India is renowned for its crammed, crazy cities, bursting with colour and culture, and for years I avoided going in case it might all be too much for me! That was until I discovered Varkala, a breath of fresh coastal air, in the Southern spice province of Kerala. Instead of taking the motorway from Trivandrum airport, my driver took me down a small road running parallel with the Arabian sea, lined with a billion palm trees.
Varkala sits perched along the edge of a red stone cliff, overlooking an ochre sandy beach. The sound of gently crashing waves is a constant accompaniment to the aroma of incense wafting from pretty much everywhere. The mis-matched decor of the pink, green and blue buildings