Right now Lakshadweep is under the eye of a storm. And there have been statewide protests against the Lakshadweep administration's new laws. Celebrities from various fields have come out in protest. According to the islanders ever since Praful Patel took charge, the collector was replaced, and Covid protocols went astray, resulting in a surge of Covid cases in the place. The test positivity rate is 60% now. The islanders have protested against Patel’s imposition of the Goonda Act and banned milk supply. #Savelakhadweep is a social media campaign that has gone viral on social media.
The beauty of the culture
One of the smallest Union territories in India, Lakshadweep is a cluster of 36 islands, and its beauty lies in its people and culture. Tourism remains the prime source of income for the islanders. With its clean beaches, efficiently run resorts, the island remains a tourist favourite. The entry to the island comes with a lot of restrictions. Along with liquor, drugs are also prohibited. But now they have allowed liquor trade in populated islands like Kavarathi, Kadamam, Minikkoyi and Agathi. The liquor shop was opened under the society which is run by the tourism development. Earlier they had conducted liquor trade at islands that had very few settlers. This new rule has met with protests from the islanders.
The islander's lifestyle is fascinatingly simple and still follows century-old customs and traditions. You won’t find such kind-hearted people anywhere and they go out of their way to help each other. They are extremely hospitable and wouldn’t hesitate to keep all the unsavoury events and people away from the island. Lakshadweep has been the backdrop of many films and therefore its beauty needn’t require much preface. Now the islanders are asking Kerala’s help in this matter.
Home away from home for tourists
Poetically it is said that Lakshadweep is a confluence of lakhs of islands (lakshangalude island). Whatever said and done, this island has a special bond with Kerala. The water is so clear that you can catch the seabed. Exquisite coral atolls. It’s like being in the middle of a large ocean. There are around 36 big and small islands in Lakshadweep. An island called small pani is already submerged in the sea. A mere 11 islands are inhabited by people. Spread over 32 square feet of land, some islands can be reached through the sea. Some require 2-3 hours of boat ride.
There are some great watersports like Scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.
To reach Lakshadweep you need Visa like an Entry permit. For that, you can get a clearance certificate from the nearest police station. The application is available online. Along with the application you need to present identification certificates and 3 passport-size photos. You have to hand over the clearance certificate and filled entry permit forms to Kochi wellington island’s Lakshadweep Administrative Office and pay Rs 50 to get an entry permit. Once you reach Lakshadweep, you have to hand over the permit to the Station House Officer.
From Kochi, there are Air India flights (aircraft with limited seats) to Lakshadweep 6 days a week. You can reach the island in an hour. And you are told to carry limited luggage. The airport is at Agatti island. You can also sail by ship to the island which will take over 15 hours.
10 things to do in Lakshadweep
1. Explore the virgin beaches at Bangaram islands: You can find beautiful lagoons enclosed by corals and this island is 176 kilometers away from the city centre. There are some fine dining restaurants there, along with pristine beaches.
2. Shopping at Amindivi Island: Said to be the most inhabited island of Lakshadweep is known for its choir products. Foreigners aren’t allowed and Indians need to take special permission to visit here. Covered with coconut groves you can try a lot of water sports here and also buy a lot of products made of tortoise shells and coconut shells.
3. View from Light House at Minicoy: This lighthouse was built in 1885 by the Britishers and is 50 meters tall. Perfect view to take pictures for your Instagram.
4. Unlimited water sports: There are larger water lagoons that create natural pools and are quite safe when compared to the sea or ocean water. You can try various water sports like canoes, Sailboats, glass-bottomed boats, snorkelers, kayaks, pedal boats, and windsurfers. You can hire several underwater sports here. At Bangaram, Kadmat, and Kavaratti Islands, you can opt for deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. A variety of fishes like Traveli, Yellow Fin Tuna, Fina Tuna, Barracuda, and Shark are present in large quantities and are major attractions for tourists. This place offers some of the most beautiful photo opportunities too.
5. Marine Museum: Don’t miss the aquarium museum at Kavaratti Island with its unique ranges of fishes. You can see a lot of marine-related objects and explore marine products and know in detail about its conservation. You will love the stunning, multi-hued fishes and other unique species.
6. Enroll at Lacadives diving School: You can’t think of a better school to get a certification in Diving than from Lacadives diving school which offers some of the best lessons. You can get a master's in scuba diving from here by joining their 8 days course and get trained in night and day diving skills. Rest assure you will get some of the best sports to play and learning lessons at Lakshadweep.
7. Indulge in their scrumptious seafood: Octopus fry (a popular favourite is made from a baby octopus. A dish marinated in chilli powder, turmeric, and ginger garlic paste), Mus Kavaab (boneless fish kebab), Fish tikka and fish pakoras, Maasu Podichathu (a preparation made from dried tuna) are some of their most loved street food delicacies. Since the islands love to add coconut to their dishes, the food is remarkably similar to Kerala. Try the rayereha (red tuna curry), sannath (white coconut-based tuna), rice rotis, and Malabar parotta. For sweet-tooth lovers, make sure you ask for kadalakka (sugar-coated sweets made of ground rice and pulses).