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Lakshadweep - Laccadive Islands OR Minicoy Islands OR Aminidivi Islands OR tropical Paradise OR one hundred thousand islands

STATE - LAKSHADWEEP
   
DISTANCE - 428 KM From Kochi, 332 KM From Mangalore

CONNECTION

By Air : Lakshadweep Islands are 400 Kms far in the west coast of Kerala. There are regular flights that run between Agatti Island and Cochin or Kochi in Kerala. Indian airlines. Helicopter transfers are also available from Agatti Island to Bangaram Island Resort during monsoon and to Kavaratti through out the year.

By Rail : Kerala has around railway stations, which connect places both within and outside Kerala. Many long distance express trains connect all prime cities of Kerala with Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Goa.

By Sea : Ship cruises operate from Cochin to Agatti and back. "SPORTS" is the official agency that conducts exciting cruises to Lakshadweep. Four passenger ships M.V Tipusultan, M.V. Bharatseema, M.V Aminidivi and M.V Minicoy operate between Kochi and the islands. All ships have air-conditioned cabins and air-cooled decks.

ABOUT LAKSHADWEEP

Lakshadweep is an archipelago located 200-400 km west of the coast of Kerala in the Arabian Sea. The archipelago consists of 36 coral islands, 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks. These enchanting coral islands in the Arabian Sea were called the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi islands, though they were popularly known as the Laccadives or Lakshadweep (hundred thousand islands). The territory was officially named Lakshadweep on 1 November 1973. The Lakshadweep islands had been declared a Union Territory of India in 1956.

The atolls poised on submarine banks, harbour these islands with a total area of 32 square km (12 square miles). Of its twenty-seven islands, only ten are inhabited. Recently a previously uninhabited island, Bangaram, has been developed by the administration for promoting tourism. In Pitti island, which is uninhabited and is located only 24 km from Kavarathi, crows(absent elsewhere in the islands)and many other birds are found. Pitti has been declared a bird sanctuary.

Though the land area is extremely small, its lagoon area of about 4,200 sq km, 20,000 sq km of territorial waters and about 7,00,000 sq km of economic zone, if considered, Lakshadweep is one of the largest territories of our nation.

PLACES OF INTERESTS IN LAKSHADWEEP

Kavaratti : The administrative capital, Kavaratti is the most developed of the islands with the highest percentage of non-islanders as residents. Fifty two mosques are spread out over the island, the most beautiful being the Ujra mosque. A well, within its precincts, is believed to contain water of curative powers. The Ujra mosque has an ornately carved ceiling, said to have been carved from a piece of driftwood. Kavaratti also has an aquarium with several colourful species of fish.

Kalpeni : Kalpeni has three uninhabited satellite islands, all surrounded by an immense lagoon of spectacular beauty. Sunlight on the water causes it to sparkle and flash like a million aquamarines. Koomel, the gently curving bay where the tourist facilities are located, directly overlooks Pitti and Thilakkam, two of the islands. Here you can swim, reef walk, snorkel or use water sports equipment like kayaks, and sail boats. Now the tourist facilities have been augmented and tourists can stay on the island in privately managed huts, depending on the package. This lagoon is specially rich in coral life.

Kadmat : A particularly fine lagoon, of even depth and an endless shoreline, perfect for swimming, makes Kadmat a haven of solitude. The tourist huts are situated some distance away from habitation, with only the splash of the waves to break the silence. It is the only island with lagoons on both eastern and western sides. A Water Sports Institute providing water sports facilities has been set up in Kadmat. Accommodation consists of AC and non AC tourist huts aesthetically situated in the coconut palm groves on the beaches. The island is becoming increasingly popular for honeymooners. As a testimony to its Water Sports potential, a Scuba Diving Centre has been set up there.

Minicoy : Furthest from Kavaratti island, 200 Kms. away to the south and also nearer to the Maldives, is the incredible size of the lagoon, Minicoy is one of the largest in Lakshadweep. It has a culture very different from any other island - dress, language, food, all differ. A walk through the winding lanes of the villages is an indication of the culture here. Minicoy is renowned for its dance tradition: the lava dance is performed on festive occasions. Privately managed cottages have been built on the isolated beaches and are available for tourists.

Agatti : Agatti has one of the most beautiful lagoons in Lakshadweep. This is where the airport is built. A virtual gateway of Lakshadweep, a 20 bed tourist complex has been set up here. The island will shortly be opened for tourists.

Bangaram : There is something indescribably romantic about the very notion of an uninhabited island and Bangaram justifies that feeling. Teardrop shaped, it is encircled by a continuous halo of creamy sand.

WHEN TO GO LAKSHADWEEP

The Islands of Lakshadweep are open all round the year. The ideal time to visit are the months of October to April. November to March and August are the months when Lakshadweep attracts the maximum number of tourists. The months from May to September are ideal time to enjoy on the islands. This is the time when the weather is most pleasant.

WEATHER FORECAST

Lakshadweep has a tropical climate, with summer temperatures ranging from 35 degrees centigrade to 22 degrees centigrade, and winter temperature between 32 degrees to 20 degrees centigrade.

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN LAKSHADWEEP

Id-ul-fitr : Commonly known as the festival of breaking the fast, this festival is marked by joy and happiness. This festival is observed when the new moon is sighted at the end of Ramadan or the month of fasting. On this festive occasion special food and delicacies are prepared and distributed to friends and neighbors.

Bakrid : This festival, known as the festival of sacrifice, is one of the famous Festivals in Lakshadweep. This festival is observed to pay homage to Prophet Ibrahim's readiness to sacrifice his son for the sake of God. Thousands of Muslims assemble to recite special prayers for peace and prosperity on this auspicious day. Moreover, the Bakrid also marks the completion of pilgrimage to Mecca.

Milad-Un-Nabi : This festival marks the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. Muslim communities all over India celebrate this day by taking part in religious services. Mouthwatering food and delicacies are prepared for the day.

Muharram : On the day of Muharram people mourn the Karbala tragedy when the grandson of Prophet Muhammad : Imam Husain, was assassinated as a martyr. This day of mourning is observed by carrying opulently adorned taziyas, which are replicas of the martyr's tomb, through the city streets. People beat their chests and express grief over the assassination of Imam Husain on this occasion.

Urs Shareef : The Muslims in Lakshadweep believe that there is no other God but Allah and that Muhammad is his Prophet. But Pir (saint) worship has become a common feature with them. The Urs of Ubaidullah (at Andrott) and Syed Muhammed Kasim (at Kavaratti) are celebrated every year. Devout Muslims keep awake for the whole night and recite the maulood during the ceremony.

FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN LAKSHADWEEP

The Lakshadweep islands offer a wide variety of cuisine. The main cuisine here centres on seafood but there is plenty to be found here for vegetarians as well. Non-vegetarians can dive into delicious seafood and Halal meat. The food is generally spicy and rich in coconut flavour.

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