India is blessed with many great diving sites along its long coastline and off its islands. Many are suited for divers of all levels.
Andaman Islands: With deep turquoise water, white sands, swaying palms, immaculate coral reefs and fantastic marine life, this is one of the best diving destinations in India. Once under water you can enjoy the company of the finest sea treasures in their own environment, including manta rays, turtles, sharks, scorpion fish, nudibranch, angler fish, octopus, trevally, moray eels and several other beautiful aquatic creatures.
The best diving sites in the Andamans are The Wall, Fish Rock, Dixon’s Pinnacle and Cinque Island. Besides scuba diving, you can snorkel with the ocean swimming elephant, Rajan — an experience like no other!
Lakshadweep: Lakshadweep, an archipelago off the coast of Kerala, is one of India’s premier diving places. It’s comprised of 36 islands boasting blue lagoons full of sea life. Sharks, manta rays, turtles and flights of brightly coloured fish are often seen.
The best diving sites in Lakshadweep are Bangaram Island (Princess Royal and Manta Point), Kadmat Island and Agatti Island (Fish Soup and Lost Paradise). In the Princess Royal diving site, you can dive amid a shipwreck, which is an exhilarating experience.
Goa: Goa has exotic stretches of coral, shipwrecks and an abundance of marine creatures. The best thing about diving in Goa is the limited underwater current, making it a safe place for divers.
The best diving spots in Goa are Grande Island, Suzy’s Wreck, Turbo Tunnel, Davy Jones Locker, Shelter Cove and Sail Rock.
Pondicherry: Pondicherry is not only rich with marine treasures, it is also enthralling for its crystal-clear waters. Natural coral reefs, artificial ridges and marine life such as coral, manta rays, sea snakes, jack fish, turtles, dolphins, king fish, tiger fish, eels, parrot fish and whale sharks.. you name it, you can find it off Pondicherry. What’s more, scuba diving can be done here throughout the year.
The best diving spots are Aravind’s Wall, Cool Shark Reef, The Hole, Temple Reef, Ravines and 4 Corners.
Netrani/ Pigeon Island, Karnataka: Scuba buffs can make a beeline to this virgin territory off coastal Karnataka. Netrani Island is bursting with coral reef formations and marine life, including stone fish, lion fish, stingrays, great barracuda, turtles, cobias, Napolean wrasse, whales and more.
Kovalam, Kerala: Kovalam offers a relatively untouched and unexplored diving spot. The marine life includes multi-coloured coral and a variety of fish. The nearby artificial reef makes this diving site all the more enchanting.
Tarkarli, Maharashtra: Beside Malvan town is Tarkarli beach, where divers can find thrilling underwater experiences inside a cave and a wreck. There are a wealth of great underwater photography opportunities here. Tarkarli beach is home to Maharashtra’s only scuba diving training center held in the natural environment. Find colourful tropical fish, sharks, coral and marine animals.
Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh: Vishakhapatnam (also called Vizag) is characterized by its clear waters and rich and diverse aqua-marine life, including jellyfish, coral blankets, nudibranch and electric rays. It offers a wide array of diving activities- deep diving, videography diving, drift diving, navigational diving, fish identification diving and peak performance diving.
Divers can take the plunge throughout the year in the clear waters of India, as different regions experience different climatic conditions.
The diving sites in India are teeming with attractive marine creatures in their natural environment, such as manta rays, sharks, reef fish, turtles, jellyfish, coral blankets, nudibranch, stone fish, stingrays, great barracuda, turtles, cobias, Napolean wrasse, whales… Some dive sites also offer sightings of shipwrecks, where marine life likes to congregate.
India’s dive sites offer amazing visibility. In the Andamans and Lakshadweep, you can have good visibility up to 45 metres; in Goa, up to 11 meters; off Pondicherry up to 20 metres; off Netrani up to 40 meters; off Tarkarli and Kovalam up to 10 metres; and off Vizag up to 25 metres.
Scuba diving in India is reasonably priced. Diving in the Andamans will cost around INR 3,500- 6,500 per head per dive; in Lakshadweep approx. INR 3,000 per head for one hour, or INR 15,000 per head for one day (PADI scuba diving); diving Goa costs around INR 5,000 per head, inclusive of training; diving in Pondicherry approx. INR 6,000- 8,000 per head, which includes two dives in a day; diving Netrani Island is around INR 5,000 per head; diving Tarkarli approx. INR 1,500 per head; diving Kovalam around INR 5,000 per head; and diving Vishakapatnam about INR 5,000 per head.
India isn’t all bustling cities! Diving opens up new travel spots that were not known or considered before. Begin a road trip from Gujarat in the west, and head to the southern coastline. Opt for overnight bus journey through Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and conclude the trip in Vishakhapatnam. Stop along the way to enjoy scuba diving in morning and explore towns and cities in the afternoon and evening.
Every diving site in India has a plethora of dive shops and organizers, and teams of PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)-certified instructors offering diving courses for beginner and advanced divers. Plus, the dive destinations in India are surrounded by numerous hotels and resorts that can help make arrangements.