11 Apr 2022

3 Unmissable Island Experiences In India

3-unmissable-island-experiences-in-india

Looking to enjoy a beautiful, uncrowded cultural experience in India? How about you catch a boat and head out for one of the lovely island destinations, less frequented by the travelling hordes, but summon up really wonderful moments that will stay in memory long after you’ve left India’s shores?

Birding Haven, Charao Island, Goa

An unforgettable load of memories are going to pile up when you take a boat ride to the secluded environs of Charao Island in Goa. The cruise down the river fringed by a thick pelt of mangroves, offers a thrilling insight into the unique tidal eco-systems of this amazing primordial botanical phenomenon. You get to uncover a very interesting aspect of Goa’s historic past of Ilhas Dos Fidalgos ( The Island of the Noblemen ) surrounded by the mangroves of the Mandovi River. It once served as a pleasure retreat for a Portuguese nobleman. The largest island on the Mandovi River it sweeps you into a time warp with its 16th century churches, convents and cemetery. At the heart of the island likes the beautiful Dr Salim Ali sanctuary a birding haven for avifaunal buffs. Another unique aspect of the island is the temple raised to Lord Krishna and his biological mum, Devaki.

Ode to Lord Shiva, Elephanta Island, Mumbai

Catch a slow boat from the iconic Gateway of India to uncover the delights of the rock art of the UNESCO-acclaimed World Heritage Site of the Elephanta island in the sea of Oman, just 10km from Mumbai. Richly endowed with verdant splendour the island is a huge draw for its historic cave treasures. Spend an indulgent day marvelling over the fantastical offering of the chief rock-cut Cave 1, sited as a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva since the 7th century. The centre of attraction here is the highly detailed on the 7-metre-high masterpiece “Sadashiva” sculpture representative of the iconic triumvirate of Shiva as creator, protector and destroyer. Fifteen large reliefs surrounding the lingam chapel in the main Elephanta Cave make up one of one of the most important collections for the cult of Shiva. Archaeological remains scattered across the island bear testimony to the island being inhabited from as early as the 2nd century BCE.

Ancient Culture Hub-Majuli Island, Assam

If you have time on your hands while visiting Kolkata, you could easily be swayed to visit the tea plantations and game parks in Assam, just a flight away. One of the most exceptional adventures that await you here is a journey to Majuli Island, the world’s largest, continuously inhabited riverine island. Straddling the waters of the legendary Brahmaputra River, which has shaped the land and culture of the state, Majuli Island must be visited before the hungry River gobbles it up completely. A ferry ride from Jorhat, connected by flight from Guwahati, brings to the island famous for its unique spiritual culture. The centre of focus is the ancient Vaishnava culture, promoted through the culture of satras (Vaishanava monasteries) established by Sankardeva, the 16th century leader of Vaishanava revivalism. Another point of cultural importance are the settlements of the Mishing tribe originally hailing from Arunachal Pradesh. The state’s only riverine community, the Mishing are renowned for most amazing beautiful shawls and blankets which are better served as wall hangings.

Take time out of your travel from the mainland India to discover the many charms of island life. You won’t be disappointed!

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