If you think that world class Scuba Diving sites can only be found outside India, think again. With a coastline of over 7500 kilometres and hundreds of islands in its kitty, India is a land of numerous hidden treasures. Contrary to the popular belief, India is a great place for Scuba Diving. Blessed with several exquisite diving sites, the adventure sport is picking up in popularity as several certified scuba divers from around the world have started to visit the country to experience its rather unexplored marine life. Without any bit of doubt, India is the best place in South Asia for Scuba Diving. Compiled below is a list of the best Scuba Diving sites in the country

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
Two Scuba Divers exploring the coral reef at a dive site near Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Two Scuba Divers exploring the coral reef at a dive site near Andaman and Nicobar Islands
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands -

Sprinkled in the Andaman Sea on the east hand side of mainland India, it is pretty easy to see why Andaman and Nicobar Islands are synonymous to 'paradise islands' in this country. With a number of water sports that one can undertake, it is the underwater activities the islands offer that truly stands out. With the presence of exotic coral reefs along with equally gorgeous aquatic animals, Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the frontrunners when it comes to the best Scuba Diving and Snorkelling sites in India. The experience is so refreshing that even elephants on the island used to swim in the Andaman Sea, until they all died due to old age. What makes scuba diving here a surreal experience is the excellent visibility under water, ranging between 20 to 40 meters on a good day. Having a variety of dive sites such as Cinque Island, Fish Rock, and The Wall in its arsenal, one can witness Sharks, Octopus, and different species of sting rays among others.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
2. Kovalam -

Kovalam is an island town situated in God's Own Country - Kerala. Arguably the most underrated Scuba Diving site in India, Kovalam is a relatively untouched site in the diving world. Albeit a lot of people from different parts of the world visit this ethereal destination, not many indulge in any underwater recreational sports due to the lack of Dive shops in the location. Hence, the dive sites here have not been well explored by Scuba Divers. The corals here can be found in different colours, but what is extremely thrilling is getting to witness jelly fish, star fish, and if lucky, Black Tip Shark among others.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
Two Scuba Divers exploring the coral reef at a dive site near Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Two Scuba Divers exploring the coral reef at a dive site near Andaman and Nicobar Islands
3. Goa -

There is a reason why Goa is the most popular destination amongst tourists in India. It has pretty much everything a beach destination can offer, including a few Scuba Diving sites. When not Scuba Diving or snorkelling, there is a bevy of activities one can keep oneself busy with. The best Scuba Diving sites here include Shelter Cove and Uma Guva Reef. Although Goa is not an ideal place for Scuba Diving, the fact that it is easily accessible from all over the country in addition to inexpensive Snorkelling tours make it a hit. The season, like elsewhere in India, is from October to May.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
Fishes at the bottom of the dive site near Aggati Island
Fishes at the bottom of the dive site near Aggati Island
4. Malvan -

Malvan is the most popular Scuba Diving destination in mainland India. Located in the southernmost district of Maharashtra, Sindhudurga, Malvan draws a lot of visitors from Maharashtra and its nearby states, mainly for Scuba Diving and Snorkelling. The Tarkali beach holds the distinction of being one of the very few places in Maharashtra which has crystal clear sea water, thereby offering good visibility under water. Along with its fresh underwater beauty, it is the opportunity to see pod of dolphins, sea urchins, and other aquatic animals that make this place so popular for Scuba Diving and Snorkelling in India.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
A young boy learning Scuba Diving near Aggati Island
A young boy learning Scuba Diving near Aggati Island
5. Lakshadweep Islands -

Albeit its name literally means a hundred thousand islands in Sanskrit, today the archipelago nestled in the Arabian Sea on the west hand side of mainland India comprises of just 36 islands. Err, 36 euphoric islands. Surrounded by turquoise colour water from all sides, the underwater sightings it offers are as beautiful as the sightings on and around the islands ... if not more. The Bangaram coral islands are highly rated by seasoned divers as well as newbies. The only reason Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not clear winners for best Scuba Diving sites in India is because the Scuba Diving sites in Lakshadweep give them really tough competition for the coveted title. That speaks volume about this place, doesn't it? The popular Scuba Diving sites across the Lakshadweep archipelago are Bangaram island and Aggati island.

6. Dwarka -

The most offbeat destination to make it to this list has to be this one - Dwarka. An ancient city known to be the former kingdom of Lord Krishna, Dwarka is visited by hundreds of thousands of devotees of Lord Krishna, every year, but it is now surfacing as a Scuba Diving destination. Once believed to be a city of gold, Dwarka is certainly a city of emerald blue today. With fairly unknown dive sites located close to Byet Dwarka - a small island near mainland Dwarka - this place is ideal for every Scuba Diver who wants to dive at a secluded dive site in India. From unspoiled coral reefs to attractive marine species, Dwarka will make you fall in love with its relatively hidden beauty.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
A recreational Scuba Diver at a dive site near Netrani Island
A recreational Scuba Diver at a dive site near Netrani Island
7. Netrani Island -

Netrani Island, also referred as Pigeon Island, is probably India's best kept secret when it comes to Scuba Diving sites in the country. Located about 10 nautical miles from Murudeshwar, this little island of Karnataka is one the the best Scuba Diving destinations in this part of the world after the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep islands. Its underwater world is highly rated by professional scuba divers. While it is not difficult to get a glimpse of a huge variety of aquatic animals from its dive sites, if lucky, one can also see turtles, barracudas, and smaller species of whales.

Best Scuba Diving Sites in India
Scuba Divers descending at a dive site near Pondicherry
Scuba Divers descending at a dive site near Pondicherry
8. Pondicherry -

The sweet Union Territory nestled calmly in the south-eastern coast of India is known for its colonial French architecture, pristine beaches, and its neighbouring international township - Auroville. But there is so much more to this beautiful town, including recreational sports. You read that right. Pondicherry is gaining popularity for offering Surfing as well as Scuba Diving and Snorkelling to adventure lovers. Its vibrant marine life has started to draw people to take up a Scuba Diving course that would allow them to discover its rather undiscovered underwater beauty which is home to Parrot Fish, Lion Fish, Tiger Fish, different types of Stingrays, and many others. The best Scuba Diving sites include Temple Reef, Cool Shark Reef, and Four Corners.

Photo Credit: Flickr - Siam Divers, mehul.antani, lovish juneja, Crazy Yatra, Binu K S, Ramya Viswanathan, Akhil Jude