A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat

Tripoto
11th Jun 2015
Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

A realm of its own, this Indian Union Territory is a group of islands approx. 400 kms away from the Indian offshore. Archipelago of twelve coral atolls, three reefs, ten uninhabited islands and five submerged ocean banks along with beautiful crystal clear beaches, white sand, abundance of various species of Flora and Fauna with 36 islands of its own and a sprawling lush green landscape.

Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat 1/2 by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

CONNECTIVITY & SPECIAL PERMITS

Air India has 1 flight from Kochi to Agatti Island, only one of the islands. You can also find occasional cruises from Mumbai, Cochin etc. I would recommend to take a flight to enjoy the aerial view of the islands covered with forest and the fabulous Agatti airstrip. Ferry, speed boats are available to visit other islands and maybe opt for a helicopter during monsoon seasons.

Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat 2/2 by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

Everybody, Indian or otherwise require special government permit to visit as it is strictly restricted to enter the islands. Obtain permits prior to your vacation for any last minute hassles and carry your approved paperwork along with you. It is highly recommended that you obtain permits to enter and exit and visit the islands and book your package only through government’s tour operator SPORTS. Short for Society for promotion of Nature tourism and Sports. They promote eco-friendly tourism and recreational activities in the islands.

Book stays and tours through SPORTS as they have beautiful resorts and guest houses to stay overlooking the ocean and scrumptious delicacies served morning and noon. Tables are laid on the white sands in the evening to enjoy sunset with snacks along with bonfire and dinner is served with fresh catch of the day (crabs, octopus, fishes, prawns and more) which you can relish with the ocean breeze and listening to the sounds of the waves.

Photo of Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep by Sanghamitra Bordoloi
Photo of Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

Only BSNL and Airtel provides telecommunication services to Lakshadweep Islands.

Lakshadweep is not a budget destination but all prices are inclusive when booked through SPORTS.

MUST VISIT ISLANDS & DIVING SITES

The gateway for Lakshadweep, you can visit Agatti once you land. It has one of the most beautiful lagoons. The airport is built only on this island.

Photo of Agatti Aerodrome, Agatti, Lakshadweep, India by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

I would recommend staying at this island as this island in houses beautiful resort amidst palm grooves and is ideal for watersports as PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors) functions from here itself. You will be trained before going for the dive.

It has long sandy beaches and a bountiful nature to embrace in. Variety of fishes like shark, stingrays and beautiful corals can be found and the ocean gives you a clear visibility of 20 – 50 m underwater. You can tour the Coconut powder and jute factory and purchase pure coconut oil, powder from these factories.

Photo of Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep by Sanghamitra Bordoloi
Photo of Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

This is isolated from all the islands in Lakshadweep. It has the largest lagoon and one uninhabited islet. You can wonder at the colourful race boats found in this island. Main tourist attraction is the 300 foot tall lighthouse built in 1885 by the Britishers.

Calmest lagoons can be found in this island. It in houses a mosque, marine aquarium and is the home for Dolphin dive site. Due to silent and calm ocean nature, this is an ideal place for swimming and snorkeling or just laze around in the sun. Fish pickles and small souvenirs can be collected from this island.

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, India by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

BANGARAM & THINNAKARAN

Special mention needs to be given to these two islands. Situated overlooking each other with beautiful camps set up on the sandy beaches with phosphorescent plankton washed ashore gives a bluish glow to the oceans at night, and a shipwreck underwater, this is an island not to miss at all.

Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi
Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

SCUBA DIVING SITE & VISIBILITY UNDERWATER

Best islands for dive: Kadmat and Bangaram.

Scuba dive prices : ₹ 3000-6000

Currents : Calm waters to strong, depending upon the tides and the dive site

Depth of Dive : 15 m to 40 m

Difficulty Level : Easy-Challenging

Visibility in the waters : More than 35 m

Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi
Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

You need to be medically fit to dive and a consent and medical forms need to be filled out. Only worry remains is to adjusting yourself and your breathing techniques deep underwater. Any kind of uneasiness or pain felt during your dive, its better to reach out to your instructor with the hand signals that will be taught prior to your dive at the PADI institute. Oxygen tanks will be provided with life jackets when you reach the diving spot in a ferry. You need to leave your feet from the ferry ladder and then you can dive and go down with the help of your instructor to another universe.

Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi
Photo of A Beginner’s Guide to an Underwater Cosmos- #Lakshadweep, #Agatti, #Kadmat by Sanghamitra Bordoloi

You can always opt for a lagoon dive with shallow waters or deep sea dive. You also have the option of diving at night or morning.

PADI certification courses can be taken from Kadmat island, where you stay at the resort along with other tourists and also go for dives morning and at night.

SEASON

Best time to visit Lakshadweep is from October to mid-May. From mid-May to September it is rainy. Though all the resorts in Lakshadweep are open throughout the year, reaching there by ship is difficult during monsoon. Reaching resorts like Kadmat, Minicoy and Kavaratti is difficult as they are not connected by flight or helicopter during monsoon time.

WATERSPORTS

If you are into watersports you have Dolphin dive centre in Kavaratti Islands, Kadmat Scuba diving centre and minicoy dive centre.

DON’T’s

Special Attention to be paid that you donot pick any corals as souvenirs, as it is a punishable offence. Drinking is prohibited on all islands except Bangaram.

This place is a must go once in a lifetime. The feeling of letting go once you are deep underwater, the floating away with the sea, the calmness, walking on the sea bed while the school of magnificent fishes greet you with a hi ! , the lightness of your body as if you are in an unknown universe is definitely an altered experience.

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