Friday, July 06, 2007

visit lakshadweep


Population ('000s in 1991)
Area ('000 sq. km)
Principal Languages
Malayalam and Mahl

Imagine yourself lazing on a divine beach, soaking the sun, with the crashing waves in the background...

Scuba diving, deep sea fishing, kayaking, para sailing...

Feasting your senses on the awesome marine flora and fauna that surrounds you...

Welcome to Lakshadweep !!!

Scattered some 200-400 kilometres west off the Kerala coast, lie the islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 27 coral islands and open reefs. Out of these islands, only ten are inhabited and they are Andrott, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmath, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. These islands form the smallest of the Union Territories of India, and are the country's only coral islands. The main islands are Kavaratti, Minicoy, and Amini. Kavaratti is the headquarters of these islands, while Bitra is the smallest of all, with a nominal population. About 93 percent of the people in Lakshadweep are Shafi school Muslims of the Sunni sect,and they speak Malayalam.

Not much is known of the early history of Lakshadweep. It is generally believed that the first settlement on these islands was made by Cheraman Perumal, the last king of Kerala, as a result of shipwreck on the stormy Arabian seas. But the historical record shows that, around the 7th century, a Muslim saint was shipwrecked on the island of Amini. He converted the inhabitants here to Islam, despite initial opposition. Although the sovereignty remained in the hands of the Hindu Raja of Chirakkal, it eventually passed to the Ali Raja of Cannanore (Kannur) in the 16th century, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala, and later, in 1783 to Tipu Sultan. Following the defeat of Tipu Sultan by the British, at Srirangapattanam in 1799, the islands were annexed by the East India Company. It remained with the British until Independence, when it was made a Union territory of the Indian Union in 1956.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the Lakshadweep economy, the major products being coconut and coir. Coconut is the only major crop grown here, with a production of around 26.5 million nuts in 1994-95. Coconut fibre extraction and conversion of its fibre products is the main industry in the islands.The other major activity here, is fishing. Immense potential for development in fisheries has resulted in the setting up of boat-building yards, canning and processing factories and adoption of mechanised fishing boats.The islands stand first in the country in per capita availability of fish.

Ethnically , the people of the islands are very similiar to the people of Kerala - even their language is the same, except in Minicoy, where Mahl is spoken. The people of Lakshadweep are often commended for their honesty, and the absence of crime in the islands is laudable.
(Lighthouse, Minicoy) Lighthouse, MinicoyLakshadweep is spreading its wings in the way of tourism, by providing various facilities for the tourists. Tourist facilities in Lakshadweep have been developed by way of luxury cruises around the islands. All tourists need permission to visit Lakshadweep, except those booked on a cruise, in which case permission is automatic. Four of the inhabited islands (Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Minicoy and Kadmath) are open to Indian tourists and Bangaram, an uninhabited island, is open to both domestic and foreign tourists. Bangaram has facilities for water sports.Swimming, fishing, sailing in glass - bottomed boats which give enchanting views of the coral below, and yachting are the main attractions. Wood - carving in the Ujra Mosque at Kavaratti, the tomb of Hazrat Ubaidullah at Andrott, the Buddhist archaeological remains at Andrott, and the famous light house at Minicoy, are some of the places worth visiting.
Lakshadweep has a tropical climate, with summer temperatures ranging from 35 degrees centigrade to 22 degrees centigrade, and winter temperature between 32 degres to 20 degrees centigrade.

When to Visit

Though the resort is open round the year, May to September is the ideal time to be on the islands. Not only is the weather pleasant, you can also have the islands almost to yourself. The rush of tourists is mainly concentrated from November to March, and August. (All visitors to the Lakshwadeep Islands will require an entry permit.)

How to Get There

There is a regular ship service between Cochin and the islands, according to a scheduled programme.

Liaison Officer in Delhi

F-306, Kasturba Gandhi Marg Hostel, New Delhi

Tel: +91-11-3386807

Fax: +91-11-3782246

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