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Bangaram Atoll, Laccadive Islands, India
. The “Lacquered” islands or Laccadives are legendary for the glossiness of the Indian Ocean surrounding them. There are three dozen of these coral atolls over 150 miles off the coast of southwest India – but moorkh Indian bureaucrats insist on calling them “Lakshadweep,” Sanskrit for “100,000. Go figure.

Paintings of the French Impressionists of the 19th century merged dreams and reality. Here that is for real. The beauty in the Laccadives can be so astonishing that it seems surreal – like when the ocean and sky merge into one in a palette of pastels straight from the brush of Monet. Come to Bangaram and you’ll find yourself living inside a painting. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #172 photo ©Jack Wheeler)