With a coastline stretching for 6100 km on the mainland from Gujarat to West Bengal, plus + 1197 islands off the shore, India has a wealth of beautiful seaside destinations. On the 75th International Bikini Day, we bring you some bikini-worthy beaches that will enchant you with their secluded serenity.
You don’t normally associate war rationing and atomic bomb tests with a glamorous garment. Two-piece swimwear had already started making an appearance in the 1930s. But in 1946, 75 years ago today, the first bikini was born out of a paucity of fabric thanks to WW2. Louis Réard, a French fashion designer, unveiled this swimsuit made with just 30 inches of fabric with a newsprint pattern and got the popular Parisian casino dancer Micheline Bernardini to test it out in public at a local pool called the Piscine Molitor. The story goes that he tagged the two-piece a ‘bikini’ because the American’s atomic tests off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean were in the news that week! Prohibited in some places, songs dedicated to it in others, the bikini has caught the world’s attention in many ways and has had many avatars. Thankfully today, whether you wear a bikini or a burkini to a beach in India, it’s less of a political statement and more about comfortable swimwear.
Think about the garment’s colourful history on International Bikini Day and the next time you pack your bikini and head off to these lesser-known beaches along the Indian coastline. According to Booking.com, whose team helped us scout some of them out, these beaches are quite accessible and have pretty places to stay at, even though they will give you the solitude you seek.
Achara Beach, Malwan, Maharashtra
While there are many stunning and yet unexplored beaches down the Konkan coast, the ones in the Sindhudurg region are, especially off the beaten track. At this beach, you can truly immerse yourself in the hyper-local and yet be left alone to commune with your inner beach spirit. There’s a lighthouse on a rocky outcrop at one end of the beach if you feel like a small climb.
Want more? More dolphins than outsiders visit this stretch and you can rent a boat for the day to try and spot some. Also stop by the disappearing beach, which gets completely submerged with the high tide.
Honey Beach, Ankola, Karnataka
Also known as Honnebail Beach, this one is in a small town about 29 km from its more famous cousin – Gokarna. Accessible by road or ferry across the Gangavali river, Honey Beach can be a tiny slice of your personal Paradise, with rocky hills on one side and the vast ocean on the other.
Want more? Try the water sports at nearby Gokarna, where there’s everything from jet skis to parasailing and scuba dives.
Kodi Bengre Beach, Udipi, Karnataka
A short drive (only 18 km) from Manipal and the town of Udupi, Kodi Bengre (also called Delta Beach now) gives you the best of both sea and river views, located on a serene delta between both.
Want more? Do a village walk or book a surfing session with the Shaka Surf Club, where you can learn to ride the waves like a pro.
Marari Beach, Allepey, Kerala
Named after the fishing village of Mararikulam that it fringes, this secluded beach is the perfect destination to truly unwind. Eco-friendly resorts and luxury stays stay hidden behind the coconut groves, giving you a sense of privacy.
Want more? Visit places of worship such as the Arthunkal St Andrews Basilica and the Mararikulam Mahadeva Temple close at hand. Get a relaxing Ayurvedic massage.
Baludera Beach, Baratang, Andaman & Nicobar
You’ll find this on the eastern side of Baratang, just 9 km from Nilambur Jetty if you take the ferry. A quiet and relatively deserted beach in the Andamans offers you a tranquil idyll for sun-worshipping as well as swimming.
Want more? See the stalactites and stalagmites in the Limestone Caves, visit Parrot Island to witness huge flocks of these colorful birds, or take a boat to explore the mangroves and Mud volcanoes nearby.
Talasari Beach, Baleswar, Odisha
This pristine stretch of palm-fringed soft sand is only 7 km from the more famous Digha Beach and 36 km away from Jaleswar. The beach is flat and the waters here are calm, although, at high tide, you’ll need a boat to access its sequestered charms.
Want more? If you’re there early enough, you can catch the action at the morning fish market on the quay on the beach. In February, don’t forget to spot the red and orange flowers on the cashew trees around you. The rest of the year, this is a good place to buy cashew nuts as well.
Zalor Beach, Varca, Goa
Even South Goa beaches that were relatively secluded are now being explored more fully. The good thing about Zalor is that it is – as yet – undiscovered by the holidaying hordes. It’s perfect for a restful vacation and those long languorous walks by the sea everyone is craving.
Want more? Do a tour of the San Thome Museum, a photo stop at Our Lady of Grace Church, and visit the Varca and Colva beaches.
Shivrajpur Beach, Dwarka, Gujarat
This one is one of India’s eight Blue Flag beaches. This means it has been certified as meeting standards for quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services, and general environmental management criteria, set by an international not-for-profit organisation called the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Located 13 km away from Dwarka, it boasts shallow, calm water and facilities like smooth pathways and changing rooms.
Want more? The town of Dwarka is one of the 7 most ancient religious cities in India and is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Not surprisingly, the five-storeyed Dwarkadhish temple dedicated to him, with architecture in the Chalukya style, is an important draw. And then there’s the Nageshwara Jyotirlinga Temple, one of the 12 famous jyotirlingas, with a more recent Lord Shiva statue towering over visitors. Gomti Ghat, with its shrines and steps going down to where the sea and river meet, resembles a mini-Varanasi. About 30 km away, you can also visit an isolated island called Dwarka Bet, which used to be a port in ancient times. And enjoy spectacular views from the 43-meter-high tower of the Dwarka Lighthouse. Go to Poshitara for marine life amid coral reefs. The Charakhla salt pans near Mithapur attract flamingos, pelicans, painted storks, and many other birds.
Beach Number Three, Swaraj Dweep (Havelock Island), Andaman & Nicobar
While everyone extols the virtues of Radhanagar Beach (also a Blue Flag one), we will let you into our little secret – Beach Number Three on also Havelock Island – which is absolutely pristine, is almost undiscovered, and has the most powdery, white sand and clear aquamarine water imaginable! This one is perfect for your bikini pics and couple goals. Get there before the hordes find out about it.
Want more? Explore Elephant Beach and Kala Pathar Beach nearby. There are also lots of opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking through the mangroves, transparent kayaking, and even night kayaking amidst the bioluminescence at various places on this island!
Kappad Beach, Kozhikode, Kerala
Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed here in 1498. Soak in the history of the sun on the sand, walk along the beautifully maintained promenade, take a relaxing backwaters boat ride through the Korappuzha River, and step back in time with a visit to the ancient temple on the rocky outcrop.
Want more? Kozhikode, about 35 km away, has many interesting aspects, from Mananchira, a manmade pond fed by a natural spring, to the Tali Shiva Temple, the Mishkal Mosque, Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery, and Deepanjali, a museum of lamps!