Lakshadweep Tourism and Travel Guide

Lakshadweep (/ləkˈʃɑːdwiːp/, Lakṣadvīp , Lakshadīb, Malayalam: ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്, Mahl: ލަކްޝަދީބު), formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands (/ˌlækədaɪv ˌmɪnɨkɔɪ/ & /ˌæmɨnˈdiːvi/), is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 kilometres (120 to 270 mi) off the south western coast of India. The archipelago is a Union Territory and is governed by the Union Government of India. They were also known as Laccadive Islands, although geographically this is only the name of the central subgroup of the group. Lakshadweep comes from 'Lakshadweepa', which means 'one hundred thousand islands' in Sanskrit as well as many Indian languages like Telugu, Malayalam, Tulu, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and others. The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India: their total surface area is just 32 square kilometres (12 sq mi).2 The lagoon area covers about 4,200 square kilometres (1,600 sq mi), the territorial waters area 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) and the exclusive economic zone area 400,000 square kilometres (150,000 sq mi). The region forms a single Indian district with ten sub divisions. Kavaratti serves as the capital of the Union Territory and the region comes under the jurisdiction of Kerala High Court. The islands are the northernmost of the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge.As the islands do not have any aboriginal groups, different views have been postulated by the scholars about the history of habitation on these islands. Archaeological evidence support the existence of human settlement in the region around 1500 BC. The islands have long been known to sailors, as indicated by an anonymous reference from the first century AD to the region in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. The islands were referenced also in the Buddhist Jataka stories of the 6th century BC. The arrival of Muslim missionaries around 7th century led to the advent of Islam in the region. During the medieval period the region was ruled by the Chola dynasty and Kingdom of Cannanore. The Portuguese arrived around 1498 and were upstaged by 1545. The region was then ruled by the Muslim house of Arakkal, followed by Tipu Sultan. On his death in 1799 most of the region passed on to the British and with their departure the Union Territory was formed in 1956.Ten of the islands are inhabited. At the 2011 Indian census the population of the Union Territory was 64,473. The majority of the indigenous population is Muslim and most of them belong to the Shafi School of the Sunni Sect. The islanders are ethnically similar to the Malayali people of the nearest Indian state of Kerala. Most of the population speaks Malayalam with Mahi (or Mahl) being the most spoken language in Minicoy island. The islands are served by an airport on the Agatti island. The main occupation of the people is fishing and coconut cultivation, with tuna being the main item of export.
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Best Time To Visit the Lakshadweep Islands

The weather is at its most pleasant between September to February to experience the best of Lakshadweep tourism. The temperature is agreeable, between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, hence making sightseeing and exploring Lakshadweep tourism pleasant in these months. Tourists prefer to not opt for Lakshadweep tourism during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to August, due to the soaring temperature and humidity as well as heavy and erratic rainfall. One of the few ways to reach the islands is via waterways. As travelling on a ship becomes dangerous during monsoon, fewer tourists arrive at the islands for getting a taste of Lakshadweep tourism. In fact, transport from Agatti to Bangaram is only possible via a helicopter in these months as only local passengers are allowed to take the ship during monsoon, not tourists. Moreover, most of the activities and water sports cannot be enjoyed as well, hence, most Lakshadweep travel guides will recommend you to not plan a trip during this season. If you do not mind the extra trouble and want to experience the natural beauty of the islands in full bloom, you could opt for Lakshadweep tourism even during the monsoons.

Permit for Lakshadweep Tourism

Whether you are an international traveller or a fellow Indian, Lakshadweep tourism requires you to obtain a permit to enter the islands. The permit for Lakshadweep tourism can be obtained by the government-run tour operator called SPORTS ( Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports). You could have your accommodation at the Lakshadweep Islands sort out the nitty-gritty of obtaining the visa too. For Indians, the information needed is basic – name, address, date and place of birth. International travellers need to provide their passport and visa details as well as proof of accommodation to receive a permit for Lakshadweep tourism. You need permission to go to any of the destinations within the Lakshadweep Islands. It should be noted that Lakshadweep tourism allows Indian citizens to visit Agatti Island, Bangaram Island, Kadmat Island, Kavaratti Island, Kalpeni Island and Minicoy Island while tourists from other countries are only allowed to visit Agatti Island, Bangaram Island, and Kadmat Island.

Top Attractions In The Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep tourism is budding, but it still attracts a good number of tourists to experience the clean, turquoise sea bordered by magnificent white-sand shores. Many people rejoice that this is one of the few awe-inspiring places in India that has managed to stay off the travellers’ radar. Away from the inescapable clutches of commercialisation, you get to experience natural beauty that’s unlike any other Indian destination. Comprising beaches that rank as some of the best in the whole world, Lakshadweep tourism gives you an opportunity to enjoy a unique and luxurious travel experience in your own country. 


Agatti Island

Known for its spectacular coral reefs, Agatti Islands is a gem of Lakshadweep tourism. It is one of the few islands that are inhabited. The beaches here are considered to be some of the best in the world, not just in the country. Apart from the postcard perfect view, the area is abundant with an exotic marine life. As you indulge in water sports such as scuba diving and snorkelling, you can observe the wonderful aquatic life more closely. The island itself is tiny, having a total area of about 3 square kilometres with a small population of about 8,000. For people choosing to travel by air to reach Lakshadweep, this is the first stop offered by Lakshadweep tourism. It is the only island in the archipelago that has an airport, which makes its connection significantly better with mainland India. Besides Malayalam, locals converse in English as well and you will not have many problems with communication. The pleasing tropical weather makes it a lovely place to just sit back, sunbathe and enjoy the natural beauty around. Lakshadweep tourism can also introduce you to the striking culture of the locals. Besides the tribal festivals that take place here in the year, one of the most celebrated festivals is Eid-Ul-Fitr. Since the population of the country is majorly Muslim, you will notice how this festival is celebrated with great pomp and frills. 


Minicoy Islands

The second largest island on offer by Lakshadweep tourism with a total area of just four and a half square kilometres, is one of the most beautiful islands to visit in India. If you are on the lookout for a luxury getaway at an island resort, this should be at the top of your Lakshadweep tourism itinerary. It is a popular spot amongst newly wed couples to spend their honeymoon, owing to its picturesque location and relaxing vibe. Besides the beaches, there are not many places to see on the island. However, that is why people arrive here in the first place – a vacation at the Minicoy Islands is supposed to be just to unwind and enjoy nature at its purest. This place is not for those looking for a thrilling nightlife. Instead, you can partake in things such as tuna canning and tuna fishing that are immensely popular as part of Lakshadweep tourism.


Bangaram Island

If you want a secluded holiday, Bangaram Island should be a top pick under Lakshadweep tourism. In its atoll, it is the largest island, having a total area of 1.23 square kilometres. Its population is of about ten – and all the inhabitants work at the Bangaram Island Beach Resort. Therefore, during your visit, you will feel like you are on your own private island. It was the only place of accommodation at the island, apart from some tents put up by SPORTS and 12 cottages. At the time of writing this Lakshadweep travel guide, the Bangaram Island Beach Resort is not functional due to legal disputes. Since there are not many options for accommodations at Bangaram Island, it is advisable to sort out your bookings beforehand. It is also worth noting that since the resort is shut down, although alcohol is legal to consume on the island, it is not available. This is the place for you if you are committed to enjoy the blissful landscapes as well as take delight in some me-time. You can have the laziest holiday here or an adventurous one. Some of the adrenaline rushing activities offered by Lakshadweep tourism are water skiing, windsurfing, snorkelling and scuba diving. The aquatic life here is mesmerizing – you can spot dolphins, turtles, sting rays and a plethora of fish. Keep in mind that staying here means fully disconnecting from the rest of the world as there is no internet or network (except BSNL) on the island. Many travellers prefer going on a day trip to Bangaram Island from Agatti Island instead of spending multiple days. 


Andrott Island

Andrott Island, which is also known as Andretti Island, is the closest to mainland India. With a total area of about five square kilometres, this is the largest of all the Lakshadweep Islands. This is one of the islands that only allows Indian citizens to experience Lakshadweep tourism. Andrott Island stands out from the other places offered by Lakshadweep tourism as here, besides enjoying the sun and the sea, you can spend your time exploring the architectural marvels. The island houses a number of Buddhist archaeological relics. It is also well known for its Jumah Mosque that consists of the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ubaidullah who was known to be the Prophet’s disciple and responsible for spreading the teachings of Islam across Lakshadweep. The ancient architecture provides insight into the life at the island from the past as well as depicts how rich the culture and heritage of the region is.


Kavaratti Island

The capital of the Union Territory as well as the base of the Headquarters of Administration of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Island holds immense significance. Besides its political eminence, like all the other islands that Lakshadweep tourism boasts of, you will find several magnificent beaches as well where you can enjoy the view of the clean and clear sea. The island is currently being focused on for the development of a smart city. There is something for every kind of traveller here. While some can laze about the beach and indulge in the water sports, others can admire the architecture or get a closer look at marine life. 52 mosques are scattered around the island, Urja Mosque being the most popular of them all. Urja Mosque was constructed in the 17th century and is a holy place on the island. Another interesting place to visit in Kavaratti Island is the Marine Museum. You can see a diverse range of aquatic species under a roof. Antiquities relating to marine life are also put on display here. Lakshadweep tourism is one of the major contributors to the island’s economy.


Kadmat Island

Among the most popular islands in Lakshadweep tourism is Kadmat Island. Azure skies and clear water grace the landscape of the island and invite thousands of travellers every year. The island has only one small village that makes up for its population, where the primary way to earn a living for the locals is through fishing. At Kadmat Island, you can take relaxing to another level by opting for some of the incredible spa treatments and massages available. This ranks high on the list of islands with the best amenities and areas for water sports.

Activities And Things To Do In The Lakshadweep Islands

Considering that you would be on an island, it is predictable that a Lakshadweep travel guide would suggest activities involving water. Rightfully so in this case as the sea and the shore constitute a scenic landscape you will not see in many other places in the world. The untouched, unexplored beauty of Lakshadweep tourism would make you want to spend most of your time lounging at the beach or being in and around the sea. Go through the list below of things to do to enjoy Lakshadweep tourism and choose the activities that best suit your preferences.


Enjoy the water sports 

Lakshadweep tourism is one of the top choices for travellers looking for some underwater adventure. As splendid as the landscape may seem to you by the shore, the beauty increases multifold beneath the sea. The clarity and cleanliness of the sea water add to the magic of the experience you get by partaking in the water sport activities offered by Lakshadweep tourism. All Lakshadweep travel guides will tell you that scuba diving is the best water sport to indulge in here. The best islands where you get a glimpse of immaculate coral reefs and different species of marine life are Agatti Island, Bangaram Island and Kadmat Island. Kadmat Island is, in fact, where the first Laccadives Dive Centre and School is located. It is the only diving school in India that issues CMAS certification courses. Other well known places for scuba diving under Lakshadweep tourism are the Dolphin Dive Centre in Kavaratti and Minicoy Dive Centre. Each of these diving centres have different levels to suit the expertise of the divers. Hence, whether you are a beginner or an advanced diver interested in a PADI course, you can make the best of the opportunities for diving presented by Lakshadweep tourism. If diving deep into the sea to explore it is not your cup of tea, snorkelling is your next best alternative – you get to stay near the surface of the sea while also observing the vibrant underwater life. Some of the other water sport activities that you can enjoy here are kayaking, canoeing, surfing, windsurfing, water skiing, yachting and night-voyages. If water sports are one of the most important things for you to do in Lakshadweep tourism (as it should be), keep in mind to plan your trip in the right season. During monsoon, the weather is not conducive for water sports so you will not be able to experience  it.


Go on a Lakshadweep tourism cruise

Luxuriate your Lakshadweep tourism experience by going aboard a cruise ship. Sailing across the charming characteristic backdrop of Lakshadweep will be a memory you will hold for life. You can take a cruise ship from Kochi, Mumbai, Mangalore, Goa and Beypore. There are two types of cruises available for tourists – government-run or private. If you want to take the government-run cruise, you will have to go to Kochi as it is the only point of departure. The ships can carry up to 650 passengers. They offer three kinds of room – AC deluxe class, AC first class and AC tourist class. The facilities are fairly comfortable. It also has other facilities such as a cafeteria, a snack bar, a lounge, and a video room for your entertainment during the journey which can be as long as 14 to 20 hours. The names of the government-run cruise ships are MV Kavaratti, Lakshadweep Sea ship, Arabian Sea ship, MV Tipu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, Samudram and MV Amindivi. Privately-owned cruises are more expensive but the experience makes up for the hike in cost. Two of the most popular cruise lines are Star Cruises and Indian Ocean Cruises. Other than the different options in rooms, the facilities include a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a casino, and a disco. It should be noted that there has been a decrease in the number of private cruises that are operational in the last few years. On a cruise, you are likely to stop at some of the most popular islands under Lakshadweep tourism, which include Bangaram, Minicoy Island, Kavaratti Island, Kalpeni Island, Agatti Island, and Kadmat Island.

Where To Stay In The Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep is an idyllic destination, and most of the accommodation options under Lakshadweep tourism maintain its dream-like appeal. From private resorts to government lodges, there is a variety in the types of places where you can stay. Most accommodation spaces are expensive, so if you are on a budget, government lodges are your best bet to keep expenses low. At the resorts of Kadmat and Kavaratti Islands, you can find standard and deluxe suites, with or without air conditioning easily. On the other hand, you will only find tents without air conditioning on Bangaram and Thinnakara Islands. The best thing about the places to stay under Lakshadweep tourism is that almost all of them will offer a magnificent view of the sea. A lot of them will be situated near the beaches, hence you will not even have to travel far to have the perfect day that drew you to Lakshadweep tourism. The place you will choose for your accommodation would certainly hook you up with other activities and help you plan your itineraries. Hence, it is alright if you do not mug up Lakshadweep travel guides and only have a skeletal Lakshadweep tourism itinerary. Upon request, your stay would help you go for adventure sports, sightseeing tours and interactions with locals. Kadmat Island Beach Resort, Kavaratti Island Beach Resort and Agatti Island Beach Resort are some of the top places of accommodation that you will find under Lakshadweep tourism.

Cuisine And Best Places To Eat In The Lakshadweep Islands

Since the island is surrounded by the sea inhabited by rich aquatic life, a lot of the items on your menu will be seafood. Vegetarians need not worry as you will find a good number of healthy vegetarian dishes as well. The addition of coconut to the dishes is a given as well. Almost all of the curries are based in coconut milk. Coconut water is also the most consumed drink in the region, owing to the abundance of coconuts across the islands. The food tends to be mildly spicy and borrows a distinct flavour from the nearby state of Kerala. You will find similarities between the Malabar cuisine and the dishes served as part of Lakshadweep tourism. Popular South Indian dishes such as dosa and idli are also commonly devoured by the locals of the Lakshadweep Islands. Rice is staple in the meals prepared by the locals of Lakshadweep too.

As travellers from all around the world visit the islands, a range of cuisines such as Thai, Korean and Continental are served here as well. Some of the most popular dishes that are authentic to the cuisine of Lakshadweep are rayereha (red tuna curry), sannath (white coconut-based tuna) and Malabar parotta. You should try kadalakka, a well-known dessert to top off your meal. 


The Agatti Island Beaches resort is one of the best places in Lakshadweep tourism to go on a culinary adventure. You can find several eating joints there, serving some of the most delectable food. To have a range of options laid out in front of you, attending the buffet at the Lakshadweep Tourism Resort in Kadmat is a good option. Those who are on a budget but do not want to miss out on this top Lakshadweep tourism experience can head to the local food courts, for example Akshaya Mess and Food Court. If you are in a mood to get drunk on one of the nights during your holiday, you have to be at the Bangaram Islands, as alcohol is not served on any of the other Lakshadweep Islands.

How To Travel In The Lakshadweep Islands

Since the Lakshadweep Islands are scattered around the Laccadive Sea, the only way to travel from one island to another is via boats, ferries or helicopters. Keep in mind that you cannot go from Agatti Island to Minicoy Island and Kalpeni Island as there is no connectivity established. You can visit them from a ship starting in Kochi. During monsoon, taking a helicopter might be the only way for tourists to travel between islands. Hence, it is important for you to carefully choose the timing of booking a Lakshadweep tourism package, depending on your convenience and budget. Helicopter transfers cost about Rs 10,000. When you arrive at an island, there are not a lot of options available for you to commute. Road conditions are not optimal, therefore, you will not be able to find taxis or car rentals. So at an island, the best way for you to explore Lakshadweep tourism is on foot or by renting a bicycle.

Typical Costs In The Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep tourism is one of its kind and paints a unique picture of the country altogether, but this comes at a price – there is not really an option to do a budget trip. As much as you try, it is unlikely that you will spend less than Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per person. An expensive yet unavoidable cost would be for your accommodation. You should set aside at least Rs 6,000 per night for your stay. Hence, your budget is also a deciding factor for how long your visit to the islands should be. To cut down on your expenses and stay at the lower side of the range mentioned in this Lakshadweep travel guide, try to find the cheapest accommodation possible (which most likely will be the government lodges). Other than that, ferries should be chosen over helicopters for transfer between islands. A helicopter ride alone would cost you about Rs 10,000! Similarly, by dining in the local food courts rather than at the luxurious dining spaces in resorts would help you minimise costs. Depending on what type of water sport activity you are indulging in as well as where and when, you can increase or reduce the hit it would take on your budget. Some water sport activities can be done even at Rs 750! Hence, even if you are not in a mood to splurge, you will be able to enjoy the turquoise water of the sea. If you are one of the travellers who can afford to go on a Lakshadweep tourism journey without much of a budget constraint, you do not have to worry about much!

Frequently Asked Questions

Reaching Lakshadweep Island requires some effort. You need to arrive in Kochi first to be able to get to the islands. Taking a flight to Agatti Island is the easiest way to travel. The duration of the direct flight from Kochi is about an hour and a half. Other than that, you can take one of the passenger ships that depart from Kochi towards the Lakshadweep Islands regularly. However, remember that the journey takes 14 to 18 hours. 

Yes. A permit is required to visit any of the Lakshadweep Islands. You should keep two days aside for your Lakshadweep tourism permit to get processed. 

Yes, except Bangaram Island, alcohol is not allowed to be served or consumed on any of the other Lakshadweep islands. You cannot carry any alcohol with you as well. 

As an Indian citizen, you do not require a passport to be able to go to the Lakshadweep Islands. You do, however, need to provide proof of your name, address, date and place of birth when you are in the process of obtaining a permit for Lakshadweep tourism.

  • Keep in mind to sort out your travel and accommodation details while you are in Kochi. A plethora of choices are not available on the islands and network connectivity is not good everywhere, so you should have all the necessary information beforehand.
  • Carry a reasonable amount of cash with you at all times. Some islands, for example Bangaram Island and Thinnakara Island, do not have ATMs. Therefore, do not depend on your debit and credit cards too much.
  • Do not carry corals back with you as memorabilia from the Lakshadweep Islands as it is prohibited by law.

You can do without a Lakshadweep travel guide. To sort out your transfer, permit, accommodation and itinerary, it is recommended to book a tour package. Your agents should provide you with all the necessary Lakshadweep tour details beforehand, hence you do not require a Lakshadweep travel guide after you arrive at your destination. You can consult your hotel managers for any help if required.

You should take at least five days to make the most of your Lakshadweep tourism experience. You will be able to go to multiple islands mentioned above in this Lakshadweep travel guide as well as indulge in the several activities available.