The pristine Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea are in focus among travel enthusiasts following certain recent international political developments. Here is a brief tourism guide on Lakshadweep, which is renowned for its clear waters which enable visitors to enjoy stunning sights of even pearls and corals on the seabed.
How to reach
Ships conduct services from Kochi to various islands in Lakshadweep. You can also fly from Kochi airport at Nedumbassery to Agatti in Lakshadweep. From Agatti, ships, vessels, and boats are available to the other islands. There are four ways to travel to Lakshadweep, which is a cluster of 36 islands.
1) The Lakshadweep Administration offers seven packages – ocean, coral reef, marine, wealth, awareness, swaying palm, and silver sand – all of which involve a ship cruise to the islands. A flight package and a special scuba diving package are also available. For details, including tariffs, check this website.
2) You can also choose packages arranged by government-approved private tour operators. To learn more about the agencies, check the website.
3) Sponsorship by permanent residents of Lakshadweep who are known to you.
4) Tour packages by natives of Lakshadweep. Details are available on social media, but you need to confirm whether the operators are genuine.
1) Declaration form (to be obtained by sponsor); a challan of Rs 50 for each family and receipt of payment of heritage fee of Rs 200 for each visitor – these documents have to be submitted at the tourism cell of Lakshadweep Administration at Willingdon Island in Kochi.
2) Police clearance certificate: Applications can be submitted on the website of the Kerala Police - and the certificate will be uploaded on the site.
3) Permit: This document is mandatory to visit Lakshadweep. The permit will be uploaded on the website.
4) Ticket: The fare on ship starts from Rs 1500 and tickets are available from the website. Flight tickets start from Rs 6000.
Among these certificates, tourists need to obtain only the police clearance certificate. All the other documents will be arranged by sponsors or tour operators.
Crystal-clear lagoons with green-coloured waters are the biggest attractions of Lakshadweep and amazing views of corals and marine creatures would leave tourists spellbound. The beaches of Lakshadweep are known for their cleanliness and serene nature. Facilities for adventure activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and skiing are also available. A trip on boats with a glass bottom is another unique experience. Tourists can also visit the villages, a marine museum, and a lighthouse.
10 inhabited villages
Even though Lakshadweep comprises 36 islands, human habitations are present only on 10 – Kavaratti, Agatti, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Andrott, Amini, Kilthan, Chetlat, and Bitra. Tourists can visit all these islands; but limited tourism facilities exist at Andrott, Amini, Kilthan, Chetlat, and Bitra. At the same time, tourist activities are offered on certain uninhabited islands.
Kavaratti: The capital of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti is renowned for watersports. Other attractions are a marine museum, a lighthouse, a ghost ship, and Ujra mosque, a Muslim pilgrimage center.
Kalpeni: Visitors can observe coral reefs right on the seashore.
Agatti: The gateway of Lakshadweep, Agatti is known for its beautiful lagoons. Watersports activities are available at Agatti and the nearby Kalpitti Islands. Boat services to various small islands also start from Agatti.
Bangaram: A tear-shaped island in the Arabian Sea, Bangaram is the face of Lakshadweep Tourism and can be reached by a one-hour boat trip from Agatti. Exquisite lagoons and watersports are the main attractions here. Another unique sight at Bangaram is bioluminescence in the sea at night, which is familiar to Malayalam movie lovers, thanks to the film ‘Kumbalangi Nights’. Resorts and cottages are available for stay in Bangaram. On a 15-minute boat trip from here to Parali 1 and Parali 2 islands, tourists can engage in ‘turtle watch.’ Right next to Bangaram is Thinnakara island, where visitors can observe the manufacturing process of jaggery and ‘surka’ from coconut. Parali 1, 2, and Thinnakara are uninhabited islands.
Minicoy: It is an isolated island far away from the other islands of Lakshadweep and is closer to Maldives. The language and culture of Minicoy are also distinct from the rest of Lakshadweep. Mangrove forests and a lake are the attractions at Minicoy, which draws visitors with rural tourism also. Tourists can also enjoy sights on the nearby island of Viringili.