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Thousands of sun-deprived tourists visit India because it incredibly has the most diverse varieties of beaches anywhere in the world. Placid backwaters and lagoons, bays and rough lava-rocked seas, marine estuaries with fish, crashing surf, powdery golden sand or palm fringed shores - Incredible India has them all.

The West Coast with the Arabian Sea and the East Coast with the Bay of Bengal offer many a verdant vistas to the traveller. The coasts of India have their own seafood cuisine, relaxing spas, diving and water sports and great places to stay for a balmy holiday.

Kovalam undoubtedly is one of India's best sea resorts. The long coastline lined with swaying coconut palm trees dotted with an occasional fishing hamlet is fast developing into one of the world's finest string of beaches. The sea applauds the beach temple in Mahabalipuram, gloriously silhouetted against the spectrum of the seven colours in the sky. Puri, on the East Coast, is surely one of the world's most picturesque beaches. And then there is Digha, a three-hour drive out of Kolkata, a beautiful beach, splendid in its isolation.

The beach holiday to beat them all is in the Isles of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshwadeep, where you can see the myriad colours of the flashy fish in the coral reefs from above the green waters.

Now fully developed as an international beach resort, Goa offers the best holiday villages on its beaches. Everything about Goa is spellbinding from the landscape dotted with Portuguese architecture, to the way of life that exudes an irresistible Old World charm. Anjuna or Calangute Beach, and Miramar Bay in Panjim are quieter. Beach vendors sell all manner of kitsch in Anjuna and Calangute. You can rent beach mats and mattresses, sunglasses, and the usual tourist paraphernalia. You can even get all sorts of spaghetti, German bread and Italian food. The beach at Calangute is rocky. At Anjuna the waters are gentle and offer opportunities for boat rides, sea scooter rides, spot-the-dolphins rides, and motorboat rides. Colva and Benaulim are quieter and less crowded than Anjuna. The Fort Aguada beach offers gorgeous views that merit a visit. Sinquerim and Candolim are also quiet beaches that afford anonymity.

Whether it's the isolated horizons of the Konkan Coast or the Arabian Sea; the golden sands or the water drenched seashores, every beach in India makes a picture perfect holiday destination.

Beaches by state have been classified Above and brief descriptions are provided.