Nochevieja en el Varanasi del sur

Salimos de Goa con un par de horas de retraso. Llegamos a Varkala cansados de tren después de 17 horas pero con muchas ganas de disfrutar de la que dicen ser la mejor playa de Kerala, y de entrar en 2012 con calorcito!

De camino al guesthouse, el tuk tuk driver nos informó que durante los siguientes tres días (30 y 31 de diciembre y 1 de enero) había un festival religioso muy importante en uno de los templos de la ciudad, el templo de Sivagiri, y que miles de locales venían en peregrinaje desde muy lejos expresamente para este festival. Como anteriormente ya habíamos estado leyendo acerca de estos festivales en Kerala y de la dificultad de encontrarlos, nos hizo mucho ilusión la idea de poder disfrutar de uno de ellos.

La playa de Varkala se encuentra a unos pocos kilómetros del centro de la ciudad, y está situada a los pies de un pequeño acantilado. La playa está dividida de manera virtual entre la zona norte y la zona sur. La zona norte está reservada para los turistas y la zona sur para los locales, que guarda para ellos un significado religioso ya que los Hindus creen que las aguas aquí son sagradas y limpian sus pecados. Normalmente se pueden ver pujas en la playa, que es un ritual donde hacen ofrendas a los dioses, y en ocasiones también arrojan las cenizas de los muertos al mar, que la marea se encarga de llevar hacia el sur. Por todo ello Varkala es conocida como el Varanasi del sur.

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Our Christmas holidays at the beach

After our hectic month traveling around India it was time to head towards the south to start our Xmas holidays (yes, I’m calling it holidays!). When we were planning our trip, both of us dreamed about the possibility of spending Xmas at the beach, so we organized our itinerary in a way that would make it possible. Palolem was the chosen destination!

On the night of the 21st of December we caught in Mumbay the train that was going to take us all the way to Madgaon (Goa). In the morning of the 22nd we arrived to Madgaon, but our destination was still a good few km away, so we took a pre-paid taxi to Palolem (around 800 INR). Taking a taxi might sound a little bit posh when traveling low cost, but we were tired and it was by far the easiest option to get to the beach. During the hour long taxi ride we were able to perceive the influence the Portuguese had in Goa, which was Portuguese until 1961, the architecture was colonial and we spotted many churches.

Finding accommodation in Palolem was easy peasy, just ten minutes after getting there we already had our hut at the beach. Not super fancy, but perfect for a few days. We were a bit worried about not having booked anything in advanced, Xmas is high season and we thought everything would be almost fully booked, but there were tons of beach huts and we had no problems at all. So after settling in and with our swimming suits on we went to explore the beach and its surroundings.

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Merry Christmas!!

Queremos desearos a todos una FELIZ NAVIDAD! Y en especial a nuestras familias y amigos de los que nos acordamos mucho en estas fechas tan especiales. No os empacheis mucho y comeros un poquito de turrón a nuestra salud!

Ya sabemos que últimamente os tenemos un poco abandonados, pero prometemos poneros al día de nuestras aventuras en breve.

Muchos besos y abrazos a todos desde las playas de Goa.

We want to wish you a Merry Xmas!! Especially to our family and friends who we miss lots in this special days. Hope that Santa has been good with you this year and enjoy the mulled wine and the Christmas pudding!

We know you haven’t heard from us for a while, but we promise to get you up to date with our adventures very soon.

Big hugs & lots of kisses to everyone from Goa.

Back to exhilarating India

After spending a few days in Pokhara resting and doing our “homework”, which has been blogging and uploading all the pictures we have taken during this 1st month of our trip, we are now ready to go back to India. Tomorrow morning we will departure towards the border between Nepal and India and hopefully in a couple of days we will reach Varanasi. At this point in time we think that we will be in India until some time after Christmas… we will keep you posted!!