As Summer begins to kick beautiful Spring out of the calendar, it is time to head to the water. To gambol, to picnic, to tan, and to slough off everyday malice. But wait, between Summer and water lie the essential SOPs -social distancing and away from the maddening crowd. Here’s a look at a few secluded beaches in India where the water is turquoise, the sand silken, and the people few.
Ottinene Beach (Karnataka)
No one will tell you how this pretty beach came to be called Ottinene but whoever has been to Ottinene will surely sing paeans to its spectacular sunset and jagged rocky cliffs. It is here that the Byndoor river enters the Arabian sea and any swimmer with a not-so-faint heart attempts to swim through. You can walk down the hill from Kshitija Nesara Dhama straight to the Ottinene beach. But if you have a duff pair of lungs, take note that the climb back can be uphill. Not just literally, but physically, too.
Where: Ottinene beach is 440 km from Bengaluru and 125 km from Mangaluru (nearest airport). The nearest railway station is Byndoor (4 km).
Mandvi Beach (Gujarat)
Gujarat Tourism describes Mandvi Beach as a golden-brown sprawl of sand along the southern tip of the Kutch district. Lying along with the namesake town of Mandvi which was founded in 1580 by the Rao of Kutch, Khengarji, the beach still carries the remnants of its historical past as a thriving port. The not-so-crowded beach is at its glorious best during evenings with the sun dipping in the sea and the hawkers peddling snacks and sweets.
Where: Lies 59 km from Bhuj airport; Bhuj is well connected by railway. The distance between Mandvi Beach and Rann of Kutch is 322 km.
Bakkhali (West Bengal)
One of the deltaic islands sprawled across southern Bengal, it is an 8-km long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frazergunj. Do not get surprised at the sight of a grey beach – here, the land slopes into the Bay of Bengal. The beach is sturdy enough for cycling and light 4-wheelers but be careful of the deceptive soft spots. A mangrove adds to the allure of Bakkhali. Spare a few hours for Henry’s Island which was named after a Mr. Henry who surveyed the land in the 19th century. Step into Frazerganj that bears testimony to the grit and enterprise of Andrew Frazer who tried building a resort in the early 1900s. He failed because the waves kept washing away the constructed areas. The resort was never built but Frazerganj has not forgotten Andrew Frazer.
Where: Bakkhali is 130 km from the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in northern Kolkata. The nearest rail station is at Namkhana. The road trip from Kolkata to Bakkhali is about 4 hours.
Jalandhar Beach (Diu)
Jalandhar Beach has nothing to do with the city of Jalandhar in Punjab. But the bustling city and the pretty beach both take their name from a mythological demon that was killed by Lord Vishnu’s Sudahrshan Chakra. Jalandhar, the demon, has a shrine on a hillock next to the beach. The water is calm, the palm trees countless and several opportunities for aquatic sports. The beach is prettiest in the evening when the area is illuminated.
Where: 1 km from the city of Diu which has an airport.
Butterfly Beach (Goa)
This summer, stay away from Miramar, Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and other popular beaches of Goa. Too many crowd these common beaches. Pack your picnic hamper, carry a hat, slather sunscreen and head to Butterfly Beach, a secluded beach in South Goa. If you find a few honeymooners, ignore them (Butterfly Beach is also known as Honeymoon Beach). Trek in the wooded forest, watch butterflies flit by and when there is low tide, watch out for sea urchins, goldfish and sea cucumbers.
Where: Butterfly Beach is 61 km from Dabolim Airport. The road trip from Panjim to Palolem beach takes about 90 minutes. Take a ferry from Palolem or Agonda beaches to reach Butterfly Beach.
Neil Island (Andamans)
Neil Island might not be as popular as Havelock Island but the tiny island is equally pretty. When there, do the 3-point tour which takes you through 3 beaches: Bharatpur, Sitapur and Laxmanpur. Laden with coral and exquisite marine life, Neil Island is loved by scuba divers and aquatic adventurists. There are 3 dive centres on the island. On a good day, you can spot a Dugong (Sea cow), the state animal of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Remember, Neil Island can be an Internet black hole. No data. No signals.
Where: 37 kilometres south of Port Blair. The only way to reach Neil Island is through a ferry. Both government and private ferries are available. Most tourists opt for private ferries because government ferries are mostly reserved for islanders and there is no facility of online booking.
Gopalpur can turn other beaches envious. Once upon a time it was a bustling port for the seafarers of ancient Kalinga. During World war II, it served as a busy military port. But beyond war and trade, Gopalpur has a hospitality history. It was in Gopalpur that Odisha’s first hotel (Palm Beach Resort) was built in 1914 by an Italian named Signor Maglion. Not many head to Gopalpur but those who do swear by the spectacular sunrise and sunset. The sea is very rough, do not attempt swimming.
Where: Distance from Bhubaneswar, the nearest airport, is 174 km. The nearest railway station is Berhampur. Berhampur is well connected by bus service from across the state. Hire a local transport to Gopalpur after alighting at Berhampur.
Source: Money Control