Varkala is a town in the Indian state of Kerala, about 50km north of Thiruvananthapuram and is 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 it's 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 and sleep and chill out. Only in December does it get really busy and prices start rocketing till January/February, when it starts to quieten down.