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  • Kailash M

Lakshadweep Island : Desi Over Pardesi

We acknowledge that we are a bit late to the party, but as they say, better late than never. Here's our perspective on Lakshadweep as a tourism destination—India's very own Maldives.


INTRODUCTION

To begin with, our Prime Minister posted a few photos of Lakshadweep, intending to promote tourism in the region. Despite his simple and straightforward message without any political intent, there was turmoil on the internet. Unfortunately, Maldivian ministers made a mistake by posting derogatory remarks against Narendra Modi, leading to a backlash. Indians have consistently favored Maldives as their go-to travel destination. According to the Maldives tourism ministry statistics, in 2023, more than 2.09 lakh Indians visited the island nation. We Indians don't take the insults lightly. Internet users responded to the remarks by sharing screenshots of canceled tickets to the Maldives. Since then, Lakshadweep has gained attention and has been added to the bucket list of many, including celebrities.

After this incident, Indian Hotels Company, a subsidiary of the Tata Group, also revealed the signing of two Taj-branded resorts in Lakshadweep, scheduled to open in 2026.


Since then, Indian netizens have been sharing various tourist destinations that India has to offer on social media. Desi over pardesi. In the long run, this will only boost countries tourism sector.


Today, we are sharing a guide on Lakshadweep. We'll cover how you can travel from different places in India, various options for accommodation, the must-visit destinations, and recommendations for local cuisine.


Lakshadweep comprises islands. In Sanskrit, "Laksh" denotes a hundred thousand, and "Dweep" refers to islands. It forms a union territory, consisting not of a hundred thousand islands, but according to the UT Administration of Lakshadweep, there are 36 islands with a total area of 32 sq km. Out of these, 10 are inhabited islands. The capital and principal town of the UT is Kavaratti. Situated in the emerald Arabian Sea, all islands are located 220 to 440 km away from the coastal city of Kochi in Kerala.

 

EARLY HISTORY

The history of Lakshadweep is as told by the locals. It started with a king named Cheraman Perumal, the last ruler of Kerala. After he became Muslim, he set sail to Mecca, and that's when people discovered the islands.

In the 7th century, a brave person named St. Ubaidullah worked hard to spread Islam, facing many challenges. When the Portuguese arrived, there were some problems, but the people of the islands resisted their actions.

Even though the people here adopted Islam, the islands were initially ruled by a Hindu king, and later, by a Muslim house called Arakkal. In 1783, the islanders asked Tipu Sultan for help to break free from Arakkal's rule. After some talks, Tipu Sultan took control of five islands.

In 1799, during the Battle of Seringapattom, the British East India Company took over the islands. Cyclones caused some troubles, leading to a temporary arrangement with the Company in 1847. But in 1854, all remaining islands were given to the Company, and British rule began.

The British were mostly interested in making money and didn't pay much attention to how the local people governed themselves. In 1912, they made some rules that gave limited powers to local leaders and restricted outsiders. Despite the challenges, the British established schools and clinics on the islands.

Things changed in 1956 when Lakshadweep became an official Union Territory. It wasn't until 1973 that the islands got their official name, Lakshadweep.


Population: The total population is approximately 68.5 thousand.

Language: The primary language spoken is Malayalam, with some residents also conversant in Hindi. Additionally, Mahi/Mahl is spoken on Minicoy Island.

Religion: As per the 2011 Population Census, over 93% of the population in Lakshadweep adheres to Islam.

Names of Islands: The inhabited islands include Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat, Bitra, Andrott, Kalpeni, and Minicoy.

Average Temperature: Lakshadweep experiences an average temperature ranging between 27°C to 32°C.

 

HOW TO REACH

Every person who is not a native of these islands must obtain a permit from the competent authority to enter and reside in these islands. You can apply for e-permit by visiting e-permit website of Union territory's administration.

Since its an island, you cannot travel by road directly to Lakshadweep. This Island can be accessed from Kochi by both ships and flights. Kochi serves as the main entry point for tourists heading to Lakshadweep. Flights from Kochi connect to Agatti and Bangaram islands. Agatti has an airstrip, and from there, boats are available to Kavaratti and Kadmat between October and May. During the monsoon season, helicopter transfers from Agatti to Kavaratti are available, depending on helicopter availability. The flight duration from Cochin to Agatti is approximately one hour and thirty minutes.


Airstrip for plane landing on Lakshwdeep Agatti island
Agatti Airstrip | Photo by Anuj Chauhan on Unsplash

How to reach Lakshadweep from Mumbai:

By Train

  • Book a Train from Dadar, Mumbai to Ernakulam Jn, Kochi (30 Hours)

  • Option-1: Catch a Taxi from Ernakulam Jn, Kochi to Willingdon Island Jetty, Kochi. Then get on a Ferry from Willingdon Island Jetty, Kochi to Kavaratti, Lakshadweep (14 to 18 Hours)

  • Option-2: Catch a Taxi from Ernakulam Jn, Kochi to Kochi Airport. You can get on a flight from Kochi Airport and fly to Agatti, Lakshadweep. (1.5 Hours)


By Air:

There are no direct flights to Lakshadweep from Mumbai or any other part of the country. All flights make a stop at Kochi and them flies to Agatti, Lakshadweep.

  • Flight from Mumbai Airport to Kochi Airport (2 Hours)

  • Flight from Kochi Airport to Agatti Airstrip (1.5 Hours)


 

ACCOMMODATION IN LAKSHADWEEP

There are lot of stay options at different parts of the island.


Budget friendly options include:

1. Government Tourist Cottages: They're all over the islands, offering killer views and basic amenities at prices that won't make you cry. Perfect for backpackers and anyone wanting a legit island experience.

2. Beach Huts: Imagine cute thatched-roof huts right by the shore. Some even have bathrooms! Simple, serene, and made for nature lovers and solo adventurers.


Now, if you're feeling fancy:

1. Beach Resorts: Treat yourself at places like Bangaram Island Retreat or Minicoy Island Beach Resort. Think private balconies, infinity pools, and spa treatments that'll make your worries vanish.

2. Private Island Retreats: Kadmat Island's got the Kadmat Eco Resort on its own private island. Pristine beaches, snorkeling at your doorstep, and service that makes you feel like royalty.


And for the adventurers:

1. Liveaboard Boats: Dive into the archipelago with MV Kavaratti. Cruise between islands, explore vibrant coral reefs, and get up close with marine life.

2. Homestays: Dive into local life with a homestay. Share meals, learn island traditions, and discover hidden gems with your friendly hosts.

 

THINGS TO DO IN LAKSHADWEEP

Lakshadweep has a lot to offer, catering to various interests—from adventure sports to romantic evenings, allowing you to choose what suits you best.


1. Scuba Diving: Scuba diving lets you sink deeper into the sea, allowing you to witness the underwater world. You must explore Lakshadweep's colorful coral gardens. Watch cool fish and manta rays at Minicoy's Shark Point or explore Kadmat's lagoons – great for all skill levels.

2. Snorkeling: For the cautious ones, snorkeling is a great choice. It allows you to discover underwater magic but is limited to a certain depth. It's easier and safer, you will get to see shining fish and lively coral in Agatti's lagoon, or you can also try family-friendly snorkeling at Kalpeni's reefs.

3. Surfing: For the adventurous, you can ride Lakshadweep's waves like a pro around Kavaratti and Kadmat. If you are a beginner, don't worry – sheltered lagoons have gentle waves for lessons.

4. Paradise Beaches: Lakshadweep's beaches are a dream – white sand, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. Bangaram Island is like a postcard, and Thinnakara's shores are pure beauty. It will mesmerize you and offer peace for sure.

5. Sunset: Every evening, the sky puts on a colorful display. You must head west on any island for the best view of oranges, pinks, and purples reflecting in the calm waters. These will be the evenings you will remember for life.

6. Kayaking: For the enthusiasts, ride the kayaks and glide through clear waters, feel the waves, and explore hidden spots. Kayaking tours are a thing on most islands – you must check them out if you love kayaking and adventure!


 

CUISINE TO LOOK FOR

People in these islands really love eating rice. Besides seafood and coconut, rice is their second most favorite food.



1. Mus Kavaab, a traditional Minicoy dish, is a spiced tuna curry that includes ingredients like chili powder, coriander powder, and cardamom. It's prepared with sautéed onions, curry leaves, and tomatoes for added flavor. This rich and spicy tuna curry is best enjoyed when paired with rice.

2. Octopus Fry is a true specialty of Lakshadweep cuisine, as octopus is not commonly consumed in the rest of India. Lakshadweep stands out as one of the few places where octopus is a familiar part of the meal. The crispy fried octopus is a popular delicacy on these islands.

3. Maas Podichathu is a dish made from dried tuna, cut into small pieces, and mixed with coconut, turmeric powder, onions, and garlic. It is typically served as a side dish along with rice.

4. Kilanji is a super-thin, crepe-like dish made from rice and eggs. It's best enjoyed with a sweet and watery concoction made from coconut milk, banana, and jaggery.

5. Batla Appam is a sweet dish that is popular among the residents of Androth Island. Similar to the idlis found in Southern India, this steamed sweet delicacy is made with a different set of ingredients. It includes eggs, flour, sugar, and cardamom.

 

We trust this information aids in planning your trip effectively. Lakshadweep is a stunning destination with a rich history and culture. As you savor your holiday, be mindful of the sensitive ecosystem and make an effort to leave the place in a better condition than when you arrived.


PS: We've made an effort to cover everything we could think of. However, if you'd like us to include any more details, feel free to comment or email us at info@indieclan.com.



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