Peppered with a mind-boggling number of diverse cultures and landscapes, the coastlines of India are not only a treat in terms of the sun,sand and the sea but also the authentic local flavours that you get to sample.Varkala, in “God’s Own Country” Kerala is one such pristine beachtown that has left me marvelling at its picturesque landscapes.
Our trip to Varkala was a part of our Kerala tour which took us through the famous backwaters at Kochi,the tea gardens at Munnar and the beaches of Alleppy and Kovalam – each place being unique in its own way.But throughout the trip,only the enigmatic hillscapes of Munnar could somewhat lift off the charm that Varkala had put on me.It was 10:50am by my watch when we reached our destination.From the top of a cliff, my first glimpse of the magnificent sea, ruffled by the froth-crested waves, kept me rooted to the spot for a few minutes. It was love at first sight 🙂
We set out on a walk down the stone-layed promenade running all along the top of the cliff.With a medley of shops and eateries on one side and a breathtaking view of the sea on the other,a walk down this street is a treat to all your five senses. Post-lunch, i went off to explore the beach.The sand was soft and warm. I walked along the edge of the sea where little waves pampered my feet with their mellow coolness. Armed with a camera, i got some really good shots of my piquant surroundings. I lied down on the sand,took out a book and settled down for a peaceful read.The setting was somewhat unconventional,but all the same, i enjoyed every bit of it.
The evening was spet in visiting a nearby church and ambling down the street which was now dazzling with lights and was abuzz with activity. After a light meal of a lucious bowl of soft and delicate lassagne (one of the best in the world), we turned in early that night.Peering at the moon lit enigmatic sea through the glass doors of the balcony,I slowly drifted off to sleep…..
Waking up early next morning, I shuffled sleepily to the balcony.The crisp morning air cooled my face,driving off all the sleepyness from my eyes.It was almost daybreak.Eager not to miss the sunrise, i quickly took a shower and dressed up for the day.The sky had already painted itself with delicate strokes of pink,blue and purple which slowly gave way to vivid tones of orange and red.The sunrise cast a spell on the surroundings.It was an enticing experience altogether.
This morning,we set off to explore The Black Beach.The beach derives its name from its black sand.On our way there,a leather-bound diary caught my eye in one of the little shops.Adorned with a little red stone perched at the centre of the cover, it was a real beauty.I bought it immediately and ever since it has always been with me.Black Beach is a paradise for those who love to explore the different facets of silence and solitude.There were very few shops and only a handful of tourists could be seen.We entered a beach side restaurant. Its Keralian owner regaled us with stories of the place apart from rustling up flavorous drinks for all of us.I lowered myself on a hammock hung nearby.From my perch,i got an unrestricted view of the sea which had now draped itself with three different shades of blue.Above me,the long leaves of the coconut trees susurrated in the breeze,creating patterns of shadow and sunlight on my face.I closed my eyes and soaked in the revitalising elements that nature was offering me – the sound of the waves carelessly dribbling onto the sand,the cool salty breeze on my face,the sound of the rustling leaves….everything.
Returning to the Papanasam beach,we found the whole place decked up for the Halloween celebrations.Bright Jack-o-lanterns,bats,spiderwebs- all adorned the entire area.Our hotel had arranged for a free for all music show.It was a lively night.We settled down for our last meal in Varkala.It was a large Butterfish grilled to perfection with lip-smacking Konkani spices that flirted with our tastebuds this time.Tapping our feet to the music,we had one of our best meals in one of the best settings ever.
That night,sleep was miles away from me.I sat in a couch in the balcony,savouring every bit that the moon-lit night was offering me.The sea was frisky with the high tide coming in.Huge waves crashed against the cliffs.Cradled in the lap of nature, i spent the night in the company of the stars and the sea….my thoughts akin to the tumultous waves ruffling it. We left Varkala early next morning with an earnest promise to return soon…..