Every traveller in India is always on the lookout for a new beach destination where they can head out for a holiday. While most traditional travel itineraries at this time of the year include Goa, we thought it was a good time to look at five lesser known beach towns in South India. Each of which have their own unique flavour.
Located on Karnataka’s western coast, Gokarna is among the seven most important Hindu pilgrimage centres in India. While the town is revered for its many temples, it is also visited for its spectacular beaches. Both identities meet in this small, ancient coastal city to give Gokarna a character unlike any other. The well-known main Gokarna Beach lies in the town, but Gokarna’s true beauty lies in its more secluded locations. These include the Kudle Beach, the Om beach, the Half-moon Beach, and the Paradise Beach. Still a rustic location, tucked away from the India of highly priced resorts, Gokarna is a favourite destination for travellers on the look out for a place where they can still be the only person on the shore late into the night, looking out serenely at the tempestuous sea, in this case the raging waves of the mighty Arabian Sea.
Pondicherry and Auroville are best known for spiritual awakening of Sri Aurobindo. But Pondicherry’s long coastline along the East Coast road creates many small coves along the Bay of Bengal, with beaches waiting to be discovered. You can stop at the popular Paradise Beach or find the lesser known Auroville Beach. Another option is to explore the fishing village of Vaithikuppam, with its boats still tied to the shore and its fisherfolk hard at hard. All of this makes Auroville, the confluence of a spiritual centre, a global community and a fishing village. It is a beach experience unlike any other.
Quite simply, Varkala is Kerala’s beach off a cliff. More cut off from the rest of the world than Kerala’s other famous tourist hotspots, Varkala does not have much for travellers to do. But it’s the place where you go when you want a break from the rest of the world. The beach known for its spectacular views draws travellers from around the world. They come to Varkala by train or bus to sit down by the beach or try its water sports. A long line of shacks selling curios from around India add to its carnival vibe, giving it the atmosphere of a typical Indian beach town.
More than any other of these beach destinations, Mangalore is perhaps better known as a city where one builds a home or even goes to study. But Mangalore is also a city of astonishingly beautiful coastlines. The best known among these is the Someshwara Beach, known for its stunning sunset point. But the Panambur, Tannirbhavi, Chitrapura, Surathkal, and Kodical beaches are also extremely popular. Like in Goa, each of these beaches have their distinct identity. This is where Mangaloreans flock every evening in this city, which rests easily in its identity of being a beach town. So, add Mangalore to your list when you want to spend a memorable evening by the sea.
The small fishing village of Kovalam in Kerala, off the Arabian Sea, has always been among the state’s best-known beach destinations. It was put on the tourist map when it became a part of the Hippie trail in the 70s, connecting India to Sri Lanka. Today, it remains a scenic location that rejuvenates Indian and international travellers, as they seek out Kerala’s many famed Ayurvedic therapies. But contrary to what most travellers believe, Kovalam is not a single beach. It in fact has three shore areas— the Lighthouse Beach, the Hawah Beach, and the Samudra Beach. Together, these make the modern destination of Kovalam, where travellers sit by the sea and allow it to heal both their body and their mind.
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