At the southernmost tip of Kerala in India lies a tiny hamlet that’s a little paradise in itself. One can take a train or bus or flight to the capital city of Trivandrum and from there take another train or taxi to reach Varkala. When taking the train one needs to disembark at Sivagiri, the closest station. By road one can drive up all the way to the cliff side, where there’s a huge helipad also overlooking the waters, and used occasionally for special purposes.
For both tourists and locals it is a place to refresh and rejuvenate, though the beach itself is called ‘papanassam’ beach to denote the fact that one can wash away one’s sins (or paap) here, and there’s a beautiful temple right on the shore where the last rites of Hindu cremation are performed. Stretches of beach are found on either side of the cliffs, and remain alternately submerged and accessible during the monsoon season. Either way, one could easily spend hours walking up and down the coast, or sit atop the cliff and watch the world go by. Alcohol and drugs are (officially) prohibited here but much goes on under the cover of darkness and even darker deeds. Having said that it is actually a piece of great news that this happens to be one of the safest towns in the country for women, which is truly remarkable.
For the visitors from near and far looking for their spiritual or cultural fix, there’s a bustling market, quaint cafés, long walks on the sands, the intriguing laterite cliffs and the skyscapes to die for, even if you are only going there to recover from a ‘heartbreak’ or loss. This is especially true as you feel the balmy sea breeze, the softly lapping waves, the slow pace of life, and the calmness of the people drawing you into the lap of comfort and security; even a day spent here is a magical experience indeed.