Lakshadweep

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Introduction

Lakshadweep, which has been given a Union Territory status, is located off the Kerala coast of India, at a distance of round 400 kms. It was known as Lacadives formerly and is the smallest Union Territory of India. Lakshadweep contains of a group of 36 coral islands that appear in the Arabian Sea and are the only coral atolls of India. In Sanskrit, the word Lakshadweep means ‘Hundred Thousand Islands’. Out of these 5 are submerged reefs, 10 are inhabited islands, 4 are islets that are newly formed and 17 are uninhabited islands.

History of this place indicates that around 345 AD, some sailors who were ship wrecked, found these islands during the Cheruman Perumal, the popular Kerala king’s reign. It is located away from the mainland area. People reside here the very same way as in the past. The way of life of the people is protected and its cultural heritage is truly unique. The sand is powdery soft, the hues dazzle, the seas are crystal clear and many of the coral reefs are yet to be explored. Due to this, for tourists across the world, this is a dream destination for sure.

 

Best Time To Visit

Lakshadweep enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot during the months of April and May. Rainfall is regular and heavy during the monsoons. The weather is good during winter time. In Lakshadweep it is regular thing to experience powerful winds. The best time to visit Lakshadweep is December to May, when it is drier and cooler.

 

How To Reach

By Road

Tourists can hire a bicycle or travel by foot, once on the island.

By Sea

From Mumbai occasional cruises are available. From Kochi to Lakshadweep and back there are a few passenger ships made available by the Lakshadweep Administration. The trip takes around 18-20 hours where tourists can enjoy sailing through the Arabian Sea’s deep blue waters. Basic accommodation facilities are also offered on the ships including video shows, upper deck airing space, cafeteria, snack bar, lounge for entertainment, doctor on call etc. Ferries and boats are available to go from one island to the other. From Agatti to Kadmat and Bangaram, boat transfers are available.

By Air

In the Agatti island of Lakshdweep is an airport. Regular flights are available from this airport to Kochi the capital of Kerala, which takes just about an hour and a half. From Agatti Island, helicopter services are available to Kadmat, Bangaram and Kavaratti, the capital city of Lakshadweep.

 

Availability Of Hotels And Restaurants

Limited accommodation is available at Lakshadweep. Hence it is important to make advance bookings. To stay in Lakshadweep, there are a number of places available. To unwind and relax, the beach resorts make an excellent choice at places like Bangaram, Kavaratti, Kadmat, Minicoy and Kalpeni. Packages are also available to visit islands like Minicoy, Kavaratti and Kalpeni.

Private entrepreneurs operate many of the resorts and tourist homes. On many of the islands like Minicoy, Kavaratti, Kalpeni and Kadmat, tourist huts can be booked. Private cottages are available from local entrepreneurs.

The SPORTS – Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports runs a number of restaurants in each of the islands for tourists. Seafood deliciously made with ample amount of coconut is offered at the restaurants. Quite evident in the Lakshadweep cuisines is Kerala’s culinary influence. Intercontinental food is also offered at the restaurants and hotels apart from the local cuisine. Coconut water is available in abundance as a refreshing drink at many places.

 

Best Places, Locations, Monuments Etc

The villages, marine life, mosques and tourist resorts are a great attraction in Lakshadweep. Ethnically the people of Kerala, India and the people residing on the islands, are quite similar. They are of mixed Arab and Indian descent and speak a Malayalam dialect. A Maldivian language, called Mahl is spoken in Minicoy. Muslims live in Lakshadweep in large numbers. To visit the islands a special permit is required for every tourist. The easiest way to visit the island is to arrange a hotel booking which will sort things out for the tourist or a package tour can be booked through the government’s tour operator. Bookings have to be made by tourists in advance. At the Kadmat, Bangaram and Agatti there is restriction on foreigners visiting. People from India can visit the other islands.

Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep, is a famous destination for tourists. It is home to a beautiful lagoon and white sandy pristine beaches. It is an excellent place for indulging in water based sports. Water sports lovers are sure to get attracted to the Dolphin Drive Centre. Kalpeni atoll contains coral wreckage on the south eastern and eastern shorelines. Pedal boats, swimming, sail boats, reef walk, water sports on kayaks are the other adventure activities which can be enjoyed on water. Nothing can be compared to the scenic beauty of this exotic destination.

The second largest island, which is in crescent shape, is Minicoy. It has the largest lagoons on the islands and a common activity is tuna fishing here. The biggest attraction here is the lighthouse. For tourists, another destination in the must go list is Kadhmath, most ideal to spend some peaceful moments away from the hectic life of the city. The small sandy banks and beaches are a big attraction for sun bathing. Boats with glass bottoms, skiing boats, kayaks, sailing yachts and pedal boats can be hired at Kadhmath.

The rich age old culture of Lakshadweep is displayed in the festivals. Tribal festivals are also observed in a smaller scale. Muslim people live here in a majority and the Muslim festivals are celebrated here. Ramzan and Id-Ul-Fitr are the main Lakshwdeep festivals celebrated with vigor and religious fervor. Tourists are sure to be left spellbound when the calm localities change into loud gatherings.

From 1956 to 1962 there was no transportation either by mechanized vessels or ships available to the locals. However the ‘M.V. Sea Fox’ was introduced with a capacity of 12 passengers in 1962. No infrastructure or buildings was available for carrying out activities of tourism. The first full-fledged all weather ship M.V.Amindivi was introduced to the fleet in 1974 which helped in changing the very face of tourism and journeying to the islands. Bangaram, the uninhabited island was opened for international tourism in 1974.