A Guide to Beaches in India
Be it on the east or west coast, with pristine white sands, golden yellow sands and black sands, beaches in India are as diverse as our many states and languages. Some of the best beaches in India are regularly finding their way on the world map thanks to their pristine beauty and solitude, adventure, watersports and beautiful resorts that have sprung up. Imagine walking along shores while the skies adorn a bouquet of multicolored hues. The coastlines of India indeed have some of the most scenic beaches in the world!
When you think of ‘Goa’, your mind automatically conjures up images of surfing, golden sands, mile-long beaches fringed by swaying palms and pristine waters. It is blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches of our country. The best time to visit is between October and January.
However, Goa is at its beautiful best during the monsoons from June to September. Moreover, during this time hotels offer the best rates. Though the prices go up peak season, several places offer a decent off-season discount.
1. Palolem Beach
Photo credit: Andrew Miller - flickr
If you are looking for the most picturesque beach in Goa, then head to Palolem Beach which is in South Goa. Beautifully enclosed with a thick forest of coconut palms, this mile long beach is as scenic as it gets and is located just 45 km from Margao and 76 kilometres from Panaji.
[Enjoy racing with the waves while surfing in Arambol, Goa]
Photo credit: Andrew Miller - flickr
This semi-circle shaped beach with its pristine waters and golden sands attracts thousands of tourists who are looking for tranquillity away from the crowded parts of Goa. The closest railway station is Marago on the Konkan railway station and Canacona which is a 10 minute drive away. You can also take a flight to Goa’s Dabolim airport which is about one and a half hours away.
2. Baga Beach
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For years several tourists have thronged to Baga Beach in north Goa, undoubtedly one of the best beach holidays in India. The beach is filled with food shacks, tattoo shacks , flea markets and adventure sports that are hard to match, amongst beaches of India. There are several fine-dining restaurants along the coastline that are as famous as the beach itself and attracts foreigners and Indians by the hordes in all seasons.
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With a pulsating nightlife on offer, this is definitely where you will head for some great time. If water sports attract you, you can go for thrilling parasailing activities, wake boarding, kite surfing and even take a dolphin spotting trip. The Wednesday flea market at Anjuna Beach and Saturday night market at Arpora are popular destinations for shoppers too.
You can reach here by train and get off at the Thivim station or land by air at Goa's Dabolim airport which is located 50 kilometers away and take a pre-paid taxi to Baga.
3. Agonda Beach
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If you are looking for a relatively secluded area then Angoda beach is the place for you. This beach is located in South Goa just north of Palolem Beach. It is located 43 kilometers from Margao and 76 kilometres from Panaji. Here, you can live in a hut right on the beach and get your dream vacation.
[Witness and interact with adorable dolphins in Candolim, Goa]
Being a turtle nesting and dolphin site, Angoda beach has an understated elegance about it. There are plenty of tourists and souvenir stalls along the way, adding to the charm of the place.
4. Arambol Beach
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Arambol beach in Goa is yet another alluring beach in these parts. Tourists who are looking for less crowded areas, seek out this beach that has to be approached by a 10 minute walk along a narrow path. All along the way, are small shops selling trinkets and food.
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There is a freshwater pond a few metres from the beach, and the sand around it is said to have medicinal properties. If you wish to stay the night, the boutique resort, Rococco at Ashvem, is a great option. The beach also offers a refreshing ayurvedic spa and a vast array of Mediterranean, Indian and Japanese cuisines.
5. Marari Beach
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Not far from the small town of Alleppey in Kerala, is Marari Beach which is a perfect for people looking for a peaceful time. You can also explore Kerala backwaters from here. You can also opt for some interesting day trips from here to add to the holiday mood. These include the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, traditional coir-making units, and the Kerala backwater canals.
[Enjoy a relaxing beach holiday tour in Kerala, cruising down the backwaters and sightseeing]
The snake boat races take place during August over here, and are a big draw for tourists. This is one of the top beaches of India that offers complete entertainment for the tourists. The luxury Marari beach resort is an eco-friendly resort and is hugely popular as it captures the soul of the beach and is inspired by local fishing villages, the ideal place to stay when you visit the beach. The nearest train station is in Alleppey or you can land at the nearest airport in Cochin.
6. Muzhappilangad Beach
Photo credit: Goutham Mohandas - wikicommons
If you are looking for an offbeat, lesser crowded location, while in Kerala, you can also visit the only drive-in beach in the country in Muzhappilangad which is located just seven kilometres from Thalassery in north Kerala.
To get to this beach, you can use the airport in Kozhikode or the nearest railway station which is in Kannur. This particular beach attracts a lot of foreigners too. You can stay at the Kairali Heritage at Kannur in air-conditioned cottages that face river Kattampally.
7. Alappuzha Beach
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While in God’s own country, it makes sense to stop by at Alappuzha which is known as Venice of the East. The dock that extends into the sea here is almost 140 years old. A large picturesque set of lagoons, lakes and freshwater rivers along the Arabian Sea makes it mesmerising in its natural beauty and splendour.
[Relax, slow down and unwind on the riveting backwaters of Kerala]
Here, you will find several species of birds and animals in their natural habitat adding to the vivid beauty, making this a ‘must visit’ destination. This lovely beach location is also famous for its houseboats, boat races and coir industry.
8. Varkala Beach
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A purely pristine and beautiful stretch of beach is the Varkala Beach that has a vibrant stretch of cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea. This beach is located just 51 km from Thiruvananthapuram, and is an hour’s drive away. A beautiful paved footpath runs along the length of the cliff that is fringed with coconut palms and is a stunning sight to behold.
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There are several beautiful sights to see here and one of them is an ancient shrine of the Janardhana Swamy Temple that was built on a cliff, overlooking the beach. Another attraction is the Samadhi of the Guru, where devotees throng every year to pay their respects.
A natural spring close by is said to have medicinal properties. With a range of good accommodation facilities for tourists, this beach is fast becoming popular with foreigners and local tourists. All along the beach, there are quaint shops selling wares and trinkets.
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A trip to the beaches of Kerala will be incomplete without a cruise on the famous Alleppey houseboats. The cheapest option would be to choose the Alleppey Tourism Development Corporation’s ferry between Alleppey and Kollam which is an eight hour ride. The ferries usually set out at 10.30 am from each town everyday. The rides usually include a scrumptious meal on board. Many of these trips also stop at the coir village, along the way.
[Cruise along the emerald green backwaters of Kumarakom in a quaint houseboat]
You can travel through the Alleppey backwaters to places such as Kumarakom, Kottayam, and Alumkadavu (near Kollam). The breathtaking scenery along the way with swaying palm trees and local fishermen and women dressed in colourful attire will make your ride memorable.
Looking for a beach that is both mystical and magical? Look no further than the Bangaram beach in Lakshadweep that has beaches characterised by white sands and pristine blue lagoons. There are plenty of thrilling water sports and adventure activities for adventure-seekers that includes snorkelling, diving, deep-sea fishing and sailing to name a few.
Another alternative is the Radhanagar Beach in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Its pristine white sands, deep blue waters and serene surroundings make it breathtakingly beautiful. Located 12 km from Havelock’s ferry pier, this is one of the best beaches in India.
10. Nagoa Beach
The Nagoa Beach, Diu is located near the Nagoa hamlet of the Bucharwada village in the union territory of Daman and Diu, India. This lovely beach is shaped like a horseshoe.
If you are the adventurous kind, this beach offers plenty of water sporting activities and is a great place for swimming. Also, on offer are various water sports like parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing and windsurfing, truly a fun-filled holiday for families. The drive is quite exhilarating as you drive through coconut groves and experience the cool breeze and serene atmosphere on the way.
11. Pondicherry Beach
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Pondicherry is a beach lover’s paradise. Serenity Beach in Pondicherry is a pristine and peaceful beach. This union territory is well known for its long coastline and has several places that are ideal for sunbathing and strolling in the sands. Add to that the golden yellow sands and deep blue waters; and Pondicherry is a favourite beach holiday destination for most people in the country.
[Appreciate aqautic nature while snorkling and kayaking in Lakshadweep]
Serenity Beach is just a short 10-minute drive from the north of the city. The vast stretches of serene sea and sky is an alluring sight. For adventure seekers there are the usual water sport activities that keep you enthralled and rejuvenated.
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12. Mahabalipuram Beach
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If you are looking for a serene beach with a lot of history thrown in and ideally located on India’s east coast, then Mahabalipuram beach (or Mamallapuram) is just where you need to go. It is one of the best beaches in India as one can trek here as well as enjoy the lovely resorts that dot this beach. Located about 50 kilometres from Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, you can get here by local bus or by train.
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The nearest station is Chengalpattu (Chingleput) which is 29 kilometres away and just an hour’s drive if you take a taxi from here. This historic town is filled with temples and the Shore temple here is a huge attraction.
Its stone sculpture industry and rock cut caves are also well known and some of the main attractions here is the ‘Five Rathas’ (sculptured temples in the shape of chariots) and ‘Arjuna’s Penance’ which has carvings of the Mahabharata depicted on rocks. The best time to visit will be from December to March.
14. Wandoor Beach
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Wandoor beach is located at the southern tip of Andaman. It is one of the best places to relax under the serene beauty of nature. Only 25 km from Port Blair, this beach is famous for its swimming destinations and spectacular coral life.
A holiday in Wandoor beach is incomplete without visiting Jolly Bouy Island. Open to tourists alternate 6 months, Jolly Bouy Island is an ideal home to exotic marine life. Rare species of fish, corals and other marine life can be found in this island.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is the nearest spot to this beach. The park is known for the exotic varieties of its red, blue and sponge coral.
15. Corbyn’s Cove
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Another exotic location by the sea is Corbyn’s Cove, Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Surrounded on one side by coconut trees and a calm sea on the other, this beach is popular for jet-skiing, scuba diving and swimming.
[Go scuba diving and snorkelling in the azure waters of Andaman]
If you just want to laze on the beach then sun bathing and going for a leisurely swim is also an ideal way to get some sun and water. The best way to get here is by road as it is located just 4 kilometres east of Port Blair airport and 7 kilometres from the main town area. You can stay at Peerless Sarovar Portico, Port Blair which offers rooms with a view of the sea.
16. Devbagh Beach
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The southern state of Karnataka in India, also offers some beaches near the coast and one of them is Devbagh, Karnataka. This is an island off the Karwar Coast where River Kali meets the sea. You can also land here from Dabolim Airport in Goa, which is 90 km away from Devbagh.
It is located around 50 km from Gokarna. Primarily a secluded beach, it is filled with meandering backwaters and thick jungles. There are a wide variety of options for accommodation including fishermen’s huts, cottages, log huts and houseboats.
17. Gokarna Beach
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This small town of Gokarna has some of India’s most secluded and beautiful beaches in its fold. The drive to this beach is as scenic as it gets with a winding path that leads to the beach, with the rocky mountains of the Western Ghats consists the Arabian sea on either side. Gokarna primarily consists of the Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, half moon beach and Paradise beach.
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In fact, you can even trek from beach to the other. Om beach is literally in the shape of Om and is one considered to be one of nature’s spectacular creations. Since Gokarna is a holy city, it also attracts pilgrims and beach enthusiasts. Located in the state of Karnataka, it is an hour’s drive away from the south of Goa border and is a 450 km drive from Bangalore.
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18. Digha Beach
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Situated at a distance of 187 km away from Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, Digha beach is the most popular in West Bengal. In Digha beach, Bay of Bengal exhibits its most pristine form and this enchanting beauty allures thousands of tourists every year. It is also one of the favourite getaways of Kolkattans.
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Sunrise and sunset are the best times to get an outstanding view of this beach. Beguiling beauty of the sunrays, striking the sea and the crystal sands, creates a mesmerising atmosphere around the beach. Calmness of the sea, under the spell of the sunrays offers a magnificent view sure to be etched in yourmind forever. Shallow water and gentle waves of Digha beach make it a not-to-be-missed beach in West Bengal.
Digha beach, originally known as ‘Beerkul’, was discovered during the eighteenth century. It has also been called ‘Brighton of the East’ during the British rule.
19. Mandarmani Beach
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Mandarmani is another hotspot among beaches in West Bengal. Claimed to be the longest driveable beach in India, this mystical beach is 13 km long. It is located in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal and can be easily reached from all the major places of Kolkata.
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Crawling red crabs add more life to the crystal sands of Mandarmani beach. The appearance of these crabs looks familiar to ‘Mandar’ - a kind of red flower found in this region. Thus, the local people named this beach as ‘Mandarboni’, which later changed to Mandarmani.
Calmness of the morning and serenity of the evening in Mandarmani beach is an extreme delight to the mind. It is the second most popular beach holidays in West Bengal.
20. Bakkhali Beach
Photo credit: P.K.Niyogi - wikicommons
This beach is located in ‘South 24 Parganas’ district of West Bengal. The location of this beach adds an extra flamboyance to it and casts a magical spell on its admirer. It is a perfect holiday destination for wildlife lovers. Located in one of the deltaic islands of the Sunderbans, Bakkhali beach is guarded by naturally growing Casuarina trees.
There is an interesting history about the accidental discovery of this place. Sir Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal (1903–1908) discovered this place during one his voyages in the sea, quite by chance.
21. Puri Beach
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One of the most sacred places of the Hindus, Puri also boasts of a magnificent beach lying along the coastline of Bay of Bengal. In this beach, the radiant sunrays mix elegantly with the roaring sea waves, creating a splendid view and a mesmerising atmosphere.
Puri beach can be called as the abode of the sand artists; sand art is one of the main attractions of this beach. Every year, Puri beach hosts sand art festival where artists gather to displays their fascinating art skills. Several national and international artists take part in this festival with great enthusiasm. Sudarshan Pattnaik is one of the most popular sand artists of Odisha. His name and fame has reached several countries in the world.
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Puri beach can be easily reached from Puri railway station. While travelling by air, Bhubaneshwar airport will serve as the nearest airport to this beach.
22. Chandipur Beach
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Chandipur beach is located in Baleswar district of Odisha. This beach is popular for its uniqueness: water in this shore moves away 1-4 km when the tide ebbs, making the sea seem to disappear in this beach. This singular natural occurrence of Chandipur beach makes it one of the most visited beaches in India.
In Chandipur beach, bio-diversity can be found in the best form. Horseshoe crabs; one of the rarest species of crabs, can be found on this beach. Swaying waves, sand dunes and peaceful atmosphere prevails on this beach. For food lovers, there is the addition of Chandipur beach serving extremely delicious seafoods.
Chandipur is located at a distance of 200 km from Bhubaneswar and 10 km from Balasore. It is well connected to other nearby places and can easily be reached by following National Highway No. 5.
23. Chandrabhaga Beach
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Famous Sun Temple of Konark is the nearest attraction centre to Chandrabhaga beach. It lies only 3 km away from the Sun temple and 30 km from Puri. Chandrabhaga beach is related to many mythological tales. Lord Krishna’s son Shamba is believed to have worshipped the Sun God on the river mouth of Chandrabhaga. Shamba, who was a leper, got cured in this place. Since then, Chandrabhaga is considered as a sacred place for the treatment of lepers.
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Other tales depict how the Sun God fell in love with Chandrabhag, daughter of a sage, and efforts of the latter in keeping herself away from the romantic overtures of the Sun God. In order to resist all the tricks of Sun God, Chandrabhag sacrificed her life in the river.
Her sacrifice has been marked as a holy occasion and is celebrated on the seventh day of every full-moon fortnight of Magha month. Every year, thousands of devotees visit this beach and offer prayers. This beach is an ideal spot for relaxing and attaining mental peace.
24. Ashtaranga Beach
Among the various beaches in India, if anyone wants to see the magnificent glory of the sunset, they must visit the Astaranga Beach. Located at a mere distance of 91 km from Puri, this beach gets drenched in the glorious colours of the setting sun. While the crystal sands of this beach reflect the colour of the setting sun, the view is truly enticing and panoramic. From October to June is the best time period to visit this beach.