In Varkala, in 5000 B.C., Ayurveda was founded. Here each hotel offers treatments to remove toxins and harmonize the mind, body and spirit.
Varkala is a city on the south-western coast of India, 600 miles from Goa, small in size but with incredible potential. It is not so much its palm-covered cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea that makes it special, neither the small 2,000-year-old temple, the Janardhana Swamy, nor the long coast of yellow and soft sand: what makes the city so unique of Varkala is its vocation for the care of the body and the spirit.
Varkala is the city where, in 5000 B.C., Ayurveda was founded, a Hindu system of natural health care that aims to balance body, mind and spirit. The word Ayurveda means knowledge of life and longevity in Sanskrit: the healing practices that includes combining herbs, plants, essential oils and tactile techniques to treat any kind of disorder.
In Varkala each hotel offers Ayurvedic treatments to remove toxins and harmonize the mind, body and spirit. The spas in the city are countless, and offer a wide range of face and body treatments for around $20. You can choose detoxifying or rejuvenating treatments, or those made with the dhara method: a mix of vegetable oils, coconut milk and clarified butter that is rubbed on the body and designed to relieve chronic pain, insomnia and other disorders.
Even the diet in Varkala has its importance. Hotels and restaurants offer Ayurvedic cuisine based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices and fermented foods. Most meats, processed foods and fried foods are not allowed. Even alcohol is not tolerated, and until 2017 it was even forbidden to sell it.
The days in Varkala start early: precisely at dawn, with a yoga session to regenerate the sun. Each hotel offers yoga classes, but there are also proven centers or teachers offering individual lessons.
After allowing yourself some body treatment, you can spend the rest of your time walking through the shops selling beachwear in linen and silver jewelry, or lying in the sun at Papanasam Beach or Black Beach, a beach of black sand bent between the cliffs on the north side of the city. Water sports lovers can take parasailing or surfing, the lazy ones can enjoy a swim in the sea: the waters that bathe the city are considered holy and curative.