Although meaning a ‘hundred thousand islands’, the cluster of Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea comprises of only 36. Located some 400kma way from the mainland coast of India, the beauty of Lakshadweep is an archipelago formed of twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks. Of the 36, only ten islands are inhabited.
The beauty of the Lakshadweep Islands lies in their tranquillity. Although witnessing several historical milestones like a keen but distant observer, the group of islands have successfully maintained the veil over their secretive beauty. Everyone needs a permit to visit the Lakshadweep Islands, even residents of India. Telecommunication services are pretty much limited to BSNL over the ten inhabited islands. Needless to say, Lakshadweep shines at its brightest farther away from the limelight of corrosive tourism.
However, throngs of tourists are still drawn to the islands by the virgin nature of its appeal. The main islands to visit here is Kavaratti, which is the capital and also Agatti, Minicoy and Amini. Geographically it is more similar to the Maldives and ethnically, it reflects Malayalam cultures.
Except during the monsoon, Lakshadweep gets significant tourism, mainly due to its idyllic ambience and a host of water sports to indulge in. Snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, water skiing, canoeing and rafting are only some of them. One of the best destinations for experiencing marine life is the serene and secluded Kadmat Island.
For something more urban, visit Kavaratti Island – the capital and the water sports hub of the union territory. Sandy white beaches, crystal blue water and picturesque lagoons make up the landscape of Kavaratti seaside.
A reflection of Lakshadweep’s inherent culture can be felt in Minicoy Islands. Said to be the ancient capital of the islands during the time of Arabian traders, Minicoy is more Maldivian than Indian in terms of culture and cuisine. Characterised by pristine beaches, an enriched marine life to experience and a late 19th century lighthouse, Minicoy is perhaps the biggest gem in the crown of Lakshadweep’s tourism.