Like pearls scattered in the sea, the Lakshadweep islands reveal themselves to only the most determined of seekers. While a handful of travellers are familiar with the sights and sounds here, fewer still set eyes on Thinnakara, one of the archipelago’s hidden treasures, says Irfan Quader
If you have ever dreamt of living on an island of your own, head to Thinnakara in the Lakshadweep archipelago. One of the uninhabited islands of Lakshadweep, this stunning teardrop-shaped piece of land is completely off the tourist radar. Around eight kilometres northeast of the popular Agatti island, Thinnakara shares a lagoon and coral-lined banks with Bangaram island (ranked among the best getaways of the world). But the two islands are worlds apart. While the latter boasts air-conditioned beach cottages serving a wide range of culinary fare, the former is quite the opposite. Housing a few modest yet cozy accommodations with thatched roofs and bio-toilets – a stay in Thinnakara is like living the Robinson Crusoe life on your own private island with unadulterated natural sights. If you get bored of sunbathing on pearly-white beaches, there are plenty of opportunities for such water sports as snorkelling, kayaking and glass-bottomed boat rides.
Snorkel amid rainbow hues
Just off the southern side of Thinnakara is the site of a small shipwreck. Although the area is devoid of corals, it is one of the most interesting spots for snorkelling near the island. The sheer diversity of fish that swim through and around the remnants of the wreck, their rainbow hues flashing in the sunlight, is breathtaking. While you take in the sights here, be careful of the water current. While it is mild enough to let you enjoy, it is also just as strong enough to push you a little off course. It’s advisable to have a trained guide with you for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Wade out to the Parali islands
At the opposite end of Thinnakara, off the northern tip, two tiny islands emerge from the shallow blue waters of the lagoon. Called simply Parali I and Parali II, these two clusters of swaying palm trees lie right on the lagoon’s edge. The water level between Thinnakara and these small islands is so shallow that at low tide you can wade out to them without even getting your knees wet! Walking the few hundred metres out to these two little islands, with the water swirling around your ankles most of the time, might make you feel a little like being in a movie. On one of the islands, you could easily convince yourself that you’re marooned somewhere in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by endless stretches of water. A small stone-pillared monument hidden under the palms on Parali II only adds to the island’s mysterious vibe. You can spend hours here undisturbed among the palms and quaint hidden beaches of these two islands – even more so than on Thinnakara. Apart from a few locals who occasionally come from Agatti to fish, you will be on your own. This is one of those few places in the world perfect for those who love their privacy, nature and enjoy their own company. Most travellers to Lakshadweep miss out on the Thinnakara experience, either because it’s not a part of the package tours or because it appears too basic for comfort. Make the effort and you’ll be rewarded with memories that are guaranteed to stay with you for a long time.