Seated in the Indian Ocean, India is known more for her diverse culture and history than its diving. In fact, diving in India is eons away from mass recognition! It could be attributable to a multitude of reasons, most notably the country’s inclination to stay away from sports and outdoor activities (except cricket) and; proper marketing and awareness among the general populace. Diving in India is currently on an uptick and leading from the front are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Although the Andamans offer virgin beaches and unparalleled views, there are many places to go diving in India (mainland). I will provide a brief overview of the various locations one can go diving in India which should help out those interested or those divers who are planning to visit the country soon.
India and her Features
To cut the geography class short, India is situated at the center of the Indian Ocean and has a coastline of 7516 km. Other than the mainland, India also boasts of Lakshwadeep, an atoll situated 200 miles* west of Kochi in the Arabian Sea, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a group of islands situated 550 miles* to the east of Chennai in the Indian Ocean/Andaman Sea. The country broadly enjoys three seasons every year. Summer, Rain and Winter and the rainy season displays a minimal amount of variation depending on one’s location (East/West). It is important to note that inclement weather usually does not deter the operation of public transport (except Aircraft), so getting around is usually cheap and easy. Since we are concerned with diving in India, let’s focus on the specifics of each region.
Locations for Diving in India are marked in Black & White Roundels. Pondicherry is arguably the Dive Mecca of Mainland India.
The West Coast of India
Here’s a brief overview of diving in India on the west coast:-
|Location||Diving Season||Nearest Metro City||Types of Diving Available||Cost for a Two Tank Dive||Best Dive Sites|
|Goa||November - May||Mumbai (by air/road/rail) 600 km||Boat, Coral, Wreck, Drift||80 $ incl. rental||Davy Jones Locker, Suzy Wreck|
|Tarkarli||December - June||Mumbai (by road/rail) 520 km||Boat, Coral||80 $ incl. rental||-|
|Netrani, Murdeshwar||November - May||Access via Goa by road||Boat, Coral, Drift||75$ incl. rental||Bomb Rock|
|Kochi||November - April||NA||Coral, Fresh Water Diving||80$ incl rental||-|
The East Coast of India
Here’s a brief overview of diving in India on the east coast:-
|Location||Diving Season||Nearest Metro City||Types of Diving||Cost for a two tank dive||Best dive sites|
February - May; September - November (inclusive)
|-||Boat, Drift, Coral, Artificial Reef, Tec Diving||77 $ incl. of rental||-|
|Pondicherry||Chennai & Bangalore (both by road/rail/air)||Boat, Drift, Coral, Artificial Reef, Tec Diving, Wall, Fresh water diving||110 $ incl. of rental. 5$ per tank extra for Nitrox||Aravind's Wall, Temple Reef, Danny's Eel Garden|
The Islands of India
As mentioned earlier, if you’re looking for an out of the world experience par excellence, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the places to go diving in India. However, connectivity is limited to travel by air (via Chennai) and sea. A trip from Chennai to Port Blair Airport usually takes 03 hours. The dive season is from October to May. Owing to weather, diving operations are usually shut down between June and August. The best time to dive Andamans would be May-June. The charges for a two tank air dive is usually around 85 $ (USD). Poor connectivity is the only deterrent. Also note that trips to and from the various islands in the group can only be undertaken via ferries, the tickets of which can be booked online. Dive India, a PADI 5* IDC is presently the most known dive center here.
Other Notable Mentions
This post would not be complete without the mention of the Lakshwadeep Islands. The islands boast of crystal clear waters and numerous wrecks. However, recent security concerns have dictated the government to restrict access to the islands. A special permit needs to be obtained prior travel (your travel agency can help you). Connectivity is by air and sea from Kochi. There are also upcoming dive spots in Dwarka, Gujurat (where marine archaeologists have discovered remains on underwater temples) and Vishakapatnam on the East Coast.
As can be seen, there are plenty of locations to go diving in India. Expect yourself to be treated to city specific dive reviews shortly. Until then, I hope this post has helped increased your awareness about diving in India.