Lying 300klm of the coast of Cochin is the true hidden beauty of India. Once controlled by the Indian Government, the Lakshadweep islands are now officially open to tourists, and I personally hope the administration regulates the island and it’s visitors correctly, ensuring the true beauty of this hidden paradise remains untouched.
Realizing the importance of tourism, the Government now wish to help promote the islands so they can comfortable sustain themselves, and become one of the leading diving destinations in the world “and trust me, with 80-100 metre visibility and untouched reefs, they will certainly give some of the leading diving destinations a run for their money”.
Out of the 36 islands, 12 being are the main ones to visit, 4 are inhabited and the rest home to loacal villagers (total population 65,000) two of these islands (Kalpeni and Kavaratti) still only remain open to Indian nationals and permission is only granted by Administration invite/obtaining a Government permit. The local religion is 90% Muslim, with an alcohol ban enforced on the islands.
The main language for the islands is Malayalam which is spoken through out the islands, with English being spoken throughout, thanks to the British Empire, the locals learned to communicate during past trade routes.
The Islands are only accessible by Boat, Helicopter or plane. The boat trip is an 18 hour journey, and departs every other day from Cochin, however not in Monsoon season, so the best time to visit is the islands are March to October. The helicopter must be pre-booked through the Government, and is a 2 hour flight, operating all year round.
Scuba Diving will be the main tourist attraction, with other Marine water sports being offered, such as wind surfing, surfing and snorkeling.
The diving is truly out of this world, During my first dive “Tony Andrews PADI Regional Manager”, I witnessed 30 Hawskbill and Green Sea turtles, and at least 40 giant Napoleon Rass, I have to admire there curiosity during the dive.
Eagle rays, Manta’s are commonly seen around the islands of Minicoy, which believe it or not used to be the capital island of the Maldives, Many years ago.
The Indian Government have just implemented a fishing ban to help protect Whale sharks, as it’s thought to be one of the only places known for Whale sharks mating.
As well as the above, the reefs are in pristine condition, with many sites literally a 10 minute boat ride away from the pure blue lagoons, the variety of the dives provide an all round attraction for divers, from Wreck diving, Wall diving, Drift and of course deep dives, with some of the drop offs reaching 300+ metres, perfect for Tec exploration.