ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

32. Best beaches in India

pescatori tirano a riva una lunga barca  colorata su un distesa di sabbia contornata di palme
 
Spend a quality winter break on the best Indian beaches, between shrimps and leaps, or maybe sipping a glass of coconut milk. India offers you a great variety of beaches, but Indian people have no sea-culture, and usually only fishmongers go there – so if you want to lay in the sun on a clean shore, eat in appetizing restaurants enjoying an ice-cold beer, well, the choices are fewer.
So, what do you prefer? Nightlife after an afternoon spent surfing, or the stillness and the isolation of a forgotten beach? Or, maybe, you’ll enjoy relax and trips to get in touch with the local customs.
India is vast, and winter is exquisitely hot. Beaches are perfect. Take our tips and make up your mind!
 
 

 


Goa
Beach stretches as far as the eyes can see: sweet bays surrounded by black rocks, restaurants on the seaside, surfing, partying on the beach till the dawn and swimming between tortoises and dolphins. And more: Portuguese churches, Hindu Temples, bamboo huts on the sea, refined cookery and Portuguese colonial houses transformed into dreamlike Hotels. Goa has everything you would expect from a tourism destination. Fun-loving, crowded beaches in the north, quieter beaches in the southern part. Rent a scooter and start exploring!
Goa is an ideal place to spend your New Year’s Eve – of course, if you’re looking for parties. In January, don’t forget the Carnival and the Sunburn Festival.

 


Varkala (Kerala)
In Varkala you can sit on the terrace of one of the plethora of restaurants built on the cliffs and mistake the distant boat lights for street lamps during black nights without the moon.
In the south, the beach became a strange background for Hindu rituals. In the north, enjoy the sweet half-moon beaches where the bravest can surf and the wind always blows.
Varkala is less fun-loving than Goa, but in the recent years this place was visited by more and more tourists. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful beaches, the yoga classes, the close Backwaters or the beer (even though this is an important Hindu sacred destination) and the good music. Varkala is a nice place to get in touch with people.

 


Kovalam (Kerala)
Historical beach surrounded by peaks, with a nice lighthouse on the top. In the early morning, a yoga’s class practices under the song of fishmongers lifting their nets. This is the perfect place for those who love promenades along the seaside, little artisan’s shops and restaurants specialized in fresh fish. Meet foreigners and enjoy some ayurvedic treatments. The most adventurous could visit Trivandrum or the southernmost Indian coast, at around 80 km. The city often hosts a variety of cultural events, not necessarily for tourists – such as Kathakali performances. Maybe the New Year’s eve won’t be special here, but in January Kovalam will provide you with music events where karnanik music amateurs gather in the king’s garden, under the shade of the tower of the richest and most mysterious temple of the whole India to celebrate the Swati Tirunal Festival – an event blessed with the charm of tradition.

 


Marari Beach (Kerala)
If you’re looking for pristine landscapes and loneliness, fly to Cochin and take a taxi for Marari Beach (1:30 hour of travel). The few equipped tourism structures make this place something more than an unique, exclusive destination. Endless white-sanded shores and dolphins will surround you in a perfect atmosphere. Be careful: the current is strong, and it’s better to take baths in the waters near the resort or the Hotel where you stay. Marari is mostly inhabited by fishmongers, and the protecting eye of a lifeguard will keep you safe from the locals’ curiosity. If you’re tired of shores and surf, take a cruise on the close backwaters.
To celebrate the New Year’s Eve with people, go to Fort Cochin.  Even more interesting is the Carnival with a chariot parade (and elephants) on the first of the year.

 


Gokarna (Karnataka)
Om Beach is renowned among good-old-fashioned travelers as one of the most pleasant beaches of the whole India. Since the 70s, when the first tourists from the west came, things have changed a lot. Anyway, Gokarna preserves her unspoiled beauty. It is said that here, the divine Shiva appeared from the sea (we, from the west, cannot visit his temple). There are sufficient tourism structures for each class, and landscapes are breath-taking. When someone lands here, he usually spend some days imagining how Goa was when the first Portuguese sailed there. For those travelers looking for monuments, the inner part of Gokarna offers the marbled temples of Hampi, 245 km far away: it’s a long, tortuous way between the forests, harsh and difficult. But the archeological park in the end repays of you of all the efforts.

 


Mamallapuram Beach (Tamil Nadu)
Mamallapuram’s beach is one of the least equipped for tourism, but there’s no place like here to immerse yourself into India wondrous lore. The Sea Shore temple, on which a wind from Bengala’s gulf exhales, watches you from afar. Beside the beach near the Mamallapuram’s village-museum, there are endless sandy expanse, unspoiled and dirty when you’re far from a resort (located in the northern part of the village). Be aware of the strong currents and don’t push yourself too far from the shore.
Moreover, don’t miss the Dance Festival. Traditional and folk artists perform for four weeks within December the 27th and January the 26th, taking you back to the times when Pallava’s rulers created those beautiful masterpieces where the stage is set. If you prefer a more French-like atmosphere, visit the ex-colony, Pondicherry – at around 100 km in the south.

 Credits

Pesca in Kerala (copertina) e Kovalam Beach by Paolo Donalisio (

Goa by Molesworth II

Varkala by Vinayaraj

Gokarna by Sankara Subramaniam

Marari by nborun

Maamllapuram by Poobesh

Creative Commons License

HIGHLIGHTS

Give way to Women!

She-Taxi is a service for women who need to move safely at any time and an opportunity for other women who are ready to start a business.

A challenge called India

Sometime being bold in India it's the best way to get what you want, in some contexts softness is equal to weakness and creates problems...

Wisdom for sale

How much for a piece of wisdom? In this story from Gujarat, wisdom is worth its weight in gold. But what is the weight of wisdom, then?

The battle of Durga

Goddess Durga defeated the buffalo demon and saved the world from darkness, a panel in Cave Temple in Mamallapuram tells her story…

Do you speak Internet?

Internet success in India is bound to the knowledge of the local languages.

Thali, a taste of India

Thali is the Indian dish par excellence – Seeing someone eat it, you’ll better understand the customs of this country.

Torna Su