Varkala was named after the myth related to Narada’s Valkalam (bark of tree which the mythical sages used to wear). Legend has it that
was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkalam into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. Narada directed the mendicants to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for absolution came to be known as the
This coastal town is situated about 20 km south of Kollam and 50 km northwest of Thiruvananthapuram. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west, Sivagiri Hills in the east and two
panchayats in the north and south. Varkala is a famous pilgrimage center renowned for its splendid beach endowed with high cliffs rich in mineral springs. Vavubali, a ritual conducted on the beach in the Malayalam month of
Karkidakam attracts thousands of devotees from different parts of the home district and neighboring districts. The Nature Center and the 2000 year old Janardana Swamy Temple are the other attractions. The site of the Dutch East India Company’s main garrison, Anjengo Fort is nearby. There are various centers for yoga and massage. Most of these places are seasonal and the quality varies. Varkala is also revered with the Sivagiri Mutt, the samadhi of
Sree Narayana Guru and headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham. The ideal time to visit the place is from December 1st to March 31st.
Taj Garden Retreat, Hotel Preeth, Hotel Hill top, Hotel Thiruvambadi, and Hotel Sea Pearl are the major accommodations in Varkala. Thiruvananthapuram - Kollam railway line passes through the town and the nearest railway station is
Varkala Railway Station. Airport close to Varkala is Trivandrum International Airport.