Lakshadweep (earlier called Laccadive) means ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam, the local language. Located just off the coast of Kerala, they consist of 36 charming coral islands in the Arabian sea, covering an area of 32 sq. kilometers. However, only ten of them are inhabited by simple, peace-loving folk, whose mainstay is coconut cultivation, coir matting and weaving.
Lakshadweep is one of the worlds most spectacular tropical island systems – thirty- two sq. km of land surrounded by 4200 sq. km of lagoon rich in marine wealth. It is also the tiniest Union Territory of India with 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. The inhabited islands are Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy.
It is emerging as an important tourist destination and is regarded as a paradise for water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, kayaking and wind surfing. Only four islands are open for domestic tourists – Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Minicoy and Kadamat – while Bangaram and Kadamat are open for foreigners. Permits for visits can be available from the Lakshadweep Tourist Office in Cochin. Regular flights operate from Cochin to Agatti island. Moderately priced ship cruises are also available from Cochin.
Capital : Kavaratti