Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pudducherry - The Scuba Diving Paradise of India

Scuba Diving is one of those adventure sports which is on the bucket list of a lot of people, but is not the first priority when planning an adventure themed vacation. With a 7500 km coast line, India has some really good dive spots, recommended by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) which should definitely be on the radar for any Scuba Diving enthusiast.

The joy of taking the first breath underwater, coupled with admiring an array of fishes and corals in their bright vibrant colors is enough to get anyone hooked on to Scuba Diving for life.

The only diving destination in India’s eastern coast is Pondicherry. The place is characterized by natural coral reefs, rocky pop-ups, man-made ridges and large plethora of marine organisms like jack fish, sea snake, manta rays and fan corals and the whale shark sightings. It is a perfect scuba destination for both, beginners and professionals.

It doesn’t matter if you are a certified diver or an aspiring one, these dive spots in Pondicherry, India should definitely be checked out. And you know what the best part is, the cost of doing any courses by PADI, Pondicherry by Temple Adventures is similar compared to other popular dive destinations abroad.

1.      Temple Reef

A great site which is the treat to the eyes, the Temple Reef is after the name of its creators i.e. The Temple Adventures and the local fishing community. The reef was made to boost the fish population in the area, which had depleted due to overfishing. 
It is an artificial reef that is designed with the fully recycled materials and is simply terrific. One can find more than 100 species of the aquatic animals living on the site. The maximum depth of the place is around 18 m.
2.       Aravind’s Wall 
Soon becoming as one of the most popular diving site around India, The Aravind Wall, several kilometers long, is the best drift site and gives you a glimpse of the rocky Indian continental plateau, as opposed to the sandy sea bottoms usually found in these regions.Aravind's Wall is starting to become famous around India, especially after the last whale shark and recent Manta Ray sightings. Lots of jack fish schools, sea snakes, spotted rays, great fan corals and beautiful colors can be seen on the reef.

3.      The Hole
Discovered in March 2011, this is a great site for Advanced divers, and even better for those with a Deep diver qualification. The dive starts from 30M with an undulating reef bottom. The central part of this dive is the "hole" area, which is an adventurous experience for the divers. Take a torch and you can see a little further, as you look into the never-ending blackness all around that extends under the rock shelves. This is where some of the really big creatures hide, staring out at us from the dark!

4.      Ravines
A great site which is named after the flowing rocky reed bed where it is located. You can find the farm plants that are growing over the scuba diving site. It is also known to be legendary as the Manta Ray is found over here. The average depth of the place is around 12 metres. From 30M, you will enjoy following the rises and ridges of the bottom topography, finding a huge range of life along the way.

5.      4 corners
One of the traditional reef areas, the 4 corners is the best place for the open water divers. It has an abundant marine life like beautiful dolphins, lion fishes, butterflies, torpedoes etc. The depth of the place is up to 18 metres.

A bit of information on Pondicherry
Officially renamed Puducherry in 2006, Pondicherry is located on the eastern coast of India, 310 km southwest of Bengaluru and 160 km south of Chennai.
Getting There
By Air
All major carriers like AirIndia, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways operates several flights from major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru to Chennai, from where you can reach Pondicherry by road in a matter of 3 hours. The airport is 6 km/30 mins from Beach Road (autorickshaws charge around 200).
By Train
The Puducherry Express runs overnight between Bengaluru and Pondicherry every Friday. The station is 2 km/10 mins from Beach Road.
By Road
Pondicherry is 160 km/3 hours south of Chennai. The drive down the East Coast Road is rather scenic. Frequent buses leave from the bus station in Koyambedu (tickets from 240). Shared taxis are available at Chennai airport, and charge from Rs 2800for four passengers for the one-way trip.
From Bengaluru, Pondicherry is a 310 km/6 hour-drive down NH 66 (taxis charge around 9,000 each way). The 7-8 hour overnight bus journey from Bengaluru to Pondicherry is perhaps the cheapest and most efficient route. There are both government-run and privately operated buses, most starting from Madiwala or Shantinagar bus stand ( or; tickets 500-1000).

Getting Around
Pondicherry is fairly easy to get around on foot but autos are also available for short distances (the unofficial minimum fare is 50). You can rent bicycles (50 per day) or motorcycles (250 per day) at Mission Street.

Pondicherry’s pleasant monsoons (Nov-Feb), when day temperatures are a maximum of 30°C, are the high season for tourists. Summer (Mar-Jul) is hot and humid, with highs of 40°C. The monsoon (Jul-Aug), lowers temperatures and brings relief. Light showers continue through Sept and Oct. Though you can dive all year round, the best visibility underwater is from Feb – April and September – November.
Check out Temple Adventures for your Pudducherry Diving sessions.

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