“Islands are metaphors of the heart, no matter what poet says otherwise.” – Jeanette Winterson
The best time time of the year to set sail to the sand and sun is here. Being in a tropical country we often neglect the islands and focus on the coastline and India has a wealth of of 1,208 beautiful islands around our country including the uninhabited ones. We bring to you some exotic islands to escape the humdrum of city life to unwind at the sun kissed beaches fringing the blue waters and indulging in water sports.
Havelock Island, Andaman
Among the 572 Andaman and Nicobar islands situated Bengal and Andaman sea, the Havelock Island is the largest cluster of islands with magnificent white sandy beaches, exotic coral reefs and lush green forests. The main attractions include Elephant, Kalapathar, Vijayanagar and Radhanagar beaches with underwater expeditions such as scuba diving and sea walk. The best time to visit is in the months of October to April.
Nestled amidst the deep waters, the Lakshadweep Islands is a cluster of 36 islands and perhaps the only place in India where you can find a coral reef formation. The major Lakshadweep Islands include Kavaratti, Agatti, Kalpeni, Bangarm, Minicoy, Kadmat and many more. You can engage in parasailing, kayaking, sailing, glass bottom boat ride tours, fishing, water skiing and deep sea fishing here. Ideal time to be here is between October to March.
Munroe Island, Kerala
Named after Colonel John Munroe, Munroe Island is a fascinating network of water canals with an interesting history attached to it. Tourist attraction include Thenmala, MG Beach, Jatayu Rock, Varkala Beach, Chavara, Shendurni Wildlife Sanctuary, Palaruvi Falls among few others.
Majuli Island, Assam
A river island in the Brahmaputra River, Majuli Island is first island to became a district in India and to be listed as the world’s largest river island in Guinness book of world record.. You shouldn’t miss the twenty-one Satras present on the island. Some other places of interest include Kamalabari Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Garmur, Tengapania etc. Though there are no hotels in Majuli, there are guest rooms present in the Satras. The best time to visit the island is during the months of July to March.
Netrani Island, Karnataka
Also called the Pigeon Island, it is a visual treat with the most fascinating cliffs, jagged rocks, and is rich in marine life with sharks and butterfly fish. The best time to visit the island is from the December to January and you should definitely try water sports such as scuba diving, snorkeling, etc here. However, try to avoid visiting this island during June to September since the sea is rough during this time of the year. The island’s other attractions include a ruined temple, a Roman Catholic Church, and a mosque. There are many hotels and hence there is no need to worry about the accommodation on this island.
St. Mary’s Island, Karnataka
Also known as Coconut Island and Thonsepar, this is a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe. Known for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava, the major attractions here include the Vadabhandeshwara Temple, ruins of Daria Bahadurgarh Fort and Malpe Beach which has silvery powdered sand. In fact the northernmost island has a basaltic rock formation in a hexagonal form, the only one of its type in India. St. Mary’s Island does not really have a lodging facility so you should book your hotels in nearby Udupi. The best time to visit this island is during the months of October to January.
Elephanta Island, Mumbai
Also referred to as Elephanta Island due to the famous labyrinth of the Elephant Caves – the island, featuring rock-cut marvels, is a world heritage site. The best time to visit the island is in November and March. Apart from the rock-cut marvels, you should also witness the music and dance festival that takes place for two days in February every year. The caves are closed on Monday. You can book hotels in South-Mumbai for good accommodation facilities.
Chorao Island, Goa
Also known as Choddnnem or Chodan, Chorao Island is the largest among other 17 islands of Goa. Here you will get to see the distinct churches of the 16th century, Hindu temples, graveyards and buildings featuring Portuguese style of architecture. The island also houses amazing flora, fauna and lots of mangroves. Also, the island hosts the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary spread over an area of 178 hectares. The best months to visit this island are from mid-November to mid-February since the weather is very pleasant here during this time of the year. Accommodation facilities are available in hotels.
You will get to see a galore of beaches and temples on this South-Indian island. Famous attractions include Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple, Agniteertham, Gandamadana Parvatham which is at a distance of 3 km from Rameswaram, the five faced Hanuman Temple and Dhanushkodi. The ideal time to visit the Rameswaram Island is from December to February. There are many villas and hotels here that offer accommodation.
Barren Island, Andaman
Located off the eastern coast of the Andamans, it is home to the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia. There are not too many places that you can visit around here but you can definitely try your hand at scuba-diving. The best time to visit this place is during the months of November and February. You will get great lodging facilities in the other islands of Andaman.