A Balm For The Restless Urban Soul!: Andhakaranazhi Beach, Vayalar
Text: Lt Col D Purushothaman Pillay (Retd)
City life, with its innate routines, gets tedious at times, and one often feels the urgent need to get away from it all, if only to find some momentary tranquillity of mind, that helps recharge the spirits. I achieve that by just taking off in my car, on an axis that I have never visited before and tried some instinctive exploring of my own, with the intent of stumbling upon a new discovery. Invariably such unplanned exploratory forays in the quest of little-known places in and around big cities always lead to the uncovering of hidden treasures that are located close to the ever-expanding metropolises we live in. I have been pleasantly surprised time and again when I abandoned the available rough-guides in the market, and just followed my instincts in nosing-out amazing new discoveries over those relaxing drives out of the city.
I have a habit of recording these visits and what I see there, through the lenses of my camera, which I always carry with me. This is to enable me to enjoy the memory of my new find and also share it with those who might find it interesting. One early Sunday morning, on a whim my wife and I decided to go on a probing drive to discover a beach that we had never been to before. Fortunately, there are quite a few that dot the scenic Kochi-Alleppey coastline. A comfortable 35-kilometre south-bound coastal drive, that took about an hour to negotiate, got us to one such gem of a beach going by the long-winded name Andhakaranazhi at Vayalar.
These pictures that were clicked there will reveal the many glimpses of the unhurried pace of daily lives in rustic settings that we sorely miss in our busy urban lives. We were fortunate to encounter a host of peaceful sights that included a sandy expanse littered with beached weeds that must have floated-in with the tides, lying around some abandoned coconut logs that were gradually decaying to a rot, slowly caressed by the calming waves washing ashore under the canopy of blue skies that had wispy clouds, that celebrated a myriad shades of whites and greys. We found curious mud-crabs trooping out of their burrows for a peep at the Sun, a few soaring hawks up in those clouds, many inquisitive onlookers, and beach-friends out on a stroll. The walk along the embankment showed rusty spread-eagled tins that lay shattered on rocks, near the remnants of goalposts on a beach football ground, where scattered empty tender coconut shells were now being kicked around by lonely dogs. Many rowboats were found tethered to coconut trees in the lagoons that were being filled by the trickling streams that were winding their way to the sea climbing over the brimming anicuts, along the beachside homes located on a neighbouring road, where groups of busy fishermen were found repairing their fishing nets. Retired boats turned upside down rusting in the salty haze hanging in the air, and spanking new boats awaiting commission were found next to a lighthouse set among a few Chinese fishing nets. Interesting reflections of palm trees in the clear rippling waters, blue-coloured temporary plastic-sheet boundaries with green creepers crawling over it skirted a tenement under repair, where an old grandmother resided with her clan. A cursory survey of this pristine setting yields many light moments and tender sights like these in this scenic landscape.
For me personally, a beach-visit means a bliss of indulgent solitude. For along the sandy seashores, life momentarily takes a welcome pause, as we aimlessly traipse through an uncluttered vastness, that is sandwiched between the expanse of the clear blue skies above our heads and the soft brown sands beneath our feet.
We found curious mud-crabs trooping out of their burrows for a peep at the Sun, a few soaring hawks up in those clouds, many inquisitive onlookers, and beach-friends out on a stroll. The walk along the embankment showed rusty spread-eagled tins that lay shattered on rocks.
How to reach
The Andhakarnazhi Beach is located at the terminal end of the Pallithode Beach Road, between Pattanakad and Thuravoor off the NH 66 from the Kavilpalli Junction in Vayalar Town. The village is administratively under the Pattanakad Panchayath of Cherthala Taluk, in Allapuzha District. It is just 35 Kms by road from Ernakulam town. It is easily accessible by public transportation as there are regular state transport and private buses that operate on the national highway. The hardtop all-weather roads are well-maintained making driving to this place a pleasure. The nearest Railway Station is Vayalar which is 5 Kms away. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, which is around 65 Kms away.
I feel happily detached from the routine humdrum of urban life, its many festering qualms, and other mundane uncertainties. Life, albeit fleetingly, feels good.
Such occasional extemporaneous trips help one unwind and also unlock destinations that recharge one’s soul. The dichotomy of feeling a unique stillness amid all the tumult is peculiar only to the beach. It is that strange agitated watery wilderness where wild waves softly perish as meek foam on the sands, where the sun bakes our backs, and stiff sea-breeze blows on our faces, and yet in all this accompanying furor, time seems to stand still. Our trip was indeed worth it, as we both recharged our spirits and made a happy discovery of an unseen beach, that we instantly fell in love with and plan to revisit with friends. A visit to the Andhakarnazhi Beach that I have described above will not disappoint any visitor. So the next time you feel the urge to unwind and go off the beaten track in Kochi, I would recommend this hour-long drive, I am positive you will come away with three hours of bliss that you will savour for a long time.
For along the sandy seashores, life momentarily takes a welcome pause, as we aimlessly traipse through an uncluttered vastness, that is sandwiched between the expanse of the clear blue skies above our heads and the soft brown sands beneath our feet.