Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands

21st Mar 2014
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 1/12 by Riya Poojary
Hermit crab at Agatti Island
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 2/12 by Riya Poojary
Sunset at Agatti Isalnd
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 3/12 by Riya Poojary
The ornate driftwood creationsof Ajara and J
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 4/12 by Riya Poojary
The beautiful Bangaram Island
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 5/12 by Riya Poojary
Golden Jubilee Museum
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 6/12 by Riya Poojary
Visit the Juma Masjid
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 7/12 by Riya Poojary
Tall and bright: Minicoy lighthouse
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 8/12 by Riya Poojary
Fishing boats along the pristine waters of Mi
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 9/12 by Riya Poojary
Ujra mosque
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 10/12 by Riya Poojary
Exploring life underwater at Kadmat Island
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 11/12 by Riya Poojary
Blending of colours at Kalpeni Island
Photo of Rendezvous with Nature: The Lakshadweep Islands 12/12 by Riya Poojary
Just before sunset at Kavaratti Island

This is India’s best kept secret. If you are in or around India and are planning a vacation, make sure you wind up in this aqueous jewel- Lakshadweep islands. The islands brag about their beauty in a completely impenitent way. And why shouldn’t they? With 36 coral islands stroked with a picturesque landscape of lush green bliss and amber kissed beaches, this is a nature lover’s paradise. With less travelers and quaint villages, you are guaranteed a soothing vacation muddled only with long walks on never ending shorelines, swaying by the hammock under the oblique evening sun and a dip in the gleaming turquoise ocean. If you enjoy a few days of exploring nature in its true form, then you will be engulfed by the charm unleashed by Lakshadweep islands. Far from the bustling roads, narrow cluttered streets and maddening noise, I just lay by the beach listening to the calm waves whispering to the winds in a low, coy tone. A musical staged day and night, every hour, and every passing moment.

Lakshadweep is a group of islands situated some 400 km off India's west coast in the Arabian Sea. It is India’s smallest Union Territory and is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands with an area of 32 sq km. Getting here is not much of an issue. The islands are well connected by regular flights from Kochi. With a typical tropical climate, I’d suggest the best time to visit the islands is between October and March when it is comparatively cooler and drier. With not much tourism around here, Lakshadweep is full of mysteries waiting to be unveiled. The abundant flora and fauna, absence of chaotic lives and wonderful natural landscapes add to the charisma of this place. This place is best discovered drifting on foot and taking a drive along the shores, basking away in nature’s glory.

Lakshadweep is nonchalant. It was a place to forget my worries, put the past behind and revel in the present’s beauty. We took a flight from Kochi to Minicoy. If you haven’t been to Maldives, Minicoy will give you a peak into it. We then moved on to the uninhabited islet of Kalpeni. Its scenic view is enhanced with the huge shallow lagoon. After bearing witness to the exquisite islands, it was time for some waters! And so we headed to Kadmat. To capture some holiday card moments we went to the teardrop-shaped uninhabited island of Bangaram. Our next stop was the capital Kavaratti, a place adorned with beautiful mosques. For a better view of the amazing coral reefs, we found ourselves in Agatti before taking a flight back to Kochi..

Somehow I didn’t miss the urban clamor that I was used to every single day of my life. So like me, take your time to explore and step out on the islands. With a laid-back lifestyle, unlike your city, no one will push you out of your way as you stand and stare. Do that because this place deserves every ounce of your attention! Nature is at its best when left alone and this was clearly reinforced by Lakshadweep. With beautiful corals, a stretching golden tinge on land and the contrasting colorful marine life all sums up how gorgeous this trip can get. Snorkeling, diving and swimming, just make it better. There are a plenty of opportunities to indulge in scuba diving, kayaking, and sunbathing. It is a place for the wandering mind and curious soul. Make sure you don’t miss it!

We got on a flight from Kochi to Minicoy covering 398 km. It is a crescent shaped island and has one of the largest lagoons in the region. The island has beautifully arranged villages. They are known as ‘Avah’. As and when we got time, we went down to the fishing boats to catch some locals in their daily activities. Whether it is their boats or houses the locals surely have a penchant for colors in it all. If in luck, you may also catch a boat race at one of the villages. Roam through the villages and get acquainted with their culture. The island is ideal for tuna fishing. A major attraction of Minicoy is the Lighthouse built by the Britishers in 1885. With a scenic surrounding of coconut trees and white sand, this tower offers you a great vista of Virgin Island, Lakshadweep Island and Arabian Sea from the top. There are cottages on the island for the stay of the tourists.

Photo of Minicoy Island, Minicoy, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

Lakshadweep is Muslim dominated and hence mosques are a huge attraction here. Juma Masjid is located in the Minicoy Island. It is not just of religious but also of historic importance. It is said to have been constructed during the medieval period. It's also home to a rich collection of rare artifacts. The Rai Hilai is still preserved in the mosque and is believed to be the remains of an ancient stone anchor.

Photo of Juma Masjid, Minicoy, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

The island is very small and you can literally walk from one end to the other. There are a few food options available, but tuna is in plenty here. With black and white bands on the concrete tower, the Lighthouse sure attracts many visitors. This lighthouse has three white flashes. It covers 33.33 km when it flashes every 20 seconds. Visit the Moideen Juma Mosque here. There are lovely snorkeling sites available. After lunch, spend some time watching the native folk dance. By late afternoon, we even went kayaking. You don't see much high waves here so a quick dip is also a good idea. The island has plenty of coral to see. It is almost 200 km away from Minicoy. With beautiful lagoon, crystal clear white sands and untainted rich blue waters, you may for a second believe that you are actually in the Maldives!

Photo of Kalpeni, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

With just 150 km away from Kalpeni, Kadmat is purely to quench your desire of spending a whole day in the captivating waters. We reached her early in the morning, catching a glorious sunrise on our way. There are so many water related activities available that you will be confused where to even begin. There are many resorts offering these services. Though the island has stunning landscape, we decided to start our day here by exploring the sublime life underwater by scuba diving. It is the best way to discover the diverse marine life. There are snorkeling trips organized to nearby island reefs. But since we had already done that we decided to go sailing. It is such a fun activity! The water lapping against the hull and the strong winds creating a rhythm, this should not be missed.

Photo of Kadmat Island, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

Bangaram is just 150 km from Kadmat Island. Bangaram island is uninhabited. We took this day off to only relax. And we couldn't have asked for a better location. A breathtaking spectacle of sparkling coral reefs made it perfect for long strolls. This is an ideal place for unhurried life. We simply lazed on the beach on the sands, seeing the palm trees sway to the tunes of the wind. A good book accompanied by the soulful melodies of the crashing waves and the birds above and occasionally watching the hermit crabs scurrying is the only way to describe my trip to Bangaram Island.

Photo of Bangaram, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

With barely at a distance of 75 km. It has many mosques with beautiful architecture. In the afternoon we visited the Marine Aquarium and I would say this is a must visit aquarium where you will see sharks. There are octopuses and sea cucumbers along with the corals and distinct seashells. We spent the late afternoon jet skiing. With a heavenly lagoon, there are plenty of water sports available for the enthusiasts.

Photo of Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

We started the day in Kavaratti visiting the Urja mosque. The wooden architecture of the pillars and ceilings stand out because of its majestic structure. It was built in the 17th century by Qasim Muhammad Sheikh. The prayer hall of the mosque holds the grave of Muhammad Sheikh. It is an important pilgrimage spot in Kavaratti.

Photo of Ujra Mosque, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

The Dolphin Dive Centre is operated by SPORTS and offers PADI Scuba Diving courses from professional coaching classes and also has first time lessons. There are many dive spots on this island. Zing Zing Par at the southern tip is famous for big sharks. The island is well known for turtles, soft corals, sharks and all kinds of tropical fishes. Don't miss the exciting offer at the Dolphin Dive Centre!

This mosque is a historic architecture in Kavaratti Island. The mosque has attracted quiet a few tourists with it's striking ceiling and driftwood creations.

Photo of Ajara and Jamnath Mosque by Riya Poojary

This was the last stop before we took a flight back to Kochi. This is roughly 60 km from Kavaratti. It stands out for the large clear lagoon it wombs. With a glass bottomed boat, we were able to see fishes, crabs, floating reefs, etc. It is a delightful sight! Boats to go into the lagoon are found in the jetty on the island.

Photo of Agatti Island, Lakshadweep, India by Riya Poojary

This two story building museum in Agatti displays traditional Minicoy sailboats called ‘jagdhoni'. Antique jars, pots, wooden chests and a collection of gold coins are some of the artifacts recovered from islands and a few shipwrecks that are displayed at the museum. Like previously mentioned, Lakshadweep is Islam dominated. The two busts of Lord Buddha located at the ground floor narrates a history of this place before the Islamic period as these artifacts are considered to be have originated from the 9th and 12 century. And this will mark an end to one of your best island vacations!

Photo of Golden Jubilee Museum by Riya Poojary

There are 22 executive huts and 26 family huts. It is a simple place that offers solitude. The rooms offer comfort and fantastic views of the encircling lagoons. Imagine waking up to Dolphins just beyond the reef. An enchanting sunrise is part of the charm at Kadmat. It has a restaurant offering wholesome vegetarian and non-vegetarian buffet meals.

Photo of Kadmat Island Resort by Riya Poojary

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