That night after the movie, we hurriedly got onto a Kerala state transport bus that goes to Trivandrum, hoping to reach Varkala by morning. “3 tickets to Varkala please” was met with an expression of uncertainty..this time, the conductor consulted other passengers (yes, not the other way round) to find out which would be the closest stop to Varkala. That turned out to be a place called Kollam. So the whole night was spent travelling to Kollam on the ultimate when it comes to luxury transport – a Kerala state transport bus. In the morning, 2 buses and an auto rickshaw later, we found ourselves at Varkala, a beach that ranks right up there along with the best that India has to offer.
In the monsoon (this must be the 2nd week of September), Varkala is not at all crowded and accommodation wouldn’t be a problem. But expect some sections of the beach to be inaccessible due to strong waves and even the locals discourage you from exploring places that they deem a little dangerous. Nevertheless, our stay at Varkala was punctuated by alternating spells of strong sunshine and heavy rain. There are 2 hills which overlook the beach and although accommodation can be found on both of them, it would be better to stick to the bigger hill. It houses a variety of stay options and small shacks as well as restaurants, and you can while your time away sipping a cocktail inside one of these while resting your eyes on one of the best vistas you can experience in Kerala. We spent an evening there contemplating the benefits of getting a managerial job and/or crunching numbers in an investment banking job versus the prospect of opening an establishment like a restaurant on such a beach and waking up to the sights and sounds of the sea every single morning.
Night time meant catching a return back to Kozhikode, be warned though – it can be exasperatingly difficult to get a rickshaw back to Varkala town after evening. We had to walk a while before good luck shined on us, and had to catch a train to Kozhikode (2 actually, don’t ask) before we could end up sleeping away to glory in our campus rooms in the morning. All in all, this had been a trip where the eventual destinations (both of them – Alleppey and Varkala) turned out to be quite a long way from the original plan (Payipad and Munnar) and one in which we had spent a lot more time travelling rather than relaxing. But still, they say, it is the journey that matters and that was how matters were laid to rest. At least till the next trip.