Lakshadweep Islands Information
Lakshadweep, located just off the coast of Kerala comprises of 36 charming coral islands amidst Arabian sea. Only ten islands are inhabited by simple, peace-loving folk whose mainstay is coconut cultivation, coir matting and fishing. Lakshadweep is emerging as an important tourist destination of the country and is regarded as a ‘paradise’ for water sports like, Snorkelling, Scuba diving, Deep Sea fishing, Kayaking and wind surfing etc. Only 4 islands Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Minicoy and Kadamat are open for domestic tourists, while Bangaram and Kadamat islands are open for foreign tourists. Permits to visit, Lakshadweep can be obtained from the Lakshadweep Tourist Office in Kochi. Regular flights operate from Kochi to Agatti Island. Moderately priced ship cruises which stop at all the islands open to tourism are also available from Kochi.
The main attractions of these islands are under the water. It has 4200 sq.km. of pristine archipelago lagoons, unspoiled coral reefs and warm waters attracts travellers and divers. Scuba Diving, snorkelling, Kayaking, boat trips, sailing and jaunts also arranged by most of the resorts. We can visit Lakshadweep Islands by pre-arranged package trip.
Foreigners are limited to stay in the resorts, which are budget places it gives a special permit (For one month's notice) is required and organised by tour operators. Some of the islands are opened recently for foreigners. They are allowed now only to stay on Bangaram, Agatti, Kadmat, Minicoy and Kavaratti Islands.
The village is about 2.7sq.km. It has some mosques, which are built modestly. There is no alcohol in this island.
Minicoy Island is the second largest and it is closest to the Maldives.
Unless you fancy a time-munching trip from Cochin by ship (14–20 hr.), the only way to get to Bangaram is on one of Indian Airways’ costly flights ($360 round-trip at press time) from Cochin. You arrive at the tiny airfield on Agatti (Agathi) Island, after which you’ll be detained by some bothersome paperwork. After this you’ll be met by a resort representative, who’ll usher you to a waiting boat anchored near the shore not far from the airport for a memorable 90-minute journey 204 C H A P T E R 6 . G O D ’ S OWN C O U N T RY: K E R A L A & L A K S H A DWE E P to nearby Bangaram Island. During the monsoon season (May 15–Sept 15), a helicopter is used instead of a boat.
DIVING THE REEFS
Experienced divers rank the reefs of Lakshadweep among the best diving destinations in Asia, particularly the coral islands of Bangaram, Tinakara, Pirelli 1, and Pirelli 2. Bangaram Island Resort hosts Lacadives, a small dive center that is the first and only CMAS (an international underwater-sports federation) dive organization in India, with its headquarters on the island of Kadmat. Lacadives offers diving courses, rents out equipment, and conducts two dives a day (9:30am and 2:30pm). If you’re not a qualified diver, you can rent a mask and go on one of the resort’s snorkeling trips to a nearby wreck where an assortment of marine fauna will have you begging for more. The resort can organize big-game fishing with local boats, but anglers should bring their own equipment.