Lakshadweep, in the Arabian Sea, is a part of the Indian subcontinent and is recognized as the smallest union territory of India. Lakshadweep means "hundred thousand islands" in Malayalam and Sanskrit. True to its name, these islands are very picturesque and provide a true vacation for those who love beaches, water sports and sea food.
The union territory was formed on 1 November 1956. The state animal is the butterfly fish, and the state bird is the sooty tern. The state tree is bread fruit. The languages spoken here are Malayalam, Hindi, Mahi and Tamil.
It is a group of about 36 islands and has a total land area of 32 square kilometers which is scattered over 30,000 square miles of the Arabian Sea. Out of the 36 islands, only ten are inhabited and they are Andrott, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. Representing the rich biodiversity of the region, the various facts on the islands enable one to accumulate a wide range of interconnected and sound knowledge about Lakshadweep. Blessed with an unmatched natural beauty, the exotic coral reef island of the union territory is an interesting blend of scenic beauty coupled with modern infrastructural facilities that draw several tourists to this place from across the globe.
|Facts on Lakshadweep|
|Date of Formation (Declared a Union Territory)||Nov 1, 1956|
|Area||32 sq km|
|Total Population (2011)||64,473|
|Males Population (2011)||33,123|
|Females Population (2011)||31,350|
|No. of District||1|
|Forests & National Park||Pitti Bird Sanctuary|
|Languages||Divehi, Malayalam, Jeseri, Tamil, Mahi, English|
|State Animal||Butterfly fish|
|State Bird||Noddy Tern|
|State Tree||Bread fruit|
|Literacy Rate (2011)||86.55%|
|Females per 1000 males||946|
The local traditions attribute the history of Lakshadweep to the last Chera king of Kerala known as Cheraman Perumal. Historians say that he converted to Islam at the behest of Arab merchants and left his capital Craganore, which is today known as Kodungallor in Mecca. Search parties were believed to have gone to various places in search of the king. However, due to a fierce storm, their ship wrecked on one of the islands called Bangarma. After the storm subsided, the party reached Agatti Island and on their way back home came across the various islands of Lakshadweep. Certain soldiers started living in one of the islands called Amini.
Islam in Lakshadweep also dates back to the 7th century, when St. Ubaidullah set sail to places to preach Islam. He reached here after his ship wrecked and found himself on this island. He got married here and successfully converted people to Islam. His grave is still there in Andrott and is now a sacred place.
With the advent of the Portuguese, began the plunder of the Laccadives (as Lakshadweep was earlier known). They were interested in the finely spun coir. However, the Portuguese could not last for many years as they are supposed to have been killed through poisoning by the locals.
The modern history says that the ruler of Lakshawdeep was Raja of Chirakkal in the 16th century. Later some islands came under the rule of Tipu Sultan. In the year 1799, British East India Company arrived here. But by 1854 the whole of the Lakshadweep came under the rule of the East India Company. After Independence, the islands came under the Republic of India and formed a separate union territory in 1956. More Detail...
The geography of Lakshadweep is very interesting and beautiful. It has a variety of flora and fauna and rich vegetation. All the islands comprise coral reefs, incredible lagoons, perfect blue waters and, of course, shining sandy beaches. It comprises 36 islands out of which many are isolated. The islands are located in the Arabian Sea and around 220 to 440 km from Kochi in Kerala. The lagoon area is around 4,200 sq km, territorial waters around 20,000 sq. km and an economic zone of 4 lakhs sq km. The whole of the union territory has covered an area of 32 sq kms. The climate is tropical and, due to its location, the atmosphere is pleasant year round. The climatic conditions are very similar to Kerala. The temperature here ranges from 25 degrees C to 35 degrees C. The humidity of the region ranges from 70 to 76%. Average rainfall is 1600 mm a year with the major share from the southwest monsoon. The union territory has unbroken beaches all over the islands and the beaches are covered with thick coconut palms.
The global location of Lakshadweep is 71°-74° E longitude and 8°-12°13" N latitude. The islands comprise five underwater banks, three reefs and twelve atolls. More Detail...
Lakshadweep is a small place with plenty of islands. The population of the place is around 65,000, as per the 2011 census. The population per sq km was only 2,013 in 2011. The male population is 34,000 and females about 31,000 approximately. The sex ratio is 946 females for every 1000 males. There is a literacy rate of 92.28%, which is great as compared to the mainland. The religion here is predominantly Muslim. The people here are actually the descendants of the migrants who came from south-west India. The majority of the population is indigenous. Most of the population can be described as tribal. They fall into the category of scheduled tribes. But the people here are mostly from the Sunni sect. More Detail...
The islands provide for tremendous economic potentialities due to its incredible economic zone. Although agriculture is the main economy here, fishing too is significant. The people here also cultivate coconut, which is a major crop and its cultivation has been regarded as the major economic means of the population here. There are many industries related to coconut cultivation. The industries here are based on the extraction of coconut fibre and its products. There are many coir fibre factories here as well. Most of the people are engaged in these factories. Fishery makes the island to rank first in the per capita availability of fish. Besides, there are various factories here. The important industry is the tourism industry, which can help them earn big revenue. More Detail...
Politics & Government
Lakshadweep is the smallest union territory of India and has various functioning bodies in the government. The union territory is administered by the governor who is appointed by the President of India. The island comes under the Kerala High Court jurisdiction which is situated in Kochi, Kerala. The district headquarter is located in Kavaratti. The government has developed various departments to develop the land. The various departments work for the upliftment of the people here and are very efficient. The island has 10 subdivisions. While Minicoy and Agatti have subdivisions under the Deputy Collector, the other 8 islands have sub-divisional officers. The collector is also the development commissioner and the District Magistrate who looks into the matters of land, law and order and revenue. Besides, there are also additional district magistrates and ten executive magistrates. More Detail...
Society and Culture
The islands of Lakshadweep have a deep tradition and culture that has existed since the old days. There are diverse traditions and customs. This predominantly Muslim area comprises folk festivals, dance and various traditions that are deeply rooted here. Due to its proximity to the state of Kerala, many religious customs and traditions have been influenced from Kerala. The festivals celebrated here are muharram, bakrid and the milad-un-nabi and eid-ul-fitr. All the festivals are vibrant with a strong sense of integrity. The food here reflects the taste of the people and their preferences. The local cuisine comprises sea fish and coconut. Coconut water is the most consumed drink here. People here prepare their food with the maximum use of coconut, which is very delicious. With lip-smacking seafood to spicy meat dishes, you are going to taste some of the most exotic dishes that you will find in India. Besides, you can taste the mouth watering idlis, dosa, rice, etc. More Detail...
People here are simple and lead a simple lifestyle. There are four main communities called the Malmis, Aminidvis, Melacheris and Koyas. Aminidivis are the local inhabitants and were first to arrive. The Koyas are known as land owners and Malmis are the working class. The Melacheris is the labour community whose occupation is to collect coconuts. They all live in harmony and work for the development of the islands. More Detail...
Malayalam is widely used as the local language here. However, Minicoy uses the Mahi language. But today people also speak a little English and Hindi as well. Grandha is the modern script of Malayalam. The Mahi script is written from right to left. More Detail...
The literacy rate is quite high and is observed to be 92.28%. The curriculum followed here is that of the state of Kerala. One of the important facts is that creating awareness regarding biodiversity, eco-friendly goods and climate change are taught by an informal community. Children here get education from their parents about fishing, wildlife, sea life, etc. You can find plenty of schools in Minicoy and Kavaratti. Junior college is also found after 10th class. Education provided is only up to 12th standard and for higher studies one has to go to the mainland. More Detail...
The tourism industry here is one of the most successful and newly developed industries. The experience is very different from other tourist destinations. It is raw and very natural, very scenic and totally magnificent.
Lakshadweep is an island that is a bit away from the main land. It is considered as a very eco-sensitive place, which is why you see very little transport in this island. As the islands are very small, the people here prefer to walk. Bicycles are also a favourite mode of transport. If you want to move to other islands, you can use boats, helicopters and ferries. The only airport that you find here is at Agatti. There are flights which you can take to reach the mainland. Ships can also take you to Lakshadweep from Kochi and Goa. EBAKB041214
Last Updated on : December 19, 2014
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