Laskshadweep islands are an archipelago, known for their coral reefs, pristine beaches and exotic marine life, situated off the coast of Kerala state, India. There are no thief’s nor any snakes or dogs in the islands.
It is believed that the island’s coral reefs were formed because of a volcanic formation, thousands of years ago. Corals settled and built fringing reefs slowly. Later on, these were transformed into barrier reefs. Finally, they became atolls due to the submergence of the volcanic base.
10 out of the total of 26 islands are inhabited. Human inhibited islands in Laskshadweep are Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bangaram, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. Bangaram, Kavaratti, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Minicoy, etc, consists of 3 reefs, 12 atolls and 5 submerged banks.
Water sports are a major activity (other than the corals) for the tourists to Lakshadwep islands. High speed boats connects Agatti island with other islands.
The Bangaram Island Resort, in Bangaram island, is the resort where tourists can have food and offers luxury accommodation. Snorkeling, Kayaking , Canoeing, turtle watch trips, Day Lagoon fishing Boats, Scuba diving, Water Diving, etc, are some of the facilities available at this resort.
Scuba diving is also available at ‘Thundi Beach‘ in Minicoy island. Charges are rupees 2360, including GST (taxes), as of September 2018. There is a light house also in this island. There are many private resorts near Thundi Beach, with rental from rupees 6000 and above per day.
Kadmat island alias Cardomon Island has sea facing cottages for tourists to stay.
Kavaratti is the capital of Lakshadweep islands. Kavaratti island has huts and dormitory for the tourists.
Laskshadweep islands are rich in fauna, especially those related to marine life. There isn’t much of flora in Laskshsdweep, as there are not forests in the islands.
Fishing is the major source of income for the local people. Tuna is found in large numbers, which is dried and kept. Coconut is the major agricultural activity of the people of the Lakshadweep islands.
It is believed that human settlement in the the island dates back to 1500 BC.
Most of the houses are not locked, as thief’s are not there. There is no major work for the police, other than registering the details of permit holders. You need to register with the local police station, once you reach the island and get the permit stamped (sealed) from police officer.
Except Coconut,fish and milk, most of other food items are shipped from the mainland India.
Internet and Phone connectivity in Lakshadweep Islands
You will not get Internet connectivity in the islands. Wifi connectivity is available for Rs. 10 per day or so. Still the speed of internet connectivity will be very very poor. Your voice connection speed will be very low for mobiles (2G connectivity only).
Language of Lakshadweep Islands
Jesri, a dialect of Malayalam language, is the spoken in the islands (except in Minicoy islands). In Minicoy islands (which is situated close to Maldives islands; around 100 kilometers distance), a dialect of Maldives islands official language known as Mahal or Mahl, is spoken.
Procedure for Getting Visit Permits for Indians to Visit Lakshadweep Islands
You need to find a sponsor from any of the Lakshadweep islands to get the permit, which actually costs Rs. 250 or so (it is called heritage fee or something like that). Travel agents also arrange for this permit. But they charge very high amount for the permit; even up to Rs. 25000. If you come across any Lakshadweep resident, who is studying or working in Kerala or other parts of India, ask them to get the permits and many are willing to help you in this regard.
You need to fill up the form and submit it along with attested copies of identity, 2 passport size photos, names and address of two neighbors and police clearance certificate (PCC) from your local police station, specifically mentioning the purpose of visit. These documents are to be submitted to the ‘Office of the Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands’ at Kochi. PCC verification is done by sending it your local police station. After the PCC is confirmed from your police station,they will issue the travel permit, which is valid for 15 days or so, once you enter the islands. (In some cases, you or your sponsor need to visit the ‘Office of the Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands’ at Kochi and remind them of the application.)
Once the permit is issued, you can book flight tickets or book ship tickets at the ticket counter at Wellington island, Kochi. You may also book online ship tickets to Lakshadweep islands. There are a few ships to the islands, but seats are limited (both in online and across the ticket counters) and getting the tickets is difficult, but not impossible. Only very few tickets are issued for entry permit holders; the rest is reserved for island residents.
Return tickets can be booked at the Lakshadweep islands. It can be booked 5 days in advance or so. Once you arrive at the islands, you need to go to the ticket counter and get the return ticket form from the counter. Fill up the form with details like name, permit number, date of return journey,etc. Submit the filled up form along with your your entry permit to the local police station in the island. They will stamp the ticket form and give it you. Only stamped ticket forms are acceptable for return ticket booking. the original permit is kept at the police station and is retnred only on your return journey date.
The ship ticket rates for those with permits in the lowest class (Bunk class), costs only a few hundreds Indian rupees. Food will be charged extra. It costs Rs 50 or so for a meal with fish fry in the bunk class.
There is also other classes of tickets like second class, first class, VIP class, etc, depending on the ship. VIP class ticket costs 4 to 6 thousand rupees, depending on the island you are going.
It costs around minimum of 22,500 rupees per adult (plus GST) for those availing the Samudram tourist Package tour offered by Lakshadweep tourism society. Ten per cent extra will be charged during the month of December.
How Do I Go Laskshadweep Islands?
Lakshadweep airport is in Agatti island. There are flights connecting Lakshadweep with Bangalore. There are helicopter services to Cochin.
There are ship services between Lakshadweep and Cochin. These ships embark at Wellington islands, Kochi alias Cochin. There are ship services from Beypore port, 10 kilometers south of Kozhikode.
MV Kavaratti is one of the best ships to the islands. It can seat 700 persons in 7 floors. It has got swimming pool on the top. MV Lagoons is one among the other best ships to Lakshadweep islands.
Bangaram, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kadmat islands are the tourist centers and other islands are not having tourism related infrastructure.
Summer season is the best time to visit islands (October to May). During Monsoon season, turbulent sea causes ships to be cancelled.
Kalpeni is the nearest island to Kerala. It takes around 12 hours by ship to reach Kalpeni from Kerala. Minicoy is the farthest island from the mainland. It takes around 24 hours to reach Minicoy from Kerala.
Getting round the Lakshadweep Islands
Lakshadweep islands can be covered by walk (maximum distance is 6 or 7 kilometers) or by hiring a bicycle.
Auto-rickshaws are also available for hire in the islands. You need to call the number of the auto-stand. Calling individual driers is not allowed. 0489-2223422 is the number in Minicoy islands. 22 auto-rickshaws are there in this island. They operate from 6 am to 11 pm.
Note: Consumption of liquor is prohibited in Lakshadweep islands, except in some resorts.