With a coastline extending for almost 1,600 km along the Arabian Sea, Gujarat has many beaches to its credit. Some of the beaches, such as those in Somanth or Dwarka, are highly popular; pilgrims head to the beach after visiting the temples here. But there are some beaches which are equally beautiful but not part of the regular tourist circuit. While visiting these beaches are worth the time, remember many are not safe for swimming or bathing. Heed the warnings issued by the local administration. Also, since most beaches in Gujarat are not stand-alone attractions, the ambience is rather traditional. So do not be surprised if typical beach wear is not in fashion here. November to February is the best time to visit the beaches in Gujarat.
Ahmedpur Mandvi beach is located between Gujarat and the island of Diu (a Union Territory). Access to this most popular destination among the beaches in Gujarat is through Veraval/Somnath. Ahmedabad is around 350km away. The blue waters of the Arabian Sea wash up along the six km long beach. Saunter along the shoreline, take a camel ride or opt for the various water sports, it is easy to while away your time here. You may also combine Ahmedpur Mandvi beach with your trip to Diu (an erstwhile Portuguese colony) and Sasangir National Park (the only place where wild lions are found outside Africa).
It is the nearly 700 year old temple dedicated to Gopnath Shiva that lends its name to the adjacent beach. Located in the Gulf of Khambat, the picturesque and tranquil Gopnath beach is about 70km from Bhavnagar. You can stay at the sea-facing Gopnath Bungalow, once a retreat of the Bhavnagar royal family. Watch out for the tidal waves, which can be huge at times, according to local people.
Usually visitors enjoy a glimpse of the Madhavpur beach while travelling between Somnath and Dwarka; a section of the coastal highway runs parallel to this beach. Except during the annual fair organised by the local Mer community, the beach remains uncrowded. A must visit for those who need a tranquil vacation. Of course, bathing in the sea is not recommended as it can be dangerous but there is nothing to stop you from taking long walks here.
About 20km by road from Surat, Dumas is a locally popular beach in Gujarat. After visiting the Dariya Ganesh temple, most people turn up at the black sand beach. Do not forget to sample the ‘bhajia’ or fried snacks sold at the beach. There is a floating restaurant here but check its latest position. While locals claim the Dumas beach is haunted, the reported incidents are open to debate.
Located in Kutch, Mandvi is one of the historical ports of Gujarat that connected with East Africa by the sea route in the old days. The Mandvi beach at the edge of the town is not only spectacular but also home to flamingos and other migratory birds in winter. The Wind Farm beach, to west of the town, is also a scenic place. The town has quite a few touristy attractions, including the sprawling Vijay Vilas Palace, which featured in popular Bollywood films such as Lagaan or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
The beach takes its name from the famous Somnath (Shiva) temple, one of the 12 ‘jyotirlinga’, located here. Hence the beach remains animated through the day. While swimming is not recommended, you can take a walk along the water’s edge or take a pony- or a camel-ride on the beach. Just as the sun sets in the Arabian Sea, you may find people rushing to the temple to catch a glimpse of the evening ‘arati’.
Associated with the life and times of Krishna, Dwarka is visited round by the year by pilgrims from all over India. Hence the beach attracts a fair number of visitors, especially during winter. The sunset here is a big draw. Bet Dwarka, an island off Dwarka, has an expansive white sand beach on the eastern part. This beach is not part of the regular pilgrim circuit and usually one has to charter a boat to visit it.
This picturesque black sand beach near Surat has been in the news for the wrong reasons. The treacherous water line has been the site of several accidents and deaths. But that is no reason for avoiding Suvali. Be careful when you walk by the water’s edge; avoid swimming or bathing in the sea. In October 2017, Gujarat Tourism organised a beach festival here to bring more tourists to lesser-known Suvali.