A holiday by the sea usually means relaxing on the beach, going for swims and maybe taking a trip out in a boat. In this issue, we explore India’s marine national parks, going beneath the surface of the sea to discover new species and experiences, largely undiscovered by tourists.
There’s a sense of tranquillity, poetry and mystery once you are beneath the surface and your imagination seems shallow. It’s like nothing you see above ground and you slip into a contemplative mood, considering questions of protection, conservation and knowledge. It’s this miscellany of emotions and lessons that is reflected in our story of a visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in the Andaman islands. India has six marine national parks, each one home to a stunningly diverse variety of life, some of it endangered. The focus of conservation has tended to be on land—tigers, elephants and cheetahs seeming to be more charismatic than sharks, corals and crabs—but these underwater wonderlands are crucial to the health of the planet. In many of these marine national parks, boats with experienced guides take you out to sea and even if you are not into snorkelling and swimming, there is still much to learn from observing creatures so different from the ones we usually see.
Another way to explore the coastline, without snorkelling or swimming, is coasteering, a little-known activity that’s gaining traction along the coast of south Goa. You explore the line where the sand meets the sea, hiking, climbing and walking along the coast while observing marine life.
Our search for the largely undiscovered extends to food as well. We have a story on the chefs and restaurateurs who are putting Karnataka’s hyper-local dishes on their menus. From dishes specific to certain communities to more ubiquitous but regional fare, Karnataka, like any other state, has a variety of cuisines rarely served outside homes and community kitchens. And as always, you can also discover new books, recipes, shows, art, ideas and music in this issue.
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