Lakshadweep is a close-knit group of 36 islands in the Arabian sea to the southwest of the Indian subcontinent. However, Lakshadweep is a word having Sanskrit origin and it means a hundred thousand islands. Previously, Lakshadweep islands were called Laccadives. Technically speaking, Laccadives is a term used for the central islands only.
- The history of Lakshadweep islands dates way back to the first century.
- A Greek sailor spotted these islands and mentioned them as a source of tortoise shell.
- In the 7th century, Muslim missionaries were active in the region.
- They established and maintained contact with the Arab traders. Eventually, all the residents of the island got converted to Islam.
- In the 1780s, Tipu Sultan started controlling the northern group of islands called the Amindivis.
- A few years later in 1799, Tipu Sultan was killed in a battle. As a result, the British started controlling the Amindivis.
- The then bibi and her husband were allowed to retain their control over other territories. But they had to pay a certain amount to the British annually.
- This lasted till 1908 when the bibi ceded the administration of the islands to the British.
- The British rule on Lakshadweep lasted until India gained independence. Eventually, the brought Lakshadweep under its administration.
- Finally, in 1956, Lakshadweep was turned into a union territory.
State/ District/ Capital
- Lakshadweep islands are a union territory under the Indian administration.
- The capital city of these islands is Kavrati.
- It consists of just one district and the largest city is Andrott.
How to reach Lakshadweep?
As we already know, Lakshadweep is an archipelago of islands in the middle of the sea, with no roads leading there. Hence, there are limitations when it comes to connectivity. Naturally, only two means of transport are available to travel from any mainland to an island.
Ship journeys are designed for adventure lovers who are seeking a new experience. According to the official website of Lakshadweep, seven different ship services are available for this purpose. They connect Cochin from mainland India to the islands using the best route possible. The journey is usually 14 to 20 hours long. AC and non-AC deluxe cabins/rooms are available.
Thus, people coming from different backgrounds can make reservations according to their budget and needs. The ship people enjoy several entertainment shows offered by the lounge. The ship is well equipped with first-aid and medical facilities.
Agatti airport on the Agatti island is the only airport in Lakshadweep islands. Similar to the ship services, even this airport is linked to the airport in Cochin. Tourists planning to visit Lakshadweep got to book their tickets to the Cochin international airport first.
Cochin is well connected to other parts of India as well as the world. After arriving at Cochin, the tourists can board the flight which goes to Lakshadweep. The flights are operational around six days per week. Apart from aeroplanes, a helicopter facility is also available at Kavaratti throughout the year.
When to visit Lakshadweep?
- The best time to visit Lakshadweep is between September to February.
- It is the time of the year when the tourists get to experience the typical breezy island weather.
- The weather is usually present between 20-30 degrees celcius.
- Besides, March to may can also be a good time to visit. But the climate will be a little hotter.
- Malayalam language along with the Malayalam script was the official language during the British raj.
- This policy was retained when India brought the islands under its administration.
- Summer season- March to May
- Average temperature- 22°C to 36°C
- Monsoon season- June to August, light showers in September to November
- Average temperature- 22°C to 33°C
- Winter season- December to February
- Average temperature- 20°C to 32°C
Fairs & Festivals of Lakshadweep
Several festivals celebrated on the islands are a portrayal of long-standing cultures and traditions. Islamic people are a majority here, so they celebrate all significant Muslim festivals. In addition to that, people also enjoy some tribal festivals.
This holy festival is celebrated in the month of Ramzan on a new moon. The traditional Muslim communities keep fasts in this month and avoid consuming anything during the day. People begin this day by going to the mosques and offering prayers. As this day marks the end of the fasting season, families and friends come together for enormous feasts. This festival teems full of energy and enthusiasm.
This is the day when Muslim pilgrims reach Mecca and the spiritual journey ends. Bakri-Id marks the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim. People believe that the Almighty asked Ibrahim to offer his son’s life and prove his dedication and devotion.
It is commonly known as Mawlid on the Lakshadweep islands and it symbolizes the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. According to the Islamic calendar, Milad-Ul-Nabi is the twelfth day of Rabi-Ul-Awwal.
This festival celebrates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain who was the grandson of Prophet Mohammed. Some people follow a tradition where they beat themselves while chanting ‘Ye Hussain’ simultaneously. This brutal beating is done with a metal chain as an apology for the committed sins.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
- A few common means for transportation are public transport means- taxis and shuttles.
- They are particularly designed for island tourists. However, small yet fancy boat services are available for inter-island transport and communication.
- With the help of public transport and boats, tourists can travel from their wonderful hotels to sight-seeing destinations.
- Speaking of hotels, there are several eco-friendly cottages.
- The accommodate tourists in a peaceful and natural environment. Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Minicoy, Kadmat and Bangaram are some islands where tourists choose to stay.
- These islands have all types of resorts which would cater to the tourist’s needs.
- They also have a facility for organizing transport to adventure sports and other islands.
- Almost all the hotels on these islands have beautifully designed lagoons in their vicinities.
- The hotel rooms provide a serene view of the beach through the windows.
- According to budget, needs and wants the tourists to have a choice to pick where to stay. Nothing is more compelling and attractive than staying at a nice beach hotel on a vacation.
Places to visit in Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep islands are a jar full of beautiful places a tourist must visit.
Introduces you to the large mysterious underwater world. There are several species no common man has ever heard of or seen. Marine museum’s doors are always open for interested and curious minds.
It is also called a colonial spot. There are many spots in this city which have maintained their colonial culture. The city was on a trade route between Ceylon and Persia.
It is an island made for history enthusiasts. It houses the ancient Buddhist ruins. Apart from this, there is a lighthouse which is the tomb of Saint Ubaidullah.
Golden Jubilee museum
It is a place designed for history lovers, explorers and culture enthusiasts. It has a collection of artifacts, some of which date back to the 9th century.
Also called Miliku and is a hub for tourists visiting Lakshadweep. It has an awesome lighthouse and white sand beaches. The boat rides and the food here are famous.
This specific coral has vibrant marine organisms. The population is comparatively less than the other islands, so there is calm and quiet. Fishing is the primary occupation here, fresh fish are caught and served as a part of local cuisine.
It is called the best place to view sunsets on Lakshadweep islands. The lagoon is surprisingly surrounded with some greenery and plantations.
Pitti Bird Santuary
A great places to watch birds along with the beauty of mother nature in the background. It is located on the Kalpeni island. This island is small and appears to be in the middle of nowhere. But it is clean and serene.
This island is especially famous for the mind-blowing lagoons. It’s located 40 minutes off the shore of Agatti island.
Kerala-Kalpeni is a popular ship trip, which tourists to this island. As there are no private hotels here, it is essential to make the reservations before hand.
This island is so glorious and wonderful that it has been called a ‘paradise’ on the earth multiple times.
Kavaratti island houses over 50 different mosques, Urja is one of them. It is a meditation center with beautifully carved infrastructure. Tourists come here to experience this peaceful atmosphere.
Islam is largely followed by the folks of Lakshadweep. Juma Masjid on Minicoy island holds a special religious importance. People say that it was constructed using the remains of a wrecked ship.
It is another mosque located on the Kavaratti island. It portrays some good old 17th century architecture.
Cuisines to taste in Lakshadweep
The people of Lakshadweep consume a staple diet based on coconut and sea fish items. Some of the famous local cuisines are as follows:-
It is boneless fish marinated with a very tasty paste. The paste is made by mixing coconut with different spices. They are cooked in onions and curry. It is the best local cuisine of Lakshadweep.
It is a common cuisine of the islanders and also served at many restaurants. Baby octopus is the main ingredient of this delicacy. It is spiced up with coriander, garlic, green chili and salt.
Fish thali encompassing fish, curry, rice and papad is a common delicacy. The curry is a mixture of yoghurt, salt, chili, garlic, cloves and ginger.
It is a famous snack item, a part of the local cuisine. It contains boneless fish cubes marinated with salt and spices. Usually, it is eaten with tomato sauce and chilies.
A unique dish comprising of dry tuna only. ‘Maasu’ means tuna in the local language. Tuna fish are cut into pieces and filled up with coconut, turmeric and garlic.
Things to do in Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep islands is a place where tourists come to enjoy the scenic beauty of the oceans of the world. It connects and individual with nature. This archipelago of islands holds the serenity, warmth and pleasure. Tourists all over the world are attracted to this life of islanders making Lakshadweep an excellent getaway. There are some activities which would make the trip an awesome one.
- Boating at the Minicoy
- Relishing local cuisine
- Witnessing sunsets at Kavaratti
- Nature photography
- Bird watching at Pitti
- Taking a relaxing walk on Kalpeni
- Scuba diving at Amini beach
- Enjoying the Lagoons
- Shopping for souvenirs
- Sun bathing
- Spending sunny lazy afternoons at the beach
- Connecting with spirits at the mosque
- Trying the smoked tuna fish
Souvenirs to buy in Lakshadweep
Souvenirs are permanent reminders of a memorable trip. Buying and taking back what is special is necessary. Here is a list of items you can buy and the places where you can buy them.
China Bazar Kavaratti
Tourists usually buy seashells here as a mark of their trip to the island. Other items like wooden or clay toys are also available here.
If you want a unique shopping experience, this place is a must-visit. The talented locals of Lakshadweep make these fabrics.
Muhammad Mustafa supermarket
This a place for locals as well as tourists. This store offers basic groceries as well as items found by the beachfront.
Co-operative society supermarket
Some simple but beautiful minimal items like junk jewellery and fish caught by the fish trawlers are sold here.
Thavakkal Clothing store
A clothing store famous for exotic local attire as well as beachwear. There is a vintage vibe.
Thele Fole tea shop
This store is a hidden gem located at the left peak of the island. Tourists usually buy a variety of local tea and snacks here.