As everyone got excited about travelling to their hometowns for Diwali , We had our own quaint vacation planned to God's own country.It wasn't as well prepared as all my other vacations hence it was bound to be more exciting and adventurous.I prefer a peaceful diwali instead of whining over pollution and madness. varkala was exactly what I wished from my festival. Ships lined up far away in the sea as a row of dias glittering and sparkling. Shops decorated with minimal lights and a few shopkeepers were engaged in worshipping for prosperity and happiness. No ear numbing crackers and polluted air. Just calm , clear and beautifully lit cliff.We started amidst the diwali rush from bangalore via bus to Trivandrum. (Pointer1 : SRM and SRM bus are two different travel agents , so don't get confused. If boarding from Madiwala, and looking for "SRM bus" contact palakkad travels or friends travels). There was so much rush that I almost missed my bus due to the "SRM" and "SRM bus" confusion.Reached trivandrum around 9:30. We got down at Railway station itself and took a ticket for Varkala. (P.S - It costed us only 30 bucks (general class) each yayyy!!! ) Train was little bit crowded but it was manageable as it hardly took 45 minutes to reach our destination. We got down to this beautiful railway station and started looking for a bus to north cliff . Unfortunately , couldn't figure out which bus goes to cliff due to language constraints we finally decided to take an auto(100 bucks).We went around the cliff looking for place to stay and found this wonderful yet affordable place called "Mother's place" or "Mother's palace" near to the cliff. We took a non AC room for 800 bucks per day and settled in . Room was spacious and had a balcony with a swing :)The owner of the place were veery co-operative and helped us throughout the stay. We were two girls and based on our stay I would say opt for this place without a second thought without having any concerns about the safety. They have got you covered. Moving on, We got fresh and went for breakfast to this Tibetan restaurant on the cliff. It had stunning view of the beach and you could see the colorful umbrellas and people frolicking on the beach. We had momos and thukpa ,Loved them. The owner was very friendly and we left with full stomach and happy soul. Straightaway headed to the beach . Rented an umbrella for 200 bucks for around 4-5 hrs and relaxed. Reading "Fountainhead" got more interesting with beach in the backdrop. The beach as tempting as it looked had a large number of jellyfish and we were scared . I remembered that episode from F.R.I.E.N.D.S where monika gets stung and joey had to pee on her leg. Didn't want to be in that situation so I wasn't willing to get into the water but at one point I had to. I stepped in and that's when one of those slimy ,sticky, nasty little things bit me . It was painful and started to swell. But wasn't as bad as I thought. We came back to our hotel. And went for Dinner around 7. All the restaurants will display their best catch of the day and you can pick up the one which lures you the most. They even serve alcohol but in disguise as it's not allowed there. But who can stop you from having 5-6 mugs of coffee ;)Next day with the help our hotel owners we rented an Activa(200 bucks) and went out to explore the town. We had breakfast at Cafe Del mar and beach view :)Started off to black beach which was yet another feather in Varkala's cap. Hoping to have a jellyfish free beach we stepped in the water. But alas! they were still there. But now the fear was gone :DJoined a couple for a game of frisbee and then just lied down on the beach with the book. It's a wonderful place to click pictures and we found a perfect setting with a camping tent and coconut trees ...!!!
Next was , Edava beach which was mostly covered by rocks and a small part allowed you to get into water. There was a huge boat on the shore which once again turned out to be a great spot for taking pictures. From there we headed to Kappil beach which had more locals and very few tourists.It had beautiful backwaters but the beach wasn't that interesting. We decided to take off early and reached back to our hotel.Went out for a little shopping as there are so many shops on the cliff with some very cool stuff. But you need to get your bargaining game on point cause they don't give up easily. After dinner , we retired early as we wanted to catch morning train to Kanykumari. At 8 in the morning , we reached railway station and boarded passenger train to kanyakumari( 30 bucks each). Travel is so cheap here !!!By the time we reached Trivandrum, the rush was gone and we occupied an entire berth and took window seats. Drooling over the amazing view of backwaters and fields we enjoyed our journey. Somewhere in the mid it started to rain and completely changed the landscape. With coffee and rain, it was becoming a memorable train journey. We reached Kanyakumari around 12 and freshened in the waiting room.(P.S - We could never have thought of doing that in north as the condition of washrooms is pathetic but here it was so clean that I couldn't digest the fact).
We took a taxi for 50 bucks who dropped us to the ticket centre for Vivekananda rock memorial. The queue was so huge but we didn't give up and after one and a half hour managed to get the tickets. A ferry took us to the memorial. We were literally at the tip of our country. Sorrounded by water from three different water bodies. We could see boats riding the waves so huge and the view was magnanimous. We were left completely enthralled by the enormity of the sea . Next in line was Thiruvallur statue but due to some reasons they had closed it and we were taken back to the shore. As we were running late, we straightaway went to the station to catch 4:30 train back to trivandrum from where we had to board our bus back to Bangalore.The trip was fulfilling and I could happily go back to the routine life with memories made for lifetime.
I'll share a few tips and pointers that would help you in planning your trip >>
1. Visit - North cliff, Black beach, Edava beach and Kappil beach. There is a lighthouse too but we couldn't go there. See if you can add it in your itinerary.
2. Stay at North cliff. I'll recommend "Mother's place" . A big thank you for being so co-operative.
3. North cliff and Helipad are a minutes walk away . Don't get confused as we did and ended up taking a longer route.
4. There are no ATMs on north cliff so make sure that you have enough cash in hand or you'll have to go to the town which is 3 kms away to draw money.
5. Don't hesitate to bargain.
6. Don't get scared of jelly fishes they won't sting that bad.
7. Passenger trains and general class is as comfortable as Sleeper cause you are in South !!!!
8. Push this beautiful beach town in your south india itinerary and you won't be disappointed.
Happy travelling People :)