Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interest like a beautiful beach, a 2000 year old Vishnu temple and the Sivagiri Mutt ashramam a little distance from the beach. A dip in the holy waters at the serene Varkala beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins. Hence the name 'Papanasam Beach’. A two thousand year old shrine, the Janardhanaswamy Temple, stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach.
The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher, Sree Narayana Guru (18561928) is also close by. Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: “one caste, one religion and one God", in a society torn by the taboos of the caste system. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days (30th December to 1st January). Varkala offers excellent stay options for the tourist and is fast becoming a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.
Varkala lies 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city and 37 km south of Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram district, South Kerala.