Lakshadweep: Wikis

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Lakshadweep
ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്
Location of Lakshadweep
ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്
Coordinates 10°34′N 72°37′E / 10.57°N 72.62°E / 10.57; 72.62
Country  India
District(s) 1
Established 1956-11-01
Capital Kavaratti
Largest city Andrott
Administrator J. K. Dadoo
Population
Density
60,595
1,894 /km2 (4,905 /sq mi)
Official languages Malayalam
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area 32 km2 (12 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-LD
Website lakshadweep.nic.in
Seal of Lakshadweep
ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്

Lakshadweep (About this sound listen ; Malayalam: ലക്ഷദ്വീപ് Lakṣadvīp, Mahl: ލަކްޝަދީބު Lakshadīb), the smallest union territory of India, is a group of islands 200 to 300 km off of the coast of Keralam in the Laccadive Sea. Their total land area is 11 sq mi or 32 km². Ten of the islands are inhabited. Lakshadweep is the northern part of the erstwhile Lakshadweepa.

Contents

Etymology

Lakshadweep, comes from Lakshadweepa, which literally means one hundred thousand (laksha) islands (dweepa) in Sanskrit.

Demographics

The people of all the northern islands speak a dialect of Malayalam. According to local folk beliefs, they descended from traders who were washed up on the islands during a particularly heavy storm. However, the people of Minicoy, the southernmost atoll, speak Mahl, a variant of Divehi, the language of the Maldives.

The islanders are ethnically similar to coastal Kerala's Malayali people, and were influenced by Arab traders. Inhabitants of Minicoy, the southernmost and largest island, closely resemble Maldivians. Most of the indigenous population is Muslim. The locals of all the islands except Minicoy call themselves the Div-i or the Aminidivi ("from the mother island"). Lakshadweep's ethnic groups can be classified as 84.33% Malayali, and 15.67% Mahl.

There is also a sizeable Ahmadiyya Muslim Community there.[2]

History

Little is known about the early history of the Lakshadweep islands. There are references to the control of the islands by the Cheras in the Sangam literature Pathitruppaththu. A Pallava inscription of 7th century CE refers to the islands as Dveepa Laksham and lists them as part of the Pallava domain. The oldest inhabited islands in the group are Amini, Andrott, Kavaratti and Agatti. It was earlier believed that the Lakshadweep islanders were originally Hindus who later converted to Islam in the 14th century. However, recent archaeological evidence has established that Buddhist settlements had existed in the islands as early as the 6th or 7th century. According to popular tradition, Islam was brought to Lakshadweep by the Arab saint Ubaidulla in 41 AH. His grave is located in the island of Agatti. Muslim grave stones dated to 139 AH have also been discovered here. During the 11th century, the islands came under the rule of the Medieval Cholas.

In the 17th century, the islands came under the rule of Ali Rajahs/Arakkal Bheevi of Kannur, who received them as a gift from the Kolathiris.[3] The Portuguese took control to exploit coir production. The Portuguese invasion was a period of great brutality on the islands, and eventually the islanders expelled the Portuguese. The islands are also mentioned in great detail in the stories of the Arab traveller Ibn Batuta.

The Amindivi group of islands (Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra) came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787. They passed to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War and were attached to South Canara. The rest of the islands came under the suzerainty of the Arakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute. After a while, the British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency. In 1956, despite the fact that most of the Islanders were Malayalis, the States Reorganisation Act separated these islands from the mainland administrative units, forming a new union territory by combining all the islands.

Politics

The union territory is administered by an Administrator appointed by India's central government. Lakshadweep is under the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam. The Territory also elects one member to the Lok Sabha. The panchayat raj system is implemented in the islands. There are dweep (island) panchyats and district panchayat in each island; each dweep panchayat has its own elected chairperson. Democracy is limited to Pachayats and the sole member of the Lok Sabha; most power resides with the Administrator.

Agriculture

Coconut is the main crop cultivated in the islands. Lakshadweep is India's largest producer of coconuts. About 2,598 hectares are under coconut cultivation and the productivity per hectare is 22,310. Coconuts cultivated in the Lakshadweep are also rich in coconut oil.

Economy

Lakshadweep's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $60 million at current prices. Coconut fibre extraction and production of fibre products is Lakshadweep's main industry. There are five coir fibre factories, five production demonstration centres and seven fibre curling units run by the Government of India. These units produce coir fibre, coir yarn, curled fibre and corridor mattings.

Due to its isolation and scenic appeal, Lakshadweep is emerging as a major tourist attraction for Indians. This brings in significant revenue, which is likely to increase. Since such a small region cannot support industries, the government is actively promoting tourism as a means of income.

The world’s first ever low temperature thermal desalination plant (LTTD) was opened in Kavaratti, one of the Indian Lakshadweep islands. The plant cost about INR 50 million (EUR 922,000) and will produce 100,000 litres/day of potable water from sea water. Production costs, currently INR 220-250/m3 (EUR 4.1-4.6/m3), are expected to go do down to INR 30-60/m3 (EUR 0.55-1.11/m3) as the capacity is increased.

LTTD technology involves flashing relatively warm sea water (28-30 deg Celsius) inside a vacuum flash chamber and condensing the resultant vapour using deep sea cold water (7-15 °C). The cold water for the Kavaratti plant is drawn at a depth of 350m some 400m from the shore.

The technology was developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). It can not only be used to produce drinking water but also for power generation and air conditioning. In addition, the deep sea water contains extra nutrients for fish, an important source of food and income for the local population.

The government plans to set up desalination plants with a capacity of 10 million litres/per day on all islands and coastal areas.

Source: Gov of India Press Information Bureau, 23 May 2005

Islands, Reefs, Banks

Lakshadweep Islands map
One of the uninhabited islands in Lakshadweep
Worms-eye view of the lighthouse in Minicoy Island

Lakshadweep officially consists of 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks, with a total of about 36 islands and islets. The reefs are in fact also atolls, although mostly submerged, with only small unvegetated sand cays above the high water mark. The submerged banks are sunken atolls.

Almost all the atolls have a northeast-southwest orientation with the islands lying on the eastern rim, and a mostly submerged reef on the western rim, enclosing a lagoon.

Two banks further north are not considered part of the group:

The atolls, reefs and banks are listed from north to south in the table:

Atoll/Reef/Bank
(alternate name)
type Land
Area
(km²)
Lagoon
Area
(km²)
No. of
islets
Pop.
Census
2001
Location
Amindivi Islands
Cora Divh bank - 339.45 - - 13°42′N 72°11′E / 13.7°N 72.183°E / 13.7; 72.183 (Cora Divh)
Sesostris Bank bank - 388.53 - - 13°08′N 72°00′E / 13.133°N 72°E / 13.133; 72 (Sesostris Bank)
Bassas de Pedro
(Munyal Par, Padua Bank)
bank - 2474.33 - - 13°07′N 72°25′E / 13.117°N 72.417°E / 13.117; 72.417 (Bassas de Pedro)
Cherbaniani Reef (Beleapani Reef) reef 0.01 172.59 2 - 12°18′N 71°53′E / 12.3°N 71.883°E / 12.3; 71.883 (Cherbaniani Reef)
Byramgore Reef (Chereapani) reef 0.01 57.46 1 - 11°54′N 71°49′E / 11.9°N 71.817°E / 11.9; 71.817 (Byramgore Reef)
Chetlat Island atoll 1.14 1.60 1 2289 11°42′N 72°42′E / 11.7°N 72.7°E / 11.7; 72.7 (Chetlat Island)
Bitrā Island atoll 0.10 45.61 2 264 11°33′N 72°09′E / 11.55°N 72.15°E / 11.55; 72.15 (Bitrā Island)
Kiltān Island atoll 2.20 1.76 1 3664 11°29′N 73°00′E / 11.483°N 73°E / 11.483; 73 (Kiltān Island)
Kadmat Island (Cardamum) atoll 3.20 37.50 1 5319 11°14′N 72°47′E / 11.233°N 72.783°E / 11.233; 72.783 (Kadmat Island)
Elikalpeni Bank bank - 95.91 - - 11°12′N 73°58′E / 11.2°N 73.967°E / 11.2; 73.967 (Elikalpeni Bank)
Peremul Par reef 0.01 83.02 1 - 11°10′N 72°04′E / 11.167°N 72.067°E / 11.167; 72.067 (Peremul Par)
Amini Island 1) atoll 2.59 155.09 1) 1 7340 11°06′N 72°45′E / 11.1°N 72.75°E / 11.1; 72.75 (Amini Island)
Laccadive Islands
Bangaram Island (Bangaram) 2) atoll 2.30 46.25 4 - 3) 10°56′N 72°17′E / 10.933°N 72.283°E / 10.933; 72.283 (Bingaram Island)
Agatti Island 2) atoll 3.84 17.50 4 7072 10°50′N 72°12′E / 10.833°N 72.2°E / 10.833; 72.2 (Agatti Island)
Pitti Island 1) island 1) 0.01 155.09 1) 1 - 10°50′N 72°38′E / 10.833°N 72.633°E / 10.833; 72.633 (Pitti Island)
Androth Island (Andrott) atoll 4.90 4.84 1 10720 10°50′N 73°41′E / 10.833°N 73.683°E / 10.833; 73.683 (Androth Island)
Kavaratti Island atoll 4.22 4.96 1 10113 10°33′N 72°38′E / 10.55°N 72.633°E / 10.55; 72.633 (Kavaratti Island)
Kalpeni Island atoll 2.79 25.60 7 4319 10°05′N 73°38′E / 10.083°N 73.633°E / 10.083; 73.633 (Kalpeni Island)
Suheli Par atoll 0.57 78.76 2 - 10°05′N 72°17′E / 10.083°N 72.283°E / 10.083; 72.283 (Suheli Par)
Minicoy
Investigator Bank bank - 141.78 - - 08°32′N 73°17′E / 8.533°N 73.283°E / 8.533; 73.283 (Investigator Bank)
Minicoy Island atoll 4.80 30.60 2 9495 08°17′N 73°02′E / 8.283°N 73.033°E / 8.283; 73.033 (Minicoy Island)
Lakshadweep   32.69 4203.14 32 60595 08°16'-13°58'N,
71°44°-74°24'E
1) Amini Island and Pitti Island are both on Pitti Bank,
a largely sunken atoll with a lagoon area of 155.09 km²
2) Bingaram and Agatti Islands are connected by a shallow submarine ridge
3) new international tourist resort,
otherwise uninhabited, but with a population 61 at the 1990 census

The main islands are Kavaratti (where the capital city, Kavaratti, is located), Agatti, Minicoy, and Amini. The total population of the territory was 60,595 according to the 2001 census. Agatti has an airport where there are direct flights from Kochi, Kerala or Ernakulam (Cochin). Tourists need a permit to visit the islands; foreign nationals are not permitted to visit certain islands. Consumption of alcohol is not permitted in the islands except on Bangaram Island.

The name of the archipelago literally translates as "hundred thousand islands" (laksha = "one hundred thousand", dweep = "island"). Lakka (Lacca) is the Malayalam equivalent of Laksha. Until 1973, the island group was known by the Anglicised name Laccadives (compare to Maldives and Suvadives) although the term Laccadives strictly only applies to central Lakshdweep with the northern Amindivi Islands and Minicoy to the south considered separate. This is reflected in the pre-1973 name of the union territory, Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands (Malayalam: ലക്ഷദ്വീപ്, മിനിക്കോയ്, അമന്തീവ Lakṣhadvīp, Minikkoy, Amantīv). The Laccadive Islands and Minicoy Island are known as the Cannanore Islands.

Sub-Divisions

The inhabited islands in the Sub-Division are following: Bitra, Chetlat, Kiltan, Kadmat, Amini, Agatti

The inhabited islands in the Sub-Division are following: Bangaram, Kavaratti, Androth, Kalpeni

The inhabited islands in the Sub-Division are following: Minicoy

Transportation

Passenger ship M.V. Amindivi of the Lakshadweep Islands administration docked at Old Mangalore port.

Agatti Aerodrome on Agatti Island is currently the only airport in Lakshadweep. Indian Airlines, the state-owned carrier, serves Agatti and flies to Kochi on the mainland. Also, from April 2007, a private carrier, Kingfisher Airlines, has commenced flights to and from Agatti. Kingfisher connects Kochi and Bangalore to Agatti. The other islands are linked by helicopter or boat service.

Ships are the major means of transportation for the islanders. Ships are operated from either Kochi or Beypore (Calicut). There are around 5 passenger ships, but generally only two at a time operate. Advance bookings are required. Sailing schedules are arranged so that each island gets priority at some time of the year. There are vessels operating between some of the larger islands like Kavaratti, Androth, Kalpeni etc., but sailings are affected by weather conditions.

References

  1. ^ "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2006-07/chapt2007/tab97.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-18.  
  2. ^ Mkausa
  3. ^ kurup kkn, Alirajahas of Kannur

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : South Asia : India : Southern India : Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep, formerly the Laccadives, is a group of islands situated some 400 km off India's west coast in the Arabian sea. They are India's only coral atolls and geologically a part of the same chain as the Maldives.

Map of Lakshadweep
Map of Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep is India's smallest union territory. The name literally means "a hundred thousand islands" in Sanskrit (laksha = lakh, hundred thousand. dweep = island) It has ten inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands attached islets, four newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs.

Climate

Peak season is December to May, when it's cooler and dry. May to September is the main (southwest) monsoon season, but the October-November northeast monsoon can also be rainy.

Talk

The people of the islands are ethnically similar to the people of the Kerala coast of India and are of mixed Indian and Arab descent. They speak a dialect of Malayalam, except in Minicoy where Mahl, a form of Dhivehi (the language of the Maldives) is spoken.

Get in

Everybody, Indian or otherwise, requires a special permit to visit Lakshadweep. By far the easiest way to obtain it is to book a package tour through the government's tour operator SPORTS [1] or arrange a hotel to sort it out for you; in fact, for foreigners, accommodation booked in advance is a precondition for being allowed to visit.

Foreigners are restricted to the islands of Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat, plus transit only (max. 12 hours) in Kavaratti. Indians may visit the other islands as well, but accommodation is very limited (see Sleep).

Nearly everybody going to Lakshadweep has to pass through Kochi, from where you can continue by plane or ship:

By plane

Indian Airlines and Kingfisher fly daily from Kochi to the airstrip at Agatti, the only one on the islands. Flights to Goa have been terminated.

By ship

The MV Tipu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy operate between Kochi and various islands in Lakshadweep. The trip takes 14-18 hours one day depending on the destination island. All four are basic 1960s-era ferries but fairly well maintained and tolerable comfortable. The Tipu Sultan is generally held to be the best of the bunch, with three classes of accommodation (A/C cabin, A/C reclining seats and deck) plus a cafeteria, snack bar, and upper deck promenade. Return fares are around Rs.3800 in A/C seats, which is the cheapest class available for packages.

Beware that all published sailing schedules are subject to sudden changes; not only can they be delayed, but it's not unheard of for a boat to arrive and leave a day early!

There are also occasional cruises directly from Mumbai.

Get around

Both boat and helicopter transfers are available from Agatti to Bangaram and Kadmat. The helicopter (US$150 return) may be the only option in monsoon season from May to September.

By boats/ferries: These can be used for getting around from one island to the other

Once on an island, there aren't too many options. You can travel by foot or hire a bicycle.

See

Kadmat: Kadmat Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations. There is a huge lagoon one the west side of the island, around 10km from the Amini.

Kavaratti Island:

Kavaratti Island is the most developed Island in Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is the administrative capital of Lakshdweep and the population is dominated by non-islanders. There are many Mosques on this island (around 52) and the most beautiful one is Ujra mosque.

Kalpeni: Kalpeni is located at the distance of around 76km south of Androth. This place lies in an extensive and shallow lagoon. The lagoon is world famous for its rich coral and marine life.

Bangaram: This Island is one of the best tourist destinations in the world due to its smooth sands and amazing palm grove backdrop. Here smooth sand is caressed by the waves of the multi coloured sea. This beautiful Island lies at a distance of around 8km from the north side of Agatti Island.

Agatti Island:

Agatti Island the gateway for the Lakshadweep, it is located at a distance of around 459 km from the Cochin. Agatti Island is around 6 km long. Surplus fishes are easily found on Agatti island. Fishing is the main occupation for the people living here.

This island has some of the best beaches for swimming in the world. Here tourists can enjoy the adventure of swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Tourists can also find huge lagoons over here, which increases the beauty of this island. Visitors can also enjoy different water sports activities like Scuba Diving, Deep Sea Fishing, sailing, boat rides, water skiing and kayaking at Agatti Island.

Do

There are basic leisure tours and Sea/Lagoon based tours. There are plenty of opportunities for Scuba diving, Yachting, Pedal boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Snorkeling and sunbathing. One may also visit local houses, the Marine museum, Lighthouse and a few local industries.

  • Diveline Agatti, [2]. Operates the scuba diving shop at the Agatti Resort. Rs.3000 per dive.  edit
  • Lacadives, [3]. Operates the scuba diving shops at both Bangaram and Kadmat Resorts.  edit

Buy

Lakshadweep is not a budget destination: in addition to the permit issue, there is no tourist infrastructure (hostels, restaurants, public transport etc) for backpackers. The cheapest SPORTS tours start from around Rs.10000 for four days, but this price is all-inclusive. One can purchase pure coconut powder and coconut oil from the factory situated at Kadmat island. Fish pickles and small souvenirs are available in Kavaratti Island.

Eat

There are few if any uniquely Lakshadweep dishes. Local cuisine is similar to Kerala.

Drink

Tap water here is through bore wells and a bit hard. Rainwater harvested during the rainy season is the major source of drinking water. Non availability of drinking water accounts for a number of islands being uninhabited.

Sleep

There are three full-service resorts in Lakshadweep, which are also (in practice) the only places where foreigners can stay. All prices listed below are for double rooms and include all meals.

  • Agatti Island Beach Resort, [4]. Privately owned, but quite run down; apparently new cottages are in the works. The main draw is the diving, which is better here than at Bangaram. 20 beds.  edit
  • Bangaram Island Resort. The first island opened to tourists, Bangaram Island was uninhabited before the resort was developed and it holds the distinction of being the only place in the entire Lakshadweep archipelago that can serve alcohol. Privately owned and managed to a high standard, but the huts are very basic (no aircon, hot water, TV) and, by Indian standards, quite expensive. US$150.  edit
  • Kadmat Island Resort. The choice of scuba divers, this is home to Lakshadweep's first scuba facility. 22 executive huts, 26 family huts. Government-run and basic. Rs. 3000/4000 fan/AC.  edit

In addition, basic government resorts open to Indian citizens only are available at Minicoy, Kavaratti and Kalpeni. Some packages offered by SPORTS include accommodation on board the ship, with only day visits to the islands.

Stay safe

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all islands except Bangaram. Picking up corals is a punishable crime.

Get out

The only way out is back to Kochi.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Lakshadweep

Plural
-

Lakshadweep

  1. Indian union territory comprising twelve atolls in the Arabian Sea, having Kavaratti as its capital.

Translations

  • Malayalam: ലക്ഷദ്വീപ് (Lakṣadvīp)

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