Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep

 
Scattered around 200 km - 400 km 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 the Shafi school Muslims of the Sunni sect, and they speak Malayalam.




 
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Scattered around 200 km - 400 km 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 the Shafi school Muslims of the Sunni sect, and they speak Malayalam.

The Lakshadweep archipelago consists of 36 islands some 200 to 300 km off the Kerala coast. The islands are a northern extension of the Maldives chain. The islands form the smallest of the Union Territories of India and are the country's only coral islands. The population is 93% Muslim. Malayalam is spoken on all the islands except Minicoy, where the people speaks Mahl, the language spoken in the Maldives. The main occupations of the island people are fishing and the production of copra and coir. Tourism is an emerging industry. The first historical records date from the 7th century, when a marabout (Muslim saint) was shipwrecked on the island of Amini. Despite initial opposition to his efforts to convert the inhabitants to Islam, he eventually succeeded. When he died, he was buried in Andrott. His grave is revered to this day as a sacred site. These palm-fringed coral islands with their beautiful lagoons are every bit as inviting as those in the Maldives archipelago, but until recently they were effectively off limits to foreign visitors. Now there are regular boat cruises and tours to the island for Indian nationals, and the resort on the uninhabited island of Bangaram is open to foreign tourists. Bangaram is in a six km by 10 km lagoon with three smaller islands - Thinnakara, Parali-1 and Parali-2.

Generally it is believed that Cheraman Perumal, the last king of Kerala, as a result of shipwreck on the stormy Arabian seas, made the first settlement on these islands. 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 East India Company annexed the islands. It remained with the British until Independence, when it was made a Union territory of the Indian Union in 1956.

General Information :

Clothing : Throughout the year: Cottons
Climate :
Summer : March to June (Warm)
Monsoon : May to - October (Warm)
Winter :November to February (Mildly warm & pleasant)
Capital :Kavaratti
Population:('000s in 1991): 52
Area: ('000 sq. km) :0.03
Principal Languages : Malayalam and Mahl
Industries :Copra, Coir, Vinegar, Fish Canning, Handicrafts.
Crops :Coconuts, Fruits.


Access :

Air : Kochi International airport links Lakshadweep islands with the mainland.
Onward flights from Kochi are available to most of the airports in India and to selected foreign destinations.
Agatti is the only airport in Lakshadweep. Helicopter transfer is available from Agatti to Bangaram Island Resort during monsoon and to Kavaratti through out the year. The flight from Kochi to Agatti takes approximately one hour thirty minutes. Flights operate six days a week.
Indian Airlines operates daily except Sundays from Kochi (Kochi) to Lakshadweep (Agati Island)

Water : Four passenger ships MV Tippu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy operate between Kochi and Lakshadweep.

The passage takes between 18 to 20 hours.

The ships offer different classes of accommodation; A/C Deluxe Class with two berth cabins, A/C First Class with four berth cabins and Tourist Class with A/C seating. The ships have cafeteria and snack bars, entertainment lounge, video shows and upper-deck promenade etc in MV Tipu Sultan and MV Bharat Seema.

A doctor is available on call on board these ships. MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy also offer comfortable A/C accommodation.

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