10 Days

Kochin und Backwaters

This state is also called ´Gods land´- and that´s for sure for a good rea­son! I haven´t seen any­where else in India such a diver­si­ty of spices: pep­per, cloves, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, café beans, tea, jack­fruit, pineapple,mango, coconut and many more things grow here. But not only the man­i­fold land­scape of big moun­tains (2700 m moun­tains are quite high for me as a woman from north Ger­many) and par­adise beach­es made me see Ker­ala as Gods land but also the hos­pi­tal­i­ty and the sense of com­mu­ni­ty. Espe­cial­ly Varkala Beach felt like home. Dur­ing writ­ing these lines I´m sit­ting in the night train from Kol­lam which is next to Varkala Beach to Mookam­bi­ka Devi Tem­ple in Kol­lur in Kar­nata­ka. In the fol­low­ing lines you read about my expe­ri­ences in Kochi and Varkala Beach. 

My friend Anna and I decid­ed to stay only for 2 nights in Kochi. We were both tired of pack­ing our back­pack­ers all the time and decid­ed to go direct­ly from Kochi to Varkala Beach. It turned out that Back­wa­ter tours to Alleppey are also offered direct­ly from Kochi. For this rea­son we could skip stay­ing for 1 night in Alleppey.

As soon as we arrived by bus from Coim­bat­ore in Kochi we felt very well: the clean streets, beau­ti­ful hous­es and only few poor peo­ple left a pleas­ant wel­com­ing feel­ing. After we had checked in we went for a walk and we made our first expe­ri­ence with the hos­pi­tal­i­ty oft he Ker­ala peo­ple. When we arrived at our Home­S­tay weh ad the urgent need to fill up our water bot­tels. The kitchen was already closed (it was almost mid­night) so we asked a boy who just passed our way. I under­stood imme­di­at­ly our need and made us know­ing that we shall wait (he didn´t speak Eng­lish). He ran away and after 3 min he came back with a Vod­ka bot­tle filled with water. I didn´t know if I could trust the qual­i­ty of the water so I asked him for fil­tered water. We went in a 15 min walk with him and his friend to the only shop that was opened at this time and he bought us a bot­tle of water. Such a dar­ling! I was touched by this ges­ture and my inner child looked already for­ward for the next day! On the fol­low­ing day I checked out some cafés and final­ly I found one where I enjoyed my break­fast. Anna joined me a bit lat­er and when we left the café we looked for anoth­er one that offers only self-made cakes (for sure it was my wish to go there…). I asked anoth­er time an appar­ent­ly look­ing local who turned out to be a tourist: Shylesh is an artist from Indi­an back­round who´s orig­i­nal­ly from Pondicher­ry but lives in Chica­go. He showed us anoth­er beau­ti­ful café and in the end we spent the whole day togeth­er. Togeth­er we explored exhi­bi­tions, hid­den places, future cafés and one of the best places to enjoy Masala Dosa.

On the next day Anna and I woke up ear­ly to be ready for the Back­wa­ters tour. We should be picked up at 8 am (in real­i­ty it was 8:45 am) and arrived after 1.5 hours of bus ride at a jet­ty. Over there we took with 10 oth­er tourists a tiny boat in which we enjoyed the Back­wa­ters trip. We saw (and I even learned how to do it!) how locals cut off the shell of coconuts by using a big kind of sword which is ver­ti­cal­ly put in the floor. After get­ting rid off the shell the coconuts are opened and the flesh is dried in the sun to prepar­ing for coconut oil man­u­fac­tur­ing. The tour took 7 hours. We paid 1000 rupees each and we were very sat­is­fied, espe­cial­ly after hear­ing that a trav­eller paid 2000 rupees for 4 hours. The tour was organ­isied direct­ly via our HomeStay.

After the tour the bus dri­ver dropped us off at a bus stand where we wait­ed for a local bus to bring us to the train sta­tion. After a while we found our­selves in the train to Varkala.


I only spent 6 days in Varkala but I´ve found a sec­ond fam­i­ly! My sec­ond fam­i­ly con­sists of Kailash and Manu who are 2 locals I spent most oft he time with. Being co-founders of the Avo­ca­do Veg­an Café they are respon­si­ble for trans­form­ing with­in 65 days a place, that was used by locals as a dump, into a veg­an café and a Yoga Sha­la (the most beau­ti­ful one I´ve ever seen!). All mate­rias they used are exclu­sive­ly recy­cled. Not only the veg­an dish­es look love­ly pre­pared but also for dec­o­ra­tion the artists gave their best: Every­one who enters the Yoga Sha­la will have the impres­sion to fly above the clouds and the ocean like on a fly­ing carpet!

Try the smooth­ie bowl, the Jack­fruit sand­wich and the deli­cious veg­an drinks when you´re there while lis­ten­ing to nice chill­out sounds!

The small path along the cliff is sur­round­ed by small super­mar­kets, cafés, restau­rants, Momo´s (made by Tibetan chefs!), book/tattoo stores as well as hotels. After a while lit­tle stairs go down tot he beach for a refresh­ing. I was in Varkala dur­ing feb­ru­ary when the waves were quite lit­tle for surf­ing. On the sec­ond day my friend and I heard by chance about a elec­tron­ic music beach par­ty. In the evening we made our­selves ready fort he way and we weren´t dis­s­a­point­ed: the DJ played 4.5 hours finest beats cre­at­ing a play­ful mood. I danced 2.5 hours non-stop bare­food under coconut trees and stars! The fol­low­ing days I chilled most­ly in the café, in between I went swim­ming and after I relaxed again by hav­ing a fruit sal­ad. In between I enjoyed dif­fer­ent kind of ayurvedic trat­ments like full body mas­sage, Shi­rod­hana and Kiri Kiri.

On one day 4 of us drove toMankayam water­fall which is locat­ed in a nation­al park. We need­ed min­i­mum 2 hours for one direc­tion on motor­bikes. After the trip each of us suf­fered from pain in the ass but the ride through the dif­fer­ent land­scapes of Ker­ala reward­ed us. When we arrived at the water­fall the rangers told us that it´s not allowed to take a bath in the water­fall (it´s only allowed in a small area so that mim­i­mum the legs get a nice refresh­ment!). I dis­cov­ered a beau­ti­ful tree that seemed to be grown into a stone. He must have fight for his right to live. I just love trees! They trans­mit strong, ground­ing and and kind ener­gy for me! We smoked a ´piece pipe´ and had to start our way back. Before we start­ed our way back, Anna and Manu had a dip in the lit­tle riv­er and Kailesh pre­pared a pineap­ple and a water­mel­on for us. It was just beau­ti­ful! We shared our food with the mon­keys in the jun­gle which thanked us by few yellings and less intru­sive­ness. Then we left our cousins and drove back in the dawn. When we arrived I was super tired and went to bed. The fol­low­ing days I most­ly spent at the cliff and in the Avo­ca­do café with my friends. Even I met some friends from May­LoadGanj and Mysore over there!

After only 6 days I left Varkala Beach to meet my yoga teacher Clive, his part­ner Miran­da and some oth­er friends I had already met at the Yoga retreat in French Pyre­nees. We met at the Mookam­bi­ka Devi tem­ple in Kol­lur in Kar­nata­ka. More about this expe­ri­ence you can read in my blog writ­ing „Vis­it­ing Mookam­bi­ka Devi Tem­ple — An Homage to the Female Energy!“.

“This state is also called ´Gods land´- and that´s for sure for a good rea­son! I haven´t seen any­where else in India such a diver­si­ty of spices: pep­per, cloves, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, café beans, tea, jack­fruit, pineapple,mango, coconut and many more things grow here.”

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