A group of 36 exotic islands, Lakshadweep is a Union Territory spread in an area of 32square kilometers in the Arabian Sea. An interesting fact about the UT is that its Sanskrit and Malayalam translations mean a hundred thousand islands, and in the olden times, it was called Laccadive islands. The islands of Lakshadweep are no less than a paradise for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts! Sun-kissed beaches, infinite blue sky, breath-taking view of the horizon, and enigmatic aquatic life make Lakshadweep a surreal holiday destination. Kavaratti is the capital of Lakshadweep, and out of 36 islands, only 10 are inhabited.
The ancient history of Lakshadweep is not documented, hence only legends connect us to the history and heritage of these exotic groups of islands. According to historians, these islands got discovered when the search parties went searching for the last Kerala King Cheraman Perumal, who went to Mecca via sea route.
In the 7th century, a saint named St.Ubaidullah(r) fell asleep while praying in Mecca and dreamt about Prophet Mohammad(s), who asked him to spread Islam to distant places. Following this dream, St. Ubaidullah(r) went to Jeddah and took ships from there to travel further. On his voyage, he got hit by a storm that wrecked the ship and he landed at Amini island. He again dreamt of the Prophet, who asked him to spread the religion on this island. St. Ubaidullah(r) started doing that, which infuriated the headman of the island. But nothing could dampen his spirit, and he continued to do and even traveled to Andrott and spread the teachings of Islam. He breathed his last at Andrott, where his grave is present and is a sacred place today.
Subsequently, when the Portuguese arrived, they started looting the islands to procure coir, but the legends have it that the inhabitants fought bravely and ended the Portugal invasion. Later, Chirakkal Raja took over the administration of the Amini group of islands, which got passed on to Arakkal of Cannanore. In 1799, the islands got taken over by the British East India Company. After the independence of India, in 1956 it was formed a Union territory and in 1973 its name was changed to Lakshadweep.
The culture of Lakshadweep is as vibrant as its beaches. The most popular folk dance forms performed on special occasions and festivals are Kolkali, Parichakali, and Lava. Another traditional dance form is Oppana, in which a lead singer sings a song and is accompanied by a group of women, this is performed in marriages. Major events and festivals celebrated with great zest in Lakshadweep are Republic Day, Independence Day, Muharram, Eid Ul Fitr, Milad-ul-Nabi, and Bakrid.
Lakshadweep is popular for coir products that can be taken as souvenirs and to adorn your living space. In addition to the coir items, tourists can also get their hands on handmade jewelry made of seashells, oysters, and corals. You can explore all these handcrafted items at the shops or beachside stalls.
Lakshadweep serves an elaborate vegetarian and nonvegetarian platter comprising many drool-worthy coastal and authentic Keralite dishes. Some of the most popular dishes that are worth trying are Mus Kavaab, Octopus Fry, Sannath, Maasu Podichath, Avial, Tuna dishes, and Kadalakka.
Lakshadweep always makes up in the list of travelers for its pristine beaches and enthralling vibes. Tourists can access the islands of Lakshadweep from Kochi as all the sea routes and air routes here originate from mainland Kochi. A visit to Lakshadweep is an opportunity to witness the mystical underwater world, nature at its best, and experience life on an island.