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The decision

Aaaahhhh! A uninhabited island, beautifully blue water, powdery white beaches, swaying palms, inviting hammocks outside the cottage, nothing to break the silence except the sound of lagoon waves lapping the shore. Just our idea of an ideal and perfect honeymoon! Our only problem was figuring out how to get all this, minus the resorty stuff that we both detested (you knowæ the flower garlands, the evening "cultural" program, the tourists in Hawaiian shirts, the manicured lawns, ugh!).

The answer æ Bangaram

With both of us having similar tastes in travel, we figured this relatively off-beat location would be a perfect way to kick-start our travels together. This tiny speck of an island in the Arabian Sea is the only one in the Lakshadweep Islands that has a real hotel to speak of. Besides, it's also the only one where alcohol is permitted (big plus!!). A few glimpses at pictures of the place and we were sold.

Getting there

Agatti, the only island in Lakshadweep with an airport is about a 1.5 hour boat ride away from Bangaram. We got there on an Indian Airlines flight from Goa (though it is better connected from Kochi). As the flight approaches the archipelago, you realize the exquisite beauty of the place. The final touchdown is on a tiny strip with turquoise waters on both sides (giving the illusion of landing in the water). A look around the airport was enough to get us both excited about what was in store ahead.

The airport building is like a tiny hut at the end of the runway. Our friendly escort from the hotel, Rahim greeted us there and got us on a boat to Bangaram. As Agatti faded away we spotted several turtles in the shallow lagoon below us, and every few metres the water turned into a different stunning shade of blue. It was quite a choppy ride, though and I felt a bit sick towards the end. But one look at Bangaram and I was feeling absolutely fine again.

The Experience

The hotel consists of 30 basic cottages spread across one coast of the island. Clean, efficient with very basic facilities. No lawns, no swimming pools, no phones, no newspapers, no television. Just cottages amidst Mother Nature's landscaping. Perfect!

The most difficult choices we had to make were about what to do in between lazing around in the hammock. Since I'm more of a get-up-and-explore kind of person and Ashwini is more of a let-me-just-read-a-book kind of person, this would normally be quite a challenge. But Bangaram made this easy since the most exploring you can do is a one hour beach-walk around the island. I also managed to convince her to accompany me on a short kayak trip around the lagoon and a snorkeling trip to a nearby shipwreck (a must must do!!)

On one of the evenings, the staff prepared an excellent barbecue dinner (including some of the best barbecued vegetarian stuff I've had) served on tables set on the beach right by the water, accompanied by a full moon rising over a nearby island. Magical.

It was impossible to leave Bangaram without making a promise to ourselves to return. It's the kind of place that beckons you the minute you think of it. We know it will happen sooner rather than later. So see you there.

Aashish Gupta is the founder of Outlandish Authentic Travel Experiences, and has made it his mission in life to convert as many tourists into authenticity-seeking travellers as he can. He can be reached ataashish@outlandishtraveller.com

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