Lord Vishnu, the preserver god of the Hindu trinity got attracted by the music from Narada's Veena ( a stringed instrument played by the sage in praise of Lord Vishnu).
Vishnu did not realise that he left his adobe and reached Brahmapura, the adobe of Brahma (the lord of creation) where Narada was playing Veena. Seeing Vishnu in his court, Brahma prostrated, as a mark of respect. Without realizing all these happenings, Vishnu suddenly left Brahmapura. For the onlooking Devas (gods) it looked amusing, as if it appeared the Creator Lord prostrating before a sage.
The angered Brahma cursed the Devas to be born as humans on earth.
The panic stricken devas approached sage Narada and confessed to the sins they committed.
The sage instructed the Devas to offer prayers as a remedy. He flung a cloth made of wood-bark, locally called Valkalam. The cloth landed at the seaside where the present day Varkala village stands.
Narada asked the Devas to pray at the place where the cloth landed, which came to be known as Papanasham, the 'Beach of Redemption'.
Ever since this place is associated with ancestor worship. Due to its sanctity,the beach of Varkala emerged as an important holy place in this part of the country, where the ashes of the deceased is immersed into sea. The tradition has been continuing for many centuries.
The shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu is located atop the cliff.
Etymology of Varkala has its origin in Valkalam, it's believed.
From a tourism perspective, the beaches of Varkala stand first.