Who doesn't love a beach holiday right? Sun, sand, surf and fun, it's the perfect holiday getaway. Friends, family, even office getaways tend to lean in towards beach breaks. And Kerala, India's southern state, has an abundance of beautiful beaches. With a coastline next to the Arabian Sea that is nearly 600km long, Kerala has some of the best beaches in the country. Here are the the best five, hand-picked just for you.
Located on Vypeen Island near Ernakulam, the 10km long Cherai beach makes for a charming day trip from Kochi. Take a ferry to Vypeen and hire an autorickshaw across sprawling paddy fields and idyllic villages to get to this beach. The Chinese Fishing Nets on the waterfront along with the lush green coconut groves make it quite a visual treat. There are walkways with mask lamps that light up at night, perfect for taking a stroll at dusk when the sun sinks into the sea. Speed boats and water scooters are available for hire and there is even a children’s park closeby. You can also go dolphin-watching or snorkeling if you’re into water sports. Hire a bike a cycle through the lovely villages and backwaters that surround the beach to experience the real charm of the place.
One of the largest forts in Kerala, the Bekal Fort is located just 16km away from Kasargod, the northernmost district of Kerala. Perched on hills facing the sea, the fort was built in 1650 by Shivappa Nayaka, a ruler of the Keladdi Nayaka kingdom. An observation tower, the Anjaneya Temple with its stunning masonry and the two Theyyam sculptures built from laterite are some of the reasons that add to the popularity of this beach apart from the fort itself. An mosque built by Tipu Sultan and various underground passageways are also important places in the area. A rock garden was built using laterite in the parking area and is an architectural marvel in itself. Trees planted along a walkway that makes it easier to explore the beach add to its charm. At night, the beach is lit up making for a sight worth remembering.
A tranquil beach in Thrissur, Nattika Beach, has a very unique claim to fame. Home to a typical fishermen’s village with longstanding traditions and simple inhabitants, its celebrity status was cemented after becoming the location where the Malayalam cult classic movie, Chemeen, was shot. It offers a number of attractions such as backwater cruises, country boat rides, elephant rides and cultural performances for the visitors. Film buffs and tourists alike will find much to admire about this pristine beach.
Flanked by a cliff on one side, the picturesque Varkala Beach is has become one of the most popular beaches in Kerala. Located about 51km away from Thiruvananthapuram,Varkala is actually a little village that boasts of several attractions apart from its beach. There is a 2000 year old Vishnu temple called the Janardanaswamy Temple perched on the cliff overlooking the sea. You could also visit the Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the philosopher, reformer Sri Narayan Guru who encouraged ‘one caste, one religion, one god’, a groundbreaking reformist ideology in the caste-ridden society of Kerala at the time. The beach is also renowned for its natural mineral spring which is believed to have medicinal and healing properties. A dip in this beach is supposed to rid one of all kinds of impurities and sins, hence lending it its other name, Papanasam Beach.
The Tirur River snakes peacefully via Malappuram and kisses the sea at the Vakkad Beach, located near Ponnani in Malappuram district. A great place to immerse in the meserising surroundings is to take a boat cruise down the river through the backwaters. The boat cruise down the Tirur River starting from Aanamala and gliding through the backwaters to the estuary in Ponnani, where the river flows into the sea through Vakkad Beach, is an experience of a lifetime. In addition to its stunning natural beauty you will also get a cance to observe flocks of migratory birds and experience the simple joys of life here.
Getting there: There are direct flights to Kochi from many Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad etc. Carriers like Indigo, SpiceJet, Air India etc all fly to Kerala.