India has around 8000 kilometres (5000 miles) of coastal line. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the West, the Indian Ocean on the South, and Bay of Bengal on the East. India also has some spectacular islands (Andamans and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands) off the coast. The oceans surrounding the coastal line and islands offer breathtaking diving sites with natural and artificial reefs and, ship and plane wrecks. Pondicherry is definitely a great place to scuba dive. The diving sites are off the coast from mainland India on the South Eastern side, in the Bay of Bengal. With its abundant marine life, it makes one of the finest diving places in India. And the best thing about scuba diving in Pondicherry is that scuba diving can be done throughout the year.
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Best Dive Centre
While researching for best dive centres in Pondicherry, the top suggestion given by a few of my fellow divers who had dived in Pondicherry and Google reviews was Temple Adventures.
Temple Adventures was started about 10 years ago and has established itself as one of the best centres along the East coast of India, in Pondicherry and Chennai. They are a premium PADI 5 star IDC dive centre in India.
The scuba packages, including the dive courses, are designed to fit in for all types and levels of divers. The cost of these scuba packages is reasonable and totally worth it. The cost includes equipment, transportation, and instructor fees. They do have knowledgeable divemasters and instructors.
They also have a dive shop that sell all the scuba equipment gear.
- Website: https://www.templeadventures.com/
- Contact number: +91 994 021 9449; +91 90031 22231
- Email address: email@example.com
- Location: The dive centre is located in the residential area between the Railway station and the Pondicherry Harbour.
My review about the dive centre
Being a solo female traveler/diver, I always look for dive centres that are safe for female divers. The three days I spent diving with Temple Adventures, not once did I repent for choosing them. The staff is absolutely brilliant and professional. Every person in the centre was extremely friendly and catered for all levels of divers.
What makes them best is their passion for ocean and diving. My diving instructors were awesome and I had great fun learning and completing my Advanced Open Water course. So I definitely give them a thumbs up and totally recommend them.
Scuba diving Sites in Pondicherry
Pondicherry has more than 20 dive sites for the best diving experience. The dive sites have natural coral reefs to the artificial reef to the wrecks. The depths of the sites range from 18 metres to 30 metres. On average the visibility is around 5 to 7 metres, but on good days the visibility can go up to 18 metres.
The most famous diving site in Pondicherry is Aravind’s Wall, but it does have other diving sites worth mentioning.
A unique and utterly amazing dive site is the Temple Reef. It is an artificial reef, constructed from fully recycled materials. The recycled materials include concrete blocks, iron bars, trees, bottles, and palm leaves. The reef was started by Temple Adventures themselves and hence the name Temple Reef. The artificial reef was started with an intention to replenish the dying reef and marine life which was diminishing as a result of overfishing.
The site is still being maintained and monitored by the Temple Adventures. The divers at the centre carry fresh palm leaves every couple of weeks and tie them to the artificial reef underwater to attract more fishes. Such is their passion.
The maximum depth of the site is 18 metres and is a boat dive. The site has four corners tied with ropes diagonally. The four sites are named as:
- Temple 1, which is the original reef.
- Temple 2
- Parking Lot – This is super cool as there is a truck, a car and many bikes that are submerged underwater. This is definitely a great spot for pictures.
- Beer Garden – There are concrete boulders with beer bottles stuck. It is thrilling to watch fishes peep out of these empty beer bottles.
When there is clear visibility, the dive site is a delight when viewed from 5 metres.
Because of the palm leaves and the activity within the artificial reef, marine life is astonishingly huge and amazing. There are many groupers who have made it home and they take shelters between the palm leaves.
There are many other fishes such as the lion fishes, scorpion fishes, and the banner fishes.
The dive site is around 30 minutes (5 kilometres) from the coast.
A perfect place to train the Open water students and to practice underwater skills is an abandoned quarry in Pondicherry. The place is ideal for new divers as it is isolated and the temperature of the water is perfect. The site allows plenty of time for divers to pick up the skills in and out of water.
The maximum depth of the quarry is 14 metres and is a shore dive. The map of the quarry is that it is shallow on the outer ring and becomes deep in the middle.
Even though the quarry does not have many varieties of marine life, but there are still lots of small fishes and sea snakes.
The drive to the abandoned quarry is around 1 to 1.5 hours from the dive centre and the last 500 metres of the ride is an adventure by itself.
Marine Life in Pondicherry
Natural and artificial reefs at the diving centres in Pondicherry attract rich marine life. The dive sites have Groupers, Lion fishes, sea snakes, scorpionfishes, barracudas, banner fishes, and many other species of Asian aquatic life. If one is lucky, then they also spot the whale sharks and manta rays.
Scuba diving in Pondicherry is perfect in every way – the weather is good, the marine life is awesome and the diving sites and the centre are even better. So, I definitely recommend diving in Pondicherry for sure and it surely has become one of my favorite diving sites so far.
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