South India 2019: Marari Beach

We took an Uber cab to Marari Beach.  I thought driving the coast road we’d see the inland waters and the beach too.  Other than rare tantalizing glimpses that wasn’t the case.  All the little villages blend into one long sprawl of homes and businesses along the road with bits of exposed canal and one view of fishing boats where a river pierces the flow of buildings.  It’s only an hour’s drive to Marari Beach from Kochi, but a whole different beach.

a quiet day on Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Where is Everyone?

This is the kind of place that spawns endless sunset photos.  And people, mostly locals or from nearby Alleppey (Alappuzha), throng to the beach for the evening spectacle.  When we visited before, on a weekend day, the public access road to the beach was jammed.  This visit we saw small crowds in the evenings.

Marari Beach, Kerala, India Weekday Evening Traffic
Weekday Evening Traffic
Fisherman at Sunset from Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Fisherman at Sunset

The fishermen paddled onto the Sea of Arabia in small rubber covered boats with handcrafted paddles.

Fishing Boat on Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Fishing Boat

We loved ‘our’ end of the beach.  We walked down a small sandy lane to the beach, rented a lounger/umbrella and were generally one of two or three groups hanging out for a few hours.  At this stage (being mostly a shade of white) I was sensitive to how much time I spent in the sun, even with the (limited) protection of an umbrella.  We’d walk the beach or visit the small strip of businesses around the public access road for food or refreshments.  We appreciated the great coffee at Coffee Temple and the ubiquitous juices and lassis.

Coffee Temple Staff, Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Coffee Temple Staff
Food Hut Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Marari Beach Food Hut

We enjoyed the quiet ambience of Marari Beach.  We thought we saw a few more beach huts than a couple of years ago but were assured that the local community wants to limit the number of businesses on the beach. What was there seemed about right to us for the number of people there.  Parts of the beach are used by fishermen, and can be messy.  Other stretches are backed by large resorts, whose guests seem to prefer poolside than beachfront.  Although a bit surfy we found it very manageable and had many swims and floats.

We ate way too much and slept it off at Marari Siva Beach Homestay  Although not right on the beach it’s a five minute walk away.  We’ve never gone wrong with any accommodations with over 9 our to of 10 ratings on booking.com.  When we read rave reviews about great hosts we take note.  Prajeesh and his family welcomed us into their garden enclave.  They served us incredible meals everyday.  There goes my theory about losing weight while travelling.  We lounged on our porch with overhead fan.  We watched their rescue raptor (a Brahminy Kite aka a Red-backed Sea-Eagle) hop around, usually followed by the cat.  In the photo below it seems to be checking out our footwear.  I’d be cautious of those shoes too.

Marari Siva Beach Homestay, Kerala, India
Marari Siva Beach Homestay
Brahminy Kite, Marari Beach, Kerala, India
Big Shoes and a Little Bird

One evening Prajeesh loaded us all into his tuktuk and took us to Arthunkal for a look at the Saint Sebastian Festival.  The festival lasts 11 days, plus some extended celebrations.  We plunged into the crowds: first around St. Andrews Basilica, with its huge attendant tents and LED light fest.  Then we walked the length of the street market.  Starting with the drummers on the street corner across from the basilica.

Drummers on street corner, Arthunkal, India, Festival of Saint Sebastian
High Energy Drumming
Saint Andrews Basilica LED Display, Festival of Saint Sebastian, Kerala, India
Basilica Flashing LED Display
Sparklers and Smoke in Festival of Saint Sebastian, Artunkal, Kerala, India
Sparklers and Smoke
shopping at Festival of Saint Sebastian, Arthunkal, Kerala, India
Festival Shopping
watch shop at Festival of Saint Sebastian, Arthunkal, Kerala, India
Watch Sales Crew

I can never resist a funky watch at a good price!  These were my guys.  They even set the watch’s many functions.  I know the time in Kerala whenever I wear that watch; I’m not going to mess with the settings myself however.

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