Relax in the sun and sand at Varkala.A small town that is rapidly becoming one of India’s most popular backpacking destinations, Varkala is replete with natural beauty. Being located at a confluence of the hills and the beach surely helps its cause.
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Day 5 - VarkalaDrive from Alleppey to Varkala will take around 4 hours so start early as this beach by far is the most beautiful calm and secluded place of all. The moment I saw the water I wanted to dive in, this place has a feel of its own, the sacks round they have given a Italian Tibetan western sort of feel, those handicraft shops music stores food and the sun will do it all. This is the place to unleash yourself eat good and just relax, by evening head towards Kovalam and plan to stay there for a day or two.
Sai and I were in Punalur (Kerala) for a friend’s wedding in August 2016. Varkala was just an hour’s drive from Punalur, and it had been on my list for quite some time now. With a bit of complications around taking leaves in office, we decided to make it to Varkala for one day.We set out from Punalur early morning in a hired taxi. The one hour odd exhilarating drive through the numerous rubber and spices plantations and beautiful coconut trees lined roads upped our spirits. Our resort, Clafouti Beach Resort, was on the North Cliff, a popular place lined with multiple resorts and shacks.
Sivagiri Mutt – Located 2 kilometres near the Varkala railway station, the mutt is the final resting place (Samadhi) of Shri Narayana Guru, a social reformer and Hindu philosopher. The pilgrimage days extend from 30 December to 1st January every year, where thousands of devotees dressed in bright yellow walk kilometres to reach the Samadhi in order to pay homage to their Guru. You may choose to wear conservative clothes should you visit it. Janadharnan Swami Kshetram – A 2000 year old temple dedicated to Lord Janardhana, one of the several names given to Lord Vishnu. Located on a table-top, be prepared to climb an overwhelming flight of steps to reach the deity. Non-hindus are not permitted to enter the sanctum but can wander around it, and of course, wear conservative clothes. (Men will be required to take off their shirts) Kaapil beach – An off-road from the Varkala-Paravur road bordered by the beach on one side and a lake on the other. During monsoons, the beach and the lake coalesce at a point to form a single body which makes it highly dangerous for a swim during this time. You can also see the Varkala cliff on your left and Kollam beach on your right. Paravur beach (Theeradesham) – Located hardly any distance from Varkala is this breathtaking and almost unknown beach. There are several rock groynes built from the shore to interrupt the waves crashing. Walk up to the end of the groyne, the view is overwhelming. Elephant shed (Aana kottil) – Situated in Poothakulam on Paravur -Parapally road, the shed gained popularity owing to birth of Shivan Kutty – first elephant to be born to domesticated elephants. While you can take pictures with them, make sure you hand over a crisp 100 Rupee note to the handler. Feed them bananas too, you’ll get them from a shop 100 mts away. Buy your own fish – To watch them fisherman fight the waves on a fibre boat, slightly larger than a canoe, and bring in the fresh fish of the day is quite something. Ranging from sting rays, crabs and sardines alike, buying fish could not get fresher for good number of locals and hotel agents. If someone has a mammoth catch, you will be lucky to witness a live auction. The fish is then either sold for much higher prices at the local market or to you. Oh, btw did I mention you need to be at Paravur beach at no later than 6 am to see this?
Mathruthwam Ayurvedic Life Care Hospital
So when you go to Kerala, you always look forward for an authentic massage - i headede to this place as thi swas juts next door to where i was staying , and though i had just 45 minutes to spend, it was totally well spent. i came all all glowing and super oily.. :D
Vedanta Wake up - Varkala
Being a solo woman traveller, i was quite worried by the fact that i had booked a bed in a mixed dormitory, but my worries were uncalled for- i immediately fell in love with the place and the people. there was a homely touch to the place, with a sit out section furnished with bean bags TV and furniture.. I shared my room with 2 Brits and they were a good company too. So they have a kitchen where they serve food for travellers who have opted for it, they have a fully stacked fridge with water bottles and juice.Ah.. jjust home away from home. I looked them up after i returned to Bangalore and found they are all over South India. Cant wait to stay at another Vedanta!!
At Varkala’s famous Coffee Temple I met Lovely, I approach her curious to know if she owns the place. Lovely does not own the coffee shop, but helps manage it and has been there for close to ten years. In a small chat we have, Lovely tells me before joining the tourism industry she worked as a software professional in one of the big cities. It is amazing what people do for the love of travel and tourism- from a big city to a beach destination with a creek- Lovely surely does not seem unhappy about the decision.
This beautiful place by the cliff- i landed here around 4PM the next day with a book- stayed there for an hour with an orange juice. The atmosphere was lively, maybe because it was Friday night :). I took a stroll down the cliff and landed back there around 8 to have a quick bite, only to find this place super crowded. What i understood from being here for 3 days is foreigners stay here for long period of time, and hence over time they get to know a lot of other groups and make friends. So Darjeeling cafe's atmosphere was full of friendly chatter and romantic dinners that Friday night , and boy, yes i did feel let out. he he.