Escape to a beach if you enjoy the sun, sea breeze, fresh seafood, and want to bring in the New Year at a relaxed and easy pace.
Also called Beach No.7, this is the most spectacular stretch of sand in Havelock, framed by the wave-lashed ocean on one side and tall rainforests on the other. The beach is amazing at sunset since it faces the west. Walk for about 10 minutes down the beach and you will come to Neil’s Cove, a beautiful and quiet spot, abundant with rocks, perfect for sunbathing. Further up you’ll come to a quiet lagoon where the shallow water is great for swimming and snorkelling.
Mandvi is an unlikely candidate for a ‘great beach town’, being so close to the driest area of Gujarat – Kutch – but sure enough, there is a beach and surprisingly, it’s got a lot more activity than other beaches across the state’s snaky coastline. Mandvi is a funhouse of activity, especially for those travelling with kids. Though you won’t find soft white sands and crystal clear water, what makes up for coarse sand are many water sports options and beach activities.
Perched perilously along the edge of dizzying cliffs, Varkala has a naturally beautiful setting. The beach is flecked with reclining chairs and sunbathers, while the long cliff bustles with resorts, cafes, restaurants and shops, exuding a strong Goa-like vibe. Black Beach is a commercial, sandy stretch, but Odayam and Manthara are secluded beaches to laze around on. A strand of golden beach lies below the laterite cliffside, which looms over it at a considerable height.
The most famous and quintessential Goa beach, spending the New Year’s Eve in Baga comes with its own bragging rights. The beach offers a number of choices: you can walk along the flat sands towards the fishing harbour, sit idly at a shack and watch the sun sink into the ocean, nurse a drink while you sample excellent seafood, or try some water sports, go for a dip in the sea, and begin party hopping. But do return at midnight for a spectacular display of fireworks right by the beach.
Nowhere in India can you find such a mix by the beach: giant Chinese fishing nets, an ancient synagogue, a mosque, Portuguese houses and crumbling remains of the British Raj. The pavement that skirts Kochi Beach is great for an evening stroll, as the town slowly starts lighting up in the background. The scene is reminiscent of how trading ships would have found their way to this famous port in another era.
Devbagh Beach, Karnataka
Devbagh Beach in Karwar is not easy to get to. Caught in the confusion between an island and a beach, it can be accessed only by boat with a fixed time schedule that charges a pretty penny per head. This makes you wonder why you shouldn’t skip it, but when you get there you realise it’s this elusiveness that makes it one of the best beaches in the area. Bereft of crowds, backed by a thick tree cover and decorated with sun decks and hammocks, Devbagh is what we would get if we started preserving our beaches instead of plundering them.