Lakshadweep, a spectacular aggregation of 36 tropical islands just about 220km off the shores of Kerala, is India’s smallest union territory and a one-of-a-kind holiday destination. The term ‘Lakshadweep’ literally translates to ‘one hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam. Giving India, its very own coral reef in the heart of the Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep is an adventure seekers paradise.
Accessible from Kochi, every visitor to Lakshadweep requires an advance permit to visit. While only a few islands are open to foreigners, Indians can access any of the islands they please. At the moment only 10 islands are inhabited, but have all the requisites to make your beachside vacation a memorable one.
With its untouched and pure beauty still intact, we recommend the islands of Lakshadweep a must visit in one’s lifetime. Below are our top recommendations of islands in Lakshadweep:
1. Minicoy Island
Lakshadweep’s second largest island and also the one closest to the Maldives, is Minicoy. Spanning over 4.8 sq km, it is home to one of the largest lagoons. With an indigenous culture, Minicoy is home to a cluster of 10 villages called Athiris; which is famous for the “lava dance” - a traditional dance often performed during festivals and special occasions. The 19th century British lighthouse that offers a breathtaking view of the landscape and the extremely intriguing tuna canning factory are must visits tourist attractions of the Minicoy Island. A few privately owned cottages are available on the island for vacation rentals.
2. Agatti Island
Poised atop one of the coral isles of Lakshadweep, the Agatti island is a small 8km long island that can be traversed on foot itself. Its natural beauty enthrals all who visit this sandy paradise. Home to approximately 8000 people, it is one of the more populous isles of Lakshadweep. Agatti, is one of the only islands that has an airport of its own. The locals here speak English and Malayalam, and their main occupation is fishing. The best time to visit Agatti is between the months of October and March - when the temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius at the minimum.
3. Bangaram Island
The largest island in a chain of islands also known as ‘atoll’ (an atoll is a ring shaped coral reef or island, encircling a water body), is the hidden gem of Bangaram. Comprising a beautiful lagoon, this stunning island spreads over 1.2 sq km and is inhabited by only 10 people! It is the perfect escape from the humdrum of everyday life. With a luxury resort open for tourists, and easy accessibility from the Agatti Aerodome, Bangaram should be on your list of must visit, whilst touring Lakshadweep. Indeed, the island’s resort offers an array of adventure sports and even a night cruise! With the sea being perennially calm, you can plan a visit to Bangaram Island as per your convenience.
4. Thinnakara Island
This tear drop shaped atoll is all of 2.3 sq km large and is about 8 km away from Agatti airport. It shares a lagoon with Bangaram island. Though uninhabited, Thinnakara offers its tourists an experience of a lifetime - its “tent” resorts on the beach side are illuminated during the night with florescent planktons washed ashore - a sight to behold! The natural flora and fauna of the Island, make this yet another must-visit on your travel itinerary.
5. Kavaratti Island
The capital of Lakshadweep, and one of the most scenic islands in the Arabian sea - Kavaratti, houses three coral reefs and 12 atolls. The Ujra mosque is the most beautiful of one of the fifty-two mosques spread over the 3.93 sq km of the island. A well on the island is believed to even have curative powers! Mesmerizing lagoons on the island offer spectacular views of the island’s aquatic life and is accompanied by a marine museum that adds to the allure of Kavaratti Island. There’s even a Dolphin Dive Centre. For sports enthusiasts, there are scuba diving and kayaking facilities available to explore.
6. Kadmat Island
One of Lakshadweep’s most popular islands - Kadmat, is spread over 100 meters and is only inhabited by one village. The main habitants of this island are actually turtles! With gorgeous, sunrises and sunsets, Kadmat beckons tourists from all over the world. One can enjoy paragliding, snorkeling and scuba diving among other activities on a visit here. It is, however, advisable to visit during the winter months (October to March) so as to avoid getting caught in torrential monsoon downpours.
7. Kalpeni Islands
Cheriyam, Pitti and Tillakkam together form the Kalpeni Islands of Lakshadweep. Also called Koefaini, Kalpeni islands are inhabited and are a popular tourist destination. The social structure of the community here is relatively progressive and ahead of its times. The lagoons here are famous for being breathtakingly beautiful.
8. Andretti Island
Andrott or Andretti island is the largest island of Lakshadweep. It forms the nethermost point of the union territory and is situated closest to India’s mainland. The Island’s untouched beauty lures travellers and enthrals them with beautiful resorts, adventure sports and a rich cultural history - Andretti houses Buddhist archaeological remains and the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ubaidullah. Foreign nationals, however, are not allowed on this Island!
Whilst jotting down your itinerary for Lakshadweep, do not forget to add ‘fishing in the exotic lagoons’ as a must-do experience! If indulgence is on your mind, you could consider booking a private romantic night cruise too. Do remember to find time to shop for souvenirs - the handicrafts available on the Island are collectibles made with tortoise and coconut shells. Lakshadweep offers all the elements needed to make your unique getaway a fun, enjoyable and super memorable one!