Eight beaches in India, across five states and two union territories, have been awarded the prestigious ‘Blue Flag’ certification, announced Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
These beaches include Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).
This is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. “In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria (about 33 of them) must be met and maintained,” mentions the official website.
The certification was awarded to India by an international jury comprising the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
Shivrajpur: Just 15 minutes north of the Rukmani temple near Dwarka, lie long, clean stretches of beach, between a lighthouse and a rocky shoreline. The white sand and the turquoise waters make the beach perfect for long walks. It is an ideal tourist destination that you can visit with your family. The beach is far from industrial sites and megacities, which makes it and the local environment clean. It also boasts of “excellent water quality”, according to the case study ‘Coastal Monitoring in Shivrajpur, India’ by water technology company Xylem.
Ghoghla: Situated in the Ghoghla village, around 15 km from the main town of Diu, this beach has been gaining tourist attraction of late. From housing a tourist complex with all necessary amenities to offering adventure sports like parasailing and water scooters, Ghoghla has it all. The beach is not crowded and is perfect for tourists who like to stay aloof, mentions the union territory’s official website. “Clean and safe it’s a great spot for those who want to enjoy privacy and at the same time indulge in some water sports like parasailing, surfing and banana boat. The beach is well maintained and the best choice for a family holiday,” it says.
Kasarkod: This eco-beach is located near the Honavar taluk of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. Developed jointly by the Tourism and Forest Departments, and Kasarkod Village Forest Committee, the beach was inaugurated in 2013. The destination offers the experience of a picturesque holiday with casuarina plantations, children’s park, boating facility, and other attractions.
Padubidri: This beach is located in the small town of Padubidri, and falls on the way from Udupi to Mangalore. It is approximately a kilometre away from the Padubidri Nagaraj Estate bus stop. This serene location offers a quiet and peaceful holiday, away from the crowd. On certain days, one can watch both, sunset in the west and moonrise in the east simultaneously, according to nammapadubidri.com. To the south of the main beach lies End Point, built over 5.88 acres, that was recently developed by the department of tourism — including river protection works, water sports activities, construction of jetty, jogging track, water facility and gardening — for the certification, mentions The Hindu in a 2019 report.
Kappad: This beach near Koyilandy in Kozhikode is dotted with rocks and small hills that add to its beauty. It also sees migratory birds occasionally. The one-kilometre beach was revamped last year, including beautification and upgrading of safety, construction of jogging track, washrooms of international standards, rain shelters, and installation of solar panels.
Rushikonda: This beach is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and attracts tourists from all over the country every year. It is known for its “golden sands and tidy waves” and “lush green plants”, according to vizagtourism.org.in. It also offers water sports like swimming, water skiing, and windsurfing. Other facilities include bio-toilets, provision of purified water, parking lots, solar treatment facilities, signage, walking and jogging tracks, and solid waste management, among others, mentions hellovizag.online.
Golden: The popular Puri beach features a stretch of golden sand dotted with food stalls. It is extremely popular among pilgrims who come to visit the nearby Jagannath temple. Visitors can take a stroll or collect seashells while relishing seafood. Under the Blue Flag project, a nearly 900 m-stretch between Mayfair Hotel and Gandhi Park was made a safe bathing zone, disabled-friendly, and crime-free, apart from maintaining high-quality water, public toilets, solar lighting system, watchtowers, and others, according to newindianexpress.com.
Radhanagar: Comprising clear turquoise waters and lush forests, Radhanagar in Havelock Island, Andaman, is deemed one of the best beaches in the country. It was also awarded the title of the “seventh best beach in the world’ and Asia’s best by Times Magazine. The destination is a favourite among honeymooners and other tourists for its vast expanses of unspoiled white sand, emerald blue waves with white foam, and lush greens on the other horizon.
Have you been to any of these beaches?