Lakshadweep, formerly the Laccadives, is a group of islands situated 200–440 km off India's west coast in the Arabian Sea. They are India's only coral atolls and geologically a part of the same chain as the Maldives.
Lakshadweep is India's smallest union territory with just 32 km², and one of only two Indian administrative divisions with a Muslim majority (the other being the state of Jammu and Kashmir). The name literally means "a hundred thousand islands" in Sanskrit (laksha = lakh or a quantity of 100,000, dweep = island). It has ten inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands with attached islets, four newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs.
Lakshadweep is one of the most beautiful destinations that you could visit during your holidays with beautiful marine life, relaxed village life, some tourist resorts and cherished mosques.
ClimatePeak season is December to May, when it is cooler and drier. May to September is the main (southwest) monsoon season, but the October–November northeast monsoon can also be rainy.
Foreigners are restricted to the islands of Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat, plus transit only (maximum of 12 hours) in Kavaratti. Indians may visit the other islands as well, but accommodation is very limited (see Sleep).
Nearly everybody going to Lakshadweep has to pass through Kochi, from where you can continue by plane or ship.
By planeAir India normally flies thrice-weekly from Kochi to the airstrip at Agatti, the only one on the islands. It is the sole airline serving Lakshadweep. However, the service is irregular and mostly season dependent. You need to cross check with Air India whether they are operating the service or not before planning to come here. Even if there is a regular service, flights get cancelled at the last moment as Agatti has a very basic and small airstrip on which only turbo-props can land and it doesn't have night operations capability. So, it is advisable that you keep a minimum of one day to account for any cancellations.
By shipThe MV Tipu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi, MV Minicoy, MV LakshadweepSea, MV ArabianSea and MV Kavaratti operate between Kochi in Kerala and various islands in Lakshadweep. The trip takes 14–18 hours depending on the destination island. The first four are basic 1960s-era ferries but fairly well maintained and tolerably comfortable and provides a comfortable journey. The Tipu Sultan stopped its service. The newly built MV LakshadweepSea and MV Arabian Sea are provided with three classes of accommodation (air-con cabin, air-conreclining seats and deck) plus a cafeteria, snack bar and upper deck promenade. Return fares are around ₹3800 in air-con seats, which is the cheapest class available for packages. The MV Kavaratti is used mainly for operating "Samudram Cruise Package" by Society for promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), a body under the Lakshadweep Administration, though the ship also transports passengers from Kochi to various islands and between islands. The ship is centrally airconditioned and has cabin class accommodation mainly for tourists. In addition it has bunk bed accommodation for passengers. The tourists stay on the ship for four nights and five days and visit one island per day for water sports and other activities.
All published sailing schedules are subject to sudden changes; not only can they be delayed, but it's not unknown for a boat to arrive and leave a day early.
There are also occasional cruises directly from Mumbai.
The southernmost island of Minicoy in the Lakshadweep island group is now a permitted entry point.
By boats/ferries: these can be used for getting around from one island to the other.
Once on an island, there aren't too many options as the islands themselves are very small: most of them are less than 10 km in length and less than a kilometre in breadth between their extremes. You can travel by foot or hire a bicycle.
Agatti IslandThe gateway for the Lakshadweep, it's around 6 km long. Fishing is the main occupation for the people living here. Tourists can enjoy sailing, boat rides, water skiing, kayaking swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, and also find huge lagoons.
BangaramBeaches with smooth sand.
Kadmat IslandA popular tourist destination. There is a huge lagoon on the west side of the island, around 10 km from the Amini.
KalpeniKalpeni is 76 km south of Androth. This place lies in an extensive and shallow lagoon. The lagoon is famous for its rich coral and marine life.
Kavaratti IslandKavaratti Island is the most developed Island in Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is the administrative capital of Lakshdweep and the population is dominated by non-islanders. There are around 52 mosques on the island, and the most beautiful one is Ujra mosque.
Diveline AgattiOperates the scuba diving shop at the Agatti Resort.
LacadivesOperates the scuba diving shops at the Bangaram and Kadmat Resorts.
Agatti Island Beach ResortPrivately owned, but quite run down; although apparently new cottages are planned. The main attraction is diving, which is better than at Bangaram. 20 beds.
Kadmat Island ResortThe choice of scuba divers, this is home to Lakshadweep's first scuba facility. 22 executive huts, 26 family huts. Government-run and basic.
phone: +91 984750359530 non-AC beach huts. They are set back about 55 m from a sandy bay with dining restaurant. Deluxe cottages are on the beach and they face the lagoon. These cottages are quite large and added facilities like fridge (all cottages). All cottages overlook the beautiful beach and lagoon and are eco-friendly and have a tranquil atmosphere.
In addition, basic government resorts open to Indian citizens only are available at Minicoy, Kavaratti and Kalpeni. Some packages offered by SPORTS include accommodation on board the ship, with only day visits to the islands.