Introduction to Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep is one of the unexplored destinations in India. It is not only the tiniest union territory of India but also the only coral island chain. Virgin beaches, untouched corals, breath-taking marine life is one of India’s best-kept secret. Out of 36 islands only a few islands namely, Agatti, Kadmat, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Kalpeni, Kavaratti & Minicoy are open for tourists and travelers.
These islands are restricted areas and permit from the administration is required to visit them. Permit formalities for tourists are taken care of by Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS). Currently, tourism in Lakshadweep is still under development and is solely managed by government organization SPORTS. There are no private tour operators or resorts in Lakshadweep to host trips and packages. So, beware! Do not fall prey to any unauthorized travel company or agent promoting any Lakshadweep tour packages. There are some registered agents who can help you with booking; but in my honest opinion, you can do the booking by yourself from the website. In case you still prefer to book through an agent, you can check the registered list of agents on the Lakshadweep official tourism site: www.lakhadweeptourism.com.
Best time and mode to visit:
Best time to visit Lakshadweep islands is any time except monsoon season (i.e. before June and post-September). During monsoon, the local ferry services and resorts are shut. Personally, I would suggest visiting Lakshadweep around mid-November to February time as the weather is extremely pleasant during that period.
After making several calls and writing emails, I finally cracked the code for visiting Lakshadweep! The details are listed below:
There are two ways to travel to the Lakshadweep Islands –
Fly to Agatti island from Kochi. Agatti island does not have any resorts or stay facilities so you must hire a boat to the neighboring islands for a stay. The islands which you can visit are Bangaram, Kavaratti, Thinnakara, etc. You must make prior bookings and take permits for visiting these islands with SPORTS. For Air packages (http://www.lakshadweeptourism.com/tourpackages.html)
SPORTS offer many packages by sea such as Swaying Palm Package, Samudharam Package. In my recommendation, the best way and most economical way to explore Lakshadweep through the sea is via Samudharam Package. (For bookings visit this link: https://samudram.utl.gov.in/ )
Samudharam package will offer you the best of Lakshadweep with cruise experience; A 5-day tour is operated by the ship that goes by the name MV Kavaratti. It starts from Willingdon Island, Kochi, sails to 3 different islands. Nights are spent on the ship while days on the islands. The ship is dedicated to the people of Lakshadweep. Locals also travel via this ship. The first-class cabins are pretty much decent, hygienic and comfortable.