|Sunset at Varkala Beach|
Kollam beach, a beautiful one, is formally known as Mahatma Gandhi Beach. The sea was roaring and waves were oscillating to and fro. It seemed that the waves were inviting us to play with them. We accepted the invitation happily and after few moments, we were in the waters. Soon we were running on the sand against the waves. While we were enjoying this, a person came and told us that police did not want us to be there at this moment. Apparently we were not allowed at this time when nobody else was present on the beach. He told us to go to nearby Thirumullavaram beach which was safer.
We packed and left Kollam beach and arrived at Thirumullavaram beach. This place had more people in its vicinity and there were small tea shops too. This place has an altogether different look than Kollam beach. There were coconut trees near the beach. In short we found a beach which we had imagined after looking at pictures before coming to Kerala. Also, large stones were put along the shore to prevent erosion. This beach provided excellent opportunities to click pictures of the sea. Named after Thirumallanmar, the bodyguards of a former king of Travancore, the beach hosted the king who used to spend his leisure time here. We also visited Thangasseri beach lighthouse, a 144-foot tall lighthouse erected in 1902. One can go inside the lighthouse after 3 pm.
After that, we went to do boating in the backwaters of Kollam. In a small boat, we traveled in the narrow tracts of water, similar to canals, spread like a net in the Kollam. In what looked like a rural Kerala, we saw people working on small farms and in ponds, created to culture tiger prawn which is widely reared for food. There we saw people making medium-sized boats. Life can be so beautiful when one gets to live in such a village situated in a network of canals, where one works and then eats sitting beside the canal, as we saw few families doing that. Coconut trees surrounded the waterways. There were ducks swimming so skillfully but would go away whenever our boat approached them.
Then we left for our next attraction of the day, Varkala beach. Also known as Papanasam beach, Varkala beach is situated in Thiruvananthapuram district. This is the only beach in Kerala where a cliff is found adjacent to a beach, otherwise, most of the other beaches in Kerala are flat. This beach is particularly popular among foreign tourists. We could see few of them sunbathing under small makeshift tents. Unlike Kollam beach in the morning, this was a lively beach filled with people. Almost instantaneously we went into the sea. This was ideal for swimming. Continuing our child-like fun from where we left at Kollam beach, we realised that we could go deeper into the sea because of flat seabed and presence of lifeguards.
The Varkala beach provided an ideal place to watch the sunset. The boats in distant horizon and sun glowing red over them was a nice view. The red sun had colored everything in its own color, from sea to clouds to sky. Seeing the setup, suddenly I remembered one of my favourite songs picturised over Rajesh Khanna in a Bollywood movie 'Anand':
'kahin door jab din dhal jaye
saanjh ki dulhan badan churaaye chupke se aaye
mere khayaalon ke aangan mein
koi sapnon ke deep jalaaye deep jalaaye'
Such a beautiful scene in front of your eyes and such a beautiful song playing inside your head, what more one can expect from the life.
After sunset, when darkness was engulfing the whole area, boats of fishermen in the distant sea lit their lamps to help in the navigation. That was very scenic, closely resembling a city on Diwali night, when you watch it from a high point. After that, we had dinner at a restaurant near Temple Junction. It had been three to four days since we had proper north Indian food. We found the owner of that restaurant very welcoming, with whom we had a nice little conversation without a language barrier. After having a wholesome dinner, we left for our next destination Alleppey, Venice of the East.