This scenic gem has hidden itself in the coastal line of Kerala in a place named Varkala Sivagiri. The place is well connected via rail, road and Air.
We started our journey to this place from Bangalore. The best train that we could sneeze into was the Yesvantpur-Kochuveli Express, 16561 as this train would place us at the destination right in the early morning wee hours, giving us the full right on the day at our disposal. The train starts from Yesvantpur around 3 pm looking forward to cover a distance of around 800 kms to reach this place. This train does not go to Sivagiri Varkala but takes a deviation to continue its journey to Trivandrum that it was destined for. We had to get down at Kollam and we had booked tickets to catch the Maveli expess (16603) from Kollam which after leaving behind two stations, dropped us at Varkala Sivagiri. For those who prefer Air options, one may need to spend around 1.5 hours travelling 40+ kms from Trivandrum airport to reach this place. We saved this option to explore in the return journey.
As the we walked out of the station, we were greeted by the hotel folks waiting for us at the entrance and drove us to drop at their homestay. The homestay was a walk away from the beach and was neat, tidy and clean. After providing some relaxing moments to our tiring muscles and post gulping down a healthy breakfast, we headed to explore the place.
Drifting away from the homestay, as soon as we set our foot to face the sea waters, we were spell bound and the lightning of surprise struck our eyes right there and emanating a feeling of “Wow, this scenic beauty really exists in our country….”
We caught the glimpse of the sea below standing upon a cliff and the beauty of the place is driven from the tall cliff standing on the shore of the sea overseeing the serene blue waters and the cliff running adjacent to the shore. The walk on the cliff alongside the sea on one side and restaurants, hotels on the other side is a captivating walk and puts one in a different world altogether. We walked and walked into the never ending path enjoying the morning cool breeze emitting from the splashing waves and after covering quite a long distance and finding the path to be never ending, we decided to turn and head back.
We were recommended to this place by one of our friend who had spoken high of it and we realized the importance of his words then and felt lucky that we did proceed meeting this place as we were spellbound by its scenic view. This place has not been advertised much and I believe the existence of this place is not known to many.
We discovered that 90-95% of the population visiting this place are Foreigners & the large part of the place here appears to have been set-up to welcome them and suit their needs. In fact, I found that the beggars too demanded alms in dollars and were not much interested in the rupee and thus they don’t even approach the Indians to beg.
We settled down into one of the restaurant and ordered a coffee which was served in a large tumbler suitable for two. We decided to head to the beach thereon. One needs to walk down the cliff taking the steps that would place them in the shore. The beach here is very clean and one can spend decent amount of time with the sea water. The beach shore was invaded by the foreigners outnumbering the country’s citizens, with few engrossed jogging their day out, and some sun-bathed drowned into their novels or shades on, few swam and exchanged fun with sea and the other few were engrossed in yoga.
As the day moved along, we continued to discover this place and noticed there were options for para gliding for the adventure seekers back on the top of cliff where you fly across the waters. Later in the afternoon, when the body agreed itself to get splashed with the warm water, I dived myself in to swim in the clean water, challenging the waves standing up against them with a wide facing proud chest. They did overpower me and pushed me down on my knees, with their strong gush and my strength faded away to shyness, giving up against the strong sea.
As the evening set in we hurried up the cliff to catch the setting sun drown itself into the water. We found ourselves to experience the best moment of our lives, sitting in one of the restaurants sipping the evening coffee, munching the evening snacks and seeing the orange sun part from us into the blue waters. Wow, what a beautiful painting of nature it was!, no words…
Bidding good bye to sun, we diverted our attention to dining options and found that it does sit on the higher side of the pocket comparatively, as the price list targets the overseas pool of customers. There are many restaurants to explore but looks like they all have formed a union to place the rates uniform across every restaurant, so one would seldom find a variation in prices and the food menu too would be almost the same at every joint, only that they come in different colors, fonts, paper and greeting faces. It is better to order sea food in the evening at the live counter as the stock is fresh out from the day catch, where one can choose the type of fish, lobster, crabs to land on one’s plate after travelling through the pan and fire. The day one ended with peace.
The next two days, we spent our time covering few ancient famous temples in the radius of two-three kilometers, apart from the long walk at the beach and the cliff .
After spending decent time at this place to our heart contents and it was time to bid bye to this wonderful place. The airport is around 40-50 kms away from this place. One can hire a taxi which costs around Rs 1500 – 2000 to the airport (as they do factor in the fuel for returning back) but we instead decided to have an adventure of experiencing a bus ride after a quick google research and tripadvisor posts, to save that extra spend. The effort was the change of two buses – one that put us on the highway and the other one continuing its journey to Trivandrum, making you part away with around Rs 200 from your pockets for two. We were looking forward to spend some time in the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple but time did not support us and we headed to the airport.
As the flight flew into the skies with us aboard, the thoughts of discovering this hidden gem in India gave us a feeling of satisfaction.
The beauty of this place is not justified in the words that we write/read but is to be best experienced with one’s own eyes. So do offer a treat to your EYES……