Lakshadweep means ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam, the local language. Lakshadweep is situated in 8° and 12° North Latitude and 71° and 74° East Longitude. It is 220 to 440 km off the Malabar Coast in Kerala, India. Climate of Lakshadweep Tropical. 27° C - 32° C. Lakshadweep Still 93% of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep are Muslims. People are mostly engaged in fishing and coconut cultivation. The islands are virtually crime-free.
There are only 36 islands having a total area of 32 sq. kilometers. It is the tiniest Union Territory of India with 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Ten Islands are inhabited. They are Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy.
Theories about coral atoll formation is inconclusive. However the most prominent and perhaps most accepted one is given by the Sir Charles Darwin in 1842. According to him the base of the islands below the reef is a volcanic formation over which corals settled and built fringing reefs, which transformed to barrier reefs and finally to atolls due to geological submergence of volcanic base.
Lakshadweep has one district Kavaratti and 10 sub-division - 1. Kavaratti 2. Andrott 3. Minicoy 4. Amini 5. Agatti 6. Kadmat 7. Kalpeni 8. Kiltan 9. Chetlat 10. Bitra
According to legends, small settlements started in the islands of Amini, Kavaratti Andrott and Kalpeni first and later people from these islands moved to other islands of Agatti, Kiltan, Chetlat and Kadmat.
The advent of Islam dates back to the 7th century. St. Ubaidulla of Mecca dreamt that prophet Mohammed wanted him to go to Jeddah, take a ship from there and go to distant places. While he was sailing near these small islands, a storm wrecked his ship. Floating on a plank he was swept ashore on the island of Amini. Ubaidulla started propagating Islam in the islands.
The population is only 60595 as per 2001 census, of which 95% are Muslims. Ethnically they are similar to the people of Kerala. They speak a dialect of Malayalam except in Minicoy where “Mahl” a form of Divehi is spoken.
Malayalam & Mahl.
How to get there:
Four all weather ships M.V. Bharatseema ,M.V Tipusultan, M.V Aminidivi and M.V Minicoy operate between Kochi and the islands. Indian Airlines also operate flight from Kochi to Agatti Island every day except sunday.
Boarding & Lodging:
While on a day tour package cruise, you will get back to the ship at the end of the day. Staying tourists are accommodated in Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Minicoy Agatti and Kadmat. The tourist huts in each island occupy ideal locations on the beach itself. Each hut has one or two twin-bedded bedrooms with attached baths. For Indian/Overseas tourists there is also a holiday resort at Bangaram.
Spiced coconut-rich Vegetarian & Non vegetarian food. Curried, fried and barbecued fish.
October - May for the ship based tour packages. Agatti and Bangaram may be visited throughout the year.
Things to do:
These are basically leisure tours and Sea/Lagoon based tours.There are plenty of opportunities for Scuba diving, Yachting, Pedal boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Snorkeling and sunbathing. One may also visit local houses, Marine museum, LightHouse and a few local industries
Things not to do:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all islands except Bangaram. Picking up Corals is a punishable crime.
Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)
See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217