Beaches across India are perpetually laying claim to being the next Goa. The only place that comes close is Gokarna. The shoreline of the south Indian town of Karnataka, serves up a mix of spiritualism and sunshine. While devotees flock to the town’s Shiva temple, tourists search for a sandy nirvana outside of town.
As if the azure blue waters and powdery white sands are not alluring enough, Gokarna’s beaches also come with evocative names like Om, Paradise and Half Moon.
The first beach Kudle is lined with lush green coconut trees. Then there’s Om, a popular curve with soft sand and scenic coves whose shape resembles the inverted image of “Om” in Sanskrit.
These two buzz with boisterous games of beach volleyball, backpackers striking bargains at the guesthouses, makeshift cafés selling cold beer and hot snacks, and al fresco yoga classes and Ayurveda massages.
About 30 minutes by foot or a short boat ride from Om beach is the ultra-secluded Half Moon Beach and, even farther along, Paradise. Think low hammocks over the sand, fresh seafood in beach shacks, and welcoming homestays owned by locals. Upscale comforts are offered by the Kudle Beach View Resort & Spa or the wellness package at Swaswara.