India has blessed with some of the most spectacular islands, and no we aren’t talking about Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshwadeep islands or even the Maujuli island up north. For travellers looking for exotic beach vacations, perhaps it is time that we looked in the country itself. The country is surrounded by smaller islands that make for day-long paradise escapes with virgin beaches, wildlife, and sometimes, water sports too. Here are some of the most offbeat islands in India.
Divar Island, Goa
Mandovi river’s Divar Island is a preserved reflection of Goa’s culture with its people, food and the beautiful churches. Accessible by ferries, the island is full of paddy fields and panoramic views of the country life. The famous Bonderam festival also takes place on the island. A quiet escape, this island is a perfect day-trip from the party-happy Goa.
Among the cluster of islets in Lakshwadeep, Kadmat and its picturesque coast is arguably one of the best getaway options. The island, also called Cardamom Island, is surrounded by corals and is known for its adventure sports. The abundance of coral reefs means creating a protective environment, and hence diving happens in a controlled manner.
Munroe Island, Kerala
In the backwaters of Kerala, Munroe island a lush respite. Named for Resident Colonel John Munroe, the island was part of the princely state Travancore. The island is popular for canoeing, canal cruises and boating. In fact, it was Colonel Munroe joined these regions of the backwaters to the state by digging canals. Visit Munroe island during Onam (a 10-day affair here) for a unique take on the festival, a blend of peach and excitement.
St Mary’s Islands, Karnataka
A cluster of four islands on the coast of Karnataka form St Mary’s Islands. Azure blue waters wash up the rocky beaches on the islands and further in, these rocks are geological formations made of columnar basaltic or volcanic rocks. Also known as Coconut Island, people can come here to observes these wonders of nature. Unspoiled and void of people, some beaches on this island are made up pretty seashells.
Diu, Daman and Diu
Sheathed in glorious Portuguese history, a line of pristine beaches and great seafood, Diu could be almost Goa, but without the teeming crowds. A great alternate destination, Diu Island is a layered destination, revealing its multiple facets slowly. Spend days relaxing on the beach, or trudge the Diu Fort and the neighbouring Naida caves. There are many museums and temples, and the beaches offer a number of watersports.
Hope Island, Andhra Pradesh
Formed in the late 18th century, Hope Island off the coast of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. This small tadpole-shaped island is, in fact, a boon by the people for it protects the coast against the cyclones thrown by the Bay of Bengal. A day-long expedition to this island would be most suitable for wildlife enthusiasts. Olive Ridley turtles are found aplenty and are protected by the authorities here. Nearby, the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary has a wide array of flora and fauna