India does not appear on many bucket lists of divers around the world, and yet it should! While the Maldives is the dream of many scuba divers, the Indian archipelago of Lakshadweep goes unnoticed. This archipelago, composed of about thirty atolls, is located in the Arabian Sea, and is very similar to the Maldives. The Lakshadweep archipelago offers excellent scuba diving with immaculate sites, and is less crowded than those of the neighbouring archipelago!
In addition, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are considered one of the best dive cruise destinations in Thailand, but they actually belong to India! They therefore represent some of the best scuba diving sites in India. In addition, the area around Pondicherry, on the east coast of India, is increasingly being explored by divers. There are immaculate reefs and great wreck sites.
The state of Goa, on the southwest coast, also offers beautiful diving sites in India. With a coastal area stretching over 3,000 miles, in addition to more than a hundred offshore islands, India has great potential to become a leading scuba diving destination! It’s time to go and play the great explorers!
The best scuba diving sites
The biggest concern you will have when planning a scuba diving India is knowing where to go! The diving industry in India is not very developed and the infrastructure is scattered over a long distance.
In addition, as the industry expands, more and more locals are learning to dive, and visitors from all over the world are beginning to scuba dive in Indian waters. Some parts of the country are less well developed in terms of tourism and only attract experienced divers, who enjoy quiet, uncrowded diving.
There are 10 main regions to dive in India
1. The Lakshadweep Archipelago
Sometimes, the islands are still referred to as the Laccadives Islands, their original name. These are part of the same chain of seamounts that form the Maldives. Located about a one and one-half (1 1/2) hour flight from the Indian coast, the islands are undergoing moderate and controlled development, in order to preserve the natural environment. Also, only a few islands are inhabited, and those that are inhabited have very few inhabitants. Scuba diving is known to be beautiful there, on unspoilt reefs in their pristine state. It is important to practice responsible scuba diving in order to leave only bubbles at these beautiful reefs!
2. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The islands form the border between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The majority of divers refer to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as some of Thailand’s most beautiful scuba diving sites. However, although the Andaman Sea borders the Thai coast, the islands do belong to India. This is a common mistake and easily explained by Thailand’s hyper-developed tourism industry, and India’s less dynamic tourism industry.
3. The state of Goa
Located on the southwestern coast of the country Goa has a long history with the West as it was once a very important port. The tourist industry is more developed there, and you will find many diving centers. The diving sites are beautiful and varied, always offering a good density of marine life. Between the wrecks, seamounts and coral gardens, you will be amazed. Of course, divers can explore several beautiful scuba diving sites in India all along the coast.
Pondicherry has become a more recent tourist destination whose good reputation for scuba diving is growing. Indeed, new sites are frequently discovered by local operators, including new wrecks.
In Narcondam it is possible to visit places where you will easily find manta rays, since the docile giants inhabit both Lighthouse Reef and Ooh La La. Also in these two locations of diving it is possible to observe the richness of colors of hard corals, moles and big sponges. Many dive trips also visit Barren Island which, even though its name means infertile island, it has extremely rich and colorful marine fauna and flora. This volcanic island is also a meeting point for stingrays and even whale sharks, for the more fortunate.
6. Big Island, Goa
Located some distance from the coast, this island offers several dive sites where small fish are teeming with crystal-clear water; You will see colorful corals, beautiful shells and other representatives of marine life. You will also see the sunken ships of different eras.
7. Netrani Island, Goa
The island of Netrani (also called Pigeon Island), which lies off the coast of Karnataka, attracts with its clear waters an abundance of marine life, including many corals and reef fish. The location in the Arabian Sea provides an opportunity to see humpback whales, minke whales and killer whales; whale sharks periodically appear, moving along their migration routes.
8. The Top of Dixon, Andaman Islands
Giant rocky peaks rise from the dark depths, covered with multicolored corals and large sponges. In the water column, barracudas patrol, joined by platax and mackerel. Ramps, stingrays and Napoleon fish go above the bottom among the schools of snappers. On the tops are places where small fish busily clean large marine animals from parasites. Turtles, moray eels, manti and whitefin sharks are not averse to using their services.
9. Wall Aravind, Pondicherry
Wall Aravind is becoming an increasingly popular dive site for drift diving; it occupies a large area, and visibility here sometimes reaches 130 feet, although the average annual figure is about 50 feet. The popularity of this dive site is because of the different representatives of marine life, including whale sharks and mantas. Numerous shoals of quranks, sea snakes, spotted stingrays are also often found here, not to mention the many species of sea fans and corals on the reef.
10. Kul Shark, Pondicherry
A great site providing ample opportunity for scuba divers of all skill levels with diving depths up to 75 feet. The creatures that gave the site its name are most often found at a depth of 50 feet, along with platics, sea dogs and many bottom dwellers. The reef is covered with a variety of corals growing among the sandy plains, and is located approximately 4 miles from the coast.
Havelock is one of the main islands for divers, with incredible spots to be explored. Jackson’s Bar has spectacular currents for drift diving that offers a chance to find sharks, eagle rays and mantas. Johnny’s Gorge is also a meeting point with underwater life, with dolphins, sharks, stingrays and moray eels in abundance.