One of the 36 small islets of Lakshadweep group of Islands, Minicoy, also known as Maliku in the local language is one of the best-kept secrets of India. It is located amidst the vast expanse of Arabian Sea, just 398 km or 215 nautical miles from the shores of Cochin. The small island encompasses the total area of 4.801 sq. km and is exclusively known for its vibrant coral reefs, quaint white-sand beaches and the fresh water of the infinite ocean.
Out of 36 scattered islands of Lakshadweep, Minicoy Island stands apart for its unique culture and diversity. Minicoy was earlier the part of Maldives group of the islands until it was acquired by the Republic of India. Being a part of Maldives, a huge part of the culture resembles with the Maldives. The food habits, people, traditions, and festivals have a significant influence of its parent country. The islands also show a bit of Buddhist influence. Many ancient relics, some of them 800 years old, were found by the archaeological survey of India. However, the most striking feature of the island is its dominant female society which stands apart from the patriarchal Indian society.
The social customs of the islands have its influence from the matrilineal Muslims where the groom has to live with his wife in the house of his in-laws. Each village of the island is also headed by a male and a female mayor. For such strong female impact on the society, the island at times is referred to as 'Female Island'. Also, the common dialect on Minicoy Islands is Dhivehi. Most of the population here follows Islam. Minicoy has a cluster of total ten villages, which are known as Athiris. Each of this village is presided over by a Moopan (Mayor). A walk through the winding lanes of the villages will aptly introduce you to the culture here. Minicoy is also very renowned for its dance tradition, known as the lava dance. It is performed on the festive occasions and celebrations.
The shimmering beaches of white sand coupled with the clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea are the most distinctive feature of the Minicoy Islands. The whole island is laden with the palm and coconut trees which add to the natural beauty of this place. The old lighthouse is a major attraction of the island which was built by the Britishers in the year 1885 and offers the jaw-dropping view of the Minicoy and the majestic sea.
Juma Masjid is another attraction of the island which is an old mosque built in the medieval era and houses the rich ancient sculptors that were found on the island. You can also enjoy a variety of adventure sports here. Kayaking on the traditional boats and exploring the vibrant coral reefs while scuba diving and snorkelling are some of the best experiences to have on the islands.
Minicoy has a tropical Savanna climate, with a warm temperature throughout the year. The best season to visit this island is the winter season. Hence, the favourable months start from September until May. The island offers dazzling views and a pleasant weather throughout the winter months, especially in November.
The island is located 398 km away from the Trivandrum. From here, you can take a ferry to the island. The nearest airport is well-connected in the isle with the mainland. The only civilian airport of Lakshadweep is the Agatti Aerodrome. There is helicopter service as well from Agatti. The flight from Cochin to Agatti takes about 1 hour 30 minutes and is operational on six days per week.
1. Minicoy Island is an ideal destination for a relaxed holiday. If you are in search of a happening and lively place with a hoard of nightclubs, then this is surely not the ideal place for you.
2. There aren't many recreational activities to do. The island is best for sightseeing and primary water sports (kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving).
3. If you have a few more days here, then make sure to go on the Samudram Cruise. It is a five-day cruise that takes you to 3 islands- Minicoy, Kalpeni and Kavaratti.
3 months ago by Vimal Biju
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