of the beach. This beach is clean and secluded – an ideal spot to unwind enjoying the sea. The beach, according to legends and myths, is believed to cleanse the soul of its sins. Varkala is that perfect place to rejuvenate and experience the magic of the tropical paradise of Kerala.
The verdant Ponnumthuruth (meaning Golden Island) is in the middle of the placid backwaters near Varkala. Untouched now for centuries, this virgin island is a vibrant ecosystem home to a variety of flora and fauna. There is a still beauty about the place, occasionally broken by the rustling of wind through palm trees, the twittering of birds or the gentle lapping on water on the white beach. Amble down the coastline, enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and listen to the fishermen as they hum earthy songs while casting their nets in the lake. You can easily spot cormorants, egrets and herons fishing in the emerald waters while gulls and eagles surge in the sky. The island also has something for those who are spiritually inclined. Shrouded by dense coconut groves is a century-old Shiva-Parvathi temple. If legend is to be believed, the royal ladies of Travancore used to hide away their jewelry here, and hence the name Ponnumthuruth.
The island is about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Trivandrum, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Kollam and only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Varkala. And if you are driving down from the capital, take National Highway 47 up to Attingal about 25 kilometers (16 miles) away, and further on take the Kadakkavur road. From Kadakkavur it is a lovely coastal drive to Nedunganda village – the ferry boarding point. For those coming from Kollam, it is the road to Varkala from Kallambalam on the NH 47. And from Varkala you can take the road to Kadakkavur to get to the ferry point at Nedunganda.
Board a ferry from this sleepy backwater village and sail through a pictorial tree-lined canal to the backwaters, and thence to Ponnumthuruth. Or hire a country boat rowed by an oarsman if you feel that the continuous hum of the onboard ferry motor tends to break the peace of the area. The ferry takes a round of the backwaters, then to the pristine island, and back. Tourists can also be picked up from the Akathumuri Resort by the lake on the mainland. You can get snacks and soft drinks at the jetty. Since the soil of Golden Isle is believed by the locals to be sacred, smoking and consumption of alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited both on the ferry and island. You are not allowed to carry non-vegetarian food.