Literally meaning a ‘hundred thousand islands’, Lakshadweep has few of the most beautiful and exotic islands and beaches of India.
The smallest Union Territory of India, ‘Lakshadweep’ is a group of beautiful islands, located some 400km off India’s west coast into the Arabian Sea. However, there are only 36 islands having a total area of 32 sq. kilometers. It’s made up of 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Ten Islands are inhabited. Perhaps the charm of Lakshadweep islands lies in their remoteness. Far off the beaten track, they attract no hordes of merry makers 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.
The islands, though all equally mystical and beautiful, each offers a unique blend of tourist spots. 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. Lakshadweep is typically accessed from Kochi (Kerala) and a permit is required to visit Lakshadweep for all tourists (including Indians). After permit, Indians are permitted to visit all islands, however, even after permit, foreigners are permitted to just visit Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat Islands. Permits can be obtained from Kochi itself.
History of Lakshadweep: Lakshadweep does not have any aboriginal inhabitants or tribal groups. The islanders came to settle on the island at some point in history. With several legends surrounding how this happened, more recent history tells us that the island had been successively invaded and captured by the Arabs, the Portuguese and finally the British. The influences are visible in the predominantly Hindu and Muslim culture evident here. The influence of Indian mainland is the most obvious as the local language is a dialect derived from Malayalam. The descendants are of either Indian or Arab ethnicity. Tourism is a recent phenomenon on the islands.
Top places to visit in Lakshadweep
Agatti Island: Located 459 kms away from Cochin, Agatti hosts one of the most stunning lagoons in Lakshadweep. A virtual gateway to Lakshadweep, it is 6 kms long and about 1000mts wide. It is virtual gateway to enter the island of Lakshadweep. Agatti hosts about 20-bed tourist complex to meet up with the growing needs of customers visiting here. Agatti has abundant coral growths and multi colour fishes in the most beautiful lagoons of Lakshadweep. The climate here is hot as compared to the other islands.
Amindivi Island: Amini or Amidivi Island, the first and foremost human inhabited Island and densely populated, is famous for superior quality of coir products. The island with tropical climate is small area with only about 3 km long and 1.6 km width. History tells that this island was captured in the 16th century by the Portuguese and made as their colony, mainly attracted by the craft of making of coir ropes. Later British took over the control in 1799 till the merging of Lakshadweep with Indian Union. Island is famous for many beautiful craftworks, walking sticks beautifully made with the shells of tortoise and coconut and carved striking flower motifs on hard coral stones, are some important artefacts available here. Tourists can make a shopping for these valuable materials.
Andretti Island: Andrott (Andretti) Island, the largest Island in Lakshdweep, is the closest Island to the mainland of India through Cochin. It is a densely populated island, situated with glamour and glare of natural beauty. The Island is blessed with many tourist attractions including many Buddhist archaeological remains and the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ubaidullah. Andrott has the unique feature of lying in the east-west direction; all other islands are oriented in north-south direction. The island is dense with coconut palms and coir industry flourishes in this island. If the tourists are patient enough, they can catch hold of small species of octopus during the neap tides from sea shore in this island. This is a calm and attractive place to spend the evenings.
Bangaram Island: With a unique shape of a Tear, the Bangaram Island is bewitchingly beautiful and uninhabited island. It is encircled with an incessant nimbus of creamy sand. This place is ranked as one of the best gateways of the world. You can see the sun, sand and surf casting mesmerizing spells on the visitors, just like the other islands of Lakshadweep, lavish plantations and coolness of swaying coconut palms during the peak time in the day. Bangaram offers the tourists utmost privacy, unpolluted environ and loads of activities to do.
Folk Arts: Kolkali and Parichakali are the two popular folk art forms in the Territory. They are an integral part of the cultural milieu except in Minicoy where “LAVA” is the most popular dance form. Some of the folk dances have a resemblance with those in North Eastern India. For marriages “OPPANA” is a common feature, a song sung by a lead singer and followed by a group of women. Picnics are a common leisure activity in Minicoy. The most widely celebrated festivals are Independence Day and Republic Day, Milad – Ul – Nabi, Idulfitr, Bakrid, and Muharram in that order. Interestingly Independence Day and Republic Day are celebrated for days with religious fervour.
Kadmath Island: It is located at the distance of 407 kms from Cochin. It has a large lagoon, abundant coral growth, long sandy beaches, excellent water sports facilities and other great attractions. It is the only island that has lagoons both on the eastern and western sides. The Scuba diving Center has become the attraction for water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. This island resort is managed by Sports.
Scuba Diving: Clear and unspoiled water in the Lakshadweep makes it a neat and perfect destination for diving. Lakshadweep has grown to a wonderful stature with unique diving facilities. Lakshadweep is a sports paradise for adventurous tourist. Scuba diving is practiced here with much vigor and dynamism. Water Sports Institute, located at Kadmat Islands, provides necessary equipments, Scuba diving facilities and training for the interesting visitors. Competent instructors are also available here in this Institute. Another place offering Scuba diving facilities is Dolphin Dive Center in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep.
Weather: 29° C
Ideal duration: 4-7 days
Best time: November – May
- Summer (March – May) Summers are the ideal time to be here. The temperatures range between 22 to 36 degrees Celsius.
- Monsoon (June – August) Monsoons in Lakshadweep are characterised by heavy rainfall and lots of greenery everywhere. The temperatures do not rise above 35 degrees Celsius.
- Winter (September – February) During this time, the weather remains pleasant and perfect for a vacation. The temperatures range between 20 to 32 degrees Celsius and this is the time when tourists mainly visit the Lakshadweep islands.
Getting to Lakshadweep: Air India operates flights from Kochi to Agatti six days a week. To visit the Lakshadweep islands, you need to get a tourism permit from Kochi. While in the region, spend a couple of days exploring holiday hotspots in ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala, as well. Ships, ferries and boats from Kerala ply regularly to Lakshadweep for locals.