Emerald in the blue sea
The islands look like emeralds in the vast expanse of blue sea. Varying hues of turquoise blue translucent water surround them. Coral atolls, the matchless marine environment with myriad colours resulting in complex interaction of animate and inanimate things. Built on ancient volcanic formations are the Lakshadweep (meaning a hundred thousand islands), the tiniest Union Territory of India. It consists of 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. The atolls poised on submarine banks, harbour 3.6 islands having an area of 32 Sq.Km. Of these, 10 islands are inhabited namely Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. The islands lie about 220- 440 Kms from the Malabar coast between 8° and 12° 13' North Latitude. Kavarattai is the Administrative Headquarter of the Union Territory.
Each island is fringed by snow white coral sands, are marked by a huge, shallow, calm lagoon on one side which separate it from incoming swells of the outer sea by the fort wall-reef made of massive coral boulders and live corals. The only coral islands of our country, are the result of gradual assimilation of calcium from the water by corals and their turning into reefs.
It is the headquarters of the U.T Administration since 1964. You have enough time to explore the island. The beautiful calm lagoon forms an ideal spot for water sport swimming and basking on warm sandy beaches. Marine life exhibits can be seen at the marine aquarium which has excellent collection of specimens. The Dolphin Drive Centre is another attraction for water sports enthusiasts. Tourist availing "Taratashi" package to Kavaratti stay in the tourist huts at the tourist complex. One can visit Kavaratti in Coral Reef and Taratashi packages.
It is known for its scenic beauty and the small islets called Tilakkam & Pitti and an uninhabited island on the north called Cheriyam. A huge shallow lagoon encloses all of them. A peculiar feature of Kalpeni atoll is the huge storm bank of coral debris along the eastern and southe astern shorelines. It is believed that huge boulders were thrown up during a storm in 1847. It is a progressive island; it was in this island that girls first went to school, when women's education was considered a taboo. You can swim, reef- walk or water-sport on kayaks, sail boats & pedal boats. Water sports crafts are given on hire; 2 bathing huts with change-rooms are available, at Koomel Beach Resort. A visit to the baniyan factory and the light house is also included in the day's program. 4 tourist' cottages are also available for staying tourists. Kalpeni is part of Coral Reef and Coconut Grove Packages.
It is about 10.6 Kms long; it is the second longest island, the first being Andrott. It is the southern most island in Lakshadweep, crescent shaped and has one of the largest lagoons. Viringle is the small islet that you see on the south. Minicoy is set apart from the Northern group of islands by its culture; the islanders are employed as seamen in ocean going vessels the world over. The island has systematically arranged village system known as "Athiris"; each athiri is a cluster of houses which is head by an elected elderly man called Mooppan. Traditionally all powers to manage village affairs were vested in him. Each village has a village house beautifully decorated and maintained. Mahl is the spoken language. Minicoy is an important centre of tuna fishing. The light house of the island is one of the oldest and was constructed in 1885. You will be taken to the villages, tuna canning factory, the light house and for a long drive through dense coconut groves and winding village roads. The beaches have bathing huts and change rooms; so swim and beach walk, Pedal boat, Kayak and Sail. We provide these on hire. Tourist cottages and one 20 bedded tourist home have been constructed for the staying tourists. This island is part of Coral Reef and Swaying Palm packages.
Kadmath is 8 Kms long and 550 metres wide at the broadest point. In addition to the beautiful shallow lagoon on the west that forms an ideal spot for water sports, there is a narrow lagoon on the east. The best attractions are the long sandy beaches and small sand banks on the southern tip for sun baths. Kadmath has been identified for staying tourists with its tourist huts aesthetically situated in the coconut palm groves in the beaches facing the lagoon. The place is ideal for a real holiday that brings you away from the maddening crowd, hustle and bustle of city life. You will certainly learn the art of disembarkation on the island around noon on the second day of the 6 days Marine Wealth Awareness Programme tour. You spend 3 days enjoying sea breeze and moonlit beach. Water sports crafts like kayaks, pedal boats, sailing yachts, skiing boats and glass bottomed boats are available on hire. The scuba diving centre in the island has become an attraction for water-sport enthusiasts. All meals are served at the tourist restaurant. Departure is on the fifth day.
Lakshadweep with its vast lagoon around all the islands has emerged as a water sport destination in the country.
Understanding the potential of water sports Department has been striving to make these islands a prime water sports destination not only within the country but through out the world. As such, the Department has been concentrating on developing the water sports facilities. While developing these facilities fragile ecology of these islands have been taken into consideration and only non intrusive water sports are encouraged. Therefore, the water sports like water scooters, etc has been deliberately kept out. Another feature of water sports in Lakshadweep is the development of high yielding adventure water sports like scuba diving and para sailing, etc.
The Department has set up a full-fledged waters sports Institute at Kadmat island. This Institute offers facilities for Kayaking, canoeing, yachting, snorkeling, wind surfing, water skiing and last but not least scuba diving. A full fledged scuba diving centres are operational at Kavaratti and Kadmat islands and these have emerged as a prime scuba diving destinations to the well heeled and adventurous tourists.