India’s home to some pretty spectacular beaches, but I think it’s fair to say that Goa is the destination that usually springs to mind when you mention beach breaks here. But there are plenty more options, including Kerala and Karnataka, and today I’m going to be focusing on the latter.
Now, whether you’re drawn to the idea of a relaxing beach holiday or you simply fancy having the option to hit the sand occasionally, location is all-important. I think that if you’re keen to find the perfect spot, booking through a specialist tour operator (like TransIndus) is the best way to go, since they’ll be able to offer you expert advice that is hard to get at a more general travel agency.
Plus, doing so also gives you the freedom to pick from a selection of existing itineraries, group tours, and trips tailor-made just for you. But, I’m not here to talk about holiday planning today, so let’s move on and take a look at some of the best beaches to visit in Karnataka.
Located just outside Gokarna is the lovely Om Beach, which is particularly charming thanks to its shape. You see, it’s formed of two semicircular coves that form an inverted Hindu symbol known as an om—and it’s this from which it takes its name.
This lovely beach is more than just a pretty face, though, since it’s a popular center for water sports. So, if you want to do more than laze on the sand all day, this is bound to be the place for you. Water skiing, surfing, and parasailing are just a few of the things you’ll be able to try.
Also in Gokarna is Gokarna Beach, which is a little off the beaten tourist track. Thanks to its position near lots of local temples, it’s actually somewhere that’s more popular among pilgrims than tourists—though that’s not to say it’s not worth visiting. In fact, if you’re after somewhere that’s free of swathes of holidaymakers, this is a pretty reliable place to choose.
Next up is Murudeshwar Beach, which is one of Karnataka’s best-loved stretches of sand. Like Gokarna Beach, it’s quite popular among pilgrims thanks to its proximity to a local temple (this one’s a pretty major pilgrimage site, which has helped make the beach as well-frequented as it is today), but it’s an equally big hit with holidaymakers.
Generally speaking it’s a decent spot for swimming, but I should warn you that the currents here can be strong from time to time—especially at high tide—so always check the conditions on the day and keep your eyes peeled for any warning signs.
If it’s a pristine, idyllic beach you’re after, Kaup is likely to impress. This unspoiled part of the coastline is around 7.5 miles from Udupi (which is famous for the Krishna Temple) and is well known for its historic lighthouse.
This dates back to 1901 and opens to the public at select times of the day. Going inside is a nice way to add a little variety to your day, as well as sprinkle some culture into your beach break.
Last on my list is Maravanthe Beach, which is a prime destination if you like the sound of a little adventure below the waves. You see, this is one of the top local destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling, and the icing on the cake is that it’s wonderfully scenic.
In fact, it’s pretty impressive before you even get there—if you’re coming by road you get a great view on the approach, which includes the Kodachadri Hills and the Arabian Sea.
There you have it, some of the best beaches in India not to miss!
*Image of fisherman boats on the Gokarna beach via Shutterstock