Kerala, also known as "God's Own
Country" is one of the most popular tourism destinations
in India. It's tropical climate, beautiful palm-fringed
beaches with pristine stretches of sand, the serenity of
the backwaters and the clear blue Arabian Sea, make Kerala
one of the most beautiful destinations in India.
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Varkala: Varkala is a
seaside tourist resort and spa. A small town 55km north of
Thiruvananthapuram, it is also an important religious place
for the Hindus.
According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group
of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw
his valkkalam (the bark of tree which the mythical sages
used to wear) into the air, and the place where it landed
was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed
by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place
by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption
came to be known as the Papanasham Beach ('Papanasham' means
redemption from sins).
mineral watersprings, the Sivagiri Mutt and a 2000 year
old Vishnu temple Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, 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 ashramam- 'Sivagiri
Mutt' a little distance from the beach. At the serene
Varkala beach is a quiet sea resort rich in mineral
water springs. 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'.
thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple, stands
on the cliffs overlooking the beach,a short distance away.
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.
Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology:"one caste, one
religion and one god",in a society torn by the taboos of
caste system.Varkala offers excellent accommodation
facilities for the tourist and is fast becoming a popular
health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.
Really spectacular is the unique, scenic red cliff on the
seashore with magnificent views, while sea eagles and
dolphins are passing by. It is also a great starting point
for trips to the famous backwaters, the colonial town of
Cochin or the wild life sanctuaries, nicely situated in the
green Nilgiri Hills.