Varkala (Malayalam : വര്ക്കല ) is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram district situated in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the suburban town of Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum city). It is located 50 kilometres (approx. 32 miles) north-west of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and 37 km south-west of Kollam city.
Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast, and is known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.
Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year old Janardana Swami Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the South). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters which wash away sins, and is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.
Thiruvananthapuram District is the southernmost district of the coastal state of Kerala, in south India. It came into existence in the year 1957. The headquarters is the city of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) which is also the capital city of Kerala.
The district has an area of 2,192 square kilometres (846 sq mi) and a population of 3,307,284 (as per the 2011 census), the second-most populous district in Kerala after Malappuram district. It is the densest district in Kerala with 1,509 people per square kilometre. It is divided into six taluks, Thiruvananthapuram, Chirayinkeezhu, Neyyattinkara, Nedumangadu, Varkala and Kattakada. The urban bodies in the district are the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, Varkala, Neyyattinkara, Attingal and Nedumangad municipalities.
Thiruvananthapuram district is situated between north latitudes 8°17' and 8°54' and east longitudes 76°41' and 77°17'. The southern-most extremity, Kaliyikkavila, is 56 kilometres (35 mi) away from Kanyakumari, the "Land's End of Main land-India". The district is 33.75% urbanised.