The Magic of Varkala, Kerala

Varkala is a magic spot. The small holiday beach town is perched vicariously on the edge of an eroding cliff, overlooking the Arabian sea. You can get to Varkala by car from Fort Cochin, a long and very slow trip which winds through an ocean of traffic, pedestrians and cows, or you could fly into Thiruvananthapuram, then take a car north. The state of Kerala is known by the locals ‘Gods Own Country and I am inclined to agree. It is tropical and lush, productive and the locals are very welcoming.

Another cup of ginger tea, watching the tides of The Arabian Sea.
Another cup of ginger tea, watching the tides of The Arabian Sea.

There is not a great deal to do in Varkala and there lies its appeal. Pastimes include sitting under a shady verandah, replenishing your cup from a large pot of ginger and honey tea in the early hours of the day or drinking a chilled Kingfisher beer at sometime later. These two sipping pastimes converge in restaurants that lack liquor licences: you may be served beer in a large teapot.

A kingfisher beer and a large salad with tofu.
A kingfisher beer and a large salad with tofu.
Sipping tea and watching the waves roll in from the Arabian Sea.
Sipping tea and watching the waves roll in from the Arabian Sea.

The locals love to chat, which makes walking far more interesting and certainly adds a few hours to the journey.  There are yoga classes, Ayurvedic treatments and cooking schools to attend. If you stay for  a long time, you might be inclined to write that great novel or learn the art of total relaxation. Internet services are fast and free, the food is very good and the accommodation is cheap.

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Local transport. The Guardian Angel is aptly named. The other small 3 wheeled motorbike taxi was named Jesus. You need to invoke a bit of help from the gods as you negotiate the crumbling and disappearing footpath along the cliff.
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Watching the locals play as the sun comes down in Varkala.
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Local girls by the sea.
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Cooking school for two. We attempted to eat all this food, and really needed to share it with 5 others!

 

21 thoughts on “The Magic of Varkala, Kerala”

  1. Ahhh India. I didn’t visit Varkala, looks like I missed out! I have hilarious stories about negotiating the loopholes to buy booze in Gujurat which is a dry state. If you’re an alcoholic it’s readily available….

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    1. No, no, no Sandra! According to husband dear no 2, you just had to say you were ‘alcohol-dependent’ anywhere in India [he did lots of TV of ads there and he did love his ‘whatever’ 🙂 ] but no, was not an alcoholic!! and the ‘doc’ wrote out a certificate!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunday work morning or not, this terrific tale will be straight to a dear blog gf, Carina Simeon Sebastine of ‘Anyone4curry’ who lives in Cochin – for all I know you are on each other’s lists already 🙂 !!!

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      1. Both husbands had the privilege – my first led over 30 tours to India and the lower Himalayas ex Australia. Would you believe I have only seen airports and the ‘odd day’! Methinks, like you, I would also SO miss . . . . thank you . . . .

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  3. I have missed feelings about a second visit to India. I was there in 1984. Forty years the world has changed a lot. I went to Kerala but not to Varkala. My husband wants to visit again ( not that we went together the first time). I like the idea of resting and not doing much. Not sure if my husband would let me do that though he would be dragging me on some bumpy local bus road trip or up some mountain…
    Louise

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    1. Hi Louise, I went to India in 1979 and it was hard work- it drove me crazy in fact. This time, it was so much easier and Kerala was so relaxing. It did take a couple of days culture shock though. I’ve taught Mr T to slow down and he finally has. We are enjoying slow travel more…

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