Sun, surf and sand beck on thousands of sun-deprived tourists to India because it has the most mind-boggling varieties of beaches anywhere in the world. Placid lagoons and backwaters, marine estuaries teeming with fish, bays and rough lava-rocked seas, crashing surf, pure powdery golden sand or palm fringed shores where the mind is soothed by serene murmurs of the sea - you have them all.
Both the West and East Coast of India offer verdant vistas of palm on the Arabian Sea shores or the Bay of Bengal. The coasts of India have their own seafood cuisine, relaxing spas, diving and water sports and great places to stay for a balmy holiday. Set amidst the blue of the Arabian Sea and the lush green vegetation of Kerala, Kovalam is one of India 's best sea resorts. The long coastline lined with swaying coconut palm trees and dotted with an occasional fishing hamlet is fast developing into one of the world's best string of beaches.
Wake up to the yoga exercises in the morning and close your eyes to the tender fingers massaging your body in the finest traditions of herbal massages. The sea applauds the beach temple in Mahabalipuram, gloriously silhouetted against the spectrum of the seven colors in the sky. Puri, on the East Coast, is surely the world's most picturesque beach. And then there is Digha, a three-hour drive out of Kolkata, a beautiful beach, splendid in its isolation.
The beach holiday to beat them all will is in the Isles of Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshwadeep island, where you can see the myriad colors of the flashy fish in the coral reefs from above the green waters. Now fully developed as an international beach resort, Goa offers the best holiday villages on its beaches especially at Carnival time during Christmas. Everything about Goa is spellbinding from the landscape dotted with Portuguese architecture, to the way of life that exudes an irresistible Old World charm. Enchanting little beaches that were haunted in the 19060s by the flower-power generation, have now become reference points for Generation X. Anjuna or Calangute Beach , and Miramar Bay in Panjim are quieter. Beach vendors sell all manner of kitsch in Anjuna and Calangute. You can rent beach mats and mattresses, sunglasses, and the usual tourist bricabrac. You can even get all sorts of spaghetti, German bread and Italian food.
The beach at Calangute is rocky. That at Anjuna spreads long and the waters are gentle affording you pleasures like crowded boat rides, motor scooter rides, spot-the-dolphins rides, and motorboat rides. You can stay at any number of places right from Panaji to Baga and visit beaches all along. Colva and Benaulim are quieter and less crowded than Anjuna. The Fort Aguada beach offers gorgeous views that merit a visit. Sinquerim and Candolim are also quiet beaches that afford anonymity. Marbella Guest House is one of the nicest restored Portuguese villas you will find. It's the authentic thing hidden away behind the imposing Fort Aguada Beach Resort that is itself the ultimate word in tropical luxury.
The Taj group operates a complex of three five-star deluxe hotels beside Sinquerim Beach to the south of Candolim. Buses run from the whole stretch from Panjim to Calangute in the north. Albenjoh, at the beginning of the Calangute-Baga Road , has the NV Guest House. Run by a friendly family, it's one of many such small places. Often these actually offer better value than the places on the beaches.