Lakshadweep Islands are an archipelago of 36 exquisite coral islands with untouched beaches and verdant coconut groves offering an ample of travel experiences to the visitors. This smallest UT of India has richest diversity of coral varieties and a multitude of colourfull reef fish. Only two islands are open to foreign visitors while Indians have a choice of six.
Spreading over an area of 32 sq. km, this precious heritage of ecology and culture is supported by an ecologically fragile ecosystem. The eco-tourism is being promoted by the administration by carefully monitoring the environmental impact. These islands are ideal sites for snorkeling and scuba-diving.
Kavaratti, the administrative head quarter of Lakshadweep is the busiest island with large numbers of mainlanders, most of who work for the government. There are 52 mosques on the island that cater to the predominantly Muslim population. The most beautiful is the Ujra Mosque with an ornate ceiling carved from driftwood. A well, within its precincts, is believed to contain water with curative powers.
The island is popular owing to its beautiful white beaches and crystal clear lagoon ideal for water sporting. The island also has an aquarium with several colourful species of fish. There is a glass bottom boat for viewing marine life and an array of remarkable coral formations that provides a background to the lagoons and the islands within them.
Agatti, the second important town of Lakshadweep has a beautiful lagoon and offers easy access for day visits to the uninhabited islands of Bangaram, Tinnakara and Parali I and II. This is where the only airport of Lakshadweep is located. However, foreign tourists are not allowed to visit this island.
Shaped like a tear drop, this island is encircled by a continuous halo of creamy sands. Like all the other islands of Lakshadweep, luxuriant plantations of coconut provide coolness even during the hottest time of the day.
About 125 km from Kavaratti Island is Kalpeni Island with three uninhabited satellite islands; all surrounded by an immense lagoon of spectacular beauty. Koomel, the gently curving bay where the tourist facilities are located, directly overlooks Pitti and Thilakkm, two of the islands. Here, tourists can swim, reef walk, snorkel or use water sports equipment like kayaks, and sail boats.
Some 70 km north of Kavaratti Island is Kadmat Island, an ideal site for water sporting, canoeing, boat riding and scuba diving. This is the only island with lagoons on both eastern and western sides. A Water Sports Institute providing water sports facilities has been set up in Kadmat.
Farthest from Kavaratti Island, about 205 km away to the south and also nearest to the Maldives, Minicoy has a distinct culture influenced by the neighboring Maldives. It has a cluster of 10 villages, which are called Athiris each presided over by a Moopan.
Minicoy is renowned for its dance tradition: the lava dance is performed on festive occasions. The tuna fishing and boat building activity is interesting. Minicoy has a lighthouse built by the British in 1885. Visitors are allowed up, right to the very top. The island has a grand lagoon with a stretch of mangroves along its shores.