A pleasant evening in a pleasant island…

17.01.2017:

After the snorkeling session in the lagoon, we returned to our rooms and our lunch from SPORTS was served. The lunch is a simple one – a roti, few spoons of rice, sambar and a gravy prepared with green peas and tomatoes. It tasted delicious as we were starved and nothing went wasted ๐Ÿ™‚ . Each one of us found a hammock each that were hanging tied in between the coconut trees and rested for ย a while. I think I had the longest nap than others and went straight to have a shower when got up, as all the others were ready already.

We headed towards the western side of the island through the coconut grooves. Bangaram offers uninterrupted privacy, unpolluted comfort and crystal clear waters. Parrots, hermit crabs and seabirds on the vast 120 acres of these lush coconut groves are added visual treats for the tourists. The Lakshadweep tourism aimed for the cream of international tourists, and it was determined to offer the experience of nature without spoiling it with ostentatious embellishments. Over years, Bangaram Island have gained popularity of being a tourist spot with stunning natural beauty and a secluded atmosphere.

The sun was almost about to set by the time we were out of the grooves. But it left me in a trance! The sandy beach, turquoise blue lagoon with their enchanting views beaconed me. I was mentally pinching myself, not to convince myself that I was actually here, but to assure my Photoshop-battered mind that places like this actually do exist. The islanders had put some rocks along the shore to prevent the soil erosion and lots of molluscs and hermit crabs stuck to them as if they are sucking blood out of those rocks. Jaleel picked up few to show us that they are harmless, but I was freaking at the sight of them ๐Ÿ˜

We spent sometime there clicking some photographs and feeling extremely happy for making out to this place. It’s a truth that very few makes their way to these islands and we are among this few lucky ones ๐Ÿ™‚ A proud moment indeed! We walked a bit fast to reach our rooms as it was getting darker and there were neither lights nor torches with us. Near the SPORTS restaurant, the atmosphere was completely different! They were busy in arranging food for their guests, with some fresh fishes on the grills. And the thing is that they catch these fish from the lagoon in the evenings and grill them! Bangaram is the only island in Lakshadweep, where liquor is served.

People were deeply indulged in conversations over the dining tables, while eating their food and sipping their drinks. We settled down on some chairs around a charpoy to have our dinner. Imran didn’t join us for dinner as he and Jaleel went to have some local delicacies which are the native boiled rice, served with hot fish curry and fried fish served with fresh coconut toddy. Our dinner included tandoori roti, dal, matar paneer, steamed rice and green salad. What else could I ask for? An evening on the beach, with so much solitude and a perfect dinner – isn’t this enough?

We weren’t bothered about our sleep to night as we had already decided to sleep on the cradles hanging between the coconut trees and there is no way that we can sleep in the room with no power to run the fan. But Imran had other plans for us! Jaleel succeeded in finding a room with all amenities in one of the houses of his friends in this island and Imran asked us to sleep there that night ๐Ÿ™‚ . When asked where they both are going to sleep, they showed us a small tent that was pegged near to the beach. I envied them secretly for having such a beautiful space to rest that night – a small cozy tent on the beach, a lagoon which is reflecting the light from the beautiful moon, cool sea breeze – it’s a lifetime experience!

Saying good night, we went back to our respective places to sleep. Good night!!

Advertisements

The diving experience in Bangaram…

17.01.2017:

The teardrop-shaped island – Bangaram is enclosed by a coral reef, is surrounded by a shallow lagoon and is ranked among the best hideaways of the world. It is a renowned spot for scuba diving and is comparable to the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives. The island is open for tourists, national as well as international. However tourists are advised to check in advance as some of the activities are limited to specific islands at specific times of the year. Who ever visits this island will try to have a taste of what it feels like to dive under the water with their breathing apparatus and the flippers on their legs.

How will I miss it, when the place is a renowned spot for an adventure sport and when it is the best to go scuba diving? Yeah, Bangaram has the first dive center of Lakshadweep and the best time to go scuba diving is between November and March when the waters will be clear. Imran being toย Kadamat told us that even Kadamat is a famous diving center. So excited, we started walking towards the dive center. The sun is scorching and the crystal white beach is as if it is reflecting almost all the rays back to us and making us sweat.

Though aunty made so many futile attempts to make uncle agree to come along with us for a dive, uncle denied those requests softly and encouraged us to go. The lead’s name is Mohamed and he gave us a form each and asked us to fill all the details and sign the declaration. The form consists of columns like our details, address and emergency contact details and the declaration states that we take the entire responsibility for everything we are doing. We filled the forms, signed the declarations and handed over them. Once done we settled down to listen to our instructor who is going to explain us about the gear and all.

Our instructor started explaining about scuba-diving, the history of the dive center and where the people had been trained, the courses that they offer, the gear and the signs which we have to use during our dive. They do offer different kinds of courses like the basic diving courses as well as advanceย courses and the duration of these courses vary accordingly. Many of India’s certified divers began their underwater explorations in these shallow, clear waters. When once we are confident enough, he asked us whether we are ready and we nodded! We were so excited and ready to hit the waters with our scuba-diving gear on us! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

The best part of scuba-diving is that you will always have a buddy with you and you can enjoy the under-water life without being bothered about anything as your buddy will take care of everything. My buddy is a pretty friendly one and when entered the shallow lagoon as a test drive before going for the real dive,ย gave some instructions about having three regulators strapped on to me, in case one malfunctions. We’re skimming the turquoise waters and the dive site is about half an kilometer away. “I’m going to be with you the whole time”, he says, “so don’t freak out, okay?” Iย told him not to worry with a thumbs up! ๐Ÿ™‚

As soon as I entered the lagoon for my test drive, I have seen some colorful fishes and a clear sea bed. After playing for quite sometime and getting enough of breathing exercises, I hit the top of the water again, just to have a quick fresh breath. Immediately an instruction hit my ears, don’t remove your breathing apparatus, it has got ample amount of fresh compressed air and I don’t need any of that to remain in your cylinder by the time you come back! As an obedient student, I obliged his instruction and told my buddy that I am ready and let’s go ๐Ÿ™‚

We started swimming towards the diving spot and reached there within minutes. All the talk in the world doesn’t prepare you for the sensation of diving in the sea. As soon as my jacket is deflated, the weight strapped to my waist band take over and I begin to descend. The water became colder and I started to shiver! For a few moments what all I can see before me is an empty expanse almost threatening to swallow me whole. I sink some more, and am suddenly, keenly aware, of how labored my breathing sounds in my ears.

I feel pressure building and clogging up my ears. I started to acclimatize and my breathing is fine and I started enjoying the dive. I have seen shoals of fishes sniffing around crimson corals, a big black fish whose name is not known to me, some clown fishes scanning the waters with fierce concentration to find the pieces of fish feed that is being left by my buddy into the water. The dive is liberating and meditative even! The best part is that beneath the waves, the water around these islands offer something for everyone. And especially most of the islands in Lakshadweep have their own home reef and waters filled with rich marine life!

At the lagoons edge of the Bangaram Island, the barrier reef surrounding the island tapers off into deeper waters. Coral abound on these seaward slopes and coral of all shapes and sizes grow side by side, creating caverns and alleyways that host some of the most beautifully bizarre creatures on the planet. Though I enjoyed the sight of so many fishes and corals, I totally freaked out when my buddy asked me to touch some of the corals and feel them ๐Ÿ˜ . I simply rejected the idea and continued enjoying my dive chasing some fishes and finding out Imran and aunty, so that we can pose together for some photographs ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Diving in Lakshadweep is thrilling, to say the least!

A brief Sojourn…

Everyone would like a day out at a beach and I am no different. And the places like Maldives and Mauritius would be definitely present on the dream destination list of everyone. Even I want to visit those places, but before that I would like to search for such destinations in my beautiful country – India! There is no surprise in the fact that one can find any kind of terrain in India and if we search with heart, we can find even all the places that would resemble those on our dream destinations list! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well my next destination after a wild road trip and an adventurous pilgrimage came as a result of such search ๐Ÿ™‚ . And the destination is the Lakshadweep Archipelago – one of the two island groups of India, located in the Indian Ocean. Not much sought out destination like the Andaman and Nicobar islands due to the restrictions that were present to visit these islands and less heard too. When we speak about these islands and if someone comes up with the question “does those Islands belongs to India?”, there is no wonder. Yes, they are least explored and exposed!

Lucky to have a few friends there and after hearing a lot of interesting things about these Islands, I made up my mind to visit these soon and as usual I landed there for a short trip! ๐Ÿ™‚ . I would be sharing all the details like obtaining the necessary entry permits, the details of Islands and the fun we had in detail. Hope everyone likes this sojourn of mine in these beautiful islands.