Varkala – Backpackers heaven

Another week came to an end on Friday and I was so relieved to take a break from mind numbing routine work. Decided to spend it away from the of daily routine and Kerala immediately popped in my mind evoking memories of lush exotic vegetation, the beauty of the backwaters, wild fauna, ayurvedic care and colorful festivals and shows, the softness of life and idleness. But this time I decided to have a peaceful unwinding so thought of checking out Varkala.

If you’re looking for a peaceful beach experience that has yet to be completely spoiled by mass tourism, then Varkala is a little piece of heaven.

I absolutely loved the place, it’s a refreshing change away from the hustle and bustle of the metro life. My first impression of the locals are that they are completely charming and that’s the best way to relax their customers into spending a few more days chilling out in the restaurants, shops and guest houses that make up Varkala.

Varkala has a beach, backed by a steep cliff, and it’s along the top of this cliff that most of the action happens. There’s a strip along the cliff’s edge affectionately called as the Varkala village and most of the accommodation is tucked away in the backstreets behind the promenade. The sea facing cliff edge is dotted with a lot of restaurants and bars staring west which offers quite a breath taking view of the sunset.

Sitting on a cliff bar and sipping cold beer is one of life’s great pleasures. The beach below is not very crowded and one can take a cold dip in the waters but caution is advised because the sea off Varkala has a strong rip-tide that can carry people away so better to swim between the red flags on the beach.

On reaching Varkala I was tasked one of the most challenging dilemmas on trying to decide what to do with the day. Maybe an afternoon dip in the sea? Or maybe a morning spent wandering around the market hunting for bargains on souvenirs? Or even a day munching seafood in front of the dazzling Arabian Sea? A very difficult decision indeed, but Varkala is the kind of place where time stretches out and you end up spending days doing what feels like almost nothing.

But what a wonderful place to do almost nothing. Whiling away the hours with a book in one hand taking a sip of fresh beer is one of life’s little luxuries. And of course the fresh sea food which Varkala has to offer went brilliantly with the heavenly experience. No wonder Kerala earned its nickname “Gods own country”.

Tasted one of the best seafood I have ever laid my hands on. As the sun set brings to life one of Varkala’s charms – the seafood. The restaurants lay out the catch of the day caught fresh from sea and brought in. From huge marlin and swordfish alongside red snapper, tuna, butterfish, pomfret and barracuda, surrounded by tasty king prawns – large and small – and squid. I decided to have a pomfret cooked with fine Keralan spices with butter and a dash garlic – and take a seat overlooking the waves, with the sun setting in the distance. It’s delightful, sipping a beer while waiting for your fish, and when it comes, it’s utterly divine.

At night feast your eyes with the heavenly view of the night sky from the cliff. It looks as if the stars have fallen from the sky and landed on the sea, lighting up the waves like distant, floating lanterns.

And before you know it, that’s another day gone in paradise, and the next day it’s another difficult choice between swimming in the warm sea, soaking up the sun on the beach and honestly by this time the thought of heading back to the daily routine felt like such a dreadful thought. But its a great way to unwind on a lazy holiday in a totally relaxing and unchallenging way, Varkala hits the spot perfectly.

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