Dogs and auto rickshaws of Varkala (Kerala)
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Jan 9, 2013 10:39 PM Last Post By: fivejacks
Nov 15, 2012 10:26 PM
The beach is infested with a lot of stray dogs ( which has always been the case ) but they started becoming more violent. Last month alone there has more than 300 bites reported (according to the regional newspaper malayalamanorama). No one knows the real reason behind the sudden change in attitude but a bite would naturally mean getting the rabies injection which is not just expensive (unless you want to join the queue in a government hospital) but a serious time killer. There's absolutely no need to panic though. Just a caution.
2.INDIANS ARE NOT ALLOWED BUT DOGS ARE :
The lifeguards have made a section of the beach inaccessible to Indians. The move is to safeguard the interests of the foreigners who have found it very difficult to share the beach with the Indians. If you are traveling to India so that you want to stay away from them (for some weird reason), stick to this part.
Here's what Mr Varghese ( a coast guard ) said when questioned " They (foreigners) pay a lot of money to come to India. Hence we should give them the space they need. They don't enjoy being with Indians."
So what about the dogs? Varghese : " They think those dogs are far better than us."
I have a feeling a lot of people in the Thorn Tree will enjoy this. Not me.
All that said I don't really understand how this is going to work. All you have to do is climb the cliff and get down at the "restricted section".
3.HIRE A BIKE AT YOUR OWN RISK :
While it's generally safe to hire the royal enfield bullets that are available for rent you should know about the new mafia that's popping up. As a foreigner you will have to submit your passports before renting. These people chase you in an auto afterwards ( very well aware that most foreigners are not used to driving two wheelers) pressurize you until you have an accident. While this may sound very unlikely I met 3 people who shared the same line of thought. Any sort of damage to the bike and they will charge you extremely high. You have no option but to pay as your passport's with them. My friend and I ran into a couple and helped them out a little. The good thing about the Enfield is the fact that most of it's body is metal (which is covered by the insurance scheme). But you are putting yourself in a helpless position by submitting your passport. Hence you can't really argue. We got into some trouble as well for helping the foreigners. Thankfully our malayalam was good enough to convince them to leave us alone.
All that said, 3 is not a significant number. So just drive safe and hire a bike only if you are planning to go more than 100km. Stick to auto or the bus for anything below.
4.WATCH THAT APPETITE FOR LOCAL FLAVOUR:
Varkala is generally considered to be a very scary place. Places like Vettoor do not welcome strangers. Not even people from the rest of Kerala. They are known to be violent. Incase you want to visit these places ( some of them rich in history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velu_Thampi_Dalawa ) be sure to have a very trustworthy keralite with you. Recommended only for a very seasoned traveler.
Trust me none of this has taken the charm off and Varkala's still one of the best beaches in Kerala. Just keep these points in your mind.
PS: The Lonely Planet's list of restaurants if far from convincing. Little Tibet and the Juice shack were good. The wikitravel article on the place seems to be more perfect. Kindly check that as well before you go.
PPS: I typed all that in a hurry so kindly forgive me from all that grammar and spelling mistakes I might have made. Have a happy winter.
Nov 16, 2012 12:17 AM
Nov 16, 2012 2:29 AM
Like I mentioned earlier, the only reason I shared that news is because I thought it would be beneficial for the tourists. I completely agree on the oggling part and one can only hope that decreases with time. I was merely upset by the fact that I was told I couldn't walk through the most attractive part of the beach. I was not allowed to use my camera as well. I traveled 200km with a tripod and two SLRs for photographing that beach. I got this feeling that I was robbed of my rights. And it's not as if I went to the section with foreigners. I wasn't even allowed to take a panorama from the top of the cliff. All because I'm an Indian.
It's not that I don't understand your concerns, but we have our problems too. And nobody even wants to listen.
Nov 16, 2012 10:30 AM
Nov 16, 2012 10:35 AM
Nov 16, 2012 10:47 PM
5True nevin!.Every female in India has this harrassment problem,not just the white women.So True.
I have no complaints about Taj Mahal pricing policy.I think the tourists should pay more.
I see it here in Goa.I know of 2 places that wont let Indians walk down their beach.Both in the north.One controlled by the Russians and one controlled by and for rich Indians themselves.
Nov 16, 2012 10:50 PM
6Having read your post thoroughly it's quite clear the chip on your shoulder is irritating and you had in itch that needed a scratch. We don't need a degree in psychology to read your half hearted and not so subtle attempt at racial provocation, I am sorry but all I can give you is a 4/10 and please try harder next time.
Nov 17, 2012 2:55 AM
7I agree with the dual pricing system actually, I think Indians have a right to see all their wonderful history, and there is no way many can afford the prices that we get charged, it's still relatively cheap....although the taj price is getting up there.
#11, of course it's not only India, I never said it was. And of course there are great many Indian men who would never behave in such a way...and yes Indian women also get this sort of treatment....but I've seen plenty of very innapropriate behavior in India where no one did a thing....and also the beach in Varkala...they must have done this because of past experiences...if all the tourists stop going there because it's not safe for women to go on the beach, then that tourist spot will be finished......
I don't understand why it's only here, and not in Goa......and I also understand how annoying it must be for Indians to be told that you aren't allowed on that part of the beach...but it's not the best or worst part of the beach. There is an equal part for Indians, why do so many Indians want to be on the other side?
Nov 19, 2012 2:12 AM
Nov 19, 2012 11:55 PM
If Varkala, a beach tourist site expects women to cover up at the beach, then you can kiss goodbye to the whole tourist infrastructure there. People aren't comfortable with ogling, and the problem is as you have described in your own experience, it can go a lot further than ogling. Tourists wear bikinis at the beach, if you want tourist dollars then you have to accept this expectation from tourists.
I remember being in a theater in Delhi once, watching a bollywood film with a female friend, she went to the toilet in the reception area at half time, as she was walking to the toilets, an Indian male grabbed her from behind and tried to force her into the mens toilets. There were many Indians standing around, none of whom helped her from her attacker. She was strong enough to fight him off luckily, but quite simply, it's an unfortunately common Indian male attitude that white women are asking for it.
I don't agree with the segregation, but obviously the businesses in the area have had enough bad experiences to warrant this action to ensure their continuing businesses there catering for tourists.
Nov 20, 2012 12:02 AM
10oh well, i only went on the thread to see if it is worth visiting varkala. thinking i will give it a miss!
Nov 20, 2012 1:36 AM
11If you don't want to be oggled at, don't wear a bikini!
My girlfriend wore a tshirt and shorts into the ocean and still got oggled and harassed at the beach in Alleppey.
In every other situation, she wore leggings and a tshirt with a scarf covering her chest and got grabbed multiple times. I had a friend who was wearing a full Indian saree and a bunch of guys crowded her and tried to undress her on the ghats in Varanasi. She through enough punches and got away.
Nov 21, 2012 4:31 AM
12doesn't happen in Thailand or any other place because people over there are used to ladies in bikini.
Maybe on some of the islands, but even if you go to a random village in Thailand and wear a bikini, nobody is going to harass you. They'd just be shocked and embarrassed.
That's an unfortunate event but things are generally better in central parts of Kerala like Kochi.
It happens all around India and that's why people have problems with it.
Nov 21, 2012 5:11 AM
13#26 : Even we in India have problems with this. But I do find the way people generalise a little too hard to take. But I really don't want to say more. That the third time, I've been called a "monkey/ape" in as many days ( through pms ).
Here are some of the photos I did manage to click before I was asked to switch if off.
PS: That's an Indian male's blog. Don't open if you have problems..
Edited by: nevinpowers7
Nov 22, 2012 6:42 AM
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