One of the greatest gifts to mankind is the gift of nature. Even the mere thought of living in a world with our hills and beaches sends shudder down our spine. Where would we go to take a break from our hectic lives them? How would we re-centre, recuperate, re-align to ourselves if these places didn’t exist. But the good part is, in reality there’s plenty for us on this Earth.

Let’s look at some of the pretty palm-fringed stretches of sun and sand peering over shimmering waters, in India’s southwestern peninsula. Be it Goa, Karnataka or Kerala, the western shores are particularly famed for their bountiful beaches that make ideal getaways from the hustle and mundanity of city lives.

Palolem Beach, Goa

With its colourful huts, and a gentle curve of palm-fringed coast facing the cool blue waters of the ocean, Palolem is Goa’s most picture-perfect beaches.  During months when a lot of travellers flock this beach, it is transformed into this colourful toytown because a number of timber and bamboo huts are planted along with palm-thatch restaurants. The protected bay is one of the safest swimming spots in Goa and you can comfortably kayak and paddle-board with your loved ones for hours here. Apart from that there’s more you can do around here: learn to cook, drop in to yoga classes or hire a motorbike and take off to surrounding beaches, waterfalls and wildlife parks.

Varkala, Kerela

varkala

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A small strand of beach nuzzles Varkala’s 15m-high red laterite cliffs edge making it a unique looking beach. It has steadily grown into Kerala’s most popular backpacker’s beach, where great food, good music and a chilled-out ambiance converge. If you can hike a little north or south of the beach, you’ll find relatively quieter spots. Since Varkala is essentially a temple town, a beach called Papanasham Beach is dedicated to Hindus making offerings for passed loved ones.

Gokarna, Karnataka 

gokarna

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Gokarna is among traveller’s favourite Indian beaches and for good reason. It has a very low-key, chilled-out vibe to it which makes it suitable for lazing around unlike commercial beaches where parties are in full swing. The accommodation here is as simple as it can be: thatched bamboo huts along the blissful coast. While Gokarna also has a town full of Hindu temples and architecture; and its lively bazaar too is an interesting place to visit, most travellers prefer to hit the shores straight upon entering the town.

Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam 

lighthouse beach, kovalam

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The white-and-red striped Vizhinjam Lighthouse stands out at the southern end of Lighthouse beach in Kovalam, giving the place a nice, fuzzy feel. It competes with Varkala to be Kerela’s favourite beach resort. The cafes and restaurants built along the crescent-shaped Lighthouse beach is where most of the crowds flock to. Another pristine beaches the Hawa Beach to the north that usually attracts day trippers.  Kovalam is a great place for some promising waves (and a surf club), ayurvedic treatments and yoga courses. About 2km further north, Samudra Beach has many upmarket resorts, quirky restaurants and a peaceful but steep beach.