Lakshadweep islands is a chain of about 1 lakh islands located in the Indian subcontinent and is one of the Union territories of India. Lakshadweep comes from the word ‘’Lakshadwipa’’, which means to ‘’one hundred thousand islands’’ in Sanskrit. The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India. Kavaratti serves as the capital of the Union Territory and the region comes under Kerala. The islands are the northernmost of the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands.
Arrival to the Land of Coral reefs:
There’s only two ways to reach there either by flight or ship. And the gateway to Lakshadweep is from Kochi. All the flights and ships departing for Lakshadweep are operated from Kochi. By flight you can get to the Agatti Islands. The Agatti Airport is the only airstrip in the entire archipelago that is situated off the west coast of the country. And from Agatti Islands boats are available to Kavaratti and Kadmat during fair season. Helicopter service is available from Agatti to Bangaram Island during monsoon and throughout the year for Kavaratti.
To visit Lakshadweep Islands you need to get a tourist permit from Kochi. There are only Air India flights from Kochi and cost for the flight would be around ₹5000. The ship from Kochi runs every 3rd day for Kavaratti Islands taking passengers from this shore to that.
Located at the southernmost point of the Lakshadweep Islands , it is often called as Malikau by the locals. The island was said to be the ancient capital of Lakshadweep and was called Malikau by Arabian Traders. It is located amidst the vast expansion of Arabian Sea. It is exclusively known for its vibrant coral reefs and quaint white-sand beaches.
This place has gained popularity due to activities like tuna canning, tuna fishing and the presence of pristine palm fringed beaches. This place is in its pure form; this island hasn’t been touched by commercialisation yet. It is also famous for a lighthouse that was constructed in 1885 and Juma Masjid an old mosque of medieval era.
Kalpeni has three uninhabited satellite islands, all surrounded by an immense lagoon of spectacular beauty. Sunlight on the water causes it to glitter like aquamarine. It is known for its amazing beaches. One can sunbath or swim in the waters or enjoy water sports like snorkelling and scuba diving here. The water here is shallow with white-sandy shores.
The tourist facilities here have been augmented and tourists can stay on the island in privately managed huts. This lagoon is specially rich in coral life.
The only place having an airstrip in Lakshadweep. Agatti is well known for its water sports activities. It has remarkable and breathtaking flora and fauna. Agatti is famous for its ecstatic beauty of coral reefs. To say, It is one of the islands that are inhabited by people. One may explore the island on foot or rent a two-wheeler to commute.
You can travel to Agatti Island if you want to bask in sun; it is a sheer paradise for beach lovers and offbeat travellers. The aerial view of Agatti Island while landing is akin to emeralds embedded on a turquoise sea extended into the deep sapphire of ocean. Top sights in Agatti Island are Golden Jubilee Museum and Mohiuddin Mosque.
This is the most developed island in Lakshadweep. It also serves as the administrative capital of Lakshadweep Island. The island is a home to 12 atolls, five submerged banks, and three coral reefs. The spectacular view of Arabian Sea with white-sandy beaches and clear-blue water offers solace amidst the tranquil nature.
This island is also the base for INS Deeprakashak, one of the main Indian Navy Base. Water sports are a big hit in this island. There are wide range of activities like water skiing, snorkelling, water bikes, parasailing, glass bottomed boats are some of the famous water sports. Though there is not much architectural heritage, but there are some tourist places like Ajara and Jamnath Mosque, Marine Aquarium, Desalination Plant and numerous beaches.
The scenic vistas of this island will have a soothing effect. Pristine beaches, coconut grooves, beautiful lagoons, colourful marine life and corals keep you engaged.
Nightlife in Lakshadweep:
It has a few resources that will add charm to your nightlife. But, woefully it doesn’t have many places to spend a joyful night. Since alcohol is banned is banned and you will only get alcohol in Bangaram Island, therefore there aren’t any pubs. But, if you decide to stay in a hotel they definitely arrange a barbeque along with folk dance performances.
And if you are in Agatti Island then you can enjoy the magnificent view of the glowing worms or bioluminescent plankton. The relaxing and peaceful night at any beach of Lakshadweep is soothing.
Cuisine of Lakshadweep:
Various type of fresh sea food you can get here, mixed with the essence of coconut oil. The food ranges from spicy non-veg to healthy veg and most often a certain Kerala element is obvious here. For sweet lovers you should definitely try Kadalakka, a sugar coated sweets made of ground rice and pulses.
Agatti Island offers a variety of Tuna preparations, sambhar, rice and avail. The Bangaram Island has an a la carte menu and the cuisine is mainly keralite. Maliku Resort offers a fair share of seafood including squid and octopus.
Best-Time to Visit: October-March is the best time, Agatti and Bangaram can be visited throughout the year.
Moving around: The islands can be covered on foot, speedboats and helicopters are available to transfer you in between islands.
Local language: Malayalam, Mahl and English.
NOTE: Only a limited number of visitors are allowed at a time, so ensure that you book well in advance.
Abhishek Raushan, Travel Blogger.