Indian Waves. Varkala Beach, Kerala

At Varkala in Kerala, India, the waves roll in from the Arabian Sea, bringing sweet, fresh air from distant lands. No land lies between this beach and the east coast of Africa.

The Arabian Sea, Varkala, India
The Arabian Sea, Varkala, India

Indian families come to Varkala’s Papanasam beach on the weekends and tentatively tip toe into the water’s edge: youths play ball games on the sand, as they do all over the world.

Sunset at Varkala beach.
Sunset at Varkala beach.

We retreat to the shade of a nearby restaurant and consider the menu. Perhaps a Kingfisher beer or a large pot of tea, or, depending on their licence, a beer served in a large teapot!

Old Hippy by the arabian Sea.
Mr Tranquillo by the Arabian Sea.

On a nominated day in the month of Karkidakam (mid July to August), thousands of people gather at the beach to make ritual offerings to the departed. These offerings are placed on banana leaves and carried out to sea by the waves. It is believed that the souls of dead ancestors attain ‘moksha’ or eternal release when ‘Vavu Bali’ offerings are made.

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Sunset over the Arabian Sea at Varkala, Kerala, India

A psychedelic Ganesha enjoys a day at the beach, pumping out Indian sound waves at a deafening volume, and providing that festive Indian touch.

Ganesha by the sea
Ganesha by the sea

Beautiful girls enjoy the waves, but rarely enter the sea.

Varkala girls by the sea
Varkala girls by the sea

Waves is the topic set by Ailsa this week at Where’s My Backpack.  Ailsa goes for a traditional New Year’s Day swim in the ice-cold waters of the Irish Sea. I’m staying on the edge, here with these Indian girls, and may take up wearing a silk sari too.

Grandmother, mother, daughter, friends. Varkala, India
Grandmother, mother, daughter, friends. Varkala, India

35 thoughts on “Indian Waves. Varkala Beach, Kerala”

  1. I found the stark constrast between Aussies at the beach and Indian beach visitors quite amusing. The beauty of the sari clad women in their Sunday best at the waters edge adds a sense of reverence you never see here. Much more alluring than a bikini

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    1. Much more alluring. I have many sari wearing women beside the sea, girls, mothers,grandmothers, but most of these photos are over-exposed. Not like your wondrous Indian series, Sandra.

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  2. That beach and those waves look extraordinary. I would be one of the ladies on the beach, trying perhaps the tiniest dipping of toes at the water’s edge. Thank you for transporting me away for a minute or two 🙂

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  3. I would dearly love to get back to India and do the southern areas. Those pics are beautiful, the beaches nothing at all like up north. I just love the colours of India and I think I might have to get a Ganesh like that for the garden, complete with music. My favourite iconic statue and it may just block out some highway noise Another new look, nice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is magic. Like all places in India, there is a big adjustment to be made. and car travel is very interesting, to say the least, travelling in a sea of moving things, people on foot, cows and animals, bikes, motorbikes, cars, trucks and buses, with no marked lanes, all weaving and plaiting like a wave going slowly in the same direction. Patience is the first thing you learn in India.

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    1. We never knew which were teapot beer shops or ones that brazenly presented the cold bottles- the days of the week sometimes had someting to do with it: on special religious holidays around Port Kochin, alcohol was difficult to purchase. And then, its only beer. Good luck with the comp Fiona.

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  4. What a beautiful post, Francesca, though I must admit that the opening photo was envy-inducing for me. A sunny beach with warm tropical breezes would be so very nice right about now. I really do need to win the lottery, the sooner the better. 🙂

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