Varkala before sunset
December has always been a month of reflection and so, I took my year end trip to Varkala.
Varkala is a tinsel town with a shoreline, ~40 kms from Trivandrum, it is also known for their yoga retreats and the Vishnu temple (Janardana Swami Temple). One of the peculiar things I observed was, the beach has no shacks on the shore and thus keeps it clean. Varkala, has a picturesque cliff with lots of cafes, resorts, homestays, overlooking the beach.
Varkala, has its own vibe, very distinct and friendly, it is the cliff which is buzzing throughout the day with people who are staying there for months to tourists who visit for the weekend. The favorite part of my day was the sunset. The sky changed its colors and splashed its own concoction in the horizon just right to alter your mood.
Life on the beach is simple and Varkala lives up to it. Arabian Sea has perfected its waves for a swim and during high tide one can also surf. My visit coincided with the Art of living workshop, which was held at the Helipad during the Christmas time, yoga treats are a regular feature here. I also saw a lot of people windsurfing thanks to their cliff, people can have a full view of the shore.
From Trivandrum, I took a cab and reached my hotel, Palm Tree Heritage, it is on the extreme south side of the cliff, one can opt to stay at the cliff as it is very convenient during the night time. Being a small town, the place is very safe, however it does not have any street lights.
During my stay, I would go for my morning runs in the town; my route was from my hotel to the temple, which is around 4 kms one way. During my morning runs, I would watch the shops and tea stalls open early and this scene added to the soothing vibe of the town. You will find groups of people catching up around the tea stall, while the morning mist still linger when they take their first sip of coffee. The view of the newspaper delivery guy on his cycle, reminded me of my childhood days. Morning time at the temple is busy, people paying their visits, florist and other vendors have their little flea market around the temple. Next to the temple is the temple’s pond, surrounded by a numerous palm trees, which make the place serene and you can spend some time there.
Post run, I would have my breakfast overlooking the shore in my hotel, one can’t swim there as it is barricaded with rocks to prevent the waves.
My routine was quite similar during these 3 days, I would generally reach the beach post breakfast and hang in there till lunch, I got a chance to meet a lot of people and strike a conversation. I swam a lot, drank pineapple juice and savored every bit of my dessert. My lunch would be in the town in one of the local restaurants serving sea food, stew and appams, it was delicious. Post lunch, go back to the beach, one of the days I even went to the “secret beach” further north of the cliff, the waves are calmer with lot less tourist.
This trip made me believe, in “what you seek is seeking you”. Everything was as I imagined, I met some of the most beautiful people, shared some incredible stories and I also understand, we are all wanting to be understood and loved. It’s the way we express ourselves make all the difference. I celebrated Christmas eve in Varkala, the whole cliff was lite up with the fairy lights, music and people wishing each other. I was high on life in Varkala, so while I did get beer there, I didn’t resort to it much. There is a night club on the cliff frequented by tourist, I forget the name, as I didn’t visit. But its easily identified on asking the locals.
One of the evening, I met this woman who is settled with her family in Dubai and was visiting India for her son’s treatment. Talking to her made me realize, how lucky I’m and how strong she is. She is dealing with her 6-year-old to get back to a carefree life without medicines and here I’m thankful to have met her who gave me a reason to celebrate my good health.
During my stay I also met a German woman in one of the cafés, she was teaching languages in one of the towns in Kerala and used to visit Varkala very often. She relocated to Kerala more than a decade ago and spoke to us with poise and vulnerability about her journey and how she drives strength through it. I think people are more open when you listen intently and they know you will not judge them for their past. This reminds of a colleague who told me, we are all shades of grey, it’s just the degree of grey that we differ.