Lakshwadeep Islands

Lakshadweep, in an archipelago of over 35 little islands, coral reefs and atols, peppering the Arabian sea, lining the West coast of Kerala by almost around 300 KMS into the Arabian sea. About 10 of these islands are inhabited by a predominantly Muslim population and the cute little airstrip (see my photo) forms the northern tip of the Agatti island. An entry permit is a basic necessacity for anyone visiting here, which can be obtained at Cochin.

The air and sea routes are the two options to get to Lakshadweep. The air options are Indian Airlines - a little Dornier (around 20 seats) and Kingfisher - an ATR (around 45 seats) while the Sea options are a fleet of 3 to 4 ships from Cochin - it is supposed to take anything between 20 to 26 hours depending on the weather.

We took the air route - Kingfisher bothways and literally were on a charter flight on the onward route.Accomodation options are at Bangaram Islands, Agatti Island Beach Resort, Kadamat resort and a few others. The best of the lot is the Bangaram Islands, owned by the Casino Group of hotels at Cochin, followed by the Agatti Island Beach resort, which was as good as well.

We chose the Agatti Island Beach resort, for we had stayed at the Bangaram a few years ago.The resort (Agatti Island Beach Resort) is right next to the airport and the view from the air as the pilot flies over the runway during take off and touch down is a stunner (see photo). In fact, it is possibly one of the very few places in the world, where you can walk out of the airpot and into the resort for a check in. It is so close, the 'Pick Up' confirmed by the resort was a cute trolley for the bags.The location is breath taking - set amongst a Coconut grove, with the crystal clear lagoon waters on the west, with the sea on the east. The resort has its own Jetty, which is a great location to drag your deck chairs to and while away time watching the colorful fish and the giant turtles that surfact to breathe.

The accomodation is quite good, though nothing near 4 or 5 Star standards. A row of air conditioned cottages line the white sands with thoughfully laid out water taps at the entrance of each cottage to wash off the white sands from the beach. Food at the resort is quite homely and well cooked. There is nothing flashy about the menu and is mostly a blend of the local and traditional cusine, with a mix of a little bit of continental flavor to satisfy the foreign tourists. On the whole, it is quite a homely one, which is quite tasty as well.The location steals the limelight.

The sheer brilliance of the setting, the bewildering underwater bounty, the brilliant shades of lagoon and sea water surrounding the islands, make this an amzing holiday experience.There are a whole range of water sports (the introductory Scuba dive for novices being the highlight of the entire vacation) available at the resort. Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Water Scooters / Jet Ski's, Kayaking, Glass Bottom boat rides, Unihabited Island expeditions etc are a good range of options.

The midnight turtle walk, a 7 KM long walk righ across the entire beach surrounding the runway is a must do activity. Huge turtles beach around midlight to dig massive holes to lay their eggs and return back to the waters, between midnight and dawn and the entire walk is peppered with hordes of hermit crabs, and other sea creatures in the midnight wanderings.

The friendly staff, the very homely and well cooked food, add to the overall good experience of a perfect holiday.

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