India is renowned for its crammed, crazy cities, bursting with colour and culture, and for years I avoided going in case it might all be too much for me! That was until I discovered Varkala, a breath of fresh coastal air, in the Southern spice province of Kerala. Instead of taking the motorway from Trivandrum airport, my driver took me down a small road running parallel with the Arabian sea, lined with a billion palm trees.
Varkala sits perched along the edge of a red stone cliff, overlooking an ochre sandy beach. The sound of gently crashing waves is a constant accompaniment to the aroma of incense wafting from pretty much everywhere. The mis-matched decor of the pink, green and blue buildings provides a charming air of shabby-chic. This place doesn’t take itself too seriously and the relaxed, laid-back vibe is apparent. Kerala, which is known as ‘Gods Own Country’, boasts 14 of the least polluted cities in India, and according to the latest Greenpeace Report, is India’s saving grace.
Here are 8 ways to immerse yourself fully into the rhythm of this town:
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