The Complete Guide to Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep (literally translating to laksha- one lakh ; dweep- islands) is a tiny island Union Territory in India lying on the southwestern side of the Indian peninsula. Being on the Arabian sea, it hands down offers the best beaches India with clear turquoise water and pristine white sand. It is so fascinating to see the stark difference between the Lakshadweep shoreline from most beaches in India. The beaches are quite comparable to that seen in The Maldives.
Lakshadweep is an archipelago of twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks, with a total of about thirty-nine islands and islets. Of these, only 10 are inhabited and only 5 are accessible to Indian tourists. For foreign nationals, it is even restricted to only 3 islands.
Permit and Visa Guidelines
Even while being a part of India, Lakshadweep requires a separate permit which can be obtained from SPORTS (Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports). This means that you cannot simply hop on a plane or boat and head over to the Lakshadweep Islands. The permit should be obtained prior to your departure. Official Rules
The same permit is also mandatory for foreign nationals alongside the required Indian Visa.
Most of the tourism is acquired by travel agents, and with some additional fee, they are able to get you the required permit. Do note that stay in Lakshadweep is not cheap as well. Combination of both of this makes the islands less attractive to budget tourists.
Best time to visit
⛵ The peak season falls between October to March with the highest rates in December.
☁️ The monsoon in Lakshadweep is the non-peak season and lasts from June-September. During this time the sea is violent and hence tourist activities are very restricted.
🥘 What should I eat?
🍛 Fish and Coconut based food
🥃 What should I drink?
🍷 Coconut Water
What to do in Lakshadweep?
📌 Visit the sexiest sandy shorelines - Swimming and Relaxing
📌 Watch sunsets while sipping drinks - Relax and Rejuvenate
📌 Explore the islands
📌 Explore the clearest underwater terrain - Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Lakshadweep Culture and Language
Lakshadweep was occupied by Muslims prior to the annexure by the British after their departure. Hence the majority of the population is Muslim.
With strong ties to the mainland state of Kerala, Malayalam serves as a link language between the Lakshadeep Islands which have a slightly varied dialect between each island. English and Hindi are spoken and understood by the tourism sector.
The currency in Lakshadweep is INR (Indian National Rupee).
How to travel to and in Lakshadweep?
Most of the tours are organized in packages. Find them here
Since there are a number of islands, with very less land, most of the transport occurs by air or by sea.
- International Airports: None
- Domestic Airports: There are 2 domestic airports one in Agatti and the other in Bangaram, with the Agatti one used frequently to land only Air India flights.
- Helicopters: Helicopter transfer is available from Agatti to Kavaratti during monsoon season subject to availability of helicopter. Bangaram island also has the helicopter service during monsoon.
- Ships: 7 ships: MV Kavaratti, MV Arabian Sea, MV Lakshadweep Sea, MV Lagoon, MV Corals, MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy operate between Cochin and Lakshadweep islands.
- Ferry: Local ferries connect the intermediate islands.
Beaches and Watersports in Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep is a consortium of islands and all of them being micro islands, offer very similar levels of enthusiasm for beach activities and water sports.
You would find watersport activities like snorkeling and scuba diving in all of the islands and relatively there is no much difference between these. All of them offer spectacular underwater views.
Islands of Lakshadweep
Below is the list of the islands which are open to tourists.
Kavaratti island is the capital of the UT with the main headquarters of the administrative district and hence is the most developed among the islands.
Famous places to see here include the Ujra Mosque and Marine Aquarium and Museum.
Agatti is a narrow strip of island which houses the primary airport in the Lakshadweep island chain.
Located towards the southern side, Minicoy island is a bit off the cluster of islands. This is the second-largest island in Lakshadweep. It also houses the Minicoy Lighthouse which is open to tourists. The best part is that you can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy a picturesque view of the entire island.
Fun fact: Minicoy island is located closer to the Maldives than to its other Indian islands. It has a huge lagoon in between which is an ideal swimming paradise and is a hotspot for kayaking.
Small island which is best for snorkelling with shallow waters.
Bangaram Island is another tourist gateway. It has a shipwreck which is one of the locations for snorkelling. Also, there is no resident on this island. That means you would be in the company of tourists and staff only.
Kadmat island also known as Cardamom Island is a narrow and long strip of island with a huge lagoon. Thinnakara Island is a nearby island sharing the same lagoon and coral shores.
Where to stay in Lakshadweep?
Thinnakara, Kadmat, Bangaram, Kavaratti and Minicoy all offer government guest houses and local accommodations.
✔️ Permit first!
✔️ Do not carry corals or any marine objects from the island. It is illegal.
✔️ Respect the culture and tradition of the locals - they are friendly.
✔️ No liquor policy: Liquor is banned in Lakshadweep (alcohol was earlier served in Bangaram island, but that resort is now closed).
✔️ Get Cash: ATM Machines are available in bigger islands, but might not be availabe in the smaller islands.
✔️ Limited number of tourists are given permission, so make sure you have your travel plans arranged beforehand.
✔️ Coconut plants are privately owned and plucking coconuts might not be taken subtly.
✔️ Carry your essential stuff. Getting the same things you get on the mainland might not be possible on the islands.
📌 Use the below interactive map for directions:
✔ Clicking the top right button opens the map in a new tab showing the different sections. Click on view map legend if browsing on phone ✔ Save the map in your Google Maps for easy access later: Click the ⭐star button beside the name of the map. You can access the map later from Google Maps > Saved > Maps