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Bangaram Island Resort
Bangaram Island Resort. There are many things missing from this island in the Lakshadweep. People, for one. But to compensate, you'll get swaying palms, crystal waters and some of the best diving in the world. The Lakshadweep or Laccadives, as they were formerly called, are a string of little-known islands, lying 250 or so miles off the Malabar coast of India.

There are 36 main islands in all, forming an archipelago of surpassing beauty. This is a world of silver sands and clear warm waters, of submerged banks and virgin reefs, enclosing a fascinating underwater world. Legend has it that the islands were discovered by shipwrecked sailors during the reign of Cheraman Perumal, a legendary King of Kerala, around 435 AD. Frankly, things haven't really changed much since. Nature and culture have both remained preserved over the centuries, miles from the mainland and the trade routes.

And so the crabs scuttle. The reefs remain pristine. The people continue to fish, grow coconuts and smile a lot. And that's in the handful of islands that have any population at all. The vast majority still remain much as they were the day nature conjured them up.

Heaven's Oyster
Called sometimes the Jewel of the Lakshadweep, Bangaram Island is an sparsely populated haven. Barring the occasional visitor from nearby Agatti (where the airport is situated), the only residents are the resort staff. Teardrop shaped, thick with cool coconut plantations and encircled by a corona of silver sand, Bangaram lives up to every 'desert island' fantasy you've ever had.

The air is fresh with ozone. Sparkling coral reefs unwind around turquoise blue lagoons, bursting with tropical life. The waters are calm, warm and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving or just plain wading and messing about. All this, of course, would tend to leave you with a difficult choice. Activity or inactivity?

If you're in an unhurried mood, you can simply laze on the silver beaches, soak in the sun, listen to the sound of the waves and watch the swaying of the palms. The island feels like it was designed specifically for languid strolls. Step out, stretch and watch the beach dances of hermit crabs, or listen to the raucous music of a hundred-piece seabird chorus.

Adventure bangaram Islands. But should you feel the need for a little more adventure on your holiday, Bangaram island offers a wholly different set of activities.

Wind, Water & Adventure
The resort offers you a variety of outdoor pursuits - Kayaking, Catamaran sailing, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, and scuba diving. A well-equipped and professionally manned Scuba Diving facility is available at the resort. As a diving location, the virgin reefs of Bangaram have been ranked by many of the world's experienced divers as being among the best anywhere.

Ancient shipwrecks get discovered every now and then, since the reefs aren't even fully explored yet. That's one reason why they abound in undersea life. Manta rays, eagle rays, moray eels and Hawksbill turtles are common, as are game fish. There are three uninhabited islands in the same atoll, Tinnakara, Parali and the not very imaginatively named Parali-II. Each can be reached by outboarding, sailing, rowing or for the incurably athletic, by kayaking or windsurfing from Bangaram. Perfect for a day's outing, if you're up to it...

Popular dive spots off Bangaram include Manta Point and the wreck of the Princess Royal, sunk 200 years ago. Diving courses and lagoon diving are offered for beginners too. Diving is permitted only within safe depths around 30 meters. Visitors can avail of a decompression chamber, except from 15 May to 15 September.

Accommodation
Accommodation on the island is simple and unpretentious. Set in 128 acres, there are 30 tiled - roof beach huts, each with its own palm-thatched verandah, en-suite bathroom, ceiling fan and fridge. In a bit to preserve Bangaram's unique environment, a hotel atmosphere is avoided intentionally, but fret not - there are enough creature comforts to ensure your stay is an enjoyable one.

There are also four bungalows, which are bigger and offer total privacy. At the heart of the resort is the restaurant hut. It's a little architectural marvel made by the islanders, crafted entirely out of bamboo and palm fronds, around a single tall central pole.

Ayurveda & harmony
Bangaram Island Ayurvedic Treatment. With such peace and natural beauty surrounding you, Bangaram Island is the ideal place to try an ayurvedic treatment, or even just a relaxing massage. The resort, like all CGH Earth properties, has fully-equipped ayurvedic facilities. Ayurveda is the Indian system of traditional medicine, and it's a great way to treat niggling, chronic health problems. Not to mention the odd aches and pains resulting from a long days dive. The peace of the island creates the perfect atmosphere for your mind and body to, in a very real sense, shake hands again. This synchronized massage is one among the many therapies that you can experience at Bangaram Island.

With only 30 rooms and a handful of people about (our staff mainly), you can expect infinite amounts of space and time to claim as your own. The inspiration for our accommodations at Bangaram turned out to be right next door. In the fisherfolks' huts of the Lakshadweep, we found a dwelling that was pleasant, airy and made ingenious use of natural materials. We kept the basic design, but added modern plumbing, real beds and so forth. The noise and heat of large generators would ruin Bangaram, so we deliberately favoured ceiling fans over air-condition.

But with swaying palms in thick clusters around the cottages, you're unlikely to break into a sweat (unless you really want to).The accent at the Bangaram restaurants is on freshness. You can get your freshly-caught shellfish served up in the main dining area, or opt for some beachside grilling of an evening. Impromptu barbecues just seem to happen and of course, there's the beachside bar to help keep your spirits up.

Location map of Bangaram Island Resort Apart from diving, you can try your hand at a host of activities, ranging from the interesting to the exhilarating. Night fishing on the deep sea can be the experience of a lifetime. You can also go kayaking, wind boarding, surfing and more. (Not that there's plenty not to do...try watching the palm trees grow for two hours before lunch, just to work up an appetite...)

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