Lakshadweep has captured significant attention worldwide after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit, resulting in a surge in popularity for the picturesque island, renowned for its tourism.
The archipelago is spread out over 400,000 square kilometres of waters that are rich in marine life. But, despite their natural beauty and proximity to mainland India, Lakshadweep has largely remained off bucket lists, on account of poor connectivity and cumbersome entry procedures.
The islands are also losing their coral reefs and facing the impact of climate change on “multiple levels”, according to a UN Development Programme report, which has led environmental experts to warn against mass tourism. However, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted images on social media of himself on the islands earlier this month, there has been a flurry of interest.
Lakshadweep, India’s tiniest union territory, is spread over barely 32 square kilometres off the coast of Kochi, Kerala’s capital. These small islands are big on beauty, with lush green coconut palms, sun-kissed beaches and magnificent lagoons, all fringed by the gorgeous blue sea.
The group of islands is famed for its exotic, sun-kissed beaches and lush green landscapes. In Malayalam and Sanskrit, Lakshadweep translates to ‘a hundred thousand islands’. As a uni-district Union Territory, Lakshadweep comprises 12 atolls, three reefs, five submerged banks, and ten inhabited islands. All these islands are 220 to 440 km from the coastal city of Kochi in Kerala.
The natural beauty of Lakshadweep, coupled with sandy beaches, abundant flora and fauna, and a relaxed lifestyle, enhances its allure. Regular flights from Kochi ensure easy accessibility, and the completion of the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI-SOFC) project addresses the challenge of slow internet speed, significantly boosting it from 1.7 Gbps to 200 Gbps.
For travellers, helicopter transfers are available from Agatti to Kavaratti throughout the year. Lakshadweep boasts a tropical climate, with an average temperature ranging from 27°C to 32°C. April and May are the warmest months, averaging around 32°C. The climate is generally humid, warm, and pleasant, with ship-based tourism closed during monsoons.
Notable places to visit on the island include Bangaram, Agatti, Kadmath, Minicoy, Kalpeni, and Kavaratti. Bangaram, a tiny teardrop-shaped island near Agatti and Kavaratti, and Minicoy, the second-largest island, offer unique experiences, including one of the largest lagoons and architectural wonders.
Tourists can engage in various adventurous activities such as snorkelling at Agatti, scuba diving and exploring architectural wonders at Kalpeni island, kite surfing, and canoeing at Minicoy island, making Lakshadweep an ideal destination for a diverse range of experiences.