Crowds, a new scuba diving hotspot and the 'PM Modi' effect - Hindustan Times
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Crowds, a new scuba diving hotspot and the 'PM Modi' effect

Mar 01, 2024 12:31 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent scuba-diving expedition is whetting travellers’ appetites for a boost in adventure travel that is already following suit.

Just 12 kilometres from the southwestern town of Dwarka, Panchkui Beach is a white-sand coastal destination with immersive views of the Arabian Sea on the horizon to match. Bathed by the sunny, humid subtropical climate, the crowd-free locale draws praise for spiritual tourism, snorkelling, and island touring activities.

Bathed by the sunny, humid subtropical climate, the crowd-free locale draws praise for spiritual tourism, snorkelling, and island touring activities.
Bathed by the sunny, humid subtropical climate, the crowd-free locale draws praise for spiritual tourism, snorkelling, and island touring activities.

Easily accessible and with a wide range of diving to suit all tastes, it is also one of the most inexpensive and exciting scuba spots in the world—and PM Modi agrees, describing his experience as “very divine” on X (formerly Twitter). “To pray in the city of Dwarka, which is immersed in the waters, was a very divine experience. I felt connected to an ancient era of spiritual grandeur and timeless devotion. May Bhagwan Shri Krishna bless us all,” he wrote, sharing a set of photos from his underwater trip.

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And the recent attention to the popular activity and the destination has received quite a tourism bump as a result. “Since Sunday, there has been a steep incline in queries from prospective visitors,” confirmed Harshit Jakadiya, partner at Dwarka Scuba, a local scuba operator. “While it is common knowledge in the state, people from across India are now getting to know about the local and we are definitely expecting to see the numbers climb.”

Travel operators also observed the surge in demand. “We are witnessing an over 2.5x surge in demand for locations visited by the Prime Minister–and not just from metros, but increasingly from India’s Tier 2-3 source markets,” said Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Holidays, SOTC Travel. “Our customer data reveals interest from not just the traditional segments of families and seniors, but also young India’s millennials and Gen Z, and this is a very encouraging trend,” he added.

“After Lakshwadeep, Dwarka is another case in point, with our searches seeing over 150% uptick. In addition, what is noteworthy is the PM’s impact on inspiration for unique experiences and we have been seen a jump in queries for scuba/underwater inclusions for our tours post his Dwarka images shared by media,” explained Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited.

Those who are still learning about scuba-diving explorations near Dwarka to see the submerged remains of ancient Dwarka, Panchkui Beach and Shivrajpur Beach both offer some of the most convenient and exciting experiences in the state. From tracing the archaeological journey that led to the discovery with a local expert and PADI instructor to the serenity and stillness of being in the marine environment, it is hard not to be blown away when uncovering Gujarat’s dive scene. “A brilliant base for sightseeing, pilgrimage, seaside sports or birdwatching and marine exploration, visitors to Dwarka can reserve their 15-20 minute, (approx) 10-meter dive given they meet the necessary requirements,” shared Anshika Gupta, tour advisor at Universal Adventures.

Essential information:

Best time: October to April, with water temperatures ranging from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius and visibility between 5 to 7 meters​​.

Age: Anyone above 10 can indulge in the activity and elderly people above the age of 50 can participate given they are physically fit and healthy.

Booking the experience: Select a reputable diving agency that provides comprehensive packages, including equipment rental, training, and guided dives​​​​​​.

Costing: Depending on the dive location and agency, the cost for scuba diving in Dwarka can stand between Rs. 2,000 to 2,500 covering equipment, training, and a dive session.

Where to book: Dwarka Scuba (dwarkascuba.com), Universal Adventures (universaladventures.in), Divine Scuba (divinescuba.com) Dwarka Tourism (dwarkatourism.in)

Health advisory: People suffering from asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease or any breathing problem are discouraged from trying the activity.

Safety and training: Participants receive training on equipment use and safety measures before diving. Agencies ensure a safe and guided diving experience with professional instructors​​.

Inclusions: Most packages include scuba diving equipment, a costume, training, complimentary underwater video and photography, and all necessary permits and taxes​​.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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