A Homegrown Guide To India’s Lesser-Known Coastal Cities

(L) Havelock Island; Kumarakom, Kerala (R)
(L) Havelock Island; Kumarakom, Kerala (R)(L) lonelyplanet.com; ekeralatourism.net (R)

It is no surprise that with a coastline of over 7000 kilometres India has no dearth of gorgeous coastal towns, most of which are untouched and unexplored. These cities and small towns have everything from quiet beaches to historical forts to water sports. While the regular hustle and bustle of North Goa’s beaches are perfect for the indiscriminate tourist, the more discerning among us might prefer a slightly more secluded spot.

We’re all familiar with coastal townships like Alibaug and Aleppey, but where there is a popular destination, there is bound to be a younger sibling floating around close by. So without further ado, here is Homegrown’s guide to lesser-known, but still beautiful, coastal cities around India.

Image Courtesy: thrillophilia.com

I. Manori, Maharashtra
If you’re in Mumbai, there is nothing better for a quick weekend getaway than the quaint village of Manori. Tucked away on the Northern coast of Mumbai, you can get there by road or ferry from Malad. The ferry ride is only 20-30 minutes long and also allows you to visit the other islands that surround Manori. There are quite a few hotels and home stays as well, so you can choose whichever one floats your boat. Along with the beach, you can also visit the Global Vipassana Pagoda or a Sufi Dargah for a quiet and peaceful break. On the other side of the spectrum, if you have kids, or are a kid at heart, Mumbai’s favourite theme parks; Essel World and Water Kingdom, are just a short bus ride away.

Image Courtesy: holidify.com

II. Tharangambadi, Tamil Nadu
Tharangambadi (the place of the singing waves), or Tranquebar as it used to be called, was a Danish trading post on the Coromandel Coast. A 6-hour drive from Chennai, it offers you a taste of a small heritage town in Europe. Like Pondicherry and its French influences, Tharangambadi offers instead a more Scandinavian sense of leisure and style. The Neemrana Hotel Group has restored a 17th-century Nagapattinam bungalow for use as a luxury hotel and there is something for everyone. From the relaxed travellers to the history buffs, Tranquebar is heaven on earth.

Kumarakom; Image Courtesy: ekeralatourism.net

III. Kumarakom, Kerala
We’re all familiar with the beauty of the backwaters of God’s Own Country. Kumarakom, Kerala is a sleepy little village a couple of hours away from Kochi. Situated on Vembanad Lake in the Kottayam district, it is a nature buff’s paradise, from its 14-acre bird sanctuary filled with gorgeous species to the rare migratory birds on Pathiramanal Island. Vembanad Lake is also rife with marine life native to the area, which the local restaurants make into delicious traditional meals. There is also an opportunity to take a houseboat onto the lake to marvel at the tranquillity of it all.

Havelock Island; Image Courtesy: lonelyplanet.com

IV. Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Havelock Island, or Swaraj Deep, is part of Ritchie’s Archipelago in India’s Andaman Islands. Accessible by air or water, Havelock Island is one of India’s most beautiful coastal towns. This is definitely a place you would want to take a few days to visit, considering the sheer beauty and calm that’s ever-present. Havelock has any number of water sports, like kayaking, scuba diving, game fishing, and even snorkelling in the shallow waters at Elephant Beach. A trip to Havelock can be an opulent vacation, or a budget-friendly jaunt, depending on where you stay and what you eat. No matter which way you decide to go, you’re sure to marvel at the tranquil blue of the water and the vibrant green of the swaying palms.

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