Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year-old Janardana Swami Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the South).The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment center.Train- Kanyakumari Express – seven days in a week- from KR Puram to Varkala stationThings to do in Varkala: Among the several picturesque beaches of Varkala, the prominent one is the main Varkala Beach, which is also known by the name Papanasanam Beach. The beaches of Varkala have steep cliffs. These cliffs, termed as Varkala Formation, that are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea are declared as geological monuments by the Geological Survey of India. Paragliding from the cliffs The most significant religious spot in Varkala is Sree Janardana Swami Temple. Sree Janardana Swami Temple or Dakshin Kashi is more than 2000 years old. With the rise in Varkala tourism, the healthcare industry here has flourished well. Varkala is a famous center for Ayurveda treatments. Natural therapies and spa treatments have become very popular here. Backwater cruising at the estuarine stretch between Edava and Kappil is another popular activity in Varkala. Traveling to VarkalaVarkala is well connected by road to various cities. Tourists can choose to reach Varkala by buses, trains, flights and taxis. The nearest airport is located at Trivandrum, 50 km from the destination. The best time to visit Varkala Beach is from November to March.We went by flight from Bangalore to Trivandrum. It just took 1 hr & 30 minutes & from there by a cab (provided by the hotel) took 1700 Rs.Accommodation options in VarkalaApart from budget hotels in Varkala like home stays and a few resorts, tourists also have luxurious options while visiting Varkala.We stayed at Hill top Ayurvedic Beach resort situated in the north CliffVarkala has a sizeable number of people from all over the world visiting during New Years. The ideal time to visit is during November to March as its crowded by the foreigners. Now a days people prefer to go to Varkala than Kovalam as its very lonely & perfect for relaxation, yoga & Ayurveda treatment. However, if you are looking for a much cheaper deal, you could choose to travel much before the peak season starts. A trip only to Varkala can last you 4-5 days, however others differ. As I have gone in the first week of April, the weather was also surprisingly very pleasant. I stayed in Hill top ayurvedic resort, situated in the north cliff. The main attraction of this resort is the Tibetan restaurant adjacent to the resort which offers good Tibetan food & also tasty sea foods. And by sitting their you can enjoy the beauty of the calm & quite sea & can spend the entire day. Importantly the manager, Mr. Ernesto a Spanish guy, very helpful person. You can find lot of restaurants, shops which sells dresses, show pieces, leather bags, libraries in the entire cliff. If you do plan to join them on 31 Dec, it is advisable to head in early to the Cliff and leave real late. The local crowd may increase in number and getting out of the cliff gates would get tough and suffocating. Having been to Varkala first time, I would like to next time also & just want to sit & do relax. I do have a favorite restaurants there- Clafoutti & Tibetan kitchen. Goes without saying that you must try the sea food there
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Eravikulam National Park
174 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - April,May,June,September,October,November
This national park is the breathtaking home of a plethora of precious flora and fauna, and lies along the Western Ghats. Considered the magnum opus of Kerala, the park provides magnificent panoramic views of tea plantations and rolling hills blanketed in mist. The grasslands protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and harbour several other species of animals, birds and butterflies, including a new species of frog that was discovered recently. Eravikulam park becomes a sought after destination when the hill slopes get veiled by a carpet of blue, a miraculous phenomena caused by the flowering of Neelakurinji, which blooms only once in 12 years. Anamudi, translating to elephant's forehead and located within the park, is the highest peak of South India and its might and height of 8,842 ft can be enjoyed from a distance at Rajamala, from where the endangered Nilgiri Tahr can also be observed. The park provides a number of safaris for convenient and safe tourism around the park. The Kurinji Trail, which follows through misty tracks of protected animals and flowery grasslands, is a must for trekking lovers. Another famous but charming spot is the Lakkom Waterfalls, which provide an enchanting view along with an eco-shop cafeteria to eat at. Close to these falls is a log house, which offers comfortable accommodation with complimentary food and the much desired solitude and peace amidst the lap of nature.
142 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - January,February,August,October,November,December
This seventh largest city of Kerala is popular for its houseboat cruises along the Kerala backwaters. Alappuzha is bedecked with lagoons, beaches and canals and offers lots of water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing and water skiing, to unwind during your vacation. The backwaters also happen to be the venue for the annually celebrated (January and August) Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race, where long serpentine boats being rowed with rhythmic furor by able-bodied Malayali men, is a spectacular site to behold. Some other famous attractions include Alleppey Beach, Andhakaranazhi Beach, Vemband Lake, Mannarasala Temple and the Alappuzha Light House, which offers a stunning panoramic view of the city and the coastline, especially during sunsets. One can also take a speed boat to Pathiramanal Island, a quiet and picturesque island on the backwaters where one can witness hundreds of rare migratory birds from around the world. South India is culturally rich and its abundance can be enjoyed through its music, dance and spirituality. Many resorts organise cultural shows in the evening where one can enjoy the traditional dance of Kerala and one of the oldest theatre forms of the world, Kathakali. Places such as Thaff Delicacy, Dreamers Cafe and Restaurant, Mushroom Restaurant and Kream Korner Art Cafe are famous for delicious local, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Alappuzha can be reached by air, the nearest airport being Cochin International Airport, which is 83 km from the city, while buses and trains are also available.
171 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - April,May,June,August,September
Translating to 'the gift of the forest' in the native language of Tamil Nadu and originally home to the Palaiyar tribal people, this modern city has been a retreat long since the 19th century. Located in the hills of the Dindigul district, this city was established by British bureaucrats and American Christian missionaries. Kodaikanal offers an experience of stunning culture and natural beauty. Some famous attractions include Kodaikanal Lake, where one can always take a peaceful boat ride, Berijam Lake and Pillar Rocks. Take a walk in the pine forest or explore the Kukkal Caves and the Devil's Kitchen, a cave with a series of hidden ravines. Bear Shola falls, Glen Falls, Silver Cascade and Fairy falls make for a magical setting for nature lovers to observe and unwind. Religious dwellings such as the La Saleth Church, Lutheran Church and Subhramanya Temple are admired famously for their intricate architecture. For the inquisitive minds, Shembaganur Museum of Natural History, which is home to 500 species of taxidermy animals, birds and insects and the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory are great places to visit. Coakers walk, Silent Valley View Point, Perumal Peak and 80 Mile round make for interesting walks and treks, offering breathtaking views of the plains below. Natyanjali Festival, celebrated over 4 days, is a spectacular sight to behold with dazzling dance performances and top notch acts from across the country, which one can enjoy in the months of February or March. You can get a bite to eat at Cloud Street, Cafe Cariappa, Altaf's Cafe and Tava restaurants.
53 Kms from Papanasam
End of day reached Thiruvanthapuram I have panned to reach to Varkala but, it was too late and roads are not so great
157 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - February,March,April,May,August,September,October,December
This is the kind of place that will look good on any camera, no matter which angle you take your picture from. Emerald green hills, with mist looming over them like wandering ghosts, Munnar makes for a vacation that will be etched in your memory for years. Munnar happens to be South India's largest tea growing region, hence a walk through its aromatic tea gardens cannot be missed. For more insight into the tea industry, the Tea Museum can make for an interesting visit. Sadly the meddling of the plantation industry with the flora and fauna, causes many species to lose their habitats and become endangered, some being the Nilgiri Thar, the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, the gaur, the sambar, and the Neelakurinji flower, which blossoms only once in 12 years. Consequently, Munnar is home to many national parks, such as the renowned Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kurinjimala Sanctuary, Amaravati Reserve Forest, Anamudi Shola National Park and the Pampadum Shola National Park, a visit to which is highly educational and peaceful. More quiet and scenic spots include Devikulam Lake and Attukal waterfalls. Munnar also caters to restless spirits, who can enjoy adventure sports such as paragliding, rock climbing, rappelling and even cycling. Some famous places to eat are Rapsy restaurant, Saravana Bhavan and Eastend, all known for their delicious non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. Munnar is easiest to access by road through state run or private buses, compared to flights since the nearest airport is in another city, Cochin. The nearest train station is in Aluva, although cabs and buses are easily available from both the places to reach Munnar.
159 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - January,February,September,October,November,December
With an intriguing history, the oldest inhabited city in the world is a delight to discover. Visited by people from all over the country, no tour of the south is complete without a visit to Madurai. Shree Meenakshi Sudareshwara Temple is a 2000-year-old temple and is a must visit when in Madurai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are four towers in the temple and each tower is embellished with a thousand sculptures symbolising an assortment of mythological themes. There are huge lines at multiple points in the temple so do keep patience. There are also a few rules that one must remember, especially women. Other points of interest in Madurai are Gandhi Museum, Pazhamudhir Solai and Koodal Azhagar Temple. The food in Madurai is a delight for food lovers! There are small stalls selling mutton rolls, which will have your taste buds thanking you.
73 Kms from Papanasam
Relax in the sun and sand at Varkala.A small town that is rapidly becoming one of India’s most popular backpacking destinations, Varkala is replete with natural beauty. Being located at a confluence of the hills and the beach surely helps its cause.
227 Kms from Papanasam
Best time to visit - N/A
An island in the Gulf of Mannar region, Rameshwaram is joined with the mainland with the help of the Pamban Beach. The main attraction here is the Rama Temple after the name of whom the place was named Rameshwaram. It is said that after slaying Ravana, Lord Rama came here to seek forgivance for his act of slaying Ravana. This is where the temple is built and the temple has 22 wells. The number defines the number of arrows in Rama's quiver. The temple is marked with huge pillars and magnificent corridors. The third corridor is said to be the longest in the world. The other attractions here are the beaches known as the Olaikoda, Dhanushkodi and the Pamban Beaches. The main activities you can enjoy here are scuba diving, migratory bird- watching. You can also enjoy conch collection and fishing here.