Lakshadweep, a union territory of India, is one of the most spectacular tropical islands of the world. Lakshadweep is home to beautiful unique coral reefs and abundant marine life and hence known as the coral paradise of India. Lakshadweep is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea. Out of those, few islands are submerged in the ocean and most of them are uninhabited. Only 10 of these islands are inhabited. As a step towards preserving the corals and marine life of the islands, the tourism in Lakshadweep is regulated by the Government and the entry permit is restricted, allowing only certain influx of travellers at a time. Only few islands like Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Kadmat, Minicoy, Bangaram, Thinkarra, Agatti, are open to tourists.
Travel to Lakshadweep is possible only through packages which are designed by the SPORTS (Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports). I chose the Samudram package, where I could visit 3 different islands in Lakshadweep by the ship M.V. Kavaratti. I found it to be the most economical way to travel to Lakshadweep. M.V. Kavaratti starts from Willingdon Island, Kochi and takes to 3 different islands in 5 days, ending the journey at Kochi. The nights are spent on the ship, while it traverses to a new island each morning. The days are spent on islands.
Inquisitive about the marine life, my trip to Lakshadweep was primarily to experience the underwater life. I tried my hands on snorkelling and Scuba Diving at Lakshadweep in each of the islands I visited and I must admit, I was AQUADDICTED for the rest of my life. For the first time in my life I had taken a dip in the ocean and discovered that a different universe exists underwater.
Kalpeni Island, Lakshadweep
Kalpeni Island is very scenic with huge lagoon enclosed by 3 other islets. It was the first time that I was witnessing emerald island against vast blue sea. The water was so clear that I could see the sand bed through the water! I stood speechless for an hour admiring the beauty of this part of India.
After a swim in the lagoon, I head out looking for a dive instructor to take me diving. My first dive was 6m deep and the current was high. The instructor had to hold me as I was swaying with the current. Of course, diving isn’t easy and requires a technical training.
I then went kayaking in the middle of the lagoons and snorkelled there for an hour. I was happy like a kid to have discovered a new sport for myself.
After a long tiring day, I had a wonderful sleep in the cruise.
Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep
I woke up the next morning at Minicoy Island, a crescent shaped Island with one of the largest lagoons. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw myriad shades of blue sea from the lighthouse of Minicoy. Minicoy looked magical.
No wonder, Minicoy was only 100km away from Maldives! The residents of Minicoy speak Mahl, the official language of Maldives. I realised Lakshadweep Islands are geologically a part of the same chain as the Maldives. Maldives is my dream destination and I’ve kept it aside for my honeymoon (shhh.…).
I couldn’t wait to enjoy the underwater here and I ended up with another near to death experience of mine when I found myself alone in the middle of the sea, snorkelling without a life jacket in heavy current. I spent a lazy hour on the hammock after the lunch and set out for diving. The clarity of water in this part was so impressive that I felt I was swimming in a huge aquarium.
Kavaratti Island, Lakshadweep
Kavaratti was the last island I visited on this trip. Initially I was disappointed with the island as I saw more urbanisation here than the rest islands I had visited. Kavaratti is the administrative capital of Lakshadweep Islands.
I then started hunting for Dive shops. The dive master took me to a dive spot just at the reef, at the depth of 12m. It was my deepest dive in Lakshadweep and I saw a clear demarcation between the lagoon and the deep blue sea. I waited there for quite a few seconds to absorb such a wonderful feeling. It felt like I was daydreaming.
I spent the rest of the day snorkelling. I snorkelled for 2 hours, till the sun began to set, till my stamina lasted. The corals here were the prettiest, with vibrant colours like yellow, orange, purple, blue, pink. I wish I had an underwater camera then, to shoot the most beautiful corals I’ve ever seen in my life. Kavaratti turned out to be my best underwater experience!
I relished my last evening at Lakshadweep with a picturesque sunset at Kavaratti. It was difficult to bid adieu to Lakshadweep, they only left me craving for more.
After visiting Lakshadweep, I knew I wanted to take SCUBA Diving at another level. I got myself certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver in Gili Islands, Indonesia and Advanced Open Water Diver at Andaman Islands. I have also dived in Vietnam and Cambodia, but I would rate the marine life and the corals of Lakshadweep as my best till date. Now that I’m an advanced certified Scuba Diver, I would love to visit Lakshadweep again to explore more marine life.
Best time to travel to Lakshadweep
October to May is the best time to travel to Lakshadweep. The cruises and boats don't operate in the monsoons.