Divers at Temple Reef | Pondicherry

Underwater World on East Coast of India: Scuba Diving in Pondicherry (2024)

India boasts an extensive coastal stretch of approximately 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), surrounded by the Arabian Sea to the West, the Indian Ocean to the South, and the Bay of Bengal to the East. Beyond the mainland, the country is adorned with stunning islands like Andamans and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep Islands. The coastal regions and islands offer awe-inspiring diving sites featuring natural and artificial reefs and ship and plane wrecks.

Pondicherry, situated off the southeastern coast in the Bay of Bengal, emerges as an exceptional destination for scuba diving. Pondicherry is one of India’s premier diving locations, renowned for its abundant marine life. An enticing aspect is that scuba diving in Pondicherry is a year-round activity, making it an ideal destination for underwater enthusiasts.

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Scuba diving in Pondicherry
PIN for later reference – Scuba diving in Pondicherry

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Scuba diving in Pondicherry

Pondicherry has over 20 meticulously explored dive sites, offering unparalleled underwater experiences. These sites encompass natural coral reefs, artificial reefs, and captivating wrecks. Depths vary, spanning from 18 meters to 30 meters, ensuring diverse and immersive diving encounters.

Fish at Temple Reef
Fish at Temple Reef

On an average day, visibility ranges from 5 to 7 meters, while exceptional conditions can elevate visibility levels to an impressive 12 meters, enhancing the overall splendor of the underwater landscapes. Dive enthusiasts can revel in the rich biodiversity and captivating seascapes that Pondicherry’s diverse dive sites offer.

Also, read | 6 reasons I need to scuba dive in Pondicherry.

Pondicherry’s dive sites cater to novice scuba enthusiasts taking their first plunge and seasoned certified divers with numerous dives under their belts. The optimal period for diving in Pondicherry falls between November and February, offering favorable conditions for an enriching and enjoyable underwater experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Pondicherry provides a diverse and captivating environment beneath the surface, making it an ideal destination for all levels of scuba diving expertise.

Diving Sites at Pondicherry

Pondicherry boasts a variety of explored dive sites featuring meticulously crafted artificial reefs. Ranging from depths of 12 meters to 40 meters, these sites cater to divers across all experience levels, from beginners to the more seasoned.

Also, read | 5 best dive sites to scuba dive in Pondicherry.

One standout location is Aravind’s Wall, renowned and acknowledged by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), making it a popular and well-recognized diving spot in Pondicherry. Beyond Aravind’s Wall, Pondicherry offers other noteworthy diving sites, particularly suitable for beginners seeking an exciting and safe underwater adventure.


  • Every dive in Pondicherry is conducted via boat, with some sites located just 20 minutes from the shore, while others may require a 1.5 to 2-hour boat ride. If you are prone to seasickness, it’s advisable to take a sea sickness tablet before embarking on your diving adventure.
  • For attire, it’s recommended to wear at least a half-wet suit, though I suggest opting for a full-wet suit based on my experience of getting stung by something during one of my dives.
  • Be prepared for strong to moderate currents at the dive sites, ensuring you are well-equipped and knowledgeable to navigate these underwater conditions.

Temple Reef

The Temple Reef, also known as the Four Corners, is an extraordinary and genuinely remarkable dive site. This artificial reef is a pioneering initiative constructed entirely from recycled materials.

Originating from the efforts of Temple Adventures, the site earned its name, Temple Reef. The project was initiated with the noble goal of rejuvenating a declining reef and marine life impacted by overfishing. Recycled materials in crafting this artificial reef encompass concrete blocks, iron bars, trees, bottles, and palm leaves. Temple Reef is a testament to sustainable conservation efforts promoting marine ecosystem health and vitality.

Lion fish

Temple Adventures continues to maintain and monitor the site actively. Divers from the center regularly bring fresh palm leaves, tying them to the artificial reef beneath the water surface every few weeks to attract more fish. This commitment and enthusiasm underscore their deep passion for marine conservation and their ongoing dedication to nurturing the thriving ecosystem at the Temple Reef site.

Dive Site Details and Statistics

The Temple Reef dive site is approximately 30 minutes (5 kilometers) from the coast. With a maximum depth of 18 meters, this boat dive is particularly popular among Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) and Open Water Scuba Divers due to its manageable depth.

The dive site features four corners connected by ropes arranged diagonally, each designated with a unique name:

  • Temple 1 is the original reef.
  • Temple 2.
  • Parking Lot – This is super cool as there is a truck, a car, and many submerged bikes. This is an excellent spot for pictures.
  • Beer Garden – There are concrete boulders with beer bottles stuck. It is thrilling to watch fish peep out of these empty beer bottles.

With clear visibility, the dive site is a delight from 5 metres.

Scuba diving at Temple Reef

The presence of palm leaves and the bustling activity around the artificial reef contribute to an astonishingly abundant and diverse marine life. Numerous groupers have established their homes, seeking shelter between the palm leaves.

In addition to the groupers, the Temple Reef hosts a variety of other captivating fish species, including lionfish, scorpionfish, and bannerfish. The artificial reef’s vibrant underwater ecosystem fosters a thriving marine life community, offering divers an awe-inspiring and enchanting experience.


Abandoned Quarry

An optimal location for training Open Water students and honing underwater skills is an abandoned quarry in Pondicherry. This isolated site provides an ideal setting for novice divers, offering perfect water temperatures. The quarry’s seclusion allows ample time for divers to acquire and practice skills in and out of the water, making it a prime spot for training sessions and skill development.

Abandoned quarry

Diving in a quarry was a notably distinct experience from what I was accustomed to. Regrettably, during my dive in the quarry, the visibility was limited, and I had minimal sightings. Nevertheless, this has sparked my interest, and I aspire to dive again at the same or another quarry. I am eager to explore and appreciate the diverse and remarkable aspects of quarry diving, hoping for a more vivid and enriching experience in the future.

Dive Site Details and Statistics

The journey to the abandoned quarry from the dive center takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours, with the last 500 meters of the ride offering an adventurous experience. The quarry’s maximum depth reaches 14 meters, providing an opportunity for a shore dive. Our instructor guided us with a map indicating that the outer ring was shallow, gradually deepening towards the center.

Despite the limited variety of marine life in the quarry, it still houses numerous small fish and sea snakes. Unfortunately, I had minimal sightings due to poor underwater visibility, only catching glimpses of a few rusted structures. However, I did have the unique encounter of spotting a snake during the dive.

Marine Life in Pondicherry

Dive sites in Pondicherry feature diverse marine life drawn to both natural and artificial reefs. These sites are home to sizable groupers, majestic lionfish, sea snakes, scorpionfish, pufferfish, barracudas, bannerfish, and various other species of Asian aquatic life.

Luck may bring the extraordinary opportunity to witness whale sharks and manta rays, particularly during the whale shark season from March to April. The vibrant underwater ecosystem at Pondicherry’s dive sites promises an enriching experience for divers seeking encounters with many fascinating marine species.


Best Dive Centre

During my quest for the finest dive centers in Pondicherry, the consistent recommendations from fellow divers and positive Google reviews led me to Temple Adventures.

Having commenced operations approximately a decade ago, Temple Adventures has firmly positioned itself as a premier dive center on the East Coast of India, serving Pondicherry and Chennai. Recognized as a distinguished PADI 5-star IDC dive center in India, they have garnered a reputation for excellence and are a top choice among diving enthusiasts.

Dive crew at Temple Reef

The scuba packages, encompassing Discover Scuba Dives (DSDs) and various dive courses, are meticulously crafted to accommodate divers of all types and proficiency levels. Package costs incorporate training, equipment, transportation, and instructor fees.

With knowledgeable dive masters and instructors renowned for their professionalism and friendliness, Temple Adventures ensures a welcoming and educational diving experience. Conveniently situated in the city center of Pondicherry, the dive center offers easy accessibility. Additionally, their dive shop provides a comprehensive range of scuba equipment and gear for enthusiasts to explore and acquire.

Scuba dive gear

Contact Details

  • Website: https://www.templeadventures.com/
  • Contact number:  +91 994 021 9449; +91 90031 22231
  • Email address:  bookings@templeadventures.com
  • Location: Situated in the residential area between the Railway Station and the Pondicherry Harbour, the dive center enjoys a central location that facilitates easy access for divers.

My Review of the Dive Centre

As a solo female traveler and diver, safety is a top priority when selecting dive centers. I never regretted my choice during the three days I spent diving with Temple Adventures. The staff exhibited absolute brilliance and professionalism. Every individual at the center was amiable and showed genuine care for the well-being of their divers.

Dive crew Temple Adventures

What truly sets them apart is their unwavering passion for the ocean and diving. My instructors, Gareth and Das, were exceptional, and I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience while completing my Advanced Open Water Course with them. I wholeheartedly endorse the dive center with a resounding thumbs up and highly recommend them for your next diving adventure.

Fishes at Temple Reef

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Scuba Diving in Pondicherry

Q: Is Swimming Necessary for Scuba Diving?

The short answer is:

  • No, if you’re opting for Discover Scuba Diving (DSD), designed for beginners, non-certified divers, or those trying scuba diving for the first time.
  • Yes, if your goal is to attain certification.

Q: What is Discover Scuba Diving (DSD)?

Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) is not a certified course; it serves to help you determine your interest in diving. I recommend individuals start with a Discover session, and if they enjoy diving, they can proceed to certification. I completed 15 Discover dives before committing to obtaining my Open Water certification.

Q: Is Pondicherry Suitable for Scuba Diving?

Pondicherry absolutely boasts well-explored scuba diving sites ideal for witnessing abundant marine life.

Q: How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Pondicherry?

The cost of scuba diving in Pondicherry varies based on the chosen package. The Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) package, designed for non-certified divers, ranges from INR 5000 to 6500 + GST per person. Additionally, an extra dive incurs an additional cost of about INR 3500 + GST.

Q: What Fish do you see while Scuba Diving in Pondicherry?

The dive sites in Pondicherry offer a diverse array of fish species. Anticipate encountering marine life, including sizable groupers, pufferfish, scorpionfish, lionfish, snappers, silver monies, and many more.

At Abandoned quarry, Pondicherry

Closing Notes

Scuba diving in Pondicherry offers an impeccable experience—favorable weather, incredible marine life, and outstanding dive sites and centers. I highly recommend exploring the underwater wonders of Pondicherry; it has undoubtedly become one of my favorite diving destinations along the East Coast of India. Have you had the opportunity to dive in Pondicherry? Feel free to share your experiences by writing to me.

For further inquiries or questions about scuba diving in Pondicherry, please get in touch with me at Solopassport@gmail.com.

This post is written in collaboration with Temple Adventures. However, all the opinions and views expressed in this post are solely mine and unbiased.

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