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Lakshadweep Islands (India)

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Country: India / World Region: Asia

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      08.11.2008 19:26
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      A little known paradise

      The Lakshadweep islands are a group of coral atolls approx 200 kilometres off the coast of Kerala, India, in the Arabian Sea.
      They belong to the same group of islands as the Maldives, and up until 1972 were known as the Laccadive islands.
      The are a union territory of India.

      Basic facts:
      Population: 60,595 (as of last census in 2001)
      Language: Malayalam
      Total number of islands: 36
      Administrative centre: Kavaratti island
      Total land area: 32sq miles
      Average temperature: Min 28oc - Max 32oc
      Highest recorded rainfall: 241cm in 24hrs.
      Climate: The South West Monsoon season is May to October
      The North East Monsoon- Nov/Dec
      Best Months to visit Jan/April
      Religion: 92% population is Muslim
      Lakshadweep symbols- The Parrot fish, the Sooty Tern, and the Bread Fruit.


      The people of the islands are mainly fisherman, coconut farmers, and coir twisters
      (working the husk of a coconut to make coir products, such as doormats). Some men now work as international seafarers. Tourism is just an emerging economy.
      The Indian Govt have been saying for a couple of years, that they are planning to upgrade tourism to the Lakshadweep's (after seeing the success of the Maldives), so it look some of the islands may change in coming years.

      The society is highly matriarchal. Women maintain ownership of the land, and husbands must pay there wife's to live in it. A women may divorce her husband if these are not paid. Re-marriage is allowed for both divorcées and widows.

      The ancient history of the islands were never documented, but it is known that Islam reached the islands around the 7th century.
      The Portuguese planned to take the islands over in the 16th century, but a reconnaissance ship arrived, and all the crew were killed, by poison. This seemed to put the Portuguese off, and they moved on to Kerala.
      By the 1850's the islands had been annexed by the British East India Company.

      Finally in 1956 it became a Union Territory of India.

      Visiting the Lakshadweep's ?

      Things to note:
      Only certain islands are allowed to take non Indian visitors.
      You need a permit to visit the islands. Your tour operator should arrange, or contact
      CGI group, Kochi.
      Remember prices may be cheaper during the Monsoon, but you will see some very heavy rain, but usually in short bursts.

      How to get there:
      By sea: Boats travel from Kochi to the Lak's.
      Can take anything bet 15 and 24 hours.
      Choice of accomodation on board is available.
      For times and fares see http://lakport.nic.in.

      By air;
      Both Indian airlines and Kingfisher airlines fly from Kochi to Agatti island.
      Trip time is approx 1hr10 mins.
      See the airlines websites for details.


      What will I do there?

      Well, much like the Maldives, its not a place for nightclubs, shopping or visiting sites.
      It's a beach holiday, in a very quiet, unspoilt paradise. For many the main draw is the sea. Snorkelling and diving fill the days. There are coral reefs to explore, with manta rays, turtles, sharks, and hundreds of varieties of brightly coloured fish to see.
      You can hire a kayak, or go out on a catamaran, to see the dolphins, or flying fish.
      Try your hand at deep sea fishing, or a night fishing trip.
      Play volleyball on the beach, or just lay there staring at the aquamarine sea, and the tropical sun beating done, on a silver sand beach with swaying palm trees in the breeze.

      By night have your dinner on the moonlit beach, eat fresh seafood, barbequed with a warm infusion of Indian spices, with a cool beer (NOTE: Alcohol only available on Bangaram island). The walk along the beach and watch the hermit crabs, running up and down the beach. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves breaking on the beach, and dream of tomorrow.

      Bangaram and Agatti islands are the 2 main tourist islands open to non Indians.
      Various small travel companies offer trips there from India. The main one in the UK is the Keralan travel centre.
      Casino group of hotels operate the resort on Bangaram, and you can visit their website for more details.

      It is a very popular spot for Indian government to holiday, and apparently Roman Ibramovich has also visited.

      So what is a holiday like there, well having just returned I can safely say it is truly paradise.

      We flew Kingfisher from Cochin 1hr 10 mins- great flight, arrived in Agatti and was very speedily transferred to Bangaram island. White coral beaches, great snorkling and diving. I thought the corals there were much better than the maldives, although more fish in maldives, as local fisherman still fish the reef.
      The accomodation is in "huts" which are in groups of 4. There aren't luxury, but very comfortable, with fan, and tepid showers, which is great when it is hot. Mini bar in room. They supply all mossie killers for room and veraanda, but you need to take spray for yourself. We used nightly and only had a couple of bites.
      Good dive school, and great snorkling, plus various options for excursions: turtle snorkling trip- turtles everywhere, a day alone on a deserted island, which was fantastic, they even sent us with a picnic.Other options, we didn't do: snorkling off the shipwreck, glass bottom boat trips, dolphin watching, kayak and cataran hire.
      It was my birthday while I was there, they provided a cake, iced with my name, and all the staff came round and sang happy birthday at dinner.
      The staff were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble.

      Food was great, but very indian- all curries. Lots of fish, veg and meat, salads, and sweets. We really enjoyed all of it. Dinner is served on the beach, and that is really nice.

      No evening entertainment, but there is a small games room and library, and the bar stays open as long as you want a drink. We would just sit on the beach with a drink and watch the stars, which are amazing due to darkness of skies.

      We spent 7 days there, and could easily have stayed longer.
      The deal is full board, and we spent about £150. on drinks, excursions, and a few gifts from the shop, so although its pricey to go it is cheap there.

      If you are looking for an unspoilt tropical island paradise, it may just be for you

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    • Product Details

      Ladshadweep is an archipelago, off the western coast of Indian, consisting of 36 islands, 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks in the Arabian Sea.