For most of us a dream holiday almost always evokes images of a pristine white sandy beach by a bright blue sea with the green fingers of a palm tree caressing the scene against the clear sky in the backdrop.

Here are 10 of the most picturesque beaches in India, to satisfy your craving, starting with the least commercialized beaches of India to those that take you close to the maddening crowds and nightlife:-

  1. Radhanagar Beach and Elephanta Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Radhanagar beach, an exotic virgin beach, is the best place to enjoy some ‘me-time’. Water sports are not allowed on this pristine beach. So revel in the white sand and calm turquoise blue waters. This one truly deserves the Times Award. Among these islands of the Arabian Sea is another gem – Elephanta Beach. It has vibrant coral reefs which are ideal for the solitary pleasure of snorkeling among gently lapping sapphire waters.

  1. Varkala Beach, Kerala

For holistic healing for your mind and body head to this spectacular beach; enjoy looking down from lush coconut tree topped cliffs with paved pathways, colourful shacks and unrestricted views over the Arabian Sea. Rest and rejuvenate at the many excellent Yoga and Ayurveda centers around with a mineral spring thrown in, believed to have medicinal properties.

  1. Gokarna Beach, Karnataka

To experience the rich traditional heritage of Hindu religion in the midst of remote villages nestled between pristine and peaceful beaches, this beach is a must visit to experience spiritualism and hedonism together.

  1. Palolem Beach, Goa

Palolem offers both relaxation and adventure. There’s dolphin surfing, fishing, kayaking and backwater canals to explore during high tide. During low tide trek to a beach which becomes an island in high tide.

  1. Arambol Beach, Goa

Still relatively untouched, this beach is a new hippie haven and a burgeoning music hub. The nightlife is relaxing with the live music and jam sessions on the beach.

  1. Ashvem, Mandrem and Morjim Beaches, Goa

For the hip, trendy and buzzing, head to these beaches for groovy bars, restaurants, and fashionable resorts. The happening Sunburn music festival draws huge crowds from across the world to sample the excellent music.

  1. Baga Beach, Goa

It is the best commercialized beach in the country hosting restaurants, bars, shacks, night clubs, belting popular music and a vast array of mouthwatering cuisines, and water sports to suit every pocket.

  1. Dhanushkodi Beach, Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

This one is a ‘must visit’ since you get to see the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, not to mention the famous site of ‘Ram Setu’, a place that holds great significance for the Hindus.

  1. Muzhappilangad Beach, Kannur, Kerala

The only drive-in beach in Asia, it is a smooth 4 km drive parallel to NH-17. Car stunt and bike stunt festivals are specially organized here. Its serenity is a good backdrop for all the hyperactivity during the peak season.

  1. Lighthouse and Samudra beaches, Kovalam, Kerala

Well developed, with world class hotels and resorts, walking promenade and interesting lighthouse with a 180 degree view at one of the beaches.

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