Coral reefs have fascinated all of us at some point or another. Every time we want to go underwater and experience marine life in all its glory, our minds immediately go towards popular international destinations. We often tend to look over the coral gems in our country. Well, that certainly comes to an end right away. In 2024, set your sights on a captivating expedition to five mesmerising destinations in India, where coral reefs paint an awe-inspiring portrait of marine life’s splendour. Explore these five Indian places, where coral reefs stand as nature’s masterpieces, awaiting discovery and admiration in 2024.
Places To Watch Coral Reefs In India
1. Gulf Of Kutch
Nestled along the south coast of India, the Gulf of Kutch boasts a rich diversity of marine life. Here, fringing, platform, and patch reefs thrive, housing an impressive array of hard and soft coral species. These ancient coral clusters, some dating back thousands of years, grow steadily, creating intricate ecosystems. The region’s significance lies in its coral variety—ranging from 37 to 44 species of hard coral and 12 species of soft coral—and in the conservation efforts that have also made large sections of the area protected havens for marine biodiversity.
2. Gulf Of Mannar
As one of Asia’s richest coastal regions, the Gulf of Mannar dazzles with over 3,600 species of flora and fauna. Its 117 recorded hard coral species contribute to the area’s allure. The chain of 21 islands along the coast harbours highly productive fringing and patch coral reefs. These underwater marvels are often regarded as tropical rainforests. The Gulf of Mannar’s unique ecosystems also make it an invaluable gem in India.
3. Netrani Island
Netrani Island, in the Arabian Sea off Karnataka’s coast, is a thriving coral island brimming with diverse marine life. Despite initial local resistance, diving around Netrani is actively promoted by Karnataka Tourism. This area flourishes with healthy coral reefs and an abundant reef fish population. The island’s reefs are made more special with butterfly fish, parrot fish, eels, and more underwater creatures. The diversity certainly creates an underwater paradise for divers and enthusiasts alike.
4. Andaman & Nicobar
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a treasure trove of over 560 coral species, showcasing a kaleidoscope of colours and forms. With fringing reefs on the eastern side and barrier reefs on the western side, these islands encompass approximately 2,000 sq km of coral reefs. If you go snorkelling here, you will also come across schools of vibrant fish, sea cucumbers, and a plethora of other marine life thriving in crystal-clear waters.
5. Lakshadweep Islands
The Lakshadweep archipelago, characterised by its coral atoll structure, is a haven for coral growth. These 36-island atolls and underwater banks offer a distinctive underwater experience. The little sand cays above the high water mark enhance the allure of these atolls, even though the majority of the reefs are underwater. The islands’ exclusivity and the thriving coral atolls certainly make Lakshadweep a must-visit for those seeking pristine coral reef encounters.
Each of these destinations certainly offers a distinct underwater adventure, showcasing the splendour and diversity of India’s coral reefs.
Cover Image Courtesy: Canva
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