lakshadweep islands, India
Comprising a string of 36 palm-covered, white-sand-skirted coral islands 300km off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep is as stunning as it is isolated. Only 10 of these islands are inhabited, mostly by Sunni Muslim fishermen, and foreigners are only allowed to stay on a few of these. With fishing and coir production the main sources of income, local life on the islands remains highly traditional, and a caste system divides the islanders between Koya (land owners), Malmi (sailors) and Melachery (farmers).
The real attraction of the islands lies under the water: the 4200 sq km of pristine archipelago lagoons, unspoiled coral reefs and warm waters are a magnet for flipper-toting travellers and divers alike.
Lakshadweep can only be visited on a prearranged package trip. At the time of research, resorts on Kadmat, Minicoy, Kavaratti, Agatti and Bangaram islands were open to tourists – though most visits to the islands are boat-based packages which include a cruise from Kochi, island visits, watersports, diving and nights spent on board the boat. Packages include permits and meals, and can be arranged though SPORTS.
Kadmat: Kadmat Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations. There is a huge lagoon on the west side of the island, around 10km from the Amini.
Kavaratti Island is the most developed Island in Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is the administrative capital of Lakshdweep and the population is dominated by non-islanders. There are many Mosques on this island (around 52) and the most beautiful one is Ujra mosque.
Kalpeni: Kalpeni is located at the distance of around 76km south of Androth. This place lies in an extensive and shallow lagoon. The lagoon is world famous for its rich coral and marine life.
Bangaram: This Island is one of the best tourist destinations in the world due to its smooth sands and amazing palm grove backdrop. Here smooth sand is caressed by the waves of the multi coloured sea. This beautiful Island lies at a distance of around 8km from the north side of Agatti Island.
Agatti Island the gateway for the Lakshadweep, it is located at a distance of around 459 km from the Cochin. Agatti Island is around 6 km long. Surplus fishes are easily found on Agatti island. Fishing is the main occupation for the people living here.
This island has some of the best beaches for swimming in the world. Here tourists can enjoy the adventure of swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Tourists can also find huge lagoons over here, which increases the beauty of this island. Visitors can also enjoy different water sports activities like Scuba Diving, Deep Sea Fishing, sailing, boat rides, water skiing and kayaking at Agatti Island.
At the time of writing, foreigners were allowed to stay at the government resorts on Kadmat and Minicoy islands, Agatti (which has a private resort and the only airport), Kavaratti and Bangaram (tent resort); enquire at SPORTS. Any visits require a special permit (one month’s notice) which can be organised by tour operators or SPORTS in Kochi.
e-Permit System – Lakshadweep