The contrast between the cliffs, sand and sea makes Varkala Beach, prime attraction of Varkala, a striking sight. The mineral springs at Varkala beach is considered to have medicinal properties. The Varkala Beach is also called Papanasam Beach as it is believed that bathing here will wash away all of one's sins. Varkala Beach has many tourist attractions nearby. The Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple nearby is believed to be between 800 - 2000 years old.
Varkala beach is comparitively a new entrant in the beach destinations in Kerala compared to Kovalam. Varkala is preferred by younger tourists and the place is also popular because of the backwaters located very close to the beach. Ashtamudi lake is located very close to Varkala. Many of the hotels and budget cottages in Varkala is located along the walk way on the cliff offering beautiful views of the sea.
Varkala is a coastal town, although in Trivandrum district, located closer to Kollam. Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These Cenozoic sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast. Known among geologists as Varkala Formation it is declared as a geological monument.
Although no established, brick-and-mortar businesses in Varkala offer formal paragliding lessons, local paragliders often position themselves on the Varkala helipad on windy days and take tourists on tandem rides for US $20.
Sree Narayana Guru made Varkala his headquarters. Sivagiri mutt, instituted by Sree Narayana Guru, is a major pilgrim centre here. Sree Narayana Guru breathed his last here.
Janardana Swami Temple
Janardana Swami Temple is a 2000-year-old temple situated in Varkala. Janardana Swami is a form of Lord Vishnu. The deity is found in standing position facing towards the east. His right hand is position as if he is performing "Aachamanam".