Geography of Lakshadweep


Topography

Lakshadweep topography is a perfect combination of beautiful islands, coral reefs and atolls, lagoons, crystal clear seawater and the silvery sand beaches. It is a group of thirty-six different islands out of which only ten are inhabited by people. The rest of the twenty-six ones are left isolated till now.

The total area of the Lakshadweep islands is thirty-two square kilometers. The capital of these islands is Kavaratti. Located in the Arabian Sea, it is only at a distance of two hundred and twenty kilometers to four hundred and forty kilometers from the city of Kochi, situated along the coast of the southern state of Kerala.

Apart from the thirty-six beautiful islands, the union territory of Lakshadweep also contains three reefs, twelve atolls and five banks that are submerged into the Arabian Sea. It has a tropical kind of a climate but as it is situated amidst the sea, there is always a lingering pleasantness in the atmosphere.

It is most probably, the one and the only chain of coral island in the Indian sub-continent. These have been formed because of the coral gathering on the volcanic crests in the Indian Ocean that have been submerged long time back.

The topography of Lakshadweep depends much on its geography and history. The beautiful islands of Lakshadweep are also known as Emerald Islands and these are quite rich in greenery and vegetation. The most commonly seen are the green coconut palms, Kanni, Punna and Chavok.

Atolls

The beautiful islands of Lakshadweep are all coral islands and it is most probably the only example of lovely chain of coral islands in the sub-continent of India. The atolls here are very famous and it is for these atolls that a large number of tourists flock to this place. Atoll is a kind of coral reef, which forms the beautiful islands of Lakshadweep. Lakshadweep reefs have the distinction of being the only atolls in seas of India. Theses atolls fall at a distance of around two hundred kilometers from the western coast of the country. The Bitra is the smallest atoll of the region and lies in the northernmost direction. The southernmost atoll of the region is the Minicoy Atoll.

The significant aspect of the Lakshadweep atolls is its high biodiversity. The areas have rich flora and fauna. Almost six hundred types of fishes are found in the shallow waters of the regions. The atolls of Lakshadweep are home to thirty-six islands with a total area of thirty-two square kilometers. Among these islands, some are inhabited while the rest are uninhabited. Some of the inhabited islands of the area are-
  • Minicoy
  • Kalpeni
  • Andrott
  • Kiltan
  • Chetlat
  • Bitra
  • Agatti
  • Kavaratti
  • Amini
  • Kadmat

Some of the uninhabited islands, formed by the Lakshadweep atolls are-
  • Viringili
  • Cheriyam
  • Kodithala
  • Tilakkam
  • Pitti
  • Thinnakara
  • Parali
  • Kalpitti
  • Suheli Valiya Kara
  • SuheliCheriya Kara
  • Pitti or the Birds Island
  • Bangaram

These atolls form wonderful tourist destinations subsequently making the islands of Lakshadweep, a world famous tourist destination. It attracts visitors from all corners of the world.

Climate

Fondly called the 'Tropical Paradise', the beautiful islands of Lakshadweep, experiences a tropical climate. Lakshadweep has a kind of sultry weather with its summer temperature varying from twenty-two degree centigrade to thirty-five degree centigrade. During winters, the temperature ranges between twenty degree centigrade and thirty-two degree centigrade. The climate of group of beautiful islands depends much on the geography of Lakshadweep.

Although the climate is a tropical one and the temperature is on the higher side, the overall atmosphere of the union territory is quite pleasing attracting many tourists. The sea breeze is very pleasant and the greeneries provide more than sufficient cool shades to make the place pleasurable. The beautiful place is open all the year round and welcomes the tourists. However, the best time of the year to visit the Paradise called Lakshadweep is from the months of May to September. It is the ideal time to visit the Lakshadweep, as at this time of the year, the climate is of the perfect kind and it is the right kind of weather to enjoy the clear blue sea with colourful fishes as you walk through the silver sands of the unending stretch of Lakshadweep beaches.

The travel on ship is a very popular mode of tourism here. During the monsoons if you travel to Lakshadweep, you will miss it. To savor the fun of the ship-based trip on the seas around the heavenly islands of Lakshadweep, you should visit the place avoiding the rainy seasons. However, the helicopter services are on all the year round for the visitors. The climate in the months of October and November may experience light temporary showers. Clothes that are suitable in the tropical areas would be the perfect choice for the visitors to carry in their travel bags.

Area

It is the smallest union territory in the Indian sub-continent. The whole of Lakshadweep area comprises three coral reefs, five banks that are immersed under water and twelve atolls. The wonderful land of Lakshadweep has immense possibility of being a world famous tourist spot. It covers an area of thirty-two square kilometers. The Tropical Paradise, as the beautiful islands of Lakshadweep is lovingly called, is a group of thirty-six scattered islands. Out of these only ten islands are inhabited and the rest of the islands remain uninhabited and are yet to be explored. Kavaratti is the capital of the beautiful Lakshadweep islands.

Geographical location of the area of Lakshadweep is at 73° 38' and 73° 42' E longitude and 80 degree and 10° 48' and 10° 50' N latitude. According to the census of 2011, the total population of all the islands is about 65,000. The Population Density in Lakshadweep is 2013 people per square kilometers. Muslims occupy majority of the area of the inhabited islands though Hindus and Christians are also part of the human community of the islands of Lakshadweep. This area has 0486 as its STD code. As registered in the census of 2011, the literacy rate of the area is 92.28 %. The official language of the islands is Malayalam.

Coral Islands

Lakshadweep is a group of beautiful islands that is probably the one and the only chain of coral islands in the Indian sub-continent. These coral islands have made Lakshadweep, a world famous tourist destination. The islands of 'Tropical Paradise' are all made up of corals. The Lakshadweep Coral Islands are a result of accumulation of corals on a volcanic island on the surface of the great Indian Ocean. The volcanic island was submerged into the ocean millions of years ago.

Corals are actually marine animals belonging to the class of Anthozoa. These are polyp like formations of sea anemone, which stay in colonies. Corals secrete calcium carbonate and form skeleton like structures. Millions of dead corals form a coral colony, which is called reef. These reefs need some particular necessary factors required for their growth like:

  • Water
  • Plankton
  • Sunlight
  • 20° Celsius
  • Air

Coral reefs are of three types:
  • Atolls
  • Fringing reefs
  • Barrier reefs

Soil and Vegetation

The soil and vegetation of Lakshadweep islands are the combined result of the climate and the geography of Lakshadweep. They are located in the Arabian Sea. It is known as 'tropical paradise' and the name suggests the climate of the islands as tropical one. The soil & vegetation is very varied and a brief study about it will provide you with an overall idea about the details of the place.

The Lakshadweep Islands are all made up of coral reefs. Corals are polyp like formations of many small marine animals. Millions of dead corals form coral reefs. These are generally found in tropi-cal seas and these secrete a chemical known as calcium carbonate. The whole of Lakshadweep soil is thus, made up of limestone.

The soil of Lakshadweep is formed due to the disintegration of limestones from the corals and sedimentary rocks. The fine soil that is made up of the coral dust is silvery white in colour and shimmers in a kind of supreme sensational sublimity in the beautiful Lakshadweep beaches. As you move towards the interior of the islands, the white coloured soil becomes ash in colour.

As the soil is rich in calcium, it is relatively fertile and a large variety of crops and other vegetation grow on the soil of Lakshadweep. The vegetation constitute of the following plants:
  • Banana
  • Colocasia
  • Vazha
  • Chambu
  • Bread Fruit
  • Chakka
  • Drumstic moringakkai
  • Wild almond
  • Coconut
  • Thenga
  • Chavok
  • Punna
  • Kanni

Volcanic Islands

The numerous islands of Lakshadweep, one of the union territories of India is said to be formed on the volcanic formations, which dates back to the ancient times. According to the opinion of the famous English Evolutionist, Sir Charles Darwin, the present day coral islands of Lakshadweep is actually based on age old volcanic formations. With time, corals settled over those formations to form fringing reefs. Later, owing to the geological submerging of those volcanic bases, the corals settling over the volcanic formations transformed to barrier reefs. Thus, this union territory of the country of India can be called as a volcanic area because of its volcanic base. Due to the same reason, the different coral islands existing there now are actually volcanic islands of the territory.

Sprawling over a total area of 32 sq. kms, 36 islands of Lakshadweep are surrounded by 4200 sq. kms, an area rich in different kinds of marine wealth. Each of these islands is covered by white coloured coral sands. Apart from the varied flora and fauna, the transparent water bodies bordering these islands contribute to the mystical beauty of Lakshadweep. The vast blue sea gives the islands the look of an emerald. This is what makes the place famous as an eco-tourism destination. Though all of these 36 islands are blessed with the panoramic beauty of sandy beaches, coral reefs, crystal clear blue water, still they differ from each other in terms of hospitality. Some of those coral islands have been developed for adventure sports and tourism.

To name a few of the famous coral cum volcanic islands of Lakshadweep are:
  1. Agatti Island: Geographically located at 10° 51' N and 72° 11' E, this coral island of Lakshadweep is situated at a distance of 459 kms from Cochin. Among the other islands, this island has got a relatively hot climatic condition. The place is known for multi-coloured coral fishes. Besides fishing industry, Agatti specializes in coir and copra industries. Agatti Island Beach Resort, which is open to tourists for 12 months, attracts people for the varied water sports offered by them. Those sport facilities include snorkeling, scuba diving, lagoon fishing, sail boating, speed boating and kayaking. Another major attraction is excursion done on boats with glass bottom. The island can be easily reached by water or airways.

  2. Bangaram Island: With its geographical location at 10° 56' N and 72° 17' E, this island is one of the un-inhabited islands of Lakshadweep. This breathtakingly beautiful island of the Indian union territory has got a warm weather with limited rainfall. Ranked amongst some of the world's best getaways, Bangaram Island is enclosed by a shallow lagoon and coral reefs. The beauty of the island is mainly created by the harmony of the sand and sun. Sparkling reefs with blue lagoon creates a magic. It is a place of graceful fishes, puffer fishes, porcupines, hermit crabs, seabirds and parrots. Lush greenery of the coconut groves spread over 120 acres of land. Different adventure sports like scuba diving, swimming, beach games and snorkeling are done here. Accessed solely by airways, this island houses beach cottages with a well-stocked bar and a multi-cuisine dining center.

  3. Kadmat Island: This large lagoon with abundant growth of corals is just a 407 kms away from Cochin. Kadmat Island attracts people for its varied water sport options on its sandy beaches. Though residents of this island are mainly involved in coir twisting, but the place is even known for its limestone. This is one of the ideal holiday destinations in India. Apart from awareness programs on under-water wealth, one can enjoy scuba diving or water sports on hired kayaks, sailing yachts, pedal boats, skiing boats, glass bottomed water vehicles while on his or her stay there.

  4. Kalpeni Island: This island is located at a distance of 287 kms from Cochin. Geographically located at 10° 5' N and 73° 39' E, Kalpeni Island is famous for Pitti, Tilakkam and Cheriyam, the small islets. Among them, Cheriyam is the uninhabited island situated towards its north. All of these islets are enclosed by a big shallow lagoon. Woman education in this area started from this island. One of the special features of the island includes the vast storm bank of coral debris towards its east and south eastern coast. This island even houses a Light House and a Baniyan factory. Besides the normal water sports, one can even enjoy swimming and reef-walk there.

  5. Kavaratti Island: With its geographical location at 10° 33' N and 72°38' E, Kavaratti is the capital of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The island has got sandy sea beaches. You can explore Kavaratti Island through the water sports as well as the marina life exhibitions in the Marine Aquarium located there. This aquarium houses an extensive collection of marina life specimens. The boats with glass flooring will make you experience the under-water lives even if you are not a swimmer. Another major attraction of the island is the Dolphin Dive Center. One can hire rented sailing yachts or kayaks to enjoy water life.

  6. Minicoy Island: Located at 8o 17' N and 73o 4' E, Minicoy Island is the 2nd biggest island. This crescent shaped island with one of the biggest lagoons is Lakshadweep's southern most atoll. With a difference of culture from the northern islands of Lakshadweep, the inhabitants of this island earn their livelihood as seamen. Minicoy has got different villages known as "Avah". Each of these Avahs or village systems comprises of well maintained and beautifully decorated houses. Bodukaka, an elderly man from each village is elected as the head of each village and is vested with all powers for the village affairs management. People mainly speak the language of Mahi over there. This island is a hub of tuna fishing. The winding roads in between the deep coconut groves add on to the beauty of the place. Apart from visiting factory of tuna canning and old Light House dating back to 1885, one can explore the sea beaches, swim or do beach walking, kayaking, pedal boating, sailing and many more.

Some of the other volcanic islands in Lakshadweep are as follows:
  • Amini
  • Andrott
  • Bitra
  • Chetlat
  • Kiltan



Last Updated on : December 2, 2014





     


     

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