Varkala + Kovalam | Kerala, India

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 7.36.12 PMWe've covered some serious land in India. In total we've hit around 3000 miles. Our last two weeks of our Indian adventure we spent at the beaches of Varkala and Kovalam in the state of Kerala. Check out our path... Before we got to the beaches of India, Rick and I hypothesized about which beach would be our favorite. We both guessed Varkala in the state of Kerala. Varkala is a known pilgrimage site for Hindus and from google images, the beach lived at the bottom of rusted colored cliffs. We took our last Indian train (phew) from Kochi to Varkala and were eager to see if we had guessed right.

Well. We were wrong. We both agreed that Agonda Beach deserves the best Indian beach prize.

Varkala is decent enough though a bit crowded. We were also there during peak time, which could account for the crowds and price gouging. Restaurants and shops line the top of the cliff and there are black sand beaches just to the north of the main beach along with some small fishing enclaves.

Here’s a look at the quieter beaches just north of the main beach in Varkala.

Varkala_1 Varkala_2 Varkala_3Varkala_4 Varkala_6 Varkala_5Varkala_7 Varkala_8 Varkala_9 Varkala_10Varkala_11 Varkala_12 Varkala_13 Varkala_14 Varkala_15The main beach was always abuzz. There also seemed to be a clear tourist section at the north end of the beach, while the south end was primarily packed with locals…

Varkala_16 Varkala_19 Varkala_20 Varkala_21Varkala_22 Varkala_23 Varkala_24 Varkala_25Varkala_26 Varkala_27 Varkala_28 Varkala_29 Varkala_30Varkala_31 Varkala_32 Varkala_33 Varkala_34 Varkala_35So Varkala didn’t live up to our expectations, but it was enjoyable enough and we rung in 2014 here and celebrated Rick's birthday with some ayurvedic massages.

Sadly, Kovalam wasn't any better. In fact, it was worse.

Wiki travel described Kovalam as "famous for its beaches, among the most pristine in India."


Kovalam is a resort town of the past. It's overpriced, over-crowded, and we were over it. Not to mention dirty. Piles of smoldering trash released picturesque smoke at both ends of the beach. The food left something to desire and we both agreed it was the worst beach in India, not the best. I was less than inspired by it so here are the few shots I took...

_MG_4361 _MG_4362 _MG_4363 _MG_4364 _MG_4365_MG_4370 _MG_4372 _MG_4374 _MG_4375 _MG_4382 _MG_4386So, a bit of an anticlimactic end to India, but by the end of 3000 some miles, we were a bit tired and anxious to move on to Sri Lanka. The last three nights we spent at a jail-like hotel near the airport where the first night we turned out the lights and a pigeon wiggled through an opening in our window (because the window wouldn't close properly) and was stuck flying around in our room. Did I mention I hate birds? After cowering under the covers, I ran to the bathroom until Rick shooed it out after it pooped all over the floor. Conclusion? Room change at midnight and we were over India. Don't get me started.

But what did I love about India??? It will all be in the next post.