The Indian peninsular’s coasts embrace the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean with a coastline of 7000km.
It is then no wonder, this expansive landmass of diverse climates and landscape is home to multitude of beaches. While all pristine beaches are filled with glorious sun-baked sand, shimmering sea waters, with some surfing fun, beaches in India can at times break away from the norm. Every Indian beach can be equally unique and enchanting.
Beach enthusiasts all over the world are certain to be enthralled by the idyllic seaside and amazed at other fascinating sights that are not normally found in other beaches elsewhere.
Anjuna- Baga- Calangute- Colva- Palolem, Goa
The Caribbean of South Asia, Goa is the state for and of beautiful beaches. Starting with Querim at the north, to the Palolem beach in the south, this small coastal state by the Arabian Sea, is signified by the endless stretch of soft white sand and azure waters. One beautiful beach leads to another, though each has its own unique charm and faithful fans of beach enthusiasts. Anjuna has its famous parties during full moon and historic mansions for those keen to tour outside the beach area. Baga is popular for its night spots as well as its expanse of soft snowy sand lined with guesthouses and bars. Baga’s neighbour, Calangute is Goa’s most popular and developed beach with large following of beach buffs. This stretch is also packed with masseurs, hair-braiders hawkers all ready to meet the needs of the relaxing sunbathers. Colva is Goa’s longest stretch of uninterrupted sandy coast with tall shady palms swaying in the background. Palolem is charming for its crescent-shaped beach where tree houses can be rented and dolphin-watching trips can be arranged. Stunning sunsets in this remote beach, away from the popular ones up north, make this bay ideal for camping and quiet vacation.
Kovalam- Varkala, Kerala
Scenic Kerala may possibly the best of rural India. While its famous backwater cruises are inherent part of any travel itinerary to this serene region of India, the renowned beaches at Kovalam and Varkala are true gems of Indian coast. Kovalam famously called ‘Paradise of the South’ has long attracted attention of the maharaja and his foreign visitors. Its long stretch of sun-baked sand and alluring waters are still main attractions of this popular beach, frequented by travellers and locals. Varkala, despite being a beach town, is regarded as a major pilgrimage centre by the locals. The tourists are nonetheless attracted to the popular resorts and spa along this scenic sandy beach. With red laterite cliffs in the background, this expanse of striking seaside will enthral any beach lover.
The tip of the very southern region of India, in south of Madurai, at the convergence of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean is the pilgrimage town of Kanyakumari. The point of convergence is called the ‘Sangam’ and is bathing ghat for short dives and splashes. The peaceful backdrop of Kanyakumari beach, within close proximity to numerous temples, is the famed Church of our Lady of Joy. The usual fare of sunbathing and long swims is not the norm here, where the multi-hued sand and colourful granite rocks are main attractions.
Juhu Beach, Mumbai- Kihim Beach- Ganapatipule, Maharashtra
In the north of Mumbai city centre, lays the popular Juhu beach by the Arabian Sea. Unlike the usual seascape of sun, sand and surf, this sandy coast provides leisurely respite from the hectic city, with its warm sea breeze and lullaby of the waves. Cricket matches, laughing and running children, couples and families snacking on local tidbits and boisterous vendors paddling the local snacks make up the landscape of this beach. Travel to Juhu beach is usually inclusive of visiting the nearby attractions such as the ISKON temple and Prithvi theatre for the sights and delicious food within the sites. When one can travel further south of Mumbai, the peaceful Kihim and Ganapatipule beaches await with their quiet splendour. Kihim is a tranquil beach with a lush background of woods, home to wild birds and flora. Ganapatipule’s pristine sandy beach is by the coastal village which is home to a sacred site. Along with temples forming the backdrop for this lovely beach with clear waters and miles of soft white sand, there are fruit groves beyond the coast, waiting with its bounty of mangos, jackfruits, bananas and coconuts.
While famed for its UNESCO World Heritage Site complex of 7th century shrines, Mamallapuram, found along the Bay of Bengal is also blessed with the country’s most pristine beaches. While the sun-kissed sand and crushing waves are welcomed by beach lovers, this beach has unique setting of shore temples in the background. There are sculptures and rock-cut caves from the Pallava era which make a most unusual seaside landscape. Beach buffs can still continue to bask in the sea breeze or languish on the soft stretch of sandy bed.
Marina Beach, Chennai
Said to be one of Chennai’s treasures, Marina Beach is one of the longest beaches in Asia, if not in the world. Although swimming is not allowed, Marina Beach continues to attract crowds on tour as well as the locals. Not too far from the city, and lined with statues of famous Indians, it is a respite from the hustle bustle of the nearby town. Many travel to Marina Beach for walks while snacking on favourite tidbits, even try some horse-riding by the waves or simply have a relaxed time with family and friend. Marina beach is certainly a unique beach which has captured the hearts of many.
Andaman Islands beaches
The archipelago of idyllic islands is the epitome of secluded comfort. The islands popular with beach enthusiasts include the Ross Island, and within the Richie’s archipelago- the Havelock Island and the Neil Island. The beaches on Havelock Island are referred by the numbers instead of names. Among all the restful beaches on this island and around, beach no 7 or also called Radhanagar,is exceptionally blissful. The colourful coral reef will delight divers while beach lovers will be contented to soak in the paradise-like surroundings.
Serenity Beach- Paradise Beach, Pondicherry
The former French capital, Pondicherry, lying by the Bay of Bengal, offers scenic beaches along its coasts. It is not just the sun and sea that makes this stretch of beach attractive, but the history and memorials lining the Serenity Beach. The breeze from the bay makes this beautiful beach a calming site, that was once the site of a battle, with tremendous bloodshed between the British and French. The seafront also has other historic structures including the Mahatma’s statue and war memorial dedicated to the solders of World War I. There is also a lighthouse and newly constructed pier, stretching over 200 metres, south of the stretch. The neighbour, Paradise Beach is befitting of its name and is also known as Plage Paradiso. This beach is ideal for leisurely getaways, water sports and even seaside camping. Visitors have options to explore the backwaters or watch dolphins when venturing out on a cruise in the sea.
Om Beach- Kudle Beach- Half Moon- Paradise, Gokarna
The same state that is the proud home to historic Hassan, Hospet and Badami, is bordered by some of the most intriguing and exquisite beaches in the region of Gokarna. The famous beaches in this region of India are namely the Half-Moon, Kudle, Paradise, Om Beach which are located in the south of Gokarna while the Gokarna beach forms the town’s coast, welcoming waves from the Arabian Sea. Being a temple town, it is not surprising to have temples and colossal statues of Hindu deities as background at the Gokarna beach. The Western Ghats, not too far distant also presents a refreshing and lush background for Paradise Beach, which has a rocky terrain, similar to its neighbouring beaches. The waves along this coast are known to be very strong. These beaches do not offer the usual idyllic sun, sea and surf but the secluded serenity of gazing out to the horizon, especially when they are free from the crowds of visitors.
Indian beaches may not always provide secluded comfort or sandy stretches for sunbathing. The intriguing backgrounds and permanent fixtures of the beaches, such as food vendors, temples or shrines make an interesting tour to these unique beach areas. India offers beaches to suit any preferences- bustling crowds or solitary reprieve can certainly be found along any coastal region of India.