Varkala is a town in the Indian state of Kerala, about 50km north of Trivandrum and is the home of the popular Papanasam Beach. Also, the Samadhi of Kerala's Saint Sree Narayana Guru is situated in this town and hence has become a place of pilgrimage.
If you're looking for beaches and are fed up with the crowds and prices at Kovalam, then its well worth checking out Varkala. The best times to go are, of course, in the season, when the beach extends out all around the cliff face for 500 meters. The beaches around this area are excellent, and if you're looking for a cheap holiday Varkala should definitely be on your list. In the off season its really mellow and relaxed: swim, sleep and chill out. The main season runs from Dec 1st- March 31st, with December and early January experiencing the biggest rush. If you want to go out of season, then you can stay very cheaply and of course avoid the crowd. Varkala is a new place to hang out in India and has only recently been developed as a tourist destination. Now even the north of Varkala Beach is getting developed for tourists. There is a promenade built by the Department of Tourism, which allows a scenic 1.5 hour walk north, passing Odayam and Edava until Kappil.