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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

India: Hippy Heaven

The view south along the cliff at Varkala
The cliff at Varkala is home to plenty of shops selling hippy gear

If you sit in a cliff-top café in Varkala, close your eyes and let your mind drift, then it doesn't take a lot of imagination to drift off to Indonesia, Ghana, Thailand, or any of a whole host of travellers' haunts the world over. The sea breeze is warm and keeps you cool as you shelter from the hot afternoon sun; the surf crashes onto the beach below; the sound of trance music throbs gently from speakers sitting on the sandy floor of the bar; and contented travellers wander past in their little huddles, showing off far more flesh than is considered polite in the country outside. But it doesn't matter here, because in the same way that major cities have a Little India, a Chinatown and a Latin quarter, most countries have at least one Hippy Haven, where westerners can drift in and kick back, well away from the pressures of life on the road.

Rubbish on the cliff at Varkala
There's a price to pay for the tourist invasion; at Varkala, the cliff is smothered in a light coating of plastic bottles and shopping bags