Just off the coast of Kerala are a widely scattered group of coral islands - 36 of them - collectively known as Lakshadweep. They form part of the Union of India and are one of the country's newest tourist destinations. Ten of the islands are inhabited by simple, peace-loving folk whose language is close to that spoken in Kerala. The islanders have lifestyles and occupations that revolve around coconut cultivation, coir matting and fishing. Even today, nothing is actually
produced in the islands themselves, and everything comes from the 'mainland', as India is somewhat quaintly referred to there.
The five islands which are open to tourists have simple accommodation in the shape of beach cottages. Permits to visit Lakshadweep can be obtained from the Lakshadweep tourist office in Cochin. Regular flights operate from Cochin to one of the islands, as well as modestly priced ship cruises which stop at all the islands open to tourism. These cruises begin and end at Cochin.
While equipment for water sports is available at the islands themselves, not much in the way of shopping and entertainment is possible as yet. Lakshadweep is the perfect holiday for those who want to get away from the artifices of the world and enjoy a few days in simple yet stunningly beautiful surroundings.
Area: 32 sq km
People Per Sq. km: 1,894
STD Code: 04896
How to reach
Indian Airlines connects Agatti Island, Lakshadweep's only airport, with Kochi on the mainland.
Ship cruises are available as packages designed for the tourists. The Island are not open to individual tourist.
In and around
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.
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 Thilakkm, two of the Islands.
Kadmath a particularly fine lagoon, of even depth and an endless shoreline, perfect for swimming, makes Kadmath a haven of solitude. During the day, when the heat of the overhead sun becomes too strong, the feathery network of coconut palms provides a canopy throughout the Island, through which light dimly filters, green and cool. It is the only Island with lagoons on both eastern and western sides.
There is something indescribably romantic about the very notion of an uninhabited Island and
Bangram justifies that feeling. Tear-drop shaped it is encircled by a continuous halo of creamy sand. Like all the other Island of Lakshadweep, luxuriant plantations of coconut provide coolness even during the hottest part of the day. At twilight, the setting sun, a ball of crimson in a flaming sky, casts its reflection on the water, and with the ever present coconut palms as black silhouette, Bangaram is at the height of its allure