Travel: Beach-hopping in India

(This article appeared on the Chillibreeze web site. Click here to read it online.)

Walking barefoot on shining golden sand that embraces the sea, hand in hand with your loved one, with a little sun on your face and the waves playing gently at your feet, tall palm trees under whose shade you can treat yourself to exotic seafood delights, and to top it all, some exciting water sports…doesn’t that sound like a perfect beach vacation? If you found yourself agreeing to that, then India is where you should be! Surrounded by water on three sides, the Indian coast is lined with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Here’s a look at some of them:

Agatti Island, Lakshwadeep
A sparkling pearl in the Lakshadweep archipelago, Agatti Island, is an all time favorite holiday destination. Just 2 km from the airport, Agatti Island is one of the most beautiful lagoons in the group of the 36 coral islands of Lakshadweep. The bewitching beauty of this island is enhanced by the various water sports like diving and snorkeling, available on the beaches here. The strikingly beautiful view of the sun-kissed soft sand juxtaposed against the clear blue waters is simply intoxicating.

Benaulim Beach, Goa
Goa is sometimes referred to as the beach capital of India because many of the country’s best beaches are situated here. The Benaulim Beach, just 2 km away from the famous Colva Beach, gets its name from a Hindu myth. It is believed that Goa was created by a shaft thrown to earth by the sage Parashuram. The place where the shaft landed came to be known as ‘Banali’ (Sanskrit for shaft), which the Portuguese rechristened as Benaulim. This beach is safe for swimming and one of the most famous fishing centers of Goa. One can find large wooden fishing boats, a few bars and several restaurants along the shore.

Gopalpur On Sea, Orissa
Along the Eastern coast of the peninsula, 16 km from Berhampur, lies the stunning Gopalpur on Sea Beach. Despite the dilapidated jetty, the beach is peaceful and provides ample opportunity for surfing and sailing. During the reign of the Kalingas, this was one of the most important trading ports and was then known as Paloura. Traders traveled even as far as Java and Sumatra from here and brought back wealth from selling silk and pearls. Bordering the expanse of clear water and sand, there stands a line of palm and coconut trees, and some Casaurina plantations that add beauty to this beach. There is also an old lighthouse here which offers a splendid view of the sea.

Jampore Beach, Daman
Daman, located on the western coast of India, is home to many pristine beaches of the country. Jampore is one of them, a peaceful beach with Casaurina trees, clear blue waters and golden sand – in short, a perfect place for a completely relaxed holiday. If you are a swimmer, you will have fun splashing around in the waves of Jampore. A nice walk during the low tide, with water splashing at your feet, is another option for the romantic ones.

Malpe Beach, Karnataka
About 6 km from Udupi is yet another work of art by nature, the Malpe Beach and the St. Mary’s Island. One of the main commercial fishing centers of Karnataka, the beach is a natural harbor at the mouth of the Malpe River. The St. Mary’s Island is about half an hour away from the beach and is accessible only by boat. The island is rich in a unique rock combination (basalt) which is quite rare in the world. However, it is a less known spot and hence not fully developed for tourists.

Radhanagar Beach, Anadaman & Nicobar
Also known as Beach No.7 on Havelock in the Andaman Islands, this beach brings to you the perfect blend of sun and the sea. A ferry from Port Bair will take to you to this breathtakingly beautiful beach, one of the most picturesque ones in the Andaman Islands. This untouched beach has also been named as one of the best beaches in the world by Time magazine. The view at Radhanagar Beach is like a picture postcard!

Rishikonda, Andhra Pradesh
Away from the din of the busy city, an 8 km drive from Vishakapatnam brings you to the Rishikonda Beach. Serene and immaculate, this beach is a picture perfect holiday destination. Ideal for swimming, water skiing and water surfing, the long stretch of beach doesn’t disappoint the romantic either. A long walk here and the beautiful sight of the setting sun is an absolute treat for the romantics.

Serenity Beach, Pondicherry
This is one of the many beaches of India which has a story to tell. It was here that many soldiers lost their lives during the World War I. Here, thus, stands a war memorial surrounded by eight beautifully carved pillars. About 1.5 km long, the beach brings to you cool breeze from the Bay of Bengal, making it a favorite spot for just lazing around and getting a tan.

Tarkarli, Maharashtra
Tarkarli beach is located in the village Malvan, about 546 km from Mumbai. The long and narrow stretch of beach marks the union of the Karli river (hence the name Tarkarli) and the Arabian Sea. From the beach, the famous naval fort built by Shivaji Maharaj, Sindhudurg is also visible. One can catch a glimpse or two of dolphins in the waters here. Tarkarli is also one of the main fishing hubs of Maharashtra. The beach is lined by a curtain of ‘Shuru’ trees and small sailboats and islands can also be spotted far into the sea.

Varkala Beach, Kerala
Varkala Beach, situated in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of God’s own country, is a quiet and serene beach resort. It is famous for the mineral water springs with medicinal properties that are found on the cliffs lining the beach. The blue waters, the rocks and the tall palm trees complete the exquisite frame of the setting sun here. This beach is also sometimes referred to as ‘Papanasum’ beach because of a local belief that a dip in these waters would free one of all sins. Located almost 51 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, the beach is easily accessible by road and rail.

Although the beaches listed above may not be the most famous ones in the country, they are without doubt some of the most beautiful ones. The swaying palm trees and turquoise blue waves moving to the rhythm of the sea attract tourists from all over the world. The unsurpassed beauty of these beaches is to be enjoyed at least once in a lifetime.

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