Ponnumthuruthu (Golden) Island

Island in Varkala

Around 10km south of Varkala, this acacia-filled island in the middle of a backwater lake conceals a Shiva-Parvati Hindu temple also known as the Golden Temple. The vibrantly coloured, century-old shrine is usually closed to non-Hindus, but the main reason to venture here is the scenic punt-powered boat ride to and around the island. Allow 1½ hours round trip; autorickshaws from Varkala cost ₹600 with waiting time.