Lakshadweep, the only coral reef island of India, attracts tourists from
all over the world. The smallest Union Territory of India, Lakshadweep
spreads over an area of 32 sq. kms in the emerald Arabian sea, at a distance
of 220-440 kms from Kochi, Kerala. It comprises 10 inhabited islands, 17
uninhabited islands, four newly formed islets, five submerged reefs and
several attached islets. Kavaratti is the administrative headquarters of
According to the 2001 census, Lakshadweep has a population of 60,595 and
the density of population is 500-2,500 people/kms. Apart from a unique and
quiet tourist destination, Lakshadweep is a great destination for adventure
sports like watersports, fishing etc.
Lakshadweep - History
Early history of Lakshadweep is unknown, what is now available in historic
records are mostly based on various legends. According to historic records,
the first settlement on these islands is attributed to the period of
Cheraman Perumal, the last king of Kerala. It is said that he accepted Islam
and moved out of his capital, Cranganore (present day Kodungallor - an
old harbour town of Kochi) for Mecca. However, he disappeared without any
news. After the disappearance of king, people started to look for him and
search parties left for the shores of Mecca in sailing boats. While on their
mission to find the king, search parties discovered various islands of
Amini, Kavaratti, Andrott and Kalpeni. Later, people moved from these
islands to other islands namely - Agatti, Kadmat, Kiltan and Chetlat.
Further, the arrival of the Portuguese in India made Lakshadweep an
important place for seafarers. In the beginning of the 16th century, the
Portuguese forcibly landed at Amini Island to procure coir, but it is said
that local people killed all the invaders by poisoning and ended the
Portuguese invasion. In the middle of the 16th century, the administration
of the island passed from the hands of Hindu King, Chirakkal on to the
Muslim house of Arakkal of Cannanore. The Arakkal rule was not satisfactory,
so in the year 1783, some people of Amini island took courage and went to
Tipu Sultan and requested him to take over the Administration of the island.
Eventually, five islands came under the rule of Tipu Sultan and the rest
remained under Arakkal house.
In the year 1799, after the battle of Seringapattom, the islands were
annexed to the British East India Company and the headquarters was in
Mangalore. In 1847, a severe cyclone hit the Andrott island and King of
Chirakkal decided to visit the island for distributing relief. Sir William
Robinson, an officer of the East India Company also accompanied the King. On
reaching the island, the King found it hard to meet the demands of the
affected people, Sir William offered help to the king in the form of loan.
About four years later, the English asked the king to repay them but he
could not pay the money and in 1854 the remaining islands were handed over
to the East India Company.
Later in 1912, the Lakshadweep Regulation was introduced by the British
which conferred limited power to Amins/Karanis of the islands. From the
above regulation, a reasonable restriction of outsider were also
implemented. In the year 1956, the Union Territory was formed and it was
named as Lakshadweep in 1973.
Lakshadweep - Islands
The inhabited islands include Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat,
Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. Kavaratti is an ideal
destination for water sports, swimming and basking on sandy beaches. Andrott
is the largest island in Lakshadweep, fishing industry is well developed
here and coir and copra are the main products of the island. Minicoy is the
second largest island of Lakshadweep, the light house of this island is one
of the oldest and was established in 1885.
Kalpeni island is known for its pristine natural beauty and tiny islets
called Pitti and Tilakkam. Agatti is another beautiful island of
Lakshadweep, it is known for coral growth and multicoloured corals. Far from
the maddening crowd of cities, Kadmat island is an ideal place for a
relaxing holiday. Amini island is the home of talented craftsmen who are
known for making walking sticks with tortoise shells and coconut shells.
Kiltan is located 51 kms north-east of Amini island and it is rich in flora.
Chetlat is the northern most island of Lakshadweep, coir twisting is the
main occupation of the island people. Bitra is the smallest island having a
population of only 250 persons, here you will small shrine of Malik Mulla,
an old Arab Saint.
Bangaram is a breathtakingly beautiful island and it is uninhabited. It is
considered among the best gateways of the world and here the sun, sand and
surf are found in perfect harmony. Pitti is one of the popular uninhabited
island of Lakshadweep, it has been declared a bird sanctuary.
Lakshadweep - People & Culture
Lakshadweep is dominated by Muslims, more than 93% of the population are
Muslims and majority of them belong to the Shafi School of the Sunni Sect.
The people of the islands are ethnically similar to coastal Kerala's
Malayali people and believe that they descended from traders who were washed
up on the islands during a heavy storm. Malayalam is the main language of
all the islands except Minicoy where people speak Mahl which is also spoken
in Maldives. Main occupation of the people of the island are fishing, coir
twisting and coconut cultivation.
Lakshadweep - Flora and Fauna
Lakshadweep boasts of a rich variety of plant and animal species including
an impressive marine life in the sea. Here, you will see vertebrates such as
cattle and poultry and sea birds like Karifetu (Anous solidus) and
Tharathasi (Sterna fuscata). Molluscan varieties are found in abundant
number here that include Cypraea monita, Cypraca talpa and Cyprea
maculiferra. Among crabs, the most common species found in the island is the
hermit crab. Apart from these, you can also spot colourful coral fish such
as Parrot fish (Callyedon sordidus), Butterfly fish (Chaetodon auriga),
Surgeon fish (Acanthurus lineotus) etc.
Floral species found in the islands include Banana, Bread Fruit, Chambu,
Chakka, Colocassia, Drumstic moringakkai, Vazha and Wild almond. Coconut and
Thenga (Cacos nucifera) is the only crop of economic importance which grow
in the islands of Lakshadweep. In addition to these, some of shrubs like
Chavok, Cheerani, Kanni, Punna etc. are grown unevenly throughout the
Lakshadweep - Adventure
Lakshadweep offers a variety of water sports for adventure seekers. In the
vast expanses of the shallow lagoons, you can enjoy water sports like
kayaking, pedal boating, sail boating, wind surfing etc. You can also enjoy
a spectacular view of the interesting marine life in glass-bottomed boats.
If you want to undertake scuba-diving, visit the Kadmat, Kavaratti and
Bangaram islands which offer excellent facilities for the sport. Kayaks,
surf modules, canoes, snorkels and other water sports equipments are
available in all the islands of Lakshadweep. You can also hire local boats
with experienced crew in Lakshadweep.
Lakshdweep has a tropical humid, warm climate that remains pleasant
throughout the year. April and May are hottest months in the year when the
temperature soars to a high of 35°C. Southwest monsoon arrives the
islands in late May and ends in early October. The duration between October
to March remains pleasant due to moderate temperature.
Best Time to Visit
November to March is the best time to visit Lakshadweep.
Lakshadweep - Transportation
: Cochin International Airport is the nearest major
airport which connects Lakshadweep with the mainland. From Cochin, flights
are available to important places of India as well as world. Agatti airport
is the only airport of Lakshadweep, the flight from Cochin airport to Agatti
takes around 1.5 hrs. Helicopter transfer is available from Agatti to
Bangaram Island Resort during rainy season and to Kavaratti all through the
: Ship services are available between Cochin and
Lakshadweep and the journey takes around 14 to 20 hrs. Four passenger ships
namely MV Bharat Seema, MV Tipu Sultan, MV Minicoy and MV Amindivi ply
between Cochin and Lakshadweep. Various classes of accommodation are
provided by these ships that include Air-conditioned Deluxe Class with two
birth cabins, Air-conditioned First Class with four berth cabins and Tourist
Class (Air-conditioned). Other facilities offered by the ships include
cafeteria and snack bars, entertainment lounge, video shows, upper-deck
promenade etc. Apart from these, doctor is also available on call on board