From a nation like India-with over 7500 km long coastline and some exotic island destinations, if Goa is the only beach destination that comes to your mind, then you need to explore a bit more. No doubt that Goa is beautiful, but it might be worth your while to explore other beach destinations that can help beat the crowd while you get all you want from a beach. Here are 10 beach destinations that we suggest.
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1- Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Mahabalipuram, a heritage beach town dating back to the 5th century is where history meets beach life. Complete with its Unesco heritage sites like the Shore Temple or the Pancha Rathas as well as the sculpted caves; this beach town is a delight for history buffs. The beach is a surfer’s paradise with its playful waves and also allows fun activities like turtle walks to help conserve these delightful creatures. Remember to catch the unique boat ride that takes you to the middle of the sea for a glimpse of those submerged temples referenced in Ptolemy’s texts.
2- Puri , Odisha
Popular as a temple town for its famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, this town has been blessed with a gorgeous shoreline as well. The Puri beach offers you water sports – from swimming to surfing and speed boat rides. The Golden sand of the beach is perfect for rejuvenation while you watch the sun go down. A 30 km-drive from here takes you to the Konark beach or the Chandrabhaga beach – which used to touch the wheels of the famous Konark temple but have now receded away. Time on this beach will not just allow you to visit the renowned Sun temple but will also take you up a lighthouse.
3- Havelock Islands, Andamans
Voted to have one of the best beaches in the world, Havelock Islands is a paradise isle. Clear blue waters with stunning underwater life, it is best experienced by Scuba diving, snorkelling or even a sea walk on these islands. Hire a bike to go beach hopping as you discover how diverse the beaches on this island are – with a rocky Kalapathar beach at one end to the crystal clear Govindnagar beach and the world famous white sand Radhanagar beach.
4-Agatti Islands, Lakshadweep
When it comes to Islands, the unexplored Lakshadweep cannot be missed with the Agatti Islands. Having escaped commercialization, these islands are literally uncrowded and perfect for that secluded holiday with the sun, sand and sea. The clear turquoise waters with its colourful coral life are just right for you to explore with scuba diving and snorkelling. For the laid back – you don’t even have to go that deep because a lot is evident from the surface too, as you take the glass bottomed boat ride.
An erstwhile Portuguese colony, this beach town along the Arabian Sea is a lovely mix of seaside fun, history and culture. Experience the best of Kerala cuisines while exploring the many beaches this town has – Payyambalam and Thottada Beach being two most popular. Zip along the unique drive-in beach, Muzhappilangad beach, or witness a Theyyam performance here. Don’t miss the St. Angelo’s sea fort that gives you an idea of how strategic this place really was.
When the palm fringed beaches of Kerala are combined with a heady sea fort, trekking trails and backwaters, what you get is Bekal beach. Complete with its cannons and underground passages, the Bekal Fort is a delight for anyone who loves mysteries; while for others it is a vantage point for the stunning shoreline around. A drive of 20 km or so takes you to the serene backwaters of Valiyaparamba- a picturesque village with waterways between paddy fields.
When the sun set romances with the hills and casts an orange spell on its submerged rocks in the Arabian Sea, you have arrived at Gokarna. A temple town that now has become a popular yoga beach retreat has a shoreline that is enclosed by several hills. This is what makes beach trekking a unique activity here. Treat yourself to some Ayurvedic massages or take up some water sports like banana boat rides and jet skiing. The daring ones can head for a day trip to Murudeshwar where you can do scuba diving at one of the few exotic dive locations of India.
Speaking of dive sites, the other location on the coastline of India is at Tarkarli – a little town full of white sand beaches and coral reefs. If luck favours, you might even spot dolphins while indulging in water sports. For the heritage lovers, a visit to the Sindhudurg Fort is highly recommended and if you need some solitude and romance, you should not say no to their backwaters as here Karli River meets the sea.
A union territory of India, close to the Gujarat coast, Diu is an uncrowded cousin of Goa with its Portuguese roots. The stunning Nagoa beach with its smooth white sands and blue waters is a popular retreat for all beach bums while the heritage lovers will love discovering the Naida Caves and the Diu Fort. For art lovers, a visit to St. Paul’s church is highly recommended and for the foodies, eating local anywhere in Diu is a pleasure.
Another jewel of the Kutch district of Gujarat, the tiny town of Mandvi offers you one of the smoothest beaches in India. The charming beach, with its windmills and colourful camels, is a pleasure to just walk around while you discover the stunning Vijay Vilas Palace. One cannot avoid a visit to the ancient ship building yard to see the old wooden boats, nor can you stay away from the colourful bazaars of Mandvi. Don’t miss the scrumptious Gujarati food and chaats while at this beach town.