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Varkala
  • Overview
  • Hotels
  • Sight Seeing
  • Things to do
  • Directions
  • Travel Tools
  • Varkala, another beach destination on southern part of Kerala lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Sivagiri Mutt. You may see Cliff and beach together only in Varkala. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam beach' arises. 2000 year old Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and Philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days - 30th December to 1st January. Varkala is also famous for its Ayurvedic treatment centers.
  • Janardanaswami Temple
  • Janardhana Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu is located on the beach road overlooking the beach, is believed to be almost 2,000 years old. The temple aptly follows the tradition of traditional South-Indian architecture. The main idol has four arms having all the attributes of Vishnu. Shrines of Sasta and Shiva with Nandi lies in the south-western corner and on the north-eastern side of the outer enclosure. It is also popular as the only shrine dedicated to Vishnu in the name of Janardhana in this part of the country, with the temples usually being dedicated to Krishna. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the Janardhana Swamy temple, they are allowed to walk around the sanctum and stroll around the huge banyan tree.
  • Sivagiri Mutt
  • The Sivagiri Mutt, built in 1904, is situated at the top of the Sivagiri hill near Varkala. Even decades after Sree Narayan Guru's demise here in 1928, his samadhi continues to be visited by thousands of devotees, in yellow dresses, from different parts of Kerala and other places, every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days, which is from 30th December to 1st January. The Guru Deva Jayanti, the birthday of the Guru, and the samadhi day are celebrated in August and September respectively. Colourful processions, debates and seminars, public meetings, cultural shows, community feasts, group wedding and rituals mark the celebrations.
  • Varkala Beach
  • Varkala, another beach destination on southern part of Kerala lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. If you're the sorts who always long for a beach holiday, and does not be with the crowd ppack your bags from Kovalam make your way straight to Varkala. Varkala the smooth white expanses of sand, sun and sparkling blue water. It is famous for its landscape, a high rocky cliff ends abruptly and a stretch of clear sand extends down to the sea. The contrast between the cliffs, sand and sea makes Varkala Beach a breath-taking destination. Varkala is an ideal spot for enjoying the Arabian Sea and is visited each time by more and more tourists mainly Europeans who comes for sun bathing and ayurveda. Papasnanam Beach is a quiet stretch of white sandy beach, surrounded by coconut palm trees and red cliffs of 1500 metres.
  • Anjengo Fort
  • The Anjengo Fort situated 36 km north of Thiruvananthapuram and lies near the Varkala beach. Established by the English East India Company in 1684 as a strategic garrison, the fort protected their powerful position in the state of Kerala and played an important part in the British military strategy, during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Also, the Anjengo Fort was used by the British as a trading station to carry on their business of trade and commerce. An excellent and apt example of the strong forts built following the English style of architecture. Now only has a few remnants of the fort but the beach in front of the fort is an ideal spot for those out on a picnic.
  • Beach Tour
  • The white sand beach at Varkala attracts lots of foreigners. The quiet and secluded Varkala Beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming. The evening views of the sunset are worth watching.
  • Visit Sivagiri Mutt
  • Sivagiri Mutt is a famous ashram in Varkala, founded by the philosopher and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, whose mausoleum is also located on the hill-top.
  • Temple Darshan
  • 2000 year old Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach. The main deity is Vishnu and may be the one of its kind in South India. Rejuvenate
  • A perfect destination for Ayurveda with its tropical climate. Also has number of approved ayurveda centers from budget to premium. The most taken is the one hour full body massage. Yoga classes are also available at some of the resorts.
  • Business Hours
  • Offices: 10:00 to 17:00, Monday to Saturday
    Banks: 10:00 to 14:00, Monday to Friday; 10:00 to 12:00, Saturday
    Post offices: 10:00 to 19:00, Monday to Friday
    Shops: 10:00 to 20:00, Monday to Saturday
  • Electricity
  • 240 volts AC, 50Hz.
  • Health
  • One of the main health problems that visitors to India often encounter is upset stomachs. Visitors are advised to seek the appropriate vaccinations and/or medication to avoid any health dangers before arrival to India. There are no specific vaccinations needed for India.
  • Emergency services
  • Police control room: 100
    Fire station: 101
    Ambulance: 102
  • Language
  • Malayalam is the dominant language in Kannur. English is widely spoken, particularly by those working in the tourist industry.
  • Currency
  • The Indian rupee is the currency of choice here. The lowest denomination is 1 rupee with 5, 10, 20 and 100 rupee notes the most commonly used. Changing larger sums like the 500 or 1000 rupee notes often proves difficult.
  • Currency Exchange
  • Few banks in Kannur will be able to change international currency. Travellers should make the US dollar the currency of choice when visiting the city, the next best being euros and British sterling. There are ATMs in Kannur and this is the best way to get rupees, with a good exchange rate. Just be sure your ATM card is accepted in India.
  • Customs
  • There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that visitors can bring. Adults 18 years and over can import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; 2 litres of alcohol; and 60ml of perfume.
  • Electronic equipment such as laptop and camera or video equipment requires filling out a Tourist Baggage Re-Export form. This is to protect you, as you may be asked to show the form when you leave India. Bringing in any livestock or pork products, live plants, or gold and silver bullion, is not permitted.
    • Visitors are expected to abide by local laws, customs and etiquettes.
    • Visitors to most Kerala houses leave their footwear outside before entering the house.
    • Behaviour demonstrating affection in public like hugging or kissing is not an accepted practice in Kerala.
    • Nudity is not allowed in Kerala
    • Footwear inside the temple and entry into the sanctum sanctorum is banned in all the temples.
    • Other customs and codes of conduct and dress in temples across the State vary from each other.
    • Some temples do not permit entry to non-Hindus, while some do. Shirts for men and pants are banned from some temples and allowed in some others. Where they are banned, men have to be in mundus and women, in saris, half-saris or long skirts.
    • At the table, main dishes are served in the middle, while each person takes individual spoons from each plate to their own dish in front of them. Eating is done with the right hand only, as the left is used for personal hygiene. Average tipping is 10%.
  • Visa and Passports
  • For entry into India, you must apply for a visa from your local Indian consulate or embassy before leaving home. You won’t even make it onto the airplane without a visa, so be sure to arrange one beforehand.
  • The majority of Western tourists will be eligible for a 6-month visa for visiting India, which is activated from the moment it is placed inside your passport.
  • Make sure you have at least one passport page free to receive the visa stamp and that your travel document is valid for at least 6 months after your intended departure from India.
  • Carry your visa for entry to India/Kerala on your holiday.
    For further clarifications, contact the Indian High Commission.
    For visa extension, contact Office of the Commissioner of Police,
    Thiruvananthapuram. Ph: 0471-2320579.
  • Tourist Information Offices
  • The Free Travel Information Service is one of the best in town for personal service and trustworthy advice on the area. The District Tourism Office and DTPC Information Centre also offer good services for various matters in Varkala. Ask at your hotel for contact details.
Bonjour Holidays: C.P.Ummer Cross Road, Cochin, Kerala-682 035, India, e-mail: info@leisurekerala.com, Mob: + 91 94477 84477
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