Varkala – Love at first sight

  “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”

When I decided to explore the South, I did not have a set destination in my mind nor a set goal. I was only seeking knowledge and bliss. I rode through numerous beautiful places including Munnar, Cochin , Vipin, Allapey and came across many people and these experiences touched my soul but it was Varkala that left an imprint in my heart.
I had made a pit stop at my aunt’s place 160 kms away from Allapey. She packed me lasagne as I got ready to head towards Varkala.

I had no idea what awaited me at Varkala, I had not planned a stay of many days there, but when I reached I had a stunning view of the vast sea across the cliff. It was love at first sight.

First view of the Varkala shore

The view mesmerised me, yes but it was the benevolence of the people I met that made my stay even more delightful.

I walked up to the cliff where all the hotels are situated. I approached a man named Bilal who owns ‘Ashiyana’. Every essence of his inn is warm and welcoming, maybe because it is owned by someone who also holds a good heart. I say this because when I told him I was on my own and informed of my grand plans riding he was more than willing to accommodate my stay within a reasonable budget and made me feel at home.

Big and spacious rooms at Ashiyana

It is true, you do not need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination and Varkala is one such. Over there I was at a constant awe of the exquisite view sprawling beside the cliff and spent most of my first day walking across it. 
And I just sat there on the beach watching the sun set and the rain clouds singing to their tune.

The inns and the cafes are all perched perilously upon the dizzying cliff. They play soothing music and are adorned with fairy lights in the evenings, bringing a smile to my face. 

Varkala is not just about gazing at the sea, it is also about experiencing it, run, jump, float, swim and even surf. I really wanted to surf when I saw the group that offered it however before that I needed to take a 5 day course in surfing. At that point I had not planned to stay that long so I passed that opportunity, my only regret in this trip.

I had to make do with a photograph. Until next time.

During my stay I learnt that there is an elephant camp a few kilometres from there. I decided to explore it and it turned out to be one of my favourite experiences because of the way that day unfolded. While riding towards the elephant camp I realised there was the Kapil beach on one side and a lake on the other. I promised myself that on my return I would stop at the lake.

At the elephant camp Anandan was waiting for me. Anandan is this gentle majestic creature who loves playing with water and would  bathe me through his trunk every time I splash water on him! I had such a merry time.

Anandan enjoying his bath
On my way back from the elephant camp I noticed that some fishermen were fishing on the lake I had noticed earlier. I asked them if I could join them and they took it upon themselves to teach me how to fish. I always thought fishing was a skill but that day I felt it is an art, to be able to wait patiently, knowing where to look for the fish really requires an understanding of the nature. I clearly lack the sense since I only caught a cockle. Brushing aside my defeat with the fish I decided to join them instead and took a plunge into this magnificent lake where the water was clear and blue which is actually quite rare in South India. It was truly a memorable day.

Having heard about my exquisite experience my family decided to join me at Varkala and made my stay even more eventful. 

We went for a boat ride on the sea, ran wild shopping at the local market which catered to amazing goods which are true to India. We walked two whole kilometres getting to a beach where the sand is as  black as the night sky.

Kim kim’s beautiful curles

You have got to go and feel the sand at black beach 

I made sure they try the tasty jaffles while enjoying the eye pleasing beauty of the sea from atop of the restaurants perched on the cliff. We made merry swimming and then singing at the same food joints that turn lively in the night.

I wish I could wake up to this view every morning 🙂

Yummalicious jaffles

A. Julia lighting up the night
And I had to take them back to that magnificent lake!

swimming at the lake

I did not want to leave this serene place

Varkala to me has been a learning experience. I gained a lot, I gained friends, I gained knowledge. I absorbed the little joys of life through some talented and kind people. I had a brief stint at Yoga through Jess and the yoga master that Bilal’s wife arranged for me. I met a very talented musician David whose beats spoke a thousand emotions. Everything and everyone around me just radiated positive energy, which  helped reinforce my belief in my dreams and I’m ever so thankful to my uncle Derrick for taking care of the entire expense at Varkala. 

Yoga class at 6 am definitely rejuvenates you for the rest of the day

To me Varkala is not just about sitting on the beach, to me this place is about appreciating the small packages of joy that life has to offer and having faith that good exists.