Text by PADI and UW360
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Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry, is the capital and the most-populous city of the Union Territory of Puducherry. The city is located on the southeast coast of India, surrounded by the state of Tamil Nadu. As one of the only east coast dive destinations in the country, Pondicherry is a must-visit for those looking to explore the waters of South Asia. Featuring beautiful reefs, incredible underwater caves, vibrant schools of fish, unique aquatic creatures, and a variety of marine flora, Pondicherry has plenty in store for divers of all levels.
Here are 7 spots worth diving in Pondicherry.
1. TEMPLE REEF
Temple Reef is an artificial reef constructed by Temple Adventures, and in spite of its age, remains wildly popular. Spanning a distance of 30 metres, the man-made reef consists of four different areas: the “Original” Temple Reef, Parking Lot, Beer Garden, and Wreck City. Each spot is built entirely out of recycled materials, including concrete, iron bars, trees, palm leaves, and rocks.
Expect to encounter over a 100 different species of aquatic wildlife, including 50 species of corals and 75 species of sea creatures. Divers can get up close and personal with lionfish, angelfish, moray eels, and bannerfish, or marvel at the majestic beauty of manta rays as they cruise by.
Located at a maximum depth of 18 metres, this dive location is suitable for beginners and upwards.
2. CORAL SHARK REEF
As the name suggests, Coral Shark Reef is teeming with reef sharks. Located at a depth of between five and 23 metres, this site is suitable for divers of all levels. Look forward to playing near the sandy seabed, admiring the coral formations and gaping in awe at the resident reefies.
3. ARAVIND’S WALL
Renowned as one of India’s top scuba diving sites, Aravind’s Wall is an adventure waiting to be had. Owing its name to a massive rock formation that spans over 2.5 kilometres, the wall is perfect for drift dives and promises an enigmatic diving experience.
Home to countless species of marine animals, Aravind’s Wall is a great place for those looking to bask in the presence of the biggest and brightest in the ocean. From gigantic manta rays to multicoloured fusiliers, bannerfish, snapper, and jackfish, there is something for everyone.
Situated at a depth of around 40 metres, this site is suitable only for Advanced Open Water divers who are looking for an exciting drift diving experience.
4. FOUR CORNERS
Four Corners is what is colloquially known as an oldie, but a goodie. As one of the oldest dive sites in Pondicherry, it has almost become tradition for divers to take a dip in the chillier waters of Four Corners when they visit the region.
Dotted with palm trees on land and adorned with over 70 coral species under the waves, Four Corners has more than earned itself a place among India’s best dive sites. Beyond the seemingly endless coral reef, look forward to seeing excitable dolphins, lionfish, butterflyfish, torpedo rays, and more.
The site is found at a depth of 18 metres, so is best enjoyed by intermediate and advanced divers.
5. THE HOLE
As its name suggests, The Hole is one of the deepest dives in India. Growing deeper the further away you are from shore, this dive site promises an unforgettable adventure for those experienced enough to take on the challenge. However, as you go deeper, visibility decreases so make sure to bring a torch along.
Aside from experiencing the thrill of sinking into the seemingly endless void, The Hole is a hotspot for large schools of fishes and gorgeous hard corals. Shine your torch on the seabed and be mesmerised by the hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
Descending to depths of 30 metres, this site is strictly reserved for advanced divers.
Named after its flowing rocky reed bed, Ravines is a fantastic diving spot for beginners looking to explore some new and interesting underwater topography. Located at an average depth of 12 metres, the site is famous for its cruising manta rays. There is also a diverse coral reef and a menagerie of colourful reef fish to look forward to.
7. TEMPLE ADVENTURES
One cannot complete a brief guide to diving in Pondicherry without mentioning Temple Adventures. Whether you are looking to dip your toes into scuba diving for the first time or are a seasoned dive veteran looking to gain more experience, Pondicherry’s award-winning dive centre is the one stop-shop for all your diving needs.
Beginners can enjoy diving at a wide range of shallower sites, while more advanced divers can choose to dive some of the deeper and more challenging sites. There are also various pools and inland freshwater lakes that are ideal scuba training grounds for kids. All the lessons imparted maintain international diving standards and are conducted by highly trained, multilingual instructors.
To check out more beautiful dive locations in South Asia, get your copy of Asian Diver Issue 4 / 2021 here.
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