With a coastline of over 7,500 kilometers in length, and a number of pristine islands, India is blessed with some absolutely ethereal beaches. What is truly interesting is that most of the gorgeous Indian beaches are nowhere as popular as some of the beaches in Goa. Forget the famous beaches of Greece, Brazil, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands, the following beaches in India are making their marks on the World Map. So, before they make it to the 'hotspot beaches', tailor your next vacation around one (or some) of the following:

1. Beaches in Kovalam

Kovalam is home to Kerala's most developed beaches. Located less than 20 kilometers south of the state's capital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam is made up of a couple of coves - Hawa Beach and Lighthouse Beach. While Lighthouse Beach is extremely popular, it should not be missed, for the lighthouse installed atop the beach offers breathtakingly stunning views, especially in the evening. Kovalam Beach also offers good waves for Surfing. If, however, you are just interested in sunbathing, and do not want to be disturbed, head to Samudra Beach.

October to March is the best time to visit Kovalam.

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A picture of the Vizhinjam Mosque taken from the lighthouse standing tall by the Kovalam beach
A picture of the Vizhinjam Mosque taken from the lighthouse standing tall by the Kovalam beach

2. Varca Beach

Far away from the maddening crowd of the Bagas and the Agondas, Varca Beach is located in the southern district of Goa. Known for its soft, white sand, and overall cleanliness, Varca Beach is ideal for you if you are looking for serenity and tranquility. There is a series of activities such as parasailing, Jetskiing, boating, et cetera, that one can undertake to keep oneself busy there. One can also camp on the beach, whilst listening to the music of the waves and staring at the starry sky.

The best time to visit Varca is from November to March.

3. Kadmat Island

Considered by many as one of the best beaches in the country, Kadmat is a small island located in the Lakshadweep archipelago. With a rich diversity of marine life, there are plenty of dive sites around the island. What adds to the allure is that a majority of the dive sites at Kadmat are relatively untouched, and the coral reefs remain highly unexplored. Albeit the island is gaining popularity, it does not really get crowded, as the government takes measure to preserve its beauty.

The best time to visit Kadmat is between October and mid-May.

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4. Tarkarli Beach

Located in the Southwestern region of Maharashtra, Tarkarli has one of the best coral reefs in mainland India. Yet to come under the radar of tourists, this place is far from being developed and spoiled. The beach attracts Scuba Diving and Snorkeling enthusiasts from around the country. There are also a number of water sports such as parasailing and jet skiing. The white beaches might remind you of a western beach locale. During the migratory seasons, one can witness hundreds of seagulls here.

The best time to visit Tarkarli September to February.

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At Tarkali the sky becomes nature’s colouring book
At Tarkali the sky becomes nature’s colouring book

5. Varkala Beach

Located in God's Own Country, about 40 kilometers Northwest of the state's capital, Varkala offers a spectacular sunrise and sunset setting, and is a great alternative to the famous Kovalam Beach. Popular amongst Surfing enthusiasts, Varkala is known for its beautiful black sand beach, the majestic cliffs by the side of the Varkala Beach, and its enchanting backwaters. While the cliffs offer exotic spots for Paragliding, the beach houses a series of shacks with facilities providing accommodation, yoga, Ayurvedic treatments, et cetera.

The best time to visit Varkala is between October and March.

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Varkala Beach caught in the rain
Varkala Beach caught in the rain

6. Beaches in Pondicherry

Located in the Eastern coast of the country, Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) has a few pristine beaches at its disposal. Spread across the Union Territory are four beaches - Auroville Beach, Serenity Beach, Rock Beach, and Paradise Beach. While the first three are quite popular, Paradise Beach, being a little far from the center of the town, is rather secluded. The beaches are clean as per Indian standards, and offer a number of water activities. The most popular of them are Surfing and Scuba Diving.

November to March is the best time to visit Pondicherry.

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A petite jetty nestled at the Paradise Beach in Pondicherry
A petite jetty nestled at the Paradise Beach in Pondicherry

7. Radhanagar Beach

Away from mainland India, Radhanagar Beach is located on the Havelock Island of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was once labelled by the TIME magazine as the Best Beach in Asia, and it continues to be one of the best beaches in the world. Commonly referred as Beach No. 7 by the locals, it is renowned all over the world for its calm, blue water blanketing snow white sand. Even a walk around the beach would be enough to give you some inner peace.

The best time to visit Radhanagar Beach is from October to April.

8. Beaches in Gokarna

Located in the small holy town of Gokarna in Northwestern Karnataka, just below Goa, is a collection of five beaches. Two of them - Half-moon Beach and Paradise Beach - are possibly mainland India's most secluded beaches. Sans the crowd and development, accommodation in Gokarna remains inexpensive. For adventure, one can do Kayaking or trekking from one beach to another. Another interesting thing to do here is Dolphin Spotting. It is a much better alternative to the beaches in Goa, most of which are highly commercialized.

November to February is the best time to visit Gokarna.

9. Dhanushkodi Beach

Easily the most surreal beach in India, Dhanushkodi Beach is located on the southeastern tip of Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu, at close proximity to Sri Lanka. The town is labelled as Ghost Town because it is prone to cyclones, and hence, it remains abandoned. However, one can visit the region, which truly is amazing. The beach is beautiful, and the waves are generally so gentle that even someone who does not know how to swim would feel safe. If developed, this could become an exotic location. But come to think of it, it is better sans the crowd.

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A mini bus drawing an illusion of being able to move on water in Dhanushkodi
A mini bus drawing an illusion of being able to move on water in Dhanushkodi

The best time to visit Dhanushkodi is from October to April.

10. Arambol

It would be wrong to conclude this list without mentioning about Arambol beach in Goa. Located in the Northwestern side of Goa, Arambol is a paradise for hippies. Formerly a petite fishing village, it is now home to long term backpackers. The beach is known for beach parties, Dolphin Spotting, jamming sessions, and therapy services such as tai chi, reiki, yoga, et cetera. Being away from the center, Arambol is rather peaceful than most of the beaches in the state.

The best time to visit Arambol is between November and March.

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The lively beach of Arambol is located in the Northern fringe of Goa
The lively beach of Arambol is located in the Northern fringe of Goa

Photo: naturalholidaysindia assam, Arun Jr, doublerajoo