Tag - India

5 Spectacular Beaches in India

Wooden boat on one of the beaches in India

Guest post by Rohit Agarwal.

Ambling down the shores, owning the bounty of nature is something every living being is entitled to. The sound of waves and the gust of winds caressing your hair is the best feeling of all. India, by the grace of Almighty, is endowed with many beaches. I believe therapy is very important and what place is better than a beach! Beaches are those locations where people from all walks of life can enjoy, be it rich, poor, old or young. So let’s set out on an imaginary journey to discover the most spectacular beach destinations in India.

1Dona Paula Beach, Goa

Dona Paula in GoaPhoto by Amisha Yadav on Unsplash

Situated in a state predominantly known for its beaches, it is a tasking job to be the best. In my personal opinion this is by far the best one I have visited. I remember taking a ferry to go around the beach. I was on the deck with my parents in the calm and serene waters. But there is also something for party animals, there is foot tapping music playing inside, you have people dancing and singing. Little shacks with delicious recipes on their menu entice tourists.

On the shore you find people relaxing, not bothering about the everyday routine of life. It is the best place to escape reality, which is essential at times!

2 Kudle Beach, Gokarna

Photos by Gokarna Tourism

This place is situated some hundred kilometers away from Goa, in Karnataka. It has inherited the Goan culture. However, the costs are affordable in comparison to Goa. There are various resorts where one can stay. This beach in Gokarna is filled with people bustling around. It is the best place to spend time with friends. Even here we have shacks and cafes. It is surrounded by intense vegetation. There is greenery all around, so we get the best of both worlds.

3Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam

Photos by Kerala Tourism

Kovalam in situated in “God’s own country”, the state of Kerala. As the name suggests the beach is known for its lighthouse. You find fishermen in the evening fishing in the deep seas. Collecting shells is every child’s hobby; this is quite evident at this place. You also have restaurants that offer rich Malabar cuisine.

Kerala is known to have the maximum literacy rate, so worrying is not on the list when you are here and if you do not know the language.

4Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Islands, Andaman & Nicobar

Photos by Andaman & Nicobar Tourism

We often forget that the beautiful islands Andaman and Nicobar have the most exquisite beaches. These islands are also known for their scenic beauty. This beach is known to be the world’s 7th best beach. So not taking a dip in the enchanting waters is not an option.

This beach is enclosed by a number of palm trees. It has caused the Havelock Island to gain worldwide recognition and this alone is a strong reason to visit it.

The other noticeable beach in Andaman and Nicobar islands is the Elephant beach. This beach is filled with adventure, as just getting to the beach will require an approximately 2 kilometer trek. There are a number of water sports that one can indulge in; this beach is all about adventure.

5Puri Beach, Puri

Photos by Odisha Tourism

Odisha is known for the historic Konark temple but it also shelters a beach in Puri. This is named after the place it is located in, Puri, Odisha. An annual
beach festival is held here with displays of sand art. This event is co-sponsored by the Indian ministry of tourism. This ought to be an artist’s
retreat. However, anyone who appreciates art and have an eye for color and design are certain to have a rejuvenating experience.

This beach is very close to the railway station and is often a sightseeing destination to many passengers. With its breathtaking sunrise and clear waters in does not prove to disappoint anyone.

This was the list of the five most spectacular beaches in India. Although, others are not so far off in terms of scenic beauty, the above mentioned have something more to them. So what are you waiting for! The sun and the shore await! section seperatorAbout Rohit

The love for water has caused Rohit to travel throughout the Indian peninsula to discover the best beaches. You can read his story at Trans India Travels.

More Beaches in India?

Curious to read more about traveling in India and discovering beaches along the way? Have a look at our posts on the life of a beach seller, stray dogs on the beaches in India or maybe a closer look at Goa’s beautiful beaches.

Cover photo by Deepak Kumar, Unsplash

Man-Made Beaches – from Grooming to Construction

Man-made beach north of Phuket with a romantic beach construction, a green heart, and sunbeds facing the Andaman Sea.

Why man-made beaches?

We like our beaches to be clean, comfortable, and stunning. We want soft white sand and coconut palms. So what happens when a beach does not live up to our criteria of safety, comfort, and beauty? Sometimes we groom it, and sometimes we cover up the small “natural mistakes” with a little landscaping. If we have no beach or island at all, we can just construct it! From grooming to construction of beaches, not many popular beaches of the world are untouched by human “beach optimization”.

The construction of beaches

Natural forces like gravity, tides, and the large water masses of the sea are the main creators of beaches. Actually sediments of sand originate from the weathering of rocks resulting from natural elements such as water, wind, and sun. Consequently, changes in weather conditions will have an impact on the characteristics of beaches. A good example of how natural phenomena can change beaches is the terrifying tsunami in 2004 that hit coasts in the Indian and South Asian Ocean.

Many popular beaches around the world are not only a result of natural forces, but are actually to some degree man-made. The degree to which beaches are constructed varies a great deal, and it is all done in an attempt to create safe, comfortable, and attractive beaches that attract visitors.

Beach construction continuum

Here are examples of how beach construction can take place from minor grooming to one hundred percent man-made:

Red Arrow pointing down

  • Beach cleaning
  • Beach nurturing and raking
  • Minor landscaping such as adding sandbags
  • Removal of sharp rocks and pebbles
  • Importing sand and palm trees
  • Artificial platform beaches
  • Heavy machinery construction of beaches and bays
  • Man-made islands

At the light end of the scale, beaches are nourished and cleaned from garbage and ocean debris, while some beaches are raked daily to make the beach look as neat and inviting as possible.

Workers in Goa groom a beach and remove beach garbage to keep the beach tidy and attractive

Beach grooming and garbage removal helps keeping the beach attractive

Other beaches are constructed with sandbags with sand strewn over them in order to save some beach for the high tides, protect buildings on the beach from incoming waves, and to create a safety wall for erosion and potential floodings.

Sandbags and a fence protect a nice Malaysian beach from erosion and high tides.

Malaysian beach elevated and protected from erosion and tides by sandbags and fences

Sandbags protect the beach and beach properties from erosion at Koh Phayam, Thailand

Sandbags protect the beach and bungalows at Koh Phayam, Thailand

Some beaches are re-constructed after storms and landscaped to both satisfy visitor preferences and to withstand rough weather conditions.

Man-made beaches in Khao Lak Thailand with sandbags and heavy machinery constructing the beach

Beach construction in north Khao Lak, Thailand

Artificial beach platform on the shore of Koh Tao with the blue sea and a boat in the background

This beach platform is safe from high tides

Moving towards more manmade beaches, there are hundreds of seaside resorts that don’t actually have a proper beach. To satisfy and attract clients, they sometimes construct a plain area with concrete and add a layer of sand on top. It is also common that resorts simply remove all boulders and pebbles with heavy machinery and then import sand.

Constructed beach area at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa - Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

Constructed beach area at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa in Malaysia

Artificial beach deck with beach chairs and sea view at Koh Tao, Thailand

This man-made beach deck will not be affected by high tide

On far end of the scale of beach construction, we have destinations such as Singapore’s Sentosa Island and Dubai’s manmade islands. Sentosa Island is basically a theme park and weekend holiday oasis for Singaporeans and visitors who want a quick escape from the city. The island’s three main beaches Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach and Tanjong Beach are all artificial with imported sand from Malaysia and Indonesia. The boulders on the beach also seem artificial, as they have a hollow sound and feel when you knock on them. Sentosa Island still has a lot of forested areas, and there is an abundant wildlife of monkeys, lizards, and birds.

At the extreme end of man-made beaches and islands we have projects such as the entirely constructed Palm Jumeirah (Palm Islands) and The World Islands of Dubai. Most of the plots and houses here are owned by billionaires. There is a ghost town feeling about these islands, since they are rarely used by their rich owners. Shops and local life is a scarcity here, especially during the summer months. The huge beach villas lie untouched like a forsaken barbie glamour town.

Artificial pond and island in Dubai with palms and Burj al Arab in the background

Dubai is famous for man-made beaches and islands

Aerial view of the man-made Dubai Palms, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali of Dubai, UAE.

The 100% man-made Palm Islands of Dubai

Photo credits: Castles Made of Sand

More on beach construction and man-made beaches

If you like to know the theory and science behind beach construction, take a look at Beachapedia. It has a great number of examples of man-made beaches and guidelines on how to construct a beach.

We also found some great articles on artificial beaches. You may be surprised how many beaches around the world are actually much more than beautiful shorelines constructed by Mother Nature.

12 Incredible Artificial and Man-Made Beaches

 Nature vs. Nurture: Are Manmade Beaches Better?
by Flight Centre

 World’s must stunning man-made beaches
by Fox News

Goa’s Beaches – Shattered Images & 10 Lessons Learned

Overview of one of Goa's Beaches, Small Vagator Beach, India.
Heading to Goa’s beaches, I was loaded with images and expectations of what was to come

Whenever I thought of Goa, I would picture trance music and neon disco lights. I would think of beaches full of international neo-hippies exploring their minds through yoga and meditation during daytime and through”magic mushrooms” during nighttime. The beaches – I expected them to be okay, but perhaps not too clean. Locals? Probably some tourism industry employees and middle-class youngsters joining the party.

Oh my Ganesha that image would soon be shattered

Our sleeper bus arrived in North Goa at Mapusa Bus Stand early morning. Calling it a sleeper bus is actually a stretch. There are nice and relatively spacious beds, but forget about the sleeping part. The road was bumpy, the driver was imitating a wild car chase, and when he hit the brakes, we would all slide feet first towards the front of the bus. From the bus station we wanted to rent motorbikes and aim straight for the beach. My embarrassingly long list of shattered assumptions of Goa started somewhere between the last footstep on the bus (left foot) and the first landing of my right foot on the asphalt.

Goa Lesson #1: No “helpful” crowds

Those scammers, touts, thieves, beggars, and Saddhus with magical powers all waiting for a bite of you as soon as you step off the bus – they weren’t there. We stepped out of the bus and into a calm morning. People were still only half awake and took no notice of us. We almost had to beg the motorcycle rental shops to open up and do business with us. This was a welcoming experience though, as we had braced ourselves for crowds of people wanting to share advice and sell us tours, transfers, and food.

Mapusa Bus Stand in Goa showing a little Indian shop and tea stall with plastic stools

A quiet arrival in Goa

We headed for the beach, first on bigger roads, then turning to smaller village roads. On those first kilometres, a number of drivers coming from the opposite direction would flash their lights at us. I wasn’t sure if something was wrong with the bike or the way I rode it, or if this was just a local way of greeting a foreigner. I soon learned, it was because I was driving with my lights on during day time. In my home country it is required by law, in India it is just silly. Hence the friendly signal that I was wasting lights.

I soon ran into my second lesson. I thought we were heading for Goa Beach, well…

Goa Lesson #2: Goa is not just Goa

Goa is not a beach, Goa is an Indian state with a coastline spanning just over 100 km (63 mi). The coastline is a mix of rocky cliffs, small bays, and beach stretches. There are more than 30 named beaches, and just like the Southeast Asian beaches, each of them have different features, options, and clients – even the ones located next to each other. This map will give you an idea of the long stretch of Goa’s beaches. Not all of the beach sections are mentioned on the map, and there is overlap between many of Goa’s beaches, since some of them cover long stretches.

Detailed Map of Goa's Beaches

Goa’s Beaches – a lot to explore!

Map provided by

We passed through small Goan towns on our way to the beaches. Goa was a Portuguese colony up until 1961, and the influences are evident in the colourful houses, churches, and old forts. If it wasn’t for the urge to reach the sea, we would have stopped in every single village to take photos and take in the village atmosphere.

View from the Portuguese Reis Magos Church in Goa, India

View from the Reis Magos Church in Goa

The first stop was Small Vagator. It’s not a pre-historic dinosaur, but a beach also known as Ozran Beach. When we arrived there was a Bollywood film shooting going on at the beach. Something else grabbed my attention…

Goa Lesson #3: Free-roaming cows also enjoy beaches

There were cows walking freely on the beach. Quite an interesting sight. What you thought was your partner putting suncream on you, could be a cow licking the salt off your sweaty back.

Cow on the beach in Goa, India

It’s not uncommon to see beach cows in Goa

We decided to move further south and search for a place to spend the night. We went to Anjuna Beach, supposedly the second most popular of Goa’s beaches after Baga Beach. Arjuna beach is 3-4 km (2-3 mi) long and is actually divided into three sections. This is where the hippies of the 60s and 70s experimented with alternative lifestyles. Today, it is still the party centre of Goa, and the accommodation and markets bear witness to this era. We wanted to find accommodation for the evening and leave our belongings, so we followed the advice of a friend.

Goa Lesson #4: Anjuna is Goa’s best beach… for some people

Friends don’t always know what type of beach experience you are looking for, and friends are likely to have their own idea of a great beach. Being a mantra of, we should know. A friend had recommended Curlies in the south part of Anjuna Beach – part restaurant, part psychedelic party house, and part accommodation. We followed the advise, although the beach was not overly impressive and the place looked too big for our liking. To be honest, we didn’t like the place, but we were tired after a bumpy night, so lying down a bit before exploring was needed. The accommodation was dirt cheap, but even though we had paid for private rooms, we had to share with the rats that night.

We explored Anjuna Beach and had to stop at the fascinating Tantra Beach Shack & Huts, which is a great reminder of the free-spirited hippie days at Anjuna Beach. Here you can eat, sleep and forever chill in a section of their decorated wooden scaffolding type structure. You can rent a “scaffold cubicle” right beneath the stars and with open views to the sea. They provide you with loads of pillows, blankets, and curtains to close for privacy and shade. Here, you can fit in as many people as you like. Tantra is in one of the quieter sections of the beach, with the parties going on on either side some 2-300 metre away. The beach on this stretch was clean and the sea inviting.

The Quirky Tantra Beach Shack and Hut on Anjuna Beach in Goa.

The charming Tantra Beach Shack & Huts

We would have loved to stay here for a night, but we wanted to go further south the next days to explore the South Goan beaches. First we went to Baga Beach. Even in the morning, the sand was too warm to walk on without flip-flops. Baga Beach, we were told, is the most popular among Goa’s beaches. Even this low season morning there were many local Indians at the beach, and this turned out to be another surprise.

Goa Lesson #5: Indian’s like beaching

In general, there were far more Indians enjoying the Goa beaches than expected. I had assumed that because light skin color is of importance in India, people would tend to not swim in the sea. I also though that there could be certain perceptions that swimming in the sea was dirty, could bring about rashes, or that you could be bitten by something. These are perceptions that are rather wide-spread in Southeast Asia at least. What we met was mostly Indian visitors at the beach, playing in the waves, enjoying sunsets, and going parasailing (quite popular at most Goa beaches).

Indians at the beach in Goa, India.

Indians enjoying one of Goa’s Beaches

Baga Beach was rather dirty. There were a lot of old bottle caps, plastic pieces, cigarette buds etc. mixed into the sand, and we were frankly  a bit surprised that a lot of Indians had chosen this beach. It did have a number of restaurants directly on the beach, and the beach is very wide.

Beach chairs and beach umbrellas facing the sea at Baga Beach, India

Baga Beach – pick your spot

We jumped on our motorbikes and rode along a stretch of highway, then on small roads to reach the northern beaches of South Goa. Our first stop was Velsao Beach. The beach was wide with soft light brown sand. This was the first of several beaches, where the absence of beach resorts struck me.

Goa Lesson #6: Are you sure this is Goa?

Especially the beaches of South Goa has long stretches with few or no resorts on or near the beach. There are usually both resorts and people near the small roads leading down to the beach from the villages. But if you walk a few minutes away from these, you will often find yourself with ample space on the beach. I would have thought that by now, Goa would be plastered with resorts laying side by side from north to south. That is not the case. Some areas you can even get the feeling that you have the beach to yourself. Undoubtedly, the tourist season will affect this, but if a near empty beach is what you are looking for, just head to Goa in the low season (April to September), and avoid the 2-3 most popular beaches.

View of forest, beach, and sea on an empty stretch at Velsao Beach in Goa, India.

No resorts and no people – yes, this is Goa!

We went for a swim at Velsao Beach. From afar, the waves looked average size – the kind of waves that are fun to swim in for all ages because of a little thrill now and then. Once we got in, the waves and the forces of the currents seemed a lot stronger.

Goa Lesson #7: Brace yourself for those low season waves

You may have heard that Goa has no waves to speak of. If that’s the case, it is probably because your informants went to Goa during the high season months from november to february. We went in the low season, and the waves were awesome! Again and again the powerful waves knocked us off our feet and washed us towards the shore. If you want to avoid tumbling around inside a wave, the trick is to dive below the waves if they break in front of you. You can then swim further out beyond the line where the waves break and enjoy the calm waters, although you may have to keep yourself afloat since the water is deeper here. We decided to stay just where the waves break, so we could body surf on the waves. Exhausting but extremely fun. Interestingly, we did not find any surfboard or bodyboard rentals anywhere, so if I were a restaurant owner at one of these beaches, I would throw in a little board rental service to expand the business.

Big waves approaching and retracting on a beach in Goa during low season

Wonderful waves in Goa during low season!

Goa Lesson #8: Surfer kids only

The nature of the powerful low-season waves also means that bathing is not child-friendly on Goa’s beaches. At least not for young kids who are not trained in handling big waves. For surfer kids it’s paradise. Be aware though, that it gets deep quickly, and you can easily be thrown headfirst to the ground if you are not in control. So bathing for children should be under surveillance and only in shallow waters.

With wet swimwear fluttering from our backpacks, we continued south on the motorbikes. We asked for directions to the beach along the way, and ended up at Vaddy Beach. Several colorful fishing boats were decorating the wide beach.

Colorful boats on Vaddy Beach in Goa

Colorful boats on Vaddy Beach

We checked out a nice resort with circular bungalows, and almost ended up staying there. But we decided to investigate the area a little before making our final decision. We actually backtracked and went a little further north to Benaulim Beach. We were met by a small crowd of people looking at a parasailor. From our days in Goa we quickly found out that parasailing is a very popular activity. For around 10 USD you can get a parasailing experience.

Parasailing at Benaulim Beach in Goa, India. The parachute has the colors of the Indian flag.

Parasailing – a common sight on Goa’s beaches

We passed a few larger restaurants located near the entry road to the beach. A few hundred meters north along the beach we found our accommodation for the night. A simple bungalow resort with 8-9 bamboo huts laying directly on the beach. We reserved a couple of bungalows and went back to take our motorbikes. Blue Corner & Coco Huts was exactly what we were looking for. Simple, clean, cheap, a good restaurant, and a stunning location. Time for eating, beach chilling, fighting waves, and relaxing.

View from balcony of simple beach bungalow at Benaulim Beach in Goa, India.

Our view from the bungalow

Hyped up about our lovely accommodation and refreshed from a good night’s sleep, we continued our journey southward to Cavelossim Beach. As we had done before, we parked our motorbikes, and walked a few minutes down along the beach. Then we had a large beach stretch to ourselves with most other visitors staying near the parking area where there were a few shops and restaurants. But even though we were on a less populated stretch, we were within sight of the coast guards.

Goa Lesson #9: Watchtowers, beach cleaners, and beach flag warnings

With each new beach we visited it became apparent that even during low season, beaches are generally very well kept and serviced. Most beaches have coastguards watching out for visitor safety and setting up beach flags at proper intervals to inform guests of the sea conditions. Some but apparently not all beaches have beach clean up crews. Twice a day they walk the beach and pick up any garbage on the way. As a visitor this is great. Unfortunately cleaning the beach regularly is necessary if you don’t want it covered in sea debris.

Lifeguard watchtower on a Goan beach in India.

Lifeguard post on one of Goa’s Beaches

Coast lifeguard putting up a yellow flag signaling safe swimming conditions at one of Goa's beaches

Lifeguard putting up a yellow flag for safe swimming conditions

Indian beach cleaners in Goa walking along the beach while tidying and picking up garbage.

Beach cleaners making sure visitors can enjoy a clean beach

We had a few more days at the beach, and since we were so satisfied with our accommodation at Benaulim Beach, we stayed there the next couple of days, and followed a lesson we had learned along our southward journey from the beaches of northern Goa and down to South Goa.

Goa Lesson #10: South Goa is best

We had consistently been told that South Goa was the best. Our informants were locals, visitors, shop owners – everyone. Unless you are up for partying, the general conviction is that South Goa has the most beautiful beaches and the less crowded ones. Based on our short flirtation with Goa, we agree. South Goa impressed us. Nice villages with colorful reminders of the Portuguese era, welcoming and clean beaches with a good mix of people, and a fine selection of restaurants serving tasty local dishes.

Most importantly, South Goa got us sucked into the rhythm of beachlife which goes like this:
breakfast  chillax swim snack read  lunch  swim  chillax  dinner  sunset watching plus cocktails  sleep  and then repeat.

More on Goa?

If you are looking for a quick overview of Goa’s Beaches? Check out these resources:

If you want to learn what else Goa has to offer outside beaches, a great starting point is “Goa Beyond the Beaches” by

Beach Dogs: The Salty Dogs of Goa

Dog sitting in the afternoon sun on a beach at the edge of the water looking at the sea
Can you imagine being a beach dog?

We are surrounded by happy vacationing humans and we are free to roam around the area with your salty friends chasing crabs and waves. When the sun gets too intense, we find shade under the beach umbrellas or take cooling dips in the sea. When we go hungry, we take a stroll around the beachfront restaurants, where food is spilled on the floor or given to us by friendly people. Still hungry?, we then go to the back end of the restaurant and find some discarded left-over food.

No owners to tie us on a leash, no walls to confine us, no city to pollute our lungs, and no risking our lives by crossing heavy trafficked streets. We are beach dogs, the salty dogs of Goa. Have a look at us enjoying life.

Unfortunately, life is not good for many slum dogs who have lost their way in the concrete jungle. This video is a painful reminder from the Mumbai-based animal welfare organisation “World For All Animal Care & Adoptions“. By attaching a small camera on a street dog in India, they tell the sad story of what a stray dog in India might have to put up with daily.