A vacation on the cards with the fam or a getaway with your Bae? Let me take a guess…Bali? Maldives? or Mauritius? They sure are a once in a lifetime visit destinations, but look closer to home and you’ll find some that could easily give the international ones a run for their….well, tourists! Musing over international destinations is passe, done to death with the hype and posted on social media!
I kid you not, India has plenteous island retreats that could spin you around for choice. Scroll through these exotic island retreats in our very own Indian waters, that are as offbeat as they are unexplored!
Kavaratti, the capital city of Lakshwadeep islands, is laden with pristine white sand shores and endless lagoons. Donned with coconut groves, the island city of Kavaratti is a haven for adventure freaks. Scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing and parasailing are best enjoyed in these virgin waters. The spectacular views of the Arabian sea, the sparkling white-sand beaches offers solace amidst the tranquil nature.
Also been home to the Indian Navy base. it has 12 atolls, 5 submerged banks and 3 coral reefs to its name. It still stands amongst the cleanest, unexplored Islands of the Indian Subcontinent….and we aren’t complaining!
Kochi being the nearest city on the Indian mainland, to the islands, the island, though cannot boast of an airport. The nearest airport is Agatti Islands. From Agatti, you are required to sail through the sea in a yacht or boat. You can also take a ship directly from Cochin to Kavaratti.
Majuli is rightly, a land away from land. This clear blue watered island is the world’s biggest river island, located between the Brahmaputra and Kherkutia Xuti tributaries in Assam. The fresh blue waters surrounded by lush greens, are a visual delight, owing to the island being the least commercialised place in India. If you care for breathtaking scenery, sublime sunsets, picturesque photographs, and to be on an island before it sinks (which it is), pay a visit here at least once.
The island is known as a centre for Vaishnavism, with plenteous monastries and hermitages of historical importance, boasting of 22 Vaishanav Satras, a major tourist attraction.
The nearest conveyance to get here is by ferry from Jorhat, which operates twice a day.
The island of Divar lies on the Mandovi River in Goa and is home to some fascinating people and cultures. Its history dates back to a time when Divar was home to the massive Hindu population of Goa. Though not many tourists find their way here, but when they do, it’s usually around the time three major festivals take place across the four small divisions of Divar.
Two of the popular festivals are Bonderam and Potekar. The island particularly comes alive during the Bonderam festival that is held with great delight during the monsoon. If you are planning to visit Goa, and want to see more than just beaches and shacks, then Divar is precisely the place to start.
The island is about 10km upriver from Panjim. Divar Island can only be reached by one of three free ferry services. A boat from Old Goa (near the Viceroy’s Arch) runs to the south side of the island, while the east end of the island is connected by ferry to Naroa in the Bicholim taluka (district). Another ferry operates to Ribandar from the southwest of the island. Ferries run frequently from around 7am to 8pm.
St. Mary’s Islands
A set of four islands in the Arabian Sea, St. Mary’s Off the Malpe coast in Udupi, Karnataka, is a treasure trove of striking basalt rock formations. It is because of these rock projections that St. Mary’s Island looks more like an island in Ireland than India.
Be sure to visit the coconut gardens once you are done exploring the crystal blue waters of this island.
The only way to reach these islands is via boat from Malpe. The ride only lasts for 15 minutes or so.
Go beyond the Greater Andamans and stumble upon this white sand paradise. A rich coral reef ﬂoating beneath the waters and a lush green forest proliferating beyond the beach, Havelock Island is one of the most popular islands in the Andamans, located about 39 kms from Port Blair.
This stretch of the Bay of Bengal has a fascinating marine life, drawing travellers from around the world, especially between mid-January and mid-May. Some of the best diving sites are at the Lighthouse, The Wall, the Pilot Reef, and the Dixon’s Pinnacle.
By Water. The best way to reach Havelock is by the air conditioned catamaran ferry, which takes only 90 minutes from Port Blair. There are government ferry services available as well which take about 2.5 hours. Do book your tickets in advance during peak season.
This little island oﬀ the Karnatic coast (also known as Pigeon Island) located in the Arabian Sea. lies off the coast of Karnataka situated approximately 19 km from the temple town of Murudeshwara in Bhatkal Taluk. The island is the visiting waters for whale sharks, turtles, cobias, string rays, stonefish, the Napoleon Wrasse, and the Great Barracuda!
The island is a wondrous millieu of coral reefs and Scuba diving here (the deepest being at 18 metres opens the Arabian Sea up in ‘ﬁshy’ ways, and you needn’t even go as far as the Lakshwadeep for an underwater experience. There are small shrines in the island, that are tourist attractions.
Accessible through a boat ride from Murudeshwara (on the mainland), Netrani Island is a popular day-trip for locals and tourists. Those that do not want to dive can just visit the island and hike in by hiring the full fishing motor boat at the Bhatkal Fishing Harbour/Bunder. It would be beneficial if in big groups.
Kadmat Island, also known as Cardamom Island, is a coral island belonging to the Amindivi subgroup of islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago in India. The most outstanding strength of Kadmat island lies in its marine wealth. Surrounded on the eastern and western side by large lagoons of spectacular beauty, long and sandy beaches that makes the place one of the ideal tourist destinations in the region. The blue water lagoon is encircling the invaluable wealth of colourful corals, coral habitats, the reef banks, unspoilt virgin beaches, the sun and the moon!
Entailing a wealth of relatively new, untouched dive sites in the world. There are opportunities for divers of all levels of experience, the island offers the best…and most dive locations are within an easy boat trip from the shore. Visitors planning for long stay are requested to reserve accommodation for at least ‘3 Months’ before their travel date. Though the Islands are open round the year, from October to April is the ideal time to visit.
This place is well connected by Air from Cochin. There are daily flights to Agatti except Sundays. From Agatti, passengers are transported to Bangaram by fast boat and brought back to Agatti in time for their departure. A helicopter service links Agatti to other islands. Passenger vessels ply between Cochin and Lakshadweep. Catamaran speed vessels operate as per monthly schedule between major islands in the northern group. Two new Ships, with passenger capacities of 150 are operational. During monsoons, ship – based tourism is closed but a helicopter service is available.
Bangaram is an atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. It is an inhabited island, which can be reached in less than 20 minutes from Agatti island through a speed boat. The island is mainly visited by international tourists and by those who’re planning their honeymoon in Lakshadweep, for it’s isolated, peaceful, and has beautiful beaches dotted by beautiful coconut palms.
Bangaram Island is known for watersports like deep sea fishing and scuba diving. The incredible marine life and mesmerizing blue waters make this island a perfect place for water activities without being bothered by other people. Fishing enthusiasts will love this place, as it is home to some of the most beautiful fishes like Jack Fish and King Fish.
The nearest Airport from Bangaram Island is Agatti Airport, roughly 2 hour drive from Bangaram Island. The second nearest International Airport from Bangaram is Cochin International Airport, roughly six and a half hour drive from Bangaram Island. The Island is well connected to Agatti (2 hrs) and Kochi (40 minutes) via boats.
Agatti Island is a 7.6 km long island, situated on a coral atoll called Agatti atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The white sand shores compliment the jet blue waters perfectly. Agatti cioral growths and multicolored coral fishes abound in its lagoons.
Canoeing and diving in the crystal clear waters, are major tourist activities. Fishing is the most important industry of Agatti.
Lakshwadeep is connected to Cochin by sea route. Seven passenger ships operate between the two ports and it takes 14–20 hours for the passage. Agatti Aerodrome is the only airport in Lakshadweep that connects the islands to the mainland.
There is adventure in venturing into the unexplored….Book your most exotic vacay, in the quietude of the waters!