I’m sure the phrase is pretty popular- no man can live as an island. While that is certainly true, it never did the modern man any harm to travel to one and count on total rejuvenation on vacation every once in a while. While the idea of Robinson Crusoe is never too appealing, island tourism in India is seeing a boom and rightly so, courtesy the tranquillity of seclusion, breath-taking global-standard beauty and the exotic feel common to dreams. Hence, let’s put on the fancy scuba gear and get exploring these little oases of peace.
- The Lakshadweep Islands
Photo by Lenish Namath, CC BY-SA 3.0
Look at a picture of this gorgeous island, you’ll know what I am talking about. A group of small islands, named “the group of one lakh islands”, it features corals Australia is so famous in Lakshadweep. Also, it has quirky tourism implements, like lighthouses.
- Havelock Island
Photo by Ankur P, CC BY-SA 2.0
Named after a foreigner seems to be a feature very common in these parts of India-this one was named for Henry Havelock. One more common feature of islands look like lighthouses, and Havelock one has one too. It has a beach which is acknowledged to be the best in India by Time magazine, and belongs to an archipelago that shares its name with Richie Rich, only a different spelling-Ritchie’s archipelago.
- Great Nicobar Island
This island has the largest size among its kind in India. It has a turbulent point in its history, the 2004 Tsunami that caused much destruction. It has exotic reptile and avian species indigenous to it, and-you guessed it-lighthouses. It has a host of rivers that flow along its general topography.
- Little Andaman Island
Photo (Cropped) by Sankara Subramanian, CC BY 2.0
For the traveller who is going off the beaten track, literally, is waiting this island. Not too crowded and not too expensive as well, this is the beatnik tourist’s dream come true. It features exotic avian and turtle species, and offers safaris a la Africa, and boat voyages a la Mauritius. Best of both worlds, did I hear someone at the back say?
- Barren Island
Photo by Arijayprasad, CC BY-SA 4.0
This is one island that is more boho than the last. Let’s find out why. It is akin to the Vesuvius, being the only volcano that actually erupts in South Asia. Also, it offers Scuba Diving opportunities to tourists. It is a lot like the Dead Sea, with the almost non-existent life that it supports. That’s where it gets its name from, as well.
- Viper Island
Photo (Cropped) by Snap, CC BY 2.0
It sure seems like places have stories that prove how truth is stranger than fiction. True to the world of adventure and horror stories, this island was named after a ship that carried Lt. Blair to India. It is a pretty island, and a jetty for tourists visiting Andaman. But what the guides won’t tell you is that this place used to have gallows, now abandoned, which was used to contain and torture Indian political prisoners of the British Raj. And oh, it has some viper species as well.
- Rutland Island
Photo by scheherezade, CC BY-SA 2.0
Individuals with interest in Victorian English literature will know about the treatment meted out to the racial “other”. This island provides real-time opportunity for learning about some “others”- The Jangil tribe, natives to the Andamans, who were few and far in between in terms of interactions with people from the outer world, but present nonetheless. Also, this island has a number of beaches in Andaman along with the opportunities for open-water divers.
It is sometimes strange how things exceedingly relevant to one discipline are completely out of the vista of another. One sees how islands, very important in political power establishment, was taken little note of in tourism, especially in the Indian context. It’s good to see that changing, and Lakshadweep is now the first destination many couples would like to explore on honeymoon tour to India. Indeed, with scuba diving, exotic fauna and world class thriller histories, islands shouldn’t be something people miss out on the flavour of.