I’m enjoying my days spent here in Varkala, a quaint beach town in the state of Kerala, India. I was awoken before sunrise by the sounds of hawks or some type of larger winged bird flapping, calling in the air. It is certainly the best type wake up call and the most comforting sound early in the morning. Perhaps I’ll buy an alarm clock with that type of sound. Or better yet, move to a place where this is my reality daily. I laid in bed listening to 80’s music on my iPod until the sun rose. My iPod has been frozen since early on in my travels in India. Perhaps, it is a sign from the sky not to listen to music, but instead focus on the nature of India instead. This post is about my Varkala Beach Travel and daily ramblings.
Varkala Beach Travel Journal
During my Varkala Beach Travel, I’m staying at Kerala Bamboo House. It’s a small, no frills, beach hut of just a few located within steps to the beach cliff where most of the action is. It seems family owned so anything you need is readily available. I took a cooking class at my guesthouse where I learned how to prepare: Vegetable Pakoras, Chicken Curry, Plain Chapati, Vegetable Rice Biryani (a popular Kerala rice dish mixed with pineapples, raisins, cashew nuts).
Yoga Class in Varkala Beach
After the sun came out, I washed my face and went outside for a run. Which turned into a jog, which turned into mostly walking. I need to regain that stamina once I’m back to be able to easily run 2-3 miles like back in college! There were not many people up in the village I’m staying at. Varkala Beach is such a peaceful, calm town. By 8 am, I went out searching for the yoga class that my guesthouse offers. I couldn’t find it, or the teacher didn’t show up. So I strolled down to the main part of the beach strip where most the action is. Near the beach cliff, I found another hotel offering a Yoga class this morning (Namasthe Ayurvedic Mission Hotel).
The Yoga class was upstairs on the 4th floor roof top over looking the beach. There were two other females, one from Switzerland, one from Canada. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of middle aged western women traveling from Switzerland. And a ton of Canadians (as well as British, Australians, South Africans, Germans) who travel for close to a year in India. This Canadian girl has been here for 9 months, working in Northeast India, east of Bangladesh for Doctors w/out Borders. The Yoga Instructor’s name is Dr. Kamaraj. This yoga he says is his own mixture who’s focus is mainly on breathing. It was a nice change in scene as the Yoga class I practice in LA are more physical asanas. The cost of the Yoga class was only 150 rupees (4$).
Reiki in Varkala
I inquired about Reiki, which I’ve been seeing advertised all over. Dr. Kamaraj said it had to do with Cosmic Eternal Universe Energy. This type of Eastern practice has been drawing Westerners to India and Asia in general in the past half century. I wanted to learn more. So I hired him for a 60 minute Thai Massage / Reflexology / Shiatsu / Reiki thingamajiggy combination on me on the same top floor we did yoga. Whatever this massage concoction was, it felt damn good and I’m quite relaxed from it. That cost me 800 rupees (20$).
Shopping in Varkala
In the afternoon, I went shopping around Varkala. I’ve noticed a lot of more eastern Asian people working here. I curiously asked one of the store workers where they were born, she said she was from Tibet. I would then learn that there were many Tibetans who escaped the brutal China conflict and escaped to India a decade ago. Hence, the popular “Free Tibet” shirts that were being sold. Many Tibetan refugees are in Dharamshala though gone to various parts of India for work. Many stores sold a mix of local Indian, Tibetan, Nepalese design products: shawls, scarfs, necklaces, loose pants, side cotton bags, incense and Ayurvedic oil.hence the “Free Tibet” t-shirts they sold. Another store clerk told me that he and his family would be going back to their village in Dharmashala in 1 month. Now that is one place I hope to see one day!
I can’t wait to visit North India next time. But I have no complaints basing my very first 3 week India trip here mainly in the south where it’s safer for solo female travelers. This trip has been a series of beach hopping, island hopping and lots of sun. Next time I come though, I want to see all of North and it will take a minimum of 2 months just to barely scratch the surface.
I bought a faded orange side bag with the Om symbol printed, for 125 rupees. When street shopping in Varkala or anywhere in India (and most parts of Asia), bargaining is a given. The clerk started the bid at 250 rupees, and I slashed it in half though I’m pretty sure I could have brought it down more. Though I think it’s fair to also consider that they may need that extra 50 cents or $1 more than you.
Checking Out of South India and Heading to the North
It is noon now as I am writing this. I’m going to find some lunch then check out of Kerala Bamboo House. Although this is the first place in Southern India where I’ve love to relax and stay a few more days, I do want to make the most out of this trip and see as many places as I can.
I have a Friday 8am morning flight to Varanasi which will be my very first Northern India expedition. Then a Sunday flight from Varanasi to Mumbai arriving at 8:30 pm. I initially tried to get a direct flight to Goa but none was available. So I will stay a night or 2 in Bombay to explore the famous Bollywood city. Then take a train down to GOA where I will spend the week. At first I didn’t think I wanted to go to Goa since my initial intention of going to India was for ‘spiritual reasons’. You know, the “Pray” part of the “EAT PRAY LOVE” story! Well I hate to admit it but that 15 minute meditation I attempted at Ama’s Ashram (in Kollam) didn’t go so well. And during this trip, I’m really not interested in trying again so I will just follow my wanderlust and go where it desires.
My itch go to to Goa must have to do with my curiosity to party in this hedonistic beach town. I’ve had my occasional beer and a mojito at dinner last night but I hear that Goa is at another level. It’s infamous for the partying, raves, drugs and hippie life (we’ll most certainly skip the drugs though!).
Well, it’s time for my early afternoon Chai now,
So I’ll leave my Varkala Beach Travel ramblings at that. Namaste.
Traveling to India soon? Read:
- Solo Female Travel Tips to India here: https://www.bohemianvagabond.com/india-travel-tips
- My Published Article on Mystical India: https://www.bohemianvagabond.com/published-mystical-india