India’s smallest Union Territory Lakshadweep is known for its exotic and sun-kissed beaches and lush green landscape. The name Lakshadweep in Malayalam and Sanskrit means ‘a hundred thousand islands’.
Lakshadweep is a group of 36 islands among which only 10 are inhabited islands. The capital is Kavaratti. Agatti, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan, Amini, Bitra, Chetlat, Androthm, Bangaram, and Minicoy. But tourists are allowed to visit just a few selected islands. The islands of Agatti, Kadmat, Kavaratti,Kalpeni and Minicoy are inhabited by locals whereas Bangaram and Thinnakara are uninhabited islands.
The natural landscapes, the sun kissed beaches, magnificent lagoon, turquoise blue water and white sand, abundance of flora and fauna and the absence of a rushed lifestyle enhance the mystique of Lakshadweep.
Best Time to Visit Lakshadweep:
October to March/April is the best time to visit any of the islands of Lakshadweep.
Post April till mid-September, monsoon hits Lakshadweep and ferries and resorts are mostly closed.
If you still want to visit during off season, chopper services are also available. But it is advisable to check before planning.
October to May is perfect time if you want to opt for cruise packages.
We group of 7 girls (Vinutha, Supreetha, Shwetha Varsha, Ibbani, Shalini and Divya) booked our trip to Lakshadweep: Samudram package. It is a five-day cruise package which takes tourists to the coral islands for a day excursion. Nights you would be staying at MV Kavaratti or MV Tippu Sultan.
Day 1: 4 Nov 2017
We took a KSRTC bus from Bengaluru to Kochi. Bus started at 8.45 pm (3rd Nov) from Bengaluru and arrived at 7.30 am in Kochi KSRTC bus stand. From there to Willindgon Island we took a cab and after about 45 minutes’ drive, we reached. Reporting time at Lakshadweep wharf was 10 Am and we had enough time left to finish our breakfast. After breakfast, we collected out tickets from SPORTS office and got complimentary t-shirts.
After check-in procedures are done we are taken in a bus to the boarding point. There stood huge M.V.Kavaratti ship (our home for next 4 days). She looks magnificent in white. Ship can accommodate a total of 700 passengers and 200 tons of cargo. The ship has 100 Deluxe Berths (2 Berths in each room) and has 70 First Class Berths (4 Berths in each room) available for tourists.
We were welcomed on-board by the crew and our tour Manager Mr. Jaffer. After we got our cabins, we got ready for our first round of photoshoot. Since we had a lite breakfast, we were hungry by 12.30pm and went near cafeteria and waited for lunch to be served. But lunch time was from 1 pm. We stood near cafeteria blocking the way, then came Doctor on-board Mr. Azaf. He showed us the different places in ship.
Although we boarded the ship around 11 am, ship started sailing by 3pm. Today we played few games like antakshari, UNO, dum charades… at helicopter deck. (It was our hangout place for the remaining days).
Day 2: 5 Nov 2017
Morning breakfast was served at 8 am and we were ready for disembarkation. We were taken in small speed boats to the beautiful Island of Minicoy. As we moved closer towards the island the shade of the water slowly started to change to emerald green and became more and more transparent. Transparency to such an extent that we could see the ocean floor. Sea water of this shade and that too almost transparent is a phenomenon most of us had never witnessed before. So naturally we were excited.
Minicoy Island is a beautiful coral island in the Arabian Sea full of dense coconut groves, long stretch of white powdery beaches and an amazing marine world. The island is distinct from the rest of the islands in terms of culture, lifestyle, and language. You can find a lot of influence from Maldivian and South Indian culture in this island.
Major attraction of the Island is the oldest lighthouse.
After visiting lighthouse we were taken to the beach resort. They served tender coconut for welcome drink. Each day there is one complementary game included in the package. Today’s complementary game is Kayaking. We did kayaking until our arms started to pain. We then changed clothes in the restrooms. The restrooms are maintained cleanly. Finished lunch and took the cycles available to roam around the island. We were back to the resort by 4.30pm and taken back to the ship in speed boats.
Day 3: 6 Nov 2017
It’s the Capital of Lakshadweep and most developed of all the islands. We can explore museum and aquarium along with the mesmerizing beach.
Morning we started by 7.30 am and reached Kavaratti. We were welcomed by tender coconut. Today’s complimentary ride is ‘Glass bottom ride’. We also decided to go for our first dive. Registered our names for ‘Scuba diving’, which costs 2k per person. It’s a lagoon dive for beginners for depth up to 3m and assisted by dive experts. To dive in deep waters, one needs to be certified diving expert.
We went on glass bottomed boats. Water is crystal clear. It is transparent to such an extent that we could see the sea floor. We saw different kinds of colorful fishes, corals and turtles. Once we were back to the shore, we were given practice for scuba session.
We waited for our turn to scuba dive. And finally when our turn came, we were excited and scared also. Donned the glasses and breathing apparatus, we dived into the waters. The descend requires you to adapt your breathing style and keep equalizing the increasing pressure on your ear drums. The first glimpses are of all the little things that live under water. The fishes are colorful. Several are named after animals, so you have the leopard fish, the tiger fish etc., but what took our breath away was the beautiful corals. At that point everything seemed to be in slow motion. You know your time under water is limited to the amount of oxygen in your tank and those few minutes you want to see as much as you can and more than that try your best to remember everything you see.
After the refreshing Scuba diving we finished lunch and visited marine museum and aquarium. By the time we were back to the resort, evening snacks were arranged and stage was set for some dance performances. Local kids of the Island performed folk dance very beautifully. We also happened to meet Mr. Boby Chemmanur – (Chairman & MD – Boby Chemmanur International Group) who was on his business visit to the Island.
We returned to the Ship after a memorable day. The day was long, energetic, exceptionally amazing with new experiences.
Day 4: Nov 7th 2017
We were ready by 7.30 am for disembarkation. Due to the showers, our disembarkation to the Island got delayed by half an hour.
Kadmat is one of the most stunning islands in the archipelago. As the boat nearer the island, you are welcomed by the clear blue water and magnificent wooden jetty. Amongst 3 Islands which we visited, Kadmat is my personal favorite.
Islanders welcomed us with tea, snacks and stunning folk dance.
We all played in water, went for knee boat ride, took long walks to the tip of island along the shore, dived from wooden jetty and the fun continued…
Today’s complimentary game is Snorkeling. We are lucky today, coz our tour manager accompanied us for Snorkeling. After yesterday’s scuba, our fear for water got little reduced and enjoyed Snorkeling.
Day 5 : Nov 8th 2017
They say ‘Good things end soon’. So was our trip. These 4 days went really fast. All were feeling low to say bye to the ship and the crew. Ship reached Kochi at 10.30 am. Our flight to Bengaluru was at 9pm.
We visited ‘Athirapalli waterfalls’ and then boarded the flight. .The view of the falls is amazing.
Lakshadweep: Heaven on earth. Awesome place to visit and lifetime experience.
And my dear gals, you are all amazing. Thanks for being such a wonderful companions .Enjoyed your company to the core. Those late night chats, crazy pics, funny games, dance performance are all memorable. Special thanks to Jaffer and Azaf: without you guys our trip wouldn’t have been so much memorable.