Relaxing in Varkala 

It was actually quite a nice mix of Indian and western here in Varkala. The setting of the restaurants and hotels sittting atop the cliff top surrounding the beach meant that everything was easy to reach and that everywhere we went we got a cooling breeze off of the ocean. The atmosphere was also beautifully relaxed.

We spent our time eating fantastic food on the cliff top, swimming in the sea, sunbathing on the beach, having Ayurvedic massages, Sarah doing yoga , me meditating and generally both recharging. Everyone seemed to be doing similar things and it was a pretty easy place to settle down in. I can see why people end up staying here, it just seemed to have a lot of things right. It was probably fortunate that we were here when it wasn’t tourist season so we got the benefit of all the facilities without the large numbers of people. The busy time here is between November and February and come April apparently a lot of places close.

Varkala strikes a nice balance between the East and the West. There have been plenty of places in Sri Lanka and India where we would have liked a beer to sip on but the local restaurants don’t usually serve beer. Yet here there is a greater accommodation to the tourist. The meals in a lot of the restaurants, while still nice, don’t have the same amount of spice and flavour to them. Most of the menus offer some more western meals too along with the Indian options. The music played is mostly trance music and the clothes sold are all baggy pants with elephants on them and loose shirts. It’s funny because they are things I associate with India but aren’t actually worn by any Indians.

We couldn’t spend our whole time in Varkala just lounging about so we decided to go on a walk northwards along the coast. There were pathways stretching for about 7kms all along the beach which passed by a few hotels and villages along the shore front. It was quite beautiful but we couldn’t help but notice the large amounts of rubbish scattered around the place which really was a shame. There apparently is a conscious effort in Kerala to clean the place up but unfortunately old habits die hard and there seems to still be a long way to go.

Varkala has been a definite highlight and probably a bit of a shame that we came here first. I could highly recommend it as a holiday spot, it would be a great place to get a taste of India without throwing yourself headfirst into the depths of the country. We have debated staying here longer but with so much of India to explore it would be a bit of a shame to stay in such a touristy place, onwards we head towards the Western Ghats. T

Great food at the Blue Moon cafe along the cliff at Varkala.

The walkway along the cliff above the beach.

A mosque just north of the town itself. It’s sitting right on the waterfront.

The view back to town.

A beautiful stretch of coastline and amazing to have it all to ourselves.

The fishing boats back in for the day.

Another mosque right on the beach and we couldn’t work out whether the huts were abandoned housing or used to sell the fish from.

Chickpeas and fresh vegetables.

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