Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Complete travel information of Lakshadweep

General information for visiting Lakshadweep:

Lakshadweep is a land of tropical climate. Due to its proximity to the equator, winter is bearable. The temperature varies from 35-22° C in summer and 32-20° C in winter. Humidity is 70.76%., Average rainfall in a year is 1600 mm.

For the national interest and in particular for the interest of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep, there are numerous regulations for visiting the Islands. Consumption of alcoholic liquor is banned in all the islands except Bangaram. Foreign nationals are allowed only in the Bangaram island.

Indians also require permission to visit the Islands. For permission, with four passport sized photographs mentioning name in full, address, profession, date of birth and the places to visit-
Apply to the:

Assistant General Manager (Sports),
Lakshadweep Tourism, Indira Gandhi Road,
Willingdon Island, Kochi-682003,
Ph: +91 484 2668387, Fax +91 484 2668647.

For foreign nationals: Mention name, address, nationality, passport No., date of issuing passport, duration of stay, profession, date of birth and place of birth, and apply to the same address or,
To: Liaison Officer, Lakshadweep,
202 Kasturba Gandhi Rd, New Delhi-110001.

For tourists touring individually (not by packaged tour) tour permission and for the ticket of the ship may write to The Secretary to the Administrator, Lakshadweep Tourism, Sports, Indira Gandhi Rd. Kochi-682003.

Tourists who will be staying at Bangaram Island Resort may write to the Reservation Manager, Casino Hotel, Willingdon Island, Kochi-682003 Ph: (+91484) 2668221 for up and down passage booking.

Conducted tours for traveling Lakshadweep:

“SPORTS” Lakshadweep Tourism, Indira Gandhi Rd, Willingdon Island, Kochi-682003, Ph: +91 484 2668387, Fax : +91 484-2668647 arranges different packages from October to May for Lakshadweep. Separate permission for tourists is not needed for the tourists in the package tours.

Few of the important packages are:

4 days 4 nights Coral Reef package—night halt at Ship M V Tipu Sultan (1st Class 32, Tourist Class with 100 passengers), journey from Island to Island the whole day by fiber-glass covered boat
Tourist class single @ INR 3000/2500; Double @ INR 5000/ 4000. These include tour charges and transport charges.

4 to 7 days Kadmat Beach Resorts and WaterSports Institute-Marine Wealth Awareness package - by ship. Tourist Class @ INR 7500; First class @ INR 11000 and students @ INR 5800

4 days package to Taratashi by ship: up and down journey cost Tourist Class @ INR 3500; 1st class @ INR 6000; and Diamond class @ INR 8000. Stay at Kavaratti @ INR 2500 – 4000.

5 days Lakshadweep Samudra Package to Kavaratti, Kalpeni, and Minicoy by MV Kvaratti Package cost all inclusive Diamond class @ INR 17000, Gold class @ INR 13000, and students @ INR 10000.

Swaying Palm is a package of 6 days to Minicoy Non A/C @ INR 14000, and A/C @ INR 15500

3 days week end tour from Kochi starts on Saturdays. Spend the Sunday at Kalpeni and come back at Kochi on Monday. Total package cost @ INR 4500

A little clarification:
Tourist class- A/C hall with pushback chair for sitting and reclining; TV and shared bathroom. Food is same as 1st class.
1st class- is narrow 4 berth cabin with attached bathroom.
2 berth cabin is also available for the honeymooners.

Touring season is from October to April. You can chose the plan which suites you. For foreign nationals only the Bangaram island is opened. Indian nationals are allowed to visit rest of the islands. In monsoon these packaged tours are closed but helicopter service to the island is available.

There are agents in each metro cities for the booking of packaged tours.
Another way of booking is by sending 50% of the total charge by Bank Draft to: SPORTS—Lakshadweep Tourism, Assistant General Manager, Indira Gandhi Rd, Kochi-682003, Ph: +91 484 2668387, Fax 0484 2668647.

Booking is centralized. Tickets may also be collected through the regional representatives.

Arrangements in the packaged tours are nice. And their arrangement of travelling from one Island to another is even more exciting. One has to jump down from the ship to get into the speed boat and it's all very thrilling. The boat sails across the blue water speeding from the sea to the shallower blue lagoons. The crystal clear water and the overlapping surges curling up while approaching the beach add to the amazing charm. The sight of corals from the fiber glass bottomed speed boat makes the journey even more fun packed. In the 5 ft deep transparent blue water, the aquatic dances of millions of colorful fishes among the corals, you will cherish in your memory for long time.

Kavaratti Island:

The head quarter of Lakshadweep is in Kavaratti Island covering 3.6 sq km area, 404 km away from Kochi. Kavaratti, essentially a lagoon, is the centre of all the Islands. The tranquil sea is shallow. The color of the water is sometimes indigo, sometimes green and sometimes blue due to the changes in the depth of the water. Government offices, schools, colleges and hospitals are present there at Kavaratti. Even TV channels through satellite connection has reached here. Kavaratti, in the shade with coconut trees has a considerable number of permanent inhabitants from overseas.

There are 52 mosque in the Island. Of them the Holy Ajjara Mosque made of wood in 1670 AD has really attractive carvings on its ceilings and pillars. The water of the well adjacent to the mosque is believed to work like a panacea. The Jamath mosque is also exclusive.

A beautiful Marine Aquarium with its assortment of colorful sea fish and corals will be very interesting place to visit here. The collection of the fossils of aquatic flora and fauna at the Museum is also interesting. The sunrise and sunset al Kavaratti are captivating landscapes. Water sports at the Dolphin Dive Centre is major attraction for the enthusiasts.

Places to stay at Kavaratti:

Tourist Complex by SPORTS, PWD Bungalows, Circuit House and the private Taj Complex Hotel.

Minicoy Island:

Minicoy is largest among the islands in Lakshadweep is emerald colored and calm. 398 Km from Kochi and it is the southernmost island of Lakshadweep. Their culture has undergone a thorough change. Free from the influence of Southern India, they share similarities with Maldives. Their language is Mahl and Hindi is also spoken. There are ten picturesque Athiris (villages) in Minicoy. The lighthouse made in the era of British in 1885 is an important monument here. The Lava dance of Minicoy reflects the local culture is enjoyable. The Sree Krishna Temple, numerous mosques and the Light Meat Tuna Canning Factory at the jetty are some other places, worth seeing.

Accommodation in Minicoy island
Accommodation is available at SPORTS' Tourist Home, Tourist Hut and PWD inspection bungalow. Private hotels are also available in Minicoy island.

Bangaram Island

The Bangaram Island is 459 km from Kochi and 8 km west of Kavaratti, is 1 hour journey by speed boat. Almost deserted Bangaram is the only island open to foreign nationals. Alcoholic drink is allowed only in I Bangaram. On aerial view it looks like a “tear drop” from Lakshadweep.
Surrounding the silver sands there is a quiet and transparent deep green lagoon. The aquatic sports of the multi colored fishes among the corals in the shallow water make a delightful sight. Besides the crabs, molasses, shells and butterflies, there are wide diversity of creatures there. At night the turtles also turn up to hatch eggs on the beach. Water sports of different kinds entertain the tourists in a great way. Coconut groves, moonlight nights, sunsets with the emerald lagoon make Bangaram island a paradise on earth.

Accommodation at Bangaram Beach:

Bangaram Island Resort: @ INR 17,000 per day inclusive of food. From Feb 1 - Feb 20 @ INR 20,000
Booking: Casino H, Willingdon Island, Kochi-682003, Ph: +91 484 2668221.

Agati Island:

The Agati Island is on the west of Pitty and 25 km from Kavaratti and 40 km from Kalpeni. It takes 2 hrs to reach Agati from Kavaratti by a speed boat. The crystal clear emerald green lagoon is on the left. One may advance through the corals in the shallow water. One may also put on a snorkeling mask fitted with glasses and descend into the coral Island.

Air routes from Kochi- Agati (459km) are over the Arabian Sea. Private resorts with arrangements for water sports are available there.

Kalpeni Island

Kalpeni, the emerald green Island shaded under the coconut groves, is 287 km to the South East of Kochi. Quite a few coral and sea products have added to its attraction. Kalpeni is the most gorgeous of the Laksha group of Islands. The lagoon here has added to its magnetism. The Maidin Mosque is unique with its walls made of corals. One may enjoy a sea bath at the uninhabited Tilakkam Island, reaching there by a speed boat. The collection of aquatic animals in the Aquarium of the Fishery Department is worth visiting. Viewing the island from the top of the lighthouse will be a memorable experience. Handicrafts may be collected as mementoes from the Hosiery Mill or the Khadi Bhavan. Women here with there typical s\costumes and ornaments welcome tourists by Kolkali and Parichakkali as musical entertainments and dance.

Accommodation is available in the Tourist Cottage.

Pitty Island:

Pitty is another unoccupied Island in the way to Kavaratti A Wildlife Sanctuary is there in Pitty, the paradise of birds. The Amindivi, made up of Chetlatand and Bitra, is another avian paradise.

Kadmat Island:

Another wonderful Island is Kadmat, the heart of Lakshadweep. The coconut groves canopy and the silvery sands surrounding the entire Island make it look a real gratification for the soul. Water Sports arrangements is added attraction.

Accomodation at Kadmat is available at Tourist Cottage and the Youth Hostel.

This article is also published in India study Channel

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