Lakshadweep or the Laccadive Islands is a group of small islands scattered in the Laccadive Sea. The precise location of these islands would be somewhere around 300 kms of the coast of Kerala (South West State of India).
These tiny islands make up the smallest Union territory of India and cover a total area of 32 square Km. What seem so tiny are actually the tops of an enormous undersea mountain range in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The literal translation of the word Lakshadweepa in Sanskrit is one hundred thousand Islands.
The less known history of Lakshadweep
The history of the islands of Lakshadweep is blurry and unanswerable. Some Historians deem it was Cheraman Peumal the last King of Kerala who built his kingdom in Lakshadweep. One of the other versions says that a Muslim saint reached the islands of Lakshadweep after a severe storm. Thus converting the locals into followers of Islam. Some also believe the island has its earliest references made in Puranuru which states that the island was a part of the ancient Dravidian country. Its difficult to state precisely who discovered the island but we sure do know it’s God’s creation of beauty.
The much known Beauty of Lakshadweep
Forming an archipelago of 35 islands, five banks and three reefs Lakshadweep has pristine beaches and clear sand. Out of the 35 islands that form Lakshadweep only 10 are inhabited since most of he reefs and atolls are submerged.
Some of the most important islands are Kavaratti which also happens to have the capital city of Kavaratti, followed by Agatti, Amini and Minicoy.
There are direct flights from Kochi (Kerala) to Agatti which has an airport. Thus administration takes special precautions to maintain the beauty of the island hence opening only certain islands for foreign nationals to visit. Tourists are also required to have a special permit to visit the island.
Bangaram also happens to be the only island where consumption of alcohol is permitted on the island.
Forming one of the world’s most stunning tropical island systems Lakshadweep spans over 32 sq km of land which is surrounded by rich marine wealth.
The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is committed to the cause of consciously preserving the ecology and promoting tourism. There are conscious efforts made the conserve the rich cultural and ecological heritage of the islands. This is done mainly by monitoring the impact that tourism has on the ecology and promoting tourism in a way that is consistent with the ecological concerns faced by the administration. The carrying capacity of the islands is systematically kept in mind while promoting tourism.
The islands of Lakshadweep are famously known for their sandy beaches, vast stretches of clear blue water, and coral reefs. What make the islands differ mostly from each another is the facilities and the services that are offered at each one of them.
While some of the islands are being promoted for water sports like diving etc, others have been especially designed for people to relax and enjoy the wonders of nature. The land of the islands is precious and since tourism could add added pressure on the land the administration is keen on promoting water based tourism. While at Lakshadweep do remember one thing admire nature but don’t exploit it.
The fragility of the islands is mainly because of the dispersed nature of their existence which puts an inevitable constraint to physical development of the islands. Almost all of the requirements to develop the islands have to imported apart from the supply of daily need. This factor is indeed a boom which promoted quality tourism and acts as one of the significant reasons people choose Lakshadweep over the numerous islands across the globe.
Some of the special steps taken by the administration to conserve the flora and fauna of Lakshadweep include tourist accommodation in thatched huts and tiled roofs,
The On-set of Tourism on the Virgin Islands
Tourism is a relatively new sector in Lakshadweep. There was no ship or any vessel effective between the mainland of India and the Islands. Later on M.V. Seafox was introduced to carry people to and fro. This ship had the capacity to carry only 12 people. The islands then had no infrastructural development what so ever. The introduction of M.V. Amindivi which was apt for all weathers changed the movement of tourism in the islands.
Tourism generated a lot of employment which indirectly led to the increase in income and the overall growth of the island. It was only in the 1974 that the island of Bangaram which was uninhabited was opened for International Tourism. The absence of a permanent set up in the islands decreased the flow of tourists to the island. The setting up of SPORTS ( Society for promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports) which would deal with tourist activities, that the inflow of tourists increased.
Eventually the islands of Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Minicoy and Kadmat were made open for Domestic tourists.
When to Visit
While visiting a place you should always do a little bit of a searching on your and try to figure out what the best time to visit would be. The recommended best time to visit the islands of Lakshadweep is anywhere from October to mid May. The resorts of Lakshadweep are open all year round but the rains make the ship ride a little more difficult. The rains in Lakshadweep occur mostly from mid May to September.
If the monsoons are the time you are looking to visit then you could take a flight and the reach the islands of Agatti and Bangaram which are open even during the monsoons. The monsoons maybe be a difficult time to reach but if you do manage, you get to experience the joy of witnessing vast green patches of vegetation and clear water.
The resorts of Mnicoy, Kadmat and Kavaratti are not easy to access during the monsoons since the only way to reach them is by ships.
So much to see and so much to do
Water sports enthusiast will have a blast with an array of water sports and a beautiful surrounding; these virgin islands provide a perfect setting for experiencing the best of it. You could rent yourself a Kayak or a canoe and sail in the open sea. The glass bottomed boats give you the pleasure to see the best the sea has to offer. Deep sea fishing is also one of the highly recommended water sport even more because of the gifted sea water which breeds fishes like Sail fish, Triveli, yellow fin-tuna and the Baracuda.
If you like to pre plan your trip you could get in touch with the Dolphin Dive Center at Kavaratti, the Minicoy Dive center or the Kadmat Scuba diving center.
The Other Tid-bits
The most important thing to remember is to keep the islands clean. Littering the land and the water only pollutes it and takes denies it of its beauty. Unlike other places there are specific rules to be followed for the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicating substances. The consumption of alcohol is prohibited on all islands apart from Bangaram. The use of drugs is a punishable offence and you are advised not to carry or consume them yourself. You are prohibited from swimming or sun bathing naked.
Be sure of what you pick up or pluck, causing damage to the flora and fauna of the island could land you in trouble. For your own personal safety carry some medicine and other necessities.