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An Indian Vacation with no Beach?

| Articles | August 24, 2008

If you think for one second that India offers only its rich cultural heritage, regal monuments, religious pilgrimage and outstanding festivals then you’ve not fully explored the country yet. According to recent surveys and popularity ratings, the beaches of India are fast on becoming the premier beach destination. So an Indian vacation without beaches is quite an incomplete one.

India’s most scenic beaches can be found in the west coast. The beaches in that area offer not only extravagant parties but also a private getaway for people who want a quieter vacation. For so long, the coastline of Goa was the number one beach destination in the country. Since the 1970s, it has and continue to attract both locals and out of town tourists. The beaches in the area have been quite commercialized since then there are still some places in Goa which offer unique experience.

Further down the west costs, in the states of Karnataka and Kerala are where other less commercialized beaches can be found. On the top of the list are Gokarna and Varkala beaches. Varkala is to the north of Trivandrum in Kerala and offers long winding stretches of cliffs, a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea and well known for very dramatic sunsets. Papanasam Beach is the main beach of Varkala. The beaches are dotted with small shacks which allow people to relax while they watch the sun slowly sets on the horizon.

Yoga, Ayurvedic message and therapies abound in the area as well as shops of jewelry, souvenirs and handicrafts. In the southern area of the beach, you’ll find the Janardhana Swamy Temple which the Hindus consider as sacred. Varkala is a holy town, so don’t go expecting lots of alcohol and parties. This is a perfect place to unwind, relax and enjoy nature to its fullest. If you’re a party animal, perhaps the Goa beaches would be better for you.

Gokarna is another small and holy town located in northern Karnataka. It is said that Gokarna has India’s most secluded and pristine beaches: Kudle Beach, Om Beach, Halfmoon Beach, and Paradise Beach. One can access Om beach by car or rickshaw but Kudle and Halfmoon beaches can only be reached through a 20 minute hike through hills and rocks. Paradise beach is a small protected cove. During the night, the beaches in Gokarna are alive with singing and dancing around bonfires. Since it is a holy town and a number of Hindu temples are in the area, partying and alcohol are strictly monitored.

Another famous beach a little closer to Goa is the Palolem beach. The beach has a unique semi-circle shape with forests of coconut palms providing shade to the visitors it attract. Vacationers can treat themselves with fishing, dolphin watching, kayaking and even some hiking. The northern part of the beach is quieter and tends to attract families than the southern part which basically is the party area of the beach where dance music, live music can be heard until dawn. There are a couple of 24 hour establishments where one can enjoy coffee or cocktails.

And then there’s Baga Beach where one can enjoy a whole variety of water sports, para sailing, dolphin watching and has a whole stretch of beach shacks, bars, clubs, and fine dining restaurants. It has what most beach goers look for: sand, water and parties.

As you can see, an Indian vacation with no beach is probably not the best plan to have. Incorporating a trip to one of India’s beaches is certainly an activity that is worth your time and expenses.

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