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Explore India's 10 Lesser Known Beaches

January 10, 2024 10:14 IST
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Photographs: Mayur Sanap/

India's miles and miles of coastline are home to the most heart-stoppingly-jaw-droppingly pretty beaches in the whole wide world.

Only a handful of these have gone on to become popular among the masses, and there are still so many sections of pristine coast and beaches that most definitely deserve your attention.

As mass tourism is becoming increasingly difficult to stomach for many a tourist, it's time to explore alternatives that give you a better travel experience.

Here's Mayur Sanap's guide to some exquisite tropical seaside spots.

Take your hat, sunglasses, suntan lotion and flip-flops out, and come along with us as we hit these mesmerising beach places along the country's blessed coastline.

St Mary Island, Karnataka

Commonly referred to as Coconut Island, St Mary Island is far less commercial than other nearby beach places in the state like Padubidri (one of Karnataka's two Blue Flag-certified beaches) and Kapu.

The only way to get to this secluded island is a boat or ferry that operates at intervals during the day from mainland Udupi.

The azure waters, pearl white sands and groovily swaying coconut trees on the other side make for a truly spectacular sight. Another tourist attraction here is the unique formation of basaltic rock that is listed as a National Geoheritage Monuments of India.

How to reach: The nearest railway station is Udupi, which is around 14 km away from St Mary Island ferry point, and the nearest airport is in Mangaluru about 70 km away.

Varkala Beach, Kerala

The 80 feet-tall red laterite cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea makes for riveting beach landscape in Varkala. Enjoy the laid-back charm of this cute little town that embraces visitors with open arms.

Have a hearty breakfast at any of the charming shacks or cafes around the Varkala cliff, then make your way down to the beach where you can enjoy surfing against the crashing waves.

Watch fishermen pulling in the fresh catch that might just end up on your lunch plate. Enjoy the wine and dine offering at one of the low-key bars with some lively music in the evening.

Sounds exciting? You bet, Varkala is fun!

Chill. Relax. Repeat.

How to reach: The nearest railway station is Varkala Sivagiri, which is around 2 km away from the main town, and the nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram, about 50 km away.

Tarkarli Beach, Maharashtra

With its golden seashore, shimmery blue waters and surrounding lush suru trees (casuarina pines), Tarkarli certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the most gorgeous beach towns in the Konkan region.

It is also the ideal destination for water sports activities like scuba diving and snorkelling. There are plenty of fishing and kayaking escapes in Karli backwaters that extend from Tarkarli to Kudal.

Get a taste of traditional Malvani fare because seafood is what Konkan does best! Head on to a local restaurant or khanaval (home style mess) for a hearty gastronomic treat.

How to reach: The nearest railway station is Kudal, which is about 45 km away from Tarkarli town, and the nearest airport is Dabolim airport in south Goa, 80 km away.

Mahabalipuram Beach, Tamil Nadu

Tucked away between the bustling metropolis of Chennai to the north and the ever so charming French town of Puducherry to the south, Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram) is an alluring mix of ancient structures and idyllic beach life.

Start your day with a spectacular sunrise by the sea and explore the serene ambience of the town dotted with many interesting monuments, caves, and temples.

How to reach: The nearest railway station is Chengalpattu at 30 km and the nearest airport is Chennai, about 52 km away.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Sankalp Chhajed/Wikimedia Commons

Guitar Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

One of the sparsely-visited island beaches among the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands, Guitar Island derives its unique name from its guitar shape which is evident from any bird's eye view.

With most visitors flocking to more popular destinations like Neil and Havelock islands, Guitar Island draws far fewer visitors around the year, making it a hidden gem for travel enthusiasts. Travellers can truly enjoy nature, taking in the barely-touched coastal and marine ecosystems of this region.

How to reach: Take a private tourist boat from Long Island, which is 90 km away from the capital Port Blair.

Paradise Beach, Puducherry

This famed beach in Puducherry (Pondicherry) has often been called the best leisure spot in town by those who have visited it.

Paradise Beach is the meeting point of the river Chunnambar and the Bay of Bengal, and this picturesque setting is perfect for photo ops and beach bumming!

Whether you are seeking tranquility, a fun getaway, or simply a place to unwind, Paradise Beach exists as your own little paradise, quite literally!

How to reach: Hop on a ferry from Chunnambar Boat House, which is located about 6 km from Puducherry (Pondicherry) town. The closest airport is Chennai, 166 km away.

Gokarna Beach, Karnataka

It's only in recent few years that Gokarna has started to find a place on beach lovers' radar, thanks to its proximity to Goa.

But hold on, this idyllic beachy town has its own unique charm.

Take leisurely strolls around the town, bask under the sun, enjoy the gentle sea breeze or indulge in swimming and kayaking in this peaceful retreat far from the madding crowds of Goa.

For adventure enthusiasts, the Gokarna Beach trek is a thrilling activity that takes you through rocks and hills, with the best view of the Arabian Sea. If you are lucky, you might spot dolphins too.

How to reach. The nearest railway station is Gokarna Road about 10 km away, and Dabolim airport 150 km away in south Goa.

Ghogla Beach, Daman and Diu

Famous for its broad, clean and long strip of shoreline, Ghoghla is the largest beach in the Union Territory of Diu.

Blue skies, soft white sand and calm waters -- this beach delivers on all three fronts, making it a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

How to reach: The nearest railway junction is Veraval, which is 88 km from Diu. The nearest airport is Diu, about 10 km away.

Golden Beach, Odisha

Visitors have long been lured to this beach, which is located just beside the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri.

As the name suggests, Golden Beach is a band of fine golden sand that sparkles during sunset hours, with the frothy blue sea providing solid additional window dressing.

Photography enthusiasts, are you taking notes?

How to reach: The nearest railhead is Puri at just 3 km away, and the airport is about 60 km away in Bhubaneswar.

Rushikonda Beach, Andhra Pradesh

Rushikonda Beach, Andhra Pradesh

Rushikonda Beach is considered as the jewel of Vizag (Visakhapatnam) for good reason. It proudly sits among handful of beaches in the county that were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certification.

A fun getaway for local tourists, it is popular for day picnics and swimming escapades.

A visit to Rushikonda Beach is incomplete without savouring the tantalising seafood that the region is famous for. From zesty fish curries to crispy fried prawns and crabs, the culinary delights make for a truly delightful experience here.

How to reach: It is located 25 km away from Vizag airport and 12 km from the railway station in Vizag.

Calling for your Best Beach Pictures!

Dear Reader, do you have a photograph that perfectly captures the beauty of one of India's finest beaches? Share it with the world. Simply send in your photograph (original photos only) to with the subject 'My beach pic', along with your name, the name of the place and a short description of the photograph, when you visited and what you liked most about its beach and we'll feature the best pics.

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