Stretched out lazily at the foot of a cliff, the Papanasam beach is the glistening jewel crowning the coastal town of Varkala. Despite being perched at the most perilous coast of the Arabian Sea, Varkala is Southern Kerala’s most popular hang-out zone. The golden sands of the Papanasam beach is a lively collage of footprints of fishermen bringing home their catch, backpackers thirsting for the thrill of adventure as well as those of the religious minded who come to wash away their sins in the pious waters of the ocean. It offers the best of all worlds to those who wish to dive in to its midst.
Religion has always been the main back bone fostering the evolution of Indian tourism. Tourism spots have mushroomed around religious shrines and pilgrimages. Despite its penchant for attracting backpackers and adventure travellers, Varkala refuses to shake off its temple town culture. It is home to the Janardana Swami Temple, a 2000 year old edifice where devotees throng to offer their prayers to Janardana Swami, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Thousands of legends and myths throng the pathways and beaches of Varkala and entwine invisible threads around travellers drawing them into its labyrinths to be regaled in its mystique.
The Sivagiri Mutt known to be the ashram of Sree Narayana Guru is another popular religious destination in Varkala. Located atop the Sivagiri Hill, the Mutt houses the Samadhi or memorial of Sree Narayan Guru. His devout followers throng the place to pay their respects to his soul.
If you happen to be a bit off the religious mark, Varkala will fail to disappoint you. Its immense potential to attract the adventure loving travel fanatics has encouraged international organizations to open shop on its shores. The Soul and Surf happens to be one such endeavour which hosts a range of exciting water sports activities and Yoga retreats to quench mind, body and soul.
As the sun sets on the aquamarine waters of the Papanasam beach burning them into flaming red and you move through the Varkala boulevards to browse through T-shirts and trinkets you realise how unknowingly you have come to the end of another day. Events and experiences have made you oblivious to the passing of the sands of time as it silently slithered into a new bulb to start off another day. This is Varkala where you lose time and it loses you.