Kavaratti has got to be the centre of all fun and action in the Lakshadweep island group. Approximately 360 kilometres off the coast of Cochin in mainland India and a little over 50 kilometres from Agatti, the domestic airport at Lakshadweep, Kavaratti, is well connected to the mainland by boat and Agatti by helicopter and boat services. Kavaratti is the capital and headquarters of the Lakshadweep island group.
The small township of Kavaratti with a little over 10,000 inhabitants is famous for its water sports, shopping and a few heritage spots like museums and mosques. The beaches of Kavaratti also attract thousands of tourists every year and the seafood served at the restaurants and shacks is to die for! The island is just around 4.22 square kilometres and doesn’t take long to see. The road network is good and bikes are available for rent at several places.
Whether you’re a swimmer or not, Kavaratti Island has the facilities to appeal to every aquatic appetite. The marine museum and aquarium features a wide variety of aquatic specimens. Scuba diving excursions are available for all levels of proficiency and for tourists not willing to go that extra mile, they can always try a simpler snorkelling excursion. Glass-bottom boats are available for hire at the beaches for stunning views of the coral reef and the marine life that dwells beneath the surface. For other water sports, one might want to visit the Dolphin Dive Center at Kavaratti.
The population of the Lakshadweep Islands being primarily Muslim, Eid Ul Fitr is celebrated with much enthusiasm here. The month of October is bustling with festive activity and the famous Ujra Mosque built by Shaikh Mohammad Kasim in the 17th century is even livelier than it usually is. Onam, another South Indian festival is celebrated between August and September on the islands.
The white sandy beaches of Kavaratti have for years turned heads and attracted thousands of tropical holiday seekers. The emerald green, pristine water makes for an ideal afternoon dip and seclusion of the island and low levels of commercialisation make it an ideal holiday getaway!
Around a hundred and fifty miles off the coast of Cochin in mainland India is the tiny island Kalpeni, measuring in at only 2.8 sq km. This north-south aligned island is known majorly for its beautiful 2.8 km wide lagoon. Kalpeni is most famous for Tip Beach, a white sandy beach with a shallow emerald coloured lagoon and clean pristine water ideal for diving, snorkeling, even a casual afternoon dip.
Tip Beach is located on the northern tip of the island, hence the name. Kayaking and reef walking are other activities the beach is famous for. Tilakkam, Pitti and Cheriyam islands make up the Kalpeni Island group and it’s also famous for a 37 m tall lighthouse. Once at the top, one can stare at the beauty that is the Kalpeni Island group with its dense tree canopy and picturesque lagoon.
One can rent tourist cottages available on the island on a twin sharing basis. Getting to the island is a breeze with direct departures by sea available from Cochin port on the west coast of mainland India.
Popularly known as the gateway to the Lakshadweep, you’re bound to visit Agatti Island on your trip to the Lakshadweep given that practically all boat traffic from the mainland docks at the wharf ends at Agatti. Furthermore, Agatti is the only island in the Lakshadweep island group that maintains a fully functional domestic airport with departures to Cochin and Bangalore. At a little below 4 square kilometres big, Agatti Island is a small one with just 2 resorts. A narrow road helps tourists get around the island and the best way to do that is to hire a bike.
When you set foot on Agatti, you don’t take long to begin admiring the true unadulterated nature of the place. In the international arena, Agatti Island and the Lakshadweep island group on the whole are relatively new players which make them ideal vacation spots if you’re looking for a tropical getaway without the commercialisation aspect thrown in.
The white sandy beaches, pristine water and turquoise-blue lagoon are as breathtaking as they are in the movies. Most tourists setting sail from the coast of mainland India can half not believe what they see when they approach Agatti. It’s hard to believe that such a drastic scenic change can occur after just 200 kilometres of sailing.
Agatti Island has several underwater activities, like scuba diving and snorkelling, at the tourist’s disposal. More so, the costs are very affordable. Fishing is another popular sport and don’t forget to hire a glass bottom boat over an afternoon to witness the beautiful coral reef. While the hosts at Agatti Island haven’t really gotten accustomed to the fact that it’s not a tourist hotspot, they do a pretty good job with the arrangements. If you happen to catch your own fish at the lagoon, they are happy to set-up a barbeque for you. While you’re at it, make it a point to try their local cuisine on the beach.
The people of Lakshadweep are famous for their seafood preparations and the island has some of the best tuna catch in the world. The only possible downside of Agatti Island is the fact that they do not allow alcohol consumption on the entire island. From Agatti, one can visit Bangaram Island, another famous tourist hotspot and the only island in the Lakshadweep island group that allows alcohol consumption.
Maliku Island, also known as the Minicoy Island or the Maliku Atoll is the southernmost island of the Lakshadweep Island group. Historically, part of what is today known as a separate nation, Maldives, Minicoy bears several similarities both culturally and linguistically to the Maldives.
It’s a relatively small island which is around 10 km in length and around 1 km broad in its broadest area. The island was assigned to India in 1976 following an agreement signed between India and Maldives. In 1982, it briefly was the centre of controversy owing to some remarks by top politicians in the Maldives but the matter was quickly put to rest.
The island is covered almost entirely with coconut palms and boasts of an amazing natural sand patch in the north which makes for an amazing holiday place. The food and the ambience on the island are nothing short of the best, most unadulterated and secluded tropical experience Lakshadweep has to offer. One must make it a point to do a day trip to this wonderful dot on the map.
Suheli Par is an island group comprising of Suheli Valiyakara and Suheli Cheriyakara, two small islets, located approximately 75 km south of Agatti Island. The defining feature of the two islets is the large oval shaped lagoon, pristine and emerald green in colour with a world of marine fauna in the offering.
Between the two islands lies a long thin sand bank called Suheli Pitti which is used as a breeding ground by many indigenous feathered species. Suheli Par becomes a processing centre for Tuna from October to April when fishermen from Agatti and other neighboring islands put up at temporary settlements on Suheli Par.
Suheli Par is an ideal holiday destination for an afternoon of seclusion or to just sit back and relax on the white sandy beach with no interruptions whatsoever. One will need to plan the trip well in advance and carry supplies, but Suheli Par promises to be a welcome change from commercialized tropical destinations.
Amini Island personifies what the Lakshadweep island group stands for, seclusion and a true tropical vacation experience. This small, oval shaped island is inhabited and is a small one at only around 3 km long and over a kilometre wide. It has historically been made famous by Saint Ubaidullah who propitiated Islam throughout the island and the neighbouring regions.
The resorts on the island with their artificial wood finished deck floors and exceptional views make for an awesome vacation experience and sunsets experienced on the decks are as close as one can get to natural beauty as possible.
Getting to Amini Island can be accomplished by hiring a boat from Agatti. Agatti Island is connected to the west coast of mainland India by air and it houses Lakshadweep’s domestic airport
As described by many tourists having been there, Bangaram was made for the honeymooner. That being said, the island has more to offer than some of its larger counterparts in the Lakshadweep Island group most importantly because of its proximity to Agatti and the island group’s domestic airport.
To start with, Bangaram, unlike many other islands in the group is well equipped with 60 luxury cottages. The proximity of the cottages to the beaches makes it an ideal place to spend a few days. The fact that they have a linked restaurant makes it for a wholesome experience and one can order in some of the delicious staples Bangaram has to offer.
Bangaram Island has a plethora of marine and land base fauna that have attracted tourists for many years. One can catch a glimpse of various kinds of birds, fish, porcupines and parrots in particular. The SCUBA and Snorkeling excursions promise a spectacular introduction to what lies beneath the water surface and it truly is beautiful!
Bangaram Island offers underwater activities for all levels of proficiency. Tired of the beach and one can take a walk through the island’s lush and vast coconut grove spread over almost 120 acres.
The white rimmed shores of the beach are sure to turn quite a few heads and what’s best; Bangaram is the only island in the Lakshadweep island group that allows tourists to consume alcohol.
Getting to Bangaram is easy enough. One can take a boat from Agatti after having flown into the domestic airport, or get a direct board from Cochin on the west coast of mainland India. Bangaram is also connected to Agatti via helicopter service.