Lakshadweep Islands are also known as the Laccadive Islands. It is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea. This island is about 220 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala. These islands and Cochin are linked by ship, which takes about 18 to 20 hours and by flight, which take 90 minutes.
Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman Islands are the similar islands. This group of Islands are endowed with the beauty of coral reef, sandy beaches, unpolluted and clear water and hospitable settings, most of these differ in terms of facilities and services offered.
Lakshadweep means a hundred thousand islands in Malayalam, the local language. It is a union territory of India the tiniest and has the country’s one of the coral islands. However there are only 36 islands having a total area of 32 sq kilometres. Lakshadweep is the northern part of the erstwhile Lakshadweep. The islands are the northern most among the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are actually the tops of a vast undersea (submerged) mountain range, in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
Perhaps the charm of Lakshadweep islands lies in their remoteness. Far off the beaten track, they attract no hordes of merry markers to their shores. Or perhaps it is the beauty of the islands densely covered with coconut palms, and threaded by an unbroken line of creamy sand; each island serenely set in a sea whose waters range from palest aquamarine and turquoise to deepest sapphire and lapis lazuli. Yet again, may be the unique charm of Lakshadweep lies in the fact that each island, a tiny principality in itself, has existed from time immemorial, with little influence from the outside world. Though all the islands are endowed with the beauty of coral reef, sandy beaches, unpolluted and clear water and hospitable settings, most of these differ in terms of facilities and services offered. Some islands have been promoted for diving and water sports still others have been developed so that people enjoy the charm of relaxation and natural enjoyment. Since the land is precious and scare it is avowed policy of the administration to relieve pressure of land and promote water based tourism. The motto being admires and not exploits that natural beauty.
The flora of the islands includes banana, colocasia, drumstick, bread-fruit, and wild almond. Coconut is the only crop of economic importance in Lakshadweep. Cattle and poultry are commonly seen. Oceanic birds are also generally found in one of the uninhabited islands known as ‘Pitti’. This island has been declared as a bird sanctuary.
The Lakshadweep administration has taken a holistic view of tourism development. It promotes tourism as a composite package, comprising accommodation, transportation from and to main land by ship air, catering facilities, recreational facilities, water sports, scuba diving, boating, wind surfing etc.
The facilities of these two islands, Bangaram and Agatti are being managed by private agencies. Private divers also run the scuba diving school at Kadmat. The thrust is on promoting ship based tourism for Indian nationals at fordable rates and the local Administration’s efforts in the regard has met with great success. As the ship cannot enter the lagoon, the passengers are transferred on small boats and brought to the islands jetty.
Lakshadweep comprises twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks, with a total of about thirty-six islands and islets. The reefs are in fact also atolls, although mostly submerged, with only small unvegetated sand cays above the high water mark. The submerged banks are sunken atolls. Almost all the atolls have a northeast-southwest orientation with the islands lying on the eastern rim, and a mostly submerged reef on the western rim, enclosing a lagoon. The main islands are Kavaratti (where the capital city, Kavaratti, is located), Agatti, Minicoy, and Amini. The total population of the territory was 60,595 according to the 2001 census. Agatti has an airport where there are direct flights from Kochi, Kerala or Ernakulam (Cochin).
Tourists need a permit to visit the islands; foreign nationals are not permitted to visit certain islands. Consumption of alcohol is not permitted in the islands except on Bangaram Island. Coconut cultivation and fishing are the chief occupations of the people. Boat building was once an important skill. Sadly, after the advent of motorized boats, this has reduced considerably.
However, majestic wooden boats anchored along the shore stand silent testimony to a fragment of the past. Boats were built for fishing, for navigation from one end of the island to another for inter island communication, for transporting coconuts and dried fish to the mainland and returning with food supplies, as well as for friendly competitive race. Each boat was built differently, according to its function and every island has its own slight variation in design. The people of Lakshadweep are often commended for their honesty. Absence of crime in the island is laudable.
Spiced coconut-rich Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian food. Curried, fried and barbecued fish.
Lakshadweep Tourist Season
Lakshadweep tourist season is October to May for the ship based tour packages. Agatti and Bangaram may be visited throughout the year.
Things not to do
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all islands except Bangaram. Picking up Corals is a punishable crime.