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Varkala


VARKALA is a paradise for those who love Serene Beaches, natural mineral springs and secluded coves.  Varkala is the final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, atop a hill called Sivagiri and the nature cure Centre are the other main attractions here.  A century old tunnel is yet another land mark. 

Varkala is a well-known tourist destination.  Varkala Beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala.  The evening views of the sunset are worth lingering over.

 The cliff and the beach houses a lot of resorts, restaurants and shops.  The cliff has a long stretch of small shops which goes on for over a kilometer. The black part of the sand on the Varkala Beach contains Thorium-oxide which is a radioactive substance.  Thorium and Thorium-oxide -  its isotopes are found all over Kerala and can be identified by its black colour.

Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea.  These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and are known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India.  There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.

Janardana Swami Temple is a very important Vaishnavite shrine and attracts thousands of pilgrims. The temple is about 2000 years old. A large bell washed up from the wreck of a Dutch merchant vessel is kept on display at the temple.
Another major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru isone of the most famous monuments in Kerala.  The adjacent hills house the East-West University of Brahmavidya and Sree Narayana Gurukulam.

It is believed that a Pandyan King was instructed by Lord Brahma to build a temple at this very place to redeem him of his sins. But several other myths abound on the birth of Varkala.  Another legend goes like this - when a group of pilgrims approached Saint Narada and told him that they had sinned, Narada threw his valkalam ( a loin cloth made from the bark of a tree) and it landed at this scenic village and hence, the place came to be known as Varkala.  Varkala is an important place as far as Kerala Geology is concerned as it exposes sedimentary rocks belonging to the Tertiary age, popularly known in the Geological literature as the Warkalli formation.  Warkalli formation along with Quilon formation represents sediments laid down in the Kerala basin that existed during the Mio-pliocene times.

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