India is a large country and with 8000 kilometres/5000 miles of coastline you’d expect scuba diving opportunities to abound. But, India also encompasses a variety of islands, both in the Andaman and Arabian Seas, that offer incredible underwater diversity and liveaboard possibilities. Goa, the smallest and richest state on India’s west coast, has easy access to the Arabian Sea. Diving off Goa includes gliding over lush coral gardens, pinnacles, and a variety of shipwrecks. Lakshadweep is a remote archipelago off India's southwestern coast just above the Maldives and offers colorful reefs, overhangs, swim-throughs and big fish action. The remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, between India and Thailand, boast vibrant coral reefs, huge schools of fish and pristine conditions. Pondicherry, on India’s eastern coast, has untouched and largely unexplored reefs and wrecks. In this populous country, you’ll find underwater exploration as intriguing as exploring India’s rich heritage and culture.
- The Wall, Havelock Island, Andaman – This wall drops from 10 metres/35 feet down deep to the sand channel between Havelock and Peel Island. The tidal currents bring in a large number of Napoleon wrasse, snapper and trevally. Drift by purple soft coral that cling to the wall and look for scorpionfish, stonefish and nudibranchs.
- Dixon's Pinnacle, Andaman – Giant rock pinnacles emerge from the shadowy bottom, covered in colorful coral and large barrel sponges. Barracuda hover in mid-water, sometimes joined by batfish and trevally. Stingrays and Napoleon wrasse cruise along the bottom amidst schools of snapper. The top pinnacles are cleaning stations, buzzing with constant activity. Turtles, moray eels, manta rays and white-tip reef sharks visit the site to avail of the cleaning service.
- Aravind's Wall, Pondicherry – Aravind's Wall is a popular drift diving site, covering a large area and where visibility can reach up to 40 meters, with a year round average of about 15 meters. The dive sites along the wall are also popular due to the marine life that can be spotted, especially groupers, barracuda and a few friendly sea kraits. Lots of diverse macro life such as nudibranch can be found be here, along with a great range of corals including stunning gorgonian fan corals.
- Temple Reef, Pondicherry – Just off the coast of Pondicherry, lies Temple Reef which has a maximum depth of around 18 meters/60 feet. Due to the adverse effects of trawler fishing, an artificial reef was established to create a safe habitat for marine life. A temple-shaped structure was formed from recycled materials including concrete, rocks and iron. It is now inhabited by over 45 different marine species including groupers, batfish, barracudas, boxfish, moray eels and mantis shrimps.
- Jetty, Grand Island, Goa – Situated near the old jetty of the island, this accessible dive site ranges from around 2 meters/6 feet to 6 meters/20 feet in depth. It is a great spot to see nudibranch due to the sounding environment as well as various coral and fish species.
- Sail Rock, Grand Island, Goa – Located to the south west of the island, Sail Rock is a haven for many fish species including snapper, barracuda and groupers. The site is made up of a rocky pinnacle with depth ranging from around 16 meters/52 feet to 24 meters/78 feet.
- Princess Royal, Bangaram, Lakshadweep – This ship sank in a battle between the French and British more than two hundred years ago. Look for broken pottery scattered around the wreck, several large cannons and the ship’s anchor. The hull, protected by copper is relatively intact and home to a variety of marine life.
- Manta Point, Bangaram, Lakshadweep – This colorful reef is often visited by manta rays, especially in September through December. Other pelagics also visit, including an occasional whale shark, along with other rays and turtles. Starting shallow and sloping down to 20 metres/70 feet, this site is beautiful even when no big fish show up.
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Visibility – The outlying islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman archipelago typically have the best visibility ranging from 10-45 metres/30-150 feet. Off Goa, expect visibility ranging from 5-11 metres/15-35 feet. Pondicherry dive sites offer visibility from 5-20 metres/15-70 feet.
Water Temperature – Water temperatures average 27-28°C/80-82°F off the Andaman Islands, Goa and Lakshadweep. Pondicherry water temperatures range from 26-30°C/78-84°F.
Weather – All of southern India is within the tropics, so generally it's hot year-round. The peak season in the Andamans runs from November through April. Monsoons frequently shut down diving in June and July. Diving Goa is perhaps best October through May. May through November is ideal for diving Lakshadweep. Pondicherry’s peak dive season is January through June and then September through November, although diving is available all year.
Featured Creatures – You'll find the typical Indian Ocean reef fish, as well as mantas, groupers, turtles and dugongs in the shallows. In Lakshadweep, you can also find manta ray cleaning stations, along with white-tip reef, grey reef and guitar sharks.
Recommended Training – Take the PADI Deep Diver and Drift Diver courses to be prepared for the fabulous wall diving. The PADI Wreck Diver course will get you ready for exploring the diverse wrecks. The AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation course will help you appreciate the marine protected areas and healthy reefs.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language – Hindi is the major language and there are 18 other official dialects. English is, however, widely spoken.
Currency – Indian Rupee. Credit cards are widely accepted in resort areas and cities.
Major Airports – India's major ports of entry include Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, Bengaluru International Airport in Bengaluru, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad and Chennai International Airport in Chennai.
Electricity – 230 volts, 50Hz. Internet is widely available
Topside Attractions – India is a large country with so many historic and cultural sites (Taj Mahal for one) that it would take years to fully explore. Along the coast, you’ll find all kinds of watersports including waterskiing and surfing. Head inland and you can trek through jungles or hike up mountains.