Travel Stories

A Start Of Something Beautiful In Varkala

May 19, 2019

Ever thought that from here on in your life begins and all you knew was wrong?

28th January 2017 | Varkala, Kerala India

“Time crumbles things; everything grows old under the power of Time and is forgotten through the lapse of Time.” ― Aristotle

Hadn’t you come here looking for nirvana? I asked myself sipping the beer in a rustic shack on the northern cliff of Varkala. I should stop looking for it now. Let it come, when the time is right, I thought before leaving Varkala on the last day of my solo trip. That was the Arrival.


Varkala is a coastal town in the south Indian state of Kerala. Though the place is on the Arabian sea and known for Varkala beach, my happy places there are on the palm-covered red cliffs. Just south of Varkala, Papanasam beach is believed to have holy waters. The word Papanasam means to wash away sins. As they say, dip in the waters of this beach washes away all the sins in one’s life.


The first time I came here, It was October of 2015, when I was ticking down my overgrown travel checklist. I came here looking for another not-so-hyped beach place of that time. When I came Varkala, I had an itinerary of all three days I planned to stay there. But when I reached there, I remember spending all of my three days sitting in a balcony of Trattorias Restaurant, watching the Arabian sea relentlessly for hours and hours till it the sky goes dark.


By the time I left the place, I felt I was entering into the next phase of my traveling life, the phase of Slowing Down. The realization of entering into this phase was one of the most amazing experience I have ever had. When I first started traveling two years before that, my most of the time was spent in the excitement of every new place I went, I traveled to all the spots every place had and did whatever my budget allowed me to do. It wasn’t the case, that I was no more excited about my traveling. But somewhere on the journey, I lost connection with what I was looking for. It wasn’t that I was lost, but I felt I lost many of my prejudices I took along this far.


Varkala was more than a reality to me. I would say, Varkala stretched my definition of reality far above than I could ever put it in the words. The view of infinity getting lost somewhere on the horizon while the sun was coloring the evening sky was as overwhelming for my eyes as it to my mind.


This phase, I would rather call it as an Arrival. As I went along the time, the idea of traveling kept on changing. The philosophy of finding yourself while traveling was not making sense anymore. The days I traveled to escape the reality confronted me with the more real I could ever face. Most of it was all chaos while connecting the new thoughts with the ideas I spent my life upon until that time.

The Arrival is somewhere I knew that the reality gets less resolute as it confronts with more of it. Getting beyond the confirmation bias needed the excess of reality so as to confuse the mind where it was biased in the first place. Sometimes, the places come to your life as an oasis in your journey where you can change the paths you planned the journey upon. Varkala made me realize, there are as many ways as many there are places, but you will arrive at your oasis only if you go far enough.

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom…You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.”

― William Blake


I spent my time there, strolling on the lanes of palm-covered red cliffs of Varkala. The place has unique cliffs with the sedimentary geo-morphological structure in an otherwise flat Kerala coast. The cliffs have natural springs and they are believed to possess medicinal qualities. The lane starting from Papanasam beach till the northern end of the cliff is a beautiful walkway.

The coconut trees with the rowing leaves in the wind and also the blue waves striking the red cliff has an overwhelming view of this contour. The towering cliffs here, overlooking the Arabian sea along the beach will make you fall in love with the place, again and again, you come back here.

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