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Varkala (Malayalam: ) is a coastal town and municipality in Thiruvananthapuram districtmarker situated in the Indianmarker state of Keralamarker. It is located 51 kilometres (approx. 32 miles) north-west of Thiruvananthapurammarker city(Trivandrum).


Varkala Beach

Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where one can find cliffs adjacent to the Arabian sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature in 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.

A famous beach resort, Varkala is also famous for its 900 year old Janardana Swami Temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benaresmarker 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.

Another major landmark in Varkala is the Sivagiri Mutt, established by the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The hill-top mausoleum of Sree Narayana Guru is one of the most famous monuments in Kerala. The adjacent hills house the East-West University of Brahmavidya and Sree Narayana Gurukulam.

Another important feature of Varkala is the now dilapidated Varkala Tunnel, part of the TS Canal, which was an important waterway during pre-independence times.


Varkala is a well-known tourist destination. The town has excellent telecommunication facilities, an average-rated water supply system, fire station, several post offices and police station. The town boasts of government-run modern medicine, ayurveda,and nature cure hospital in addition to over 10 private hospitals, clinics and some dental clinics.The government-run nature cure hospital is also functioning near the Papanasam cliff.

The District Ayurvedic Hospital is also located in Varkala.

Varkala is the second most important railhead in the district of Thiruvananthapuram, after the Thiruvananthapuram Central Station. Varkala is an important hub for neighbouring places like Attingalmarker, Kadakkavurmarker, Edavamarker, Kallambalammarker , Kappilmarker, Parippallymarker and Kilimanoormarker.

Varkala now has a high literacy rate af above 90%.


According to the 2001 census of India, Varkala has a population of 42,273. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. Varkala has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77%, and female literacy is 79%. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

The people of Varkala are generally employed in the service sector. A large number of them work outside India, mainly in the Middle East, Singaporemarker, Bruneimarker, Malaysiamarker, the USAmarker and the United Kingdommarker.Tourism started thriving by the end of last century at the Varkala beach(Papanasam), which was earlier famous for Vavu Beli, a Hindu custom performed at the beach. Another beach is at Tiruvambadi, one kilometre away and en-route the old palace. There is a helipad close to the beach. Scores of ayurvedic massage parlours are there adjacent to the beach.


image:Varkala_hut.JPG|Varkala Beach HutImage:Varkala Beach High Res.jpg|Varkala BeachImage:JanardhanaVarkala.JPG|JanardhanaKrishna Temple entranceImage:sivagiri.jpg|The landmark hill-top mausoleum of Narayana GuruImage:Varkala beach.JPG|Varkala BeachImage:Varkala_natural_spring.JPG|One of the natural water spouts in the beach


Varkala assembly constituency is part of Attingal .


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