Varkala, Kerala


The Arabian Sea rhythmically rolls in on big white waves that span the length of Varkala beach. Travellers from India, and increasingly from other parts of the globe, visit the shores and cliffs of Varkala for the refreshing beauty, the long sandy beach, and for the healing waters attributed to this holy sight by those who worship Vishnu.

We stayed 5 nights at the Varkala Marine Palace, one of the few hotels on the beach, and dined here too. Fresh seafood prepared tandoori or masala, tasty thorans, friendly staff and wonderful views - why not?  Here we totally relaxed, read the local papers, and watched all that was happening on the beach. Birds and sea, fishermen and their boats, women in bright, pretty sarees, yoga practitioners, tourists in search of dinner - the beach was full of life!  Indian families and friends gathered for hours where the water meets the sand, not to swim, but to enjoy the sea breeze, and the pleasing sunsets.

Tides can be dangerous at Varkala and lifeguards with whistles warned kids and crowds to be careful. Further north, below the town, were safer swimming waters where tourists from around the world tackled the waves and sunbathed - in typical Western swimwear, themselves a tourist attraction for those used to more modest attire.
Along the top rim of the cliffs at Varkala are shops, internet cafes, restaurants, yoga schools, ayurvedic care and even some hotels offering dental surgery.  Behind this strip lies the town of Varkala, home to about 45,000. It was sunny and hot in Varkala in late November. I had some light clothes sewn up for me on the spot at a tourist tailor shop. Cotton-linen pants and a tunic. A perfect fit.

We didn’t do much in Varkala, but the days flew by.  A masala dosa* for breakfast, maybe a walk up into town to check the internet, an afternoon dip in the sea, to the restaurant to watch the sunset  until dark and then under the mosquito net and fans until morning. The soothing rhythm of the waves, the bright colours of  happy people against the soft blue of the Arabian Sea, Varkala, India is like a dream now.   

Shops in Varkala

Here's a link to a video about Kerala's Worker's Co-operative Coffee Shops.

Lobster purchase in the restaurant

The catch

Posing for the picture

On the beach at Varkala, Kerala, India