Varkala to Kanyakumari, and from Kovalam: Kerala to Kanyakumari. How to get to southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

So you’re headed to Varkala in south Kerala!

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Varkala cliff. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

Good choice!

Varkala can be a perfect part of a one week Kerala itinerary.

 

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Varkala cliff. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

Now…

LOOK AT A MAP!

 

No really. Go look. 

 

You will almost be at the southern tip of India when you’re in Varkala!

The tip of India would be Kanyakumari aka Cape Comorin.

You’ll be so close so of course you have to go from Kerala to Kanyakumari.

 

The southern tip of India is in the state of Tamil Nadu and it’s known as the spot where the 3 seas meet:

  • Bay of Bengal
  • Indian Ocean
  • Arabian Sea

It’s also been said that some of Gandhi’s ashes were scattered in the sea here.

 

Hopefully if you’re going to be in Kerala, you’ll be headed to the famous Kerala backwaters too! So also have a look at the best things to do in Alleppey on a budget, like canoe, kayaking, cycling, and taking the ferry to get to Varkala.

 

Now…

How to get from Kerala to Kanyakumari

I did this as an overnight trip from Varkala.

This meant not dragging my luggage around.

The place I was staying in Varkala was 400 rupees a night (US$5) so I just left my stuff in my room and paid for that night.

You can consider it a form of luggage storage.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Varkala cliff. Budget hotel in Varkala for luggage storage. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

But if you want to move on from Kerala, you might consider going from Varkala (or Kovalam) to Kanyakumari to Madurai as a part of your South India backpacking itinerary. (You can also use this route to go from Kerala to Sri Lanka, as you’ll likely find a cheaper flight to Sri Lanka from Madurai compared to Kerala airports!)

 

For my trip, on the way back to Varkala from Kanyakumari, I also stopped by a couple of spots that have historical significance in Kerala’s history:

  • Padmanabhapuram Palace
  • Eraniel Palace ruins

 

These 2 palaces are actually located in Tamil Nadu.

The Kingdom of Travancore is a big part of Kerala’s history, and this kingdom used to cover a part of what is now Tamil Nadu.

So the palace that’s said to have the greatest representation of Kerala architecture (Padmanabhapuram Palace) is not even in Kerala – it’s in Tamil Nadu!

 

What about Kovalam to Kanyakumari?

Kovalam to Kanyakumari, and from Trivandrum: Kerala to Kanyakumari. How to get to southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

Kovalam Beach is further south than Varkala.

This means that Kovalam is closer to Kanyakumari.

The closest main train station to Kovalam is in Trivandrum, and you can get from Trivandrum to Kovalam by bus.

From Trivandrum, you can take a train to Kanyakumari. (A train from Varkala will pass through Trivandrum.)

 

Okay, so now…

Overnight trip to the southern tip of India

 

My 2-day itinerary went something like this.

 

1. Varkala to Kanyakumari train

Varkala to Kanyakumari train: Kerala to Kanyakumari from Varkala train station. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

There are a few trains that go to Kanyakumari from Varkala, and it’ll take 4-5 hours depending on which one you take. (The local passenger train might end up being over 5 hours.)

The trains from Varkala are the same ones you can get from Trivandrum, although there is an extra train option if you’ll be starting from Kovalam or Trivandrum.

From Trivandrum, the train will take around 3-4 hours.

The cost of my train fare from Varkala to Kanyakumari for a general class ticket was 120 rupees (US$2).

Varkala to Kanyakumari train ticket fare: Kerala to Kanyakumari train. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

You don’t need to make any train ticket reservations in advance for these trains if you are okay with being in general class.

Varkala to Kanyakumari train general class, and from Kovalam, from Trivandrum: Kerala to Kanyakumari. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

Since the train ride is during the day and it’s just a few hours long (as opposed to an overnight train), general class can work out here.

Varkala to Kanyakumari train, and from Kovalam, from Trivandrum: Kerala to Kanyakumari train. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

You can just show up to the train station and buy your ticket on the day you want to go to Kanyakumari.

Varkala to Kanyakumari train, and from Kovalam, from Trivandrum: Kerala to Kanyakumari train. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

And then…

You will reach the Kanyakumari train station!

aka the southernmost train station in India!

Varkala to Kanyakumari train: Kerala to Kanyakumari train station. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

Search for trains:

 

Varkala to Kanyakumari train, and from Kovalam, from Trivandrum: Kerala to Kanyakumari train. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

 

2. Sunset at the southern tip of India

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

So once you reach the Kanyakumari train station, there are rickshaws outside the station to get you to your hotel.

Varkala to Kanyakumari train: Kerala to Kanyakumari train station rickshaw. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

Or you can walk.

The train station isn’t too far away from the main part of Kanyakumari.

And then once you’ve dropped off your belongings at your hotel, you can then head to the southern tip of India!

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Crowds at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

This area can turn into somewhat of a festival-like atmosphere.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Market at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

There are tons of people around, and there are a number of places that you can sit around and watch the ocean to pass time.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Sunset point at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

You’ll probably see lots of people in the water too.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Swimming beach at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

You’ll also find a lot of snacks around so you won’t go hungry.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Best things to do at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

And drinks.

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Best things to do at southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

 

3. Overnight in Kanyakumari

Just as catching the sunset at the point where the 3 seas meet is a thing, it’s a thing to catch the sunrise where the 3 seas meet too.

So, you may consider waking up early so you can see the sunrise.

 

 

4. Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace by bus

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace entry. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

 

Next up, on my way back to Varkala, I wanted to check out the palace that’s said to be the grandest example of Kerala architecture.

This meant a bus ride from Kanyakumari to Thuckalay.

Varkala to Kanyakumari bus station. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

The Kanyakumari bus station is located pretty close to the main area of Kanyakumari, so you can walk to the bus station too.

Once I reached Thuckalay, I walked to the palace.

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace entry. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace entry. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Padmanabhapuram Palace. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

 

 

5. Eraniel Palace ruins

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Padmanabhapuram palace to Eraniel palace rickshaw. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

 

Next up was a rickshaw ride from one palace to the next!

Padmanabhapuram Palace to Eraniel Palace!

In front of the Padmanabhapuram Palace, you can find a rickshaw, or ask someone to find one for you.

Then off you go.

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Eraniel palace ruins. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

 

Unless you’re a history buff, or you just want an excuse to go somewhere for an adventure in India, you probably won’t find these palace ruins to be all that fascinating.

Well, it’s not even really much of an “adventure” but more like just another place to visit, or another thing to do to pass time.

If you want to go somewhere “offbeat,” you can go here. Pretty much no one has heard of this place.

Although there is historical significance to this palace in ruins, you really can’t even see anything because it’s gated off.

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Eraniel palace ruins entry gate. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

I found this place as I was looking at google maps for a train station near the Padmanabhapuram Palace and thought “palace ruins” sounded interesting.

When I googled it, the palace seemed to be important in the past so I thought I’d check it out!

Kanyakumari to Varkala: Kanyakumari to Eraniel palace ruins site. Backpacking Kerala, South India and Tamil Nadu

 

 

6. Train back to Varkala!

Kanyakumari to Varkala train, and to Kovalam, to Trivandrum: Kanyakumari to Kerala train. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

I took a local passenger train from Eraniel to Varkala.

The train was delayed by an hour or two, so it was a long wait at the train station.

But eventually…

Home sweet home!

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Varkala cliff. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

 

Varkala to Kanyakumari from Kerala: Southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. Backpacking Kerala, South India to Tamil Nadu

HAPPY VARKALA TO KANYAKUMARI ITINERARY PLANNING!

 

Be sure to take a look the Kerala Travel Guide for one week in Kerala so you can plan the PERFECT trip to Kerala!