Lakshadweep means ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam, the local language. However there are only 36 islands having a total area of 32 sq. kilometers. It is the tiniest Union Territory of India with 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Ten Islands are inhabited. They are Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy.
In the south west of India and in the waters of the Arabian Sea, the island of Agatti forms a part of the Lakshadweep archipelago. This land, which is surrounded on all sides by coral reefs and blue waters, has a few legends but its history has marks of rulers who controlled it from the western coasts of India. The coral reefs and the water surrounding it gives opportunity for scuba diving, snorkelling, boating, para sailing, gliding, etc. The nearby islands of Kavaratti, Bangaram, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Minicoy, etc. are popular for sightseeing visits by boats and water activities.
Kadmat is one of the largest islands in the Lakshadweep which includes shallow lagoons on the west and narrow lagoons on the east. With a wide beach, coconut trees and blue green sea, Kadmat is emerging as a popular tourist attraction. The island is famous for its limestones that are widely used for construction work. With rich underwater fauna and flora, Kadmat is popular as one of the most beautiful scuba diving centres in India. The island is also famous for the array of water sports like snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, sailing and boating.
The island is surrounded by a shallow lagoon known as the Jewel of Lakshadweep. This island is known for its coral formation, especially black coral formation, coral reefs and turquoise blue lagoons. The major attraction of this beautiful island is the exploration of underwater world, where divers can spot variety of coral fish such as clown, angel, surgeon and butterfly. Along with these, manta rays, sharks, turtles and sting rays, moray eels can also be spotted. There are various types of flora and fauna, which can be explored in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. With its warm waters, swimming is a popular activity in Bangaram. In addition, the island is one of the ideal locations for deep sea big game fishing.
The island also has three uninhabited satellite islands and is situated in the midst of a lagoon to the north-east of Kavaratti. The Tip Beach provides opportunities for snorkelling, sea bathing and kayaking. Coral reefs along with the shallow water attract tourists visiting this island of Lakshadweep. The 37 metres high lighthouse of Kalpeni provides a bird's eye view of the adjacent locations surrounded by the coconut groves, white sandy beach and the Arabian Sea. Kayaks, sail boats and pedal boats floating over crystal clear waters is a beautiful sight. There is a rich variety of flora and fauna along with aquatic life on the island.
Kavaratti is a small census town. One of the most popular attractions in the town of Kavaratti is the Ujra Mosque. There is also a museum, a few blocks away from the mosque consisting of a large aquarium with sharks sharing space with octopuses and sea cucumbers, which is the main attraction here. Kavaratti is popular for the snow-white coral sand and lagoons that are available here along with coconut trees and white sandy beaches covering most of the regions.
It is a long island completely covered with coconut trees. One of the significant attractions of Minicoy is a tall lighthouse, which is one of the oldest, built in 1885 by the British. The island is said to contain ancient remains belonging to its Buddhist past that happens to be around 800 years old referred by the name ‘Salliballu.’ The traditional Laval Dance is the main attraction of the everal colourful activities and programmes are held here.
Amini is one of the first discovered islands of the Lakshadweep. A blend of scenic sights, rich cultural traditions and modern infrastructure draws the attention of travellers. The sandy beaches, turquoise water of the Arabian Sea and pleasant climatic conditions make Amini one of the popular destinations of Lakshadweep. Tourists can engage in adventurous water sports like surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling, among others. This island is popular for crafts such as walking sticks with tortoise and coconut shells.
The beautiful island of Androth is the biggest island of Lakshadweep. Architectural testaments and scenic surroundings have made Androth one of the major tourist attractions in the southern part of India. Turquoise water, beautiful lagoons and sandy beaches with corals, shells and fishes attract tourists in large numbers. Jumaat Mosque is a marvel that houses the tomb of Saint Ubaidullah. A huge tower with search lights is a chief attraction of the destination.
Bitra is the largest lagoon in the Lakshadweep archipelago. Bitra Island was once known as Tree Island because of its heavy undergrowth and shrubs. Initially, many birds were the only year-round residents on this island as the acute lack of drinking water made human settlement difficult. The main attraction of Bitra is the shrine of Malik Mulla. Full of corals and multi-coloured tropical fish, diving and snorkelling are the popular activities in the Bitra Island.