Things to do in 
Varkala in Kerala

"Varkala in Kerala" was last updated on Dec 26, 2013
All information below is subject to change

Looking for things to do in Varkala?

Varkala is a small town, but there are still a lot of activities you can do here.

Not only is it a popular beach town, but also a center of cultural impressions. The Kathakali shows in Varkala is one example.


We spent 8 days in total in Varkala and wished that we could have stayed here longer.

Now, here are a couple of things you can do in town!

Kathakali Dance & Performance
in Varkala India

Kathakali Cultural center in Varkala, India

Varkala in Kerala: Kathakali Cultural Center

Doing make-up at a Kathakali show in Varkala in Kerala

Price: Rs 250

Kathakali is an Indian dance show, which originated in the state of Kerala.

The show in Varkala is a live Kathakali performance with live music. A really exciting part, but also a long part, was the make-up. We turned up at the theater at 17.00 and watched how the actors were prepared.

Considering the details, the make-up took a while.

So, what's the story?

It starts with Nakrathundi who was a servant of an Asura king Narakasura. Nakrathundi is a demoness.

She went to Devaloka the abode of Devas to capture maidens to give the king Narakasura. On the way, she saw Jayantha, the son of Indra. She fell in love with Jayantha and wanted to marry him.

One of the actors at a Kathakali show in Varkala
Another actor at a Kathakali show in Varkala, India

To fulfill her desire, she assumed the form of a beautiful girl and asked him to marry her. Jayantha tried to escape from her and he drove her away. She got angry and assumed her real form. There was a fight between them. In the fight, Jayantha cuts off her nose, ears and parts of her body.

When: Make-up starts at 17.00 to 18.45. A daily evening show from 18.45 to 20.15.

Where: Varkala Cultural Center, North Cliff near Clafouti and Thanal Beach Resort

Watch my video clip!

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Shopping in Varkala

Local kids at a shop in Varkala, India

Shops dominate the North Cliff, and they're owned by local Keralites and Tibetan families.

Me and my former class mates did most of our shopping in Kerala, in Varkala. They have nice beach clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, carpets, masks, wall hangings, handicrafts, toys, books -– you name it.

Not only are there shops along North Cliff, but also in small alleys from North Cliff.

For instance; we walked into an alley of shopping opportunities when we headed for Juice Shack.

When you're shopping in Varkala, it's a must to bargain!

Prices in Varkala:

One of the wall hangings I bought in Varkala, India

'Originally' below means the price the seller will quote, but you can bargain.

Aladdin pants: Rs 200-300 (originally Rs 600)

Dresses: Rs 250-300

Jumpsuits: Rs 200 (originally Rs 400)

Large bed spread with elephant prints: Rs 800 (originally Rs 1500)

Small wall hangings: Rs 300 (originally Rs 600)

Fake branded sunglasses like Rayban: Rs 250 (originally Rs 350)

Jewelry: starts from Rs 80 (price depends on design, size, material and shop)

Books: Rs 250

It's easier to bargain when you buy several things at once (from the same shop).

It's possible to send a parcel home from Varkala. My class mates sent a parcel by air from Varkala, and it arrived safely in Norway after 21 days.

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Black Beach & Odayam Beach
in Varkala in Kerala

Black Beach in Varkala in Kerala
Me at Black beach in Varkala, India

If there are two places you should to visit around Varkala, they have to be Black Beach and Odayam.

Black Beach is a tiny beach 1ocated 10-15 minutes by foot from central North Cliff. And as you can imagine, the sand is black!

On our way to Odayam, we stopped by Black Beach for pictures and one hour of sunbathing.

Along North Cliff, there's a path that goes all the way to Odayam. But first, I want to tell you about Black Beach.

The currents here are very strong – it's impossible to swim or even relax on the beach side. While we were taking pictures, I had to dig my fingers into the black velvet sand to avoid getting taken by the waves.

Despite the currents, Black Beach is stunning. Relatively few travelers spend their time here. But I personally think it's good for an hour or two.

From Black Beach, continue on the path to Odayam.

On my way to Odayam beach in Varkala, India
Mosque in Varkala beach, India

Along the way, you'll pass beautiful ocean side, and later on a colorful mosque.

We also saw the tip of two dolphins swimming near the shore.

After a couple of minutes, a stream of local Muslims were walking towards us, probably on their way to the mosque.

We knew then that we were closing up on Odayam - – a village with Hindu and Muslim inhabitants.

After that we saw a few guesthouses overlooking the ocean and a few restaurants.

We ate delicious veg pakora at Lake Side restaurant.

It was so quiet there. I didn't believe I was in India!

On our way to Odayam beach in Varkala

Varkala in Kerala: On our way to Odayam

It's quite possible to stay at Odayam. The atmosphere is definitely quieter and less touristy. But there aren't many facilities at Odayam.

The beach at Odayam is also surrounded by greyish black sand and a relaxed ambiance. Strong currents here as well, but less stronger than around tiny Black Beach.

At Odayam beach in Varkala, India

Where is Odayam beach:

Odayam Beach is located 2 km from North Cliff, about 40 minutes to walk. If you're in a hurry, rent a bicycle or take a rickshaw.

We took a rickshaw back to North Cliff. The rickshaw driver was 'blackmailing' us for Rs 80 (it was only 3 minutes). But he was the only rickshaw driver there at the time being, and my friend was leaving Varkala in a few hours, so we only got to bargain down to Rs 70.

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