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Lakshadweep – India’s tiniest Union territory

By icultist (agatti islandUploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Lakshadweep – India’s tiniest Union territory
  • (worth a trip)
  • 3-5 km
  • Moderate
  • Average
  • 2-3 days
  • 3 3

A perfect holiday destination with breath-taking underwater life.

Lakshadweep India
Guessing the main cuisines of Lakshadweep is a no-brainer but for those of you who are still guessing - the two predominant cuisines is Lakshadweep are Seafood and South Indian. The islands are a heaven for seafood lovers though the dishes come with a hint of coconut (South Indian influence). In fact, coconut is used in almost all dishes. Coconut water is a favorite refreshing drink amongst locals. Word of Caution: Alcohol is prohibited in all islands except Bangaram.
Lakshadweep is more beautiful underwater that on land. One of the lesser visited holiday destinations in India, tourism hasn't captured the archipelago of Lakshadweep yet which is why enjoying a perfect beach vacation can be a dream come true here. make all your bookings in advance as it could get a little tricky since the islands are not so mainstream tourist-y.

Lakshadweep is known as the smallest Union Territory of India and also its only coral island chain. Lakshadweep is basically an archipelago which comprises 36 islands, 12 islets, 5 submerged banks, and 3 reefs. Astonishingly, only 10 out of these islands are inhabited – Bitra, Agatti, Kiltan, Andrott, Chetlat, Amini,  Kadmat, Minicoy, Kavaratti, and Kalpeni. The administrative HQ of the islands is at Kavaratti. The islands are restricted which is why most tourists need a permit to visit the islands however if you have s bonafide record then SPORTS (Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports) takes care of your permits.

 

Out of the 10 inhabited islands of Lakshadweep, only 6 are highly popular amongst tourists. The most famous of them are the Kavaratti islands. As mentioned before, it is the administrative HQ of Lakshadweep, however what makes it a hit amongst tourists is its movie-like setting with 52 mosques scattered around the island, plethora of water sports, a marine aquarium for marine life enthusiasts, glass-bottomed boats, and much more. Agatti islands are the doorway to Lakshadweep with its breath-taking airstrip and a 20-bed tourist complex. Bangaram is a comparatively smaller island which is in close proximity to Agatti and Kavaratti. At night, thousands of phosphorus planktons wash ashore making it look exactly like the night sky full of stars and the view is enchanting. Minicoy is, in a way, different than the rest of the islands and has one of the largest lagoons. The island has 11 villages which are self-managed and is famous for its folk dance ‘Lava’. Look out for the bright and colorful race boats known as “Jahadhoni”. One of the most significant landmarks of the island is a 300-foot-tall Lighthouse which was constructed by the British in 1885. Kalpeni island is known for its distinctive and strangely enormous bank of coral debris which can be found on its eastern and southeastern shorelines. The second most notable thing about the island is that it was here where women first went to school to study when female education was considered a taboo. Last but not the least, Kadmat island is best known for its long sandy beaches in the south and water sports in the east.You can hire kayaks, glass-bottomed boats, pedal boats, skiing boats, and sailing boats here. M/S Lacadives, a Mumbai-based adventure sports company organizes a full-fledged scuba diving center on the island.

 

Of all the adventure sports available at the island you must try:

  1. Kavaratti’s Dolphin Dive Centre – Expect to see soft coral sharks, turtles, all sort of tropical fish, and rays.
  2. Kadmat’s Scuba Diving Centre – Expect to see Lion fish, Tuna, Lobsters, sharks, sweet lips, groupers, eels, and many more.
  3. Minicoy’s Dive Center – Expect to see 3 large shipwrecks, Manta Rays, bull rays, school of jacks, red snappers, napoleon wrasse, black snappers

Because of being isolated from the mainland and still aloof from intense commercialization, the rates are normally higher than other tourist places, however, with all the fun and beauty that the islands have to offer, it is all worth every penny. You can find accommodation in huts which are cheaper than the tourist resorts which cost between INR4000 to INR20000.

 



Opening hours

Lakshadweep is open to tourists and has a favorable climate throughout the year although reaching to the islands via ship is very difficult during the monsoons. October to mid-May sees the maximum number of tourists on the islands though resorts are open throughout the year.

How to get there

Agatti is the only airstrip in Lakshadweep which is well-connected to Kochi only. Kochi further is well-connected to all the major airports in India. You can either take a boat transfer from Agatti for destinations such as Kavaratti and Kadmat during October to May, or opt for helicopter transfer from Agatti to Bangaram during monsoon and to Kavaratti throught the year. Alternatively, you can take one of the six passenger vessels - MV Arabian Sea, MV Minicoy, MV Amindivi, MV Lakshadweep Sea, MV Bharat Seema, and MV Kavaratti , which operate between Cochin and Lakshadweep.

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