The first sight remains in memory, the Arabian Sea in sight, the abyss below us. It’s a good twenty meters downhill to the impressive beach of Varkala.

Quickly we find good accommodation with the interesting name Baby House Beach Resort. At first, the price seems to be above budget, and the nice owner wants to accompany me to the neighbouring guesthouse. There are cheaper rooms. When he casually asks how long we want to stay, I reply that it should be at least a week.

I am hurriedly transported by him back to the stairwell. His wife is called, and after she agrees, we get a much better offer and check-in. Before that, however, we must sincerely assure him that under no circumstances we will reveal our room rate to other guests.

Varkala Beach – a travelogue

Varkala is located about 50 km north of Trivandrum in Kerala. Here I like it very much after hot and exhausting days in Indian cities. The small paths, the many palm trees, the cosy bars, the silence – here you will find a very relaxed atmosphere. While this place is certainly not the true India, more of a backpacker ghetto, the preconditions for a few days of rest are still perfect.

Above and below

Close to the cliff edge is a narrow path. On one side are restaurants and small shops, on the other side it goes down steeply. There are no fences or railings. Here one does not drink too much in the evening. And do not forget the flashlight, because the power is constantly falling out.

In some places adventurous stairs lead down to the beach. The descent with flip-flops is a bit tricky, the climb sweaty. Once down there is no shadow. Therefore, umbrellas are awarded at exorbitant prices. If you stay longer than two days, it would be better to buy one directly, which is nowhere possible. Many are shaking their heads, and then, after a while, come back in a small, well-fed way and rent a parasol.

It is fascinating: Whether young or old – everyone stands in the water for hours and summons the waves. Now and then they are so huge that they are disassembled. Some people must, therefore, swimwear or bikini back to the right place before moving on.

During the beach break, the cliffs offer a spectacular sight. And a highlight is the birdlife. Eagles, hawks and ravens circle above the water, sometimes just above their heads.

Fish hunt

One hundred meters off the coast, fishermen throw a large net into the sea once a day. The birds are waiting for it because they smell prey. When the net is pulled together, the fish that jump out of the water in the struggle for survival is also visible from a distance. But all around are lurk eagles – in the dive, they grab their victims.

But then the hunt starts because food envy is spreading. Although more and more fish are jumping out of the nets, hawks and eagles are hunting each other.

Few meters above us fights to take place, in part four or five birds are involved. But it always loses the loot. Fish fall from the sky back towards the water, some are caught again at the last moment, and others submerge. Who is sunbathing should watch out, one fish ends up in the sand, another on a beach towel? When the nets are caught, the situation relaxes.

Unlike Goa, there are few flying dealers. But the two women who sell fruit, pineapple and melons, are rabid.

 “Hello! Pineapple, Madam? ”

 ” – “(* ignore mode on * )

 ” Mister? ”

 ” – “(* ignore mode * )

 ” Watermelon? ”

 ” – “(* ignore mode * )

 ” Watermelon? Madam ”

 ” – “(* ignore mode * )

 ” WATERMELON !? ”

We are sitting in fright on the ceiling after the saleswoman screamed in our ears. After years, the tinnitus returns. On the third day, we give up and buy something. “Eating, eating, eating, jam, jam, jam, beautiful men, beautiful men”, Mrs Melone sings happily. Everyone is happy.

Beach Observations

The situation on the beaches of Varkala is strange. One beach area is full of Westerners, on the other the locals relax. But many groups of Indians, mostly men, take a walk on the beach and inspect the tourists, especially the female ones. If they go too far or capture their memories with a camera, they are driven out by a group of lifeguards – a strange situation.

Even though the teasing is sometimes annoying, I do not want an Indian-free beach. And certainly not is in India.
Otherwise, most highlights happen at breakfast. Once we see a large group of dolphins, at least 10 to 15 animals, swimming along the coast.

The next day we witness a rescue operation. A glimmer is far out and has trouble returning to the booth. As he continues to drive away, it starts: – the four Indian lifeguards, who had previously noticed mainly through the use of their whistles, tear their grey-blue uniforms, which look like pyjamas, from the body. Underneath, surprisingly muscular, well-toned bodies come to the fore.

None of us was sure in the days before if they could even swim. But now they fight each other in the perfect synchronous crawl through the high waves. Four of them reach the aborted swimmer and get him out.

From 20 meters up we are witness to this rescue operation and impressed. Good work! The bay of Varkala is notorious for the dangerous currents; people are drowning here every year, so using the life-saving glimmer is a really wise thing.

Maybe you should also take care of the garbage problem. On the top of the cliff is a beautiful promenade, below an equally beautiful sandy beach. But although tourism is the source of income here, the garbage is piled up in some places. When cleaning up just thrown over the cliff. And that happens day by day.

Once we leave our beach idyll to get some money. Just a few hundred meters behind the hotels and resorts – India begins again. We go to a temple lake in a small family restaurant and order Thali.

In addition to a good portion of rice, there are various sauces, dressings and chutneys. Delicious! For a total of three people, including a bottle of water, we only pay around 1.75 euros. And all are paper-tired. A long drink at the tourist beach costs as much as the three lunches.

Alcohol is banned in Kerala, but no one keeps it. When the police are approaching, the beer is simply served in coffee cups. The descriptions of the cocktails lack alcohol, which is generously served. In many places, there is advertising for beer, which should not exist.

The raid

One evening, a certain rush breaks out. Beer bottles are collected by the waiters and the cocktail glasses are emptied. We learn that the police are going to raid. Shortly thereafter, even the police jeep bends with blue light around the corner. Three policemen get off and get angry, two waiters are taken away.

The store is still crowded, the guests persecute the spectacle. After a few discussions, notes presented and the announcement of a policeman to the tourists that it was “dangerous” here, the two waiters are allowed to get out again. The police drive away with blue lights.

Later, an employee tells us that there is no problem for the bar. They had a good deal with the police and only very rarely would anyone be taken. And even then, staying at the police station would mean drinking tea and watching movies. After two hours you could go again. Everything is possible with baksheesh.