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Lakshadweep History

Not much is known of the early history of Lakshadweep. However, enough evidence exists to piece together a history of the islands from the 7th century onwards. The people were converted to Islam under the influence of Hazrat Ubaidullah who set off from Mecca after Prophet Mohammed (S.A.S) appeared to him in a dream, commanding him to leave for distant shores to propagate Islam. The ship on which Hazrat Ubaidulla was sailing was wrecked and after drifting on a plank of wood he reached the island of Amini where his mission met with fierce opposition.

After many difficulties he was able to carry out his mission, and to this day, the people of Lakshadweep follow Islam. Traces of the old culture still linger however; despite the influence of Islam, caste system still prevails based on occupation- landowners, sailors and cultivators. Although Madrassas in all the islands impart religious instruction to school going children, many individuals bear two names. which Hazrat Ubaidulla was sailing was wrecked and after drifting on a plank of wood he reached the island of Amini where his mission met with fierce opposition.

The Lakshadweep Group of Islands comprises of 12 atolls, 3 reefs, 5 submerged banks with 32 sq.km. of geographical area. There are 36 islands out of which 11 are inhabited.

Lakshadweep is the tiniest Union Territory of India and is its only coral Island chain. This archipelago consists of 36 islands, 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. The islands have a total area of 32 sq.kms and the lagoons enclosed by the atolls cover an area of 4200 sq.kms. Its territorial waters extend to 20,000 sq.kms and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to 4,00,000 sq.kms. Only 10 of these islands namely, Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy are inhabited. Kavaratti is the Administrative Headquarters of the Union Territory. The islands are restricted area and special entry permit is required to visit the islands. However permit formalities of bonofied tourist are taken care by the us.

Lakshadweep islands lie about 220 to 440 kms off the Kerala coast between 8o and 12o North Latitudes and 71o and 74o East Longitudes. The islands are connected to mainland by passenger ships and flights operated from Kochi. The airport is in Agatti and facilities exist for helicopter transfer to Kavaratti Island. The remoteness and pristine beauty of these islands combined with the solitude and peace provided by the verdant environment offer an ideal getaway for holiday makers.

Climate

Lakshadweep enjoys a pleasant tropical climate with summer temperatures ranging from 22o C to 33o C and winter temperatures from 20o C to 32o C. Southwest monsoons from June to September bring plenty of rainfall to the islands. Months from October to May are pleasant with slight rise in temperature during March and April. Light cotton tropical clothes are ideal throughout the year. A rain coat will come in handy during the monsoons. Cool sea breeze and abundant shade provided by the canopy of coconut palms make the climate pleasant even during peak summer.

Bangaram is a tiny teardrop shaped island, which lies very close to Agatti. The tourist resort on this island provides an amazing opportunity for guests to unwind from the pressures and tensions of modern life. Two small islands of Thinnakara and Parali also lie close to Bangaram enclosed by the same lagoon. During the night, phosphorescent plankton washed ashore on the coral sands impart a bluish glow to the beach, which is totally enchanting. Guests to this resort can either avail of the boat transfer from Agatti. Being the only uninhabited island resort in Lakshadweep it has got its own charm. An ideal destination for discerning exclusive tourists, Bangaram has carved its presence in the international tourist map.

Agatti has one of the most beautiful lagoons in Lakshadweep. The airport is built on this island. From the aircraft, as one approach for a landing, one gets a breath-taking view of the airstrip on the island. Agatti is the virtual gateway to the islands. Indian Airlines operate flights to Agatti making it one of the most accessible islands in Lakshadweep

Minicoy is, in a sense, isolated from the main group of islands and lies about 200 kms south of the northern group. It is 10.6 kms long and is the second largest island after Andrott. Minicoy has one of the largest lagoons with a small uninhabited islet Viringili on its southern side. Minicoy is distinct from the northern group of islands in its culture, language dress etc. It has a cluster of 11 villages, which are called "Ava'h" each presided over by an elected village elder called Bodukaka. Traditionally all powers to manage village affairs are vested in him. Each village has a village house beautifully maintained and decorated. Minicoy is renowned for its tradition dance - the Lava performed on festive occasions. Colorful race boats called "Jahadhoni" are a feast to the eye of any tourist. A large number of men from this island are employed as seamen in ships all over the world. Mahal is the spoken language. Minicoy is an important center for tuna fishing and a tuna-canning factory on the island processes the catch. A 300-foot tall lighthouse built in 1885 by the British is a majestic landmark. The beaches have bathing huts with change rooms and facilities for water sports are available. 3 tourist cottages and one 20-bedded tourist home have been constructed for staying tourists. Visit to Minicoy is part of Coral Reef and Swaying Palm packages.

Kadmat is 8 km long and only 550 metres wide at its broadest point. In addition to the beautiful shallow lagoon on the west, which is ideal for water sports, there is a narrow lagoon on the east. The main attractions are the long sandy beaches and sand banks on the southern tip. Tourist huts built amidst palm groves facing the lagoon allow to soak in the pristine beauty of the ecosystem. Kayaks, sailing boats, pedal boats, skiing boats and glass-bottomed boats are available on hire. A Water Sports Institute functions on the island. Marine Wealth Awareness Package allows to spend 2-4 days on the island enjoying the rich bounty of nature. Kadmat has emerged as one of the most beautiful dive centers in India. Variety of fishes like rays, sharks, and clear water with 20-50 meter visibility makes it an unparalleled dive destination for scuba divers. M/s Lacadives , Mumbai operates a full-fledged scuba diving center at Kadmat. Non Indians are also permitted to visit this island.

The vast expanses of the shallow lagoons provide an ideal setting for water sports enthusiasts. All the islands included in the various tourist packages offer kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, sail boats, wind surfers, snorkels sets glass-bottomed boats and other facilities to tourists who wish to indulge in water sports in the unpolluted lagoons. Kadmath, Kavaratti and Bangaram have facilities for scuba diving. Deep-sea fishing buffs can pursue big game fishing. Barracuda, Sail Fish, Yellow Fin Tuna, Triveli and sharks are abundant in the seas around Lakshadweep. Local boats with experienced crew can be hired.

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