My trip to Lakshadweep islands was planned long before I met with an accident and fractured my leg and hand along with severe bruises in ample measure. The trip seemed a no go but my Dad kept his hopes alive and didn’t cancel the tickets. He asked me to wait and heal properly and said if I still didn’t feel fine then the trip will be officially called off. With the 3rd week of fracture and me throwing enough drama around house, I finally decided to go.
Day 1 : Arriving at Lakshadweep
So my 4 day journey took off on 27th Jan’14. In a connecting flight stopping over at Calicut airport we reached Agatti airport (Agatti Aerodrome – only airport in Lakshadweep) at 11 AM. The airport of Agatti is of the size of a 3 BHK apartment. With only one flight landing & leaving in a day, the airport staff work as lazily as possible. Since we had taken a package tour our transport, accommodation & destinations were pre decided. A TATA Sumo dropped us to a bunglow where we had our lunch & rested for some time.
The island of Agatti is approximately 5.6 KM in length with coconut trees all around. The airport is the only attraction of this island. With the population of around 8000 people the source of electricity is through solar panels. From Agatti we departed in a speed boat at around 3 PM for Thinnakara Island (opposite Bangaram Island). We reached Thinnakara sometime before the sunset. The tent houses standing in a row were waiting for us to arrive and one of it belonged to me.
Day 2 : Beaches And Marine Life in Lakshadweep
I woke up early in order to view the sunrise . Walking on the white sand beaches of Lakshadweep and see them glimmer at sunrise feels like paradise. The scenic views were worth the trip to Lakshadweep islands. Thinnakara has recently become inhabited. When we went, there were only 9 other people apart from me & my parents, out of which 3 were staff members who were taking care of our food & accommodation.
One of the staff took me for a Kayak ride. The experience was breath taking. I saw turtles, colorful giant crabs, sea cucumber. The staff took me to another Island (I can’t recall its name) which was behind Thinnakara. I saw few locals residing there but they didn’t allow me to click pictures of them. Having lived in India for the past 23 years, I have always craved for a place which is less crowded. A trip to Lakshadweep islands seemed to be my answer.
Day 3 : Snorkeling And Scuba In Lakshadweep
We were in Kadmat and it was time for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving but with my condition it was not possible for me to participate. So I opted for coral viewing through glass boat. The boat ride was fun and I got to see a lot of colorful & live corals. But being a water person, I was not really satisfied. Being so close to beach and not diving in wasn’t going to cut it for me. So I began the arduous task of convincing my parents to let me go snorkeling. My Mom finally agreed after repeated requests but my Dad said a strict “NO”.
My case got an unexpected support when the locals started convincing my Dad. They said whatever came to there mind and tried to make him say “yes” like a 5 year old kid does to get a candy. And their hard work did pay off! I took off the braces from my leg (my leg had almost healed) and one of the locals wrapped a plastic sheet around my hand plaster (with no air gaps).
Normally only one person accompanies but in my case there were two. The water was like glass and i could see the marine world through it. I have done snorkeling in Andaman as well but nothing can beat what Lakshadweep has to offer.Words fail to describe the calmness of the sea, the colors of corals and the formation of lagoons.
After this we were taken for the island ride. During the ride the driver told me that only 5500 people reside there and the island has no dogs or snakes. Also it has no crime record. The driver was generous enough to take us to his house and we were pleasantly surprised at the opulence. With a 2-storey bungalow standing tall, he was constructing another one for his other 2 children. He had huge acres of land, shops & buses to his name and yes he is just another ordinary driver. We had coconut pakodas at his place cooked by his wife. With the evening passing by we headed back to our row houses on the beach and enjoyed our dinner on the coast line.
Day 4: An Exciting End To My Trip to Lakshadweep Islands
We left at 4 in the morning as our flight was scheduled for that day. On reaching the shoreline we found that there wasn’t a single available speed boat for Agatti. We were then asked to take a normal boat and cover the 2.5 hr journey in 6 hrs.
Another pleasant surprise waited. It turned out to be an open boat and my first “Life Of Pi” experience. Open sea with no ship or boat around to the extent our eyes could reach. I saw dolphins, turtles, corals, fishes and things I could not name. The water was crystal clear even in the middle of the sea. This was a voyage in all its glory. I took in the ethereal beauty of the sea as the night ebbed and the first rays of the sun signaled a new dawn.
We were taken back to the same place in Agatti where we had started the memorable trip to Lakshadweep islands . We had a sumptuous lunch and left for the airport.
Things I noticed About Lakshadweep
- There are no sharks in Lakshadweep, hence it is safe for diving
- The locals are well off and content in their life and are unanimous in keeping Lakshadweep pollution free. They don’t want to see it converting into a major tourist attraction.
- They treat men & women equally. I saw women working on night shifts and even working as a guard.
- The images on google exactly depict how it looks. Even photoshop cannot beautify it more.
- A trip to Lakshadweep is expensive. One has to shell out a minimum of 50k – 60k (including air fare) per head.
- This is the closest to nature I have ever been. This place is unexploited and I sincerely hope it remains that way.
- People from different parts of the world come here for diving courses.
- No matter how long you want to stay, you have to optimize as accommodation is quite expensive (minimum 6k per night).
- There is nothing to buy from here. You experience is enough to take back home as a souvenir. Take a lot of pics.
I meet a lot of people everyday and when I ask them about the places they have visited, they always give me reasons for planning their holidays. Either they wanted to take a break from family/work or it was a forced trip because relatives wanted one etc. I had a good enough reason to cancel my trip but thankfully I did not. Traveling is all about exploring the beauty and beauty lies in everything, in people, nature, animals, plants, house…even the mundane.
Some facts about Lakshadweep
- Lakshadweep comes from “Lakshadweepa” which means “one hundred thousand Islands”. Only 10 of these are inhabited. 8 of then being Agatti, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Bangaram, Thinnakara, Minicoy, Amindivi.
- Majority of the people in Lakshadweep are Muslims speaking Jeseri, Malayalam or Mahl as their local language.
- It has its major business in fishing with Tuna fish (it only breeds in Lagoon) being the speciality.
- The best time to visit this place is from October to March.
- Entry Permit – Every person who is not a native of these Islands has to apply for a permit to visit Lakshadweep. Government officials & Armed Force Members, working/visiting these Islands along with their family are exempted from this requirement.
- Foreign tourists having valid passport & visa for visiting India can visit Agatti, Kadmat & Bangaram Islands with permission of Administration.
- The tourism of Lakshadweep is new, with Bangaram Island opening for International tourism in 1974. Till date only foreign tourists are allowed on this Island.
- Indian tourists started visiting these Islands from 1983.
- Lakshadweep offers education only till 12th grade. For higher studies the families send their children to Kerala, Kochin or Chennai.
- SPORTS is one of the famous organisations which executes tour packages for Lakshadweep.
- Lakshadweep gives you one of the best diving experiences in the world