Islands have always held a certain excitement, whether it is because of a sun and sand paradise, the formations of volcanic rock or the mysteriousness of thick jungles. And India, wondrously diverse in all aspects, has a few islands of its own. Each of these can be visited by anyone and everyone, and each has a certain appeal. While one is known for its historical wonders, another is equally well known for its festivities.
Natural islands are fascinating in their own right, but India also happens to have islands of the man-made kind! The biggest and most prominent among these is Willingdon Island, located in Kochi. The island was constructed in the year 1936, when the Vembanad Lake was being deepened to accommodate the new port for Kochi. The dredged soil was used to fill the island, and it was named after the first Earl of Willingdon, who was the Viceroy of India at that point.
This artificial island is the largest of its kind in India, and has several exciting spots to go sightseeing. Most prominent of course is the port and all the activity that comes along with it, as it handles millions of tons of freight each year. WIllingdon Island is also a major commercial center, which means you have a range of excellent hotels to pick from. It also houses the Indian Navy’s Kochi Naval Base.
Willingdon Island is connected to the mainland by the Venduruthy Bridge. You can also take a ferry to the island from mainland Kochi. The nearest railway station is in Ernakulam, around 3 kms away, and the nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, about 26 kms away.
Surrounded on all sides by the mighty Brahmaputra River, Majuli is the world’s largest river island. And though just an island, Majuli has loads of riches awaiting for anyone who drops by. Majuli means ‘the land between two parallel rivers’, and far from the urban rush, the island is an idyllic location where time runs slow. There’s green fields galore, interspersed with waterways that take a boat ride or two to cross.
You can go cycling along the roads to explore the island and visit the sites. The island has several historic sataras, monasteries dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Satras are a common feature throughout the state of Assam, and each is as pretty as the last. Each satra is a center for performing arts and a place of study for the monks. If you’re lucky, you could even have a cup of tea and a chat with one of the monks. Some satras have adjoining guesthouses, where you can spend the night.
Head to Natun Samaguri Satra to watch elaborate masks being painstakingly handmade, and stroll through the rest of the island to admire the various handicrafts, from pottery to beautifully woven saris. Also ensure you drop by the island’s theater, where dance and theatrical performances are often put up by the locals.
The only way to reach Majuli is by ferry from Jorhat, the nearest city. There are two ferries that leave from Jorhat each day, one at 10 and the other at 3 pm. Jorhat also has the closest railway station, and it also has a small domestic airport. It is around 7 hours away from Assam’s Guwahati International Airport.
An island that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one that undoubtedly makes it to our list of islands to visit in India. Visiting the bustling city of Mumbai is incomplete without taking a ferry ride to Elephanta Island, also known as Gharapuri, surrounded by the Sea of Oman. The island is dotted around with a number of ancient remains, most notably caves that bear intricate carvings linked with Lord Shiva. The rock-cut caves were constructed in around the 5th century CE, and evidence of occupation has been found from as early as the 2nd century BCE.
The layout of the caves and their overall structure contributed to developments in rock-cut architecture, and demonstrated a merge of tradition and innovation. Every last element is there for a reason, and relates somehow to Hindu symbology or spiritualistic belief. The island also shows occupation from the Portuguese era, as proved by the presence of a canon atop its hill. Keep an eye out when you do visit, since you’ll be sharing space with inquisitive and bold monkeys that often run off with food and bags. There’s also small knick-knacks made of marble, jewelry of pretty stones and such things that you can buy on the steps leading up to the caves.
Ferries from the Gateway Of India can take you across to the island, and there are many that run throughout the day. The ferry takes around an hour to get to the island. Mumbai’s Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus are the two major railway stations nearby, the latter of which is well connected to other major cities in India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is the nearest airport.
There’s no way an article about islands to visit in India can go without these beauties! A popular honeymoon destination, the Andaman Islands are also gaining attention from groups of friends and solo travelers. With beaches and forestation pretty enough to rival the likes of Bali and Thailand, the Andamans is a must-visit for any Indian. Of course, there’s the equally stunning Lakshadweep islands off the western coast, but the Andamans have officially reopened for tourism after closing due to Covid. Port Blair itself has the infamous Kala Pani Cellular Jail, a reminder of a gruesome yet gritty past.
A ferry ride away from Port Blair, Havelock Island is undoubtedly one of the places to drop by. Apart from scuba diving, make sure you go on some of the treks that the island has to offer. And definitely drop in to Neil Island; like Havelock, Neil Island too has some great scuba diving sites. But instead of trekking shoes, grab a bicycle instead, as Neil Island is the perfect slice of paradise to cycle around. The island is small enough for you to explore it entirely on a cycle, and the roads are flat with no challenging slopes or curves.
You will have to land into the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair, connected to major cities across India. There are also regular passenger ship services from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, and back.
Goa is thronged by crowds for its beaches, nightlife and chill vibe. But it too has a few gems that escape the manic crowds, and Divar Island is one of them. Don’t come here in hopes of hidden beaches with perfect sands, or a spot of nightlife privy only to a select few. Divar feels like the opposite of the Goa-holiday stereotype, and authentic, local Goan life is in the air. The island has a long history, and was once abandoned when a frightful plague struck Goa. Signs of abandonment give the island a mysterious, adventurous air.
There’s also several old churches, one of which is the St. Mathias Church, dating back to the 18th century. Look out for the Church of Our Lady of Compassion, sitting atop a hill and overlooking the Mandovi River. You can take a car over to the island on the ferry, but another option that’s just as viable is to discover it on a bicycle or a scooter. You’ll come across still lakes, old houses overgrown with greenery, and Portuguese architecture. Most importantly, time will stand still, and for a few days, you will enter a Goa that few tourists get to see.
Divar island is around 10 kms away from Panjim, located upriver. There are three ferry services that can take you there - from Old Goa (near Viceroy’s Arch), Bicholim (Naroa) and Ribandar.
Which Is A Beautiful Island In India?
In terms of beauty, few islands can rival Lakshadweep or the Andamans. But Majuli island definitely joins them as a beautiful island in India, rich with lush greenery and waterways.
How Many Islands Does India Have?
India has a total of 1,382 islands.
Which Is India's Largest Island?
Andrott in Lakshadweep is India’s largest island. It has an area of 4.90 sq km, length of 4.66 km and a maximum width of 1.43 km.
Which Is The Smallest Island Of India?
The Umananda island, a tiny islet surrounded by the Brahmaputra river, is India's smallest island. It is the smallest inhabited river island in the world.
Is Goa An Island Off India?
Goa isn’t an island, and is very much part of mainland India. But it does have some islands, and most of them are riverine islands.
Can I Buy An Island In India?
No, islands in India are not available for sale or purchase. None of the islands surrounding or within the Indian Ocean are freely available for sale.
What Are The Main Islands Of India?
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands off the eastern coast and the Lakshadweep islands off the west are the main clusters of islands of India.
Is Maldives Indian?
Though it is located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is not Indian and is not a part of the country. It is an independent island country, officially the Republic of Maldives.
Which Island Is Near To India?
Islands near India that are part of the country are islands like Elephanta, Diu, St. Mary’s Island (Karnataka), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep. Islands near India that aren’t a part of it are Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Seychelles.
Can I Live In Andaman And Nicobar Islands?
Yes! If you’re an Indian citizen, you can live in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But keep in mind that not every place in the archipelago is open for you to settle down.