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Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package
The coral islands of Lakshadweep are as beautiful as they are intriguing, where life moves to a gentle rhythm shaped by the sea, as men go fishing, women spin coir and coconut is the main source of food, drink, fuel, oil and shelter. The visitors are enchanted by the magnificent lagoons, coral reefs, marine life as by the divine simplicity here, on the Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package!
It seems as though these islands are places which man and nature have conspired to keep more or less as found. Tourists can visit only six of the islands under the plan of eco-tourism, and each island boasts of a stunning lagoon and reefs with a bewitching sea panorama. Take your leisure time for swimming, snorkelling or diving, giving you an opportunity to explore the land which has been formed by the sea, by Buddhism and later Islam, and by unique local traditions.
An ideal destination for all those who are sick and tired of a monotonous routine of their grinding lives in the metros, and the heart longs for escape and freedom to the pristine bright and fresh landscape on the western seaboard of India. Yes, it is all about the scattered pearls of the Lakshadweep islands, an archipelago of twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks, with a total of about thirty-nine islands and islets. The reefs are in fact also atolls, although mostly submerged, with only small unvegetated sand cays above the high water mark. The submerged banks are sunken atolls. Almost all the atolls have a northeast-southwest orientation with the islands lying on the eastern rim, and a mostly submerged reef on the western rim, enclosing a lagoon. Abundant with marine life and crystal clear waters one can mingle with the fishes and sea turtles, while scuba diving which again is only available at the Kavaratti Island and that too only for fifteen minutes to tide over the rush from the ship. The peek into the sea world is however compensated by the glass bottom boat at Kavaratti. Kayaking is a fun activity and you can actually kayak along with a sea turtle who might just take a fancy to the need of the tonic of wildness...at the same time that you may be earnest to discover and learn all things, that have so far remained mysterious in your psyche. Start with some of the approachable islands, on the Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package.
Agatti is the most sparkling isle in the Lakshadweep, with milky white sands on the beach, turquoise waters and multicoloured fish and a comfortable resort In which to put your feet up. The coconut and palm groves and a great palm reef complete the picture. The Malayalam speaking inhabitants are warm and friendly here and willing to stretch themselves for the Curiosity-driven tourist! Watch them cast their nets, hand-weave coir ropes or try tuna and coconut kernels, with them as you exchange healthy conversations, observe and gain knowledge about their skills. Watch the eastern beach for treasures of the atolls, brilliant white coral of all shapes and sizes. In the shimmering waters, there are streams of schools of colorful fish, live coral, sea anemone, starfish and sea cucumbers. The easiest way to access the amazing world is to snorkel around the reefs or take a glass-bottomed boat ride. For non-swimmers, the waters in the lagoon are quite shallow and it is possible to literally walk the sea. The Golden Jubilee Museum has a room full of jars and wooden chests recovered from the islands and a few shipwrecks. The Moiyuddin Mosque is the oldest mosque, built in the style of a Malabar temple, with red Mangalore- tiles and no minarets. A stone panel with Arabic lettering decorates its front cornice.
The Bangaram is an uninhabited island and visitors return here for the thrill of discovery, love of corals and adventure, and access to a seascape well beyond the bounds of imagination and sheer beauty. This island is projected as a major destination for international tourism, as marine fauna are plentiful. Water sports activities such as scuba diving, wind surfing, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing,sportfishing, yachting and night-voyages into the sea are quite popular among tourists, as they flock to these islands throughout the year except during the south-west monsoon months when the seas are extremely rough.
The Kadmat Island is immersed in its shimmering lagoon and is breathtakingly enchanting. You may go towards its west by a large bewildering lagoon, and then to the right where it has a rich coral outcrop. The place is ideal for swimming and spending lazy, uninhibited hours of pleasure. There are coconuts to be picked and dried fish to be caught and coir to be soaked, dried and turned into rope. The beach has exceptional stretches of white sand surrounded by a turquoise lagoon, with its gently floating clumps of wild dark-green sea grass that encircles the southern tip, and it is not unusual here to come across beautiful red-tinged coral. Tourists may visit the Coconut Desiccating Plant where they can watch the process of producing dry coconut powder. Continue towards the Embarkation Jetty, and spend an evening watching the sun set on this island on the Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package!
The Kalpeni is a short trip of land with three, tiny strips of satellite isles, which along with the beautiful lagoons, wait for marine enthusiasts. Meanwhile, fishermen cast their nets around Cheriyam Island for their favourite catch…..octopus…….pickled or fried? A Kalpeni delicacy. It is possible to take a boat to visit the three islands, which at low tide would be within walking distance. These tiny isles are covered with scrub and open out to beautiful vistas of the lagoon and the sea beyond. All the three islands abound incalcified corals and its favourite residents…….crabs and snails. The sea around is rich in marine life and yields good catches of seer or Bumalo or Bombay Duck. Snorkelling is not easy in the waters since they are very shallow and full of pointed coral debris strewn on the lagoon bed. The Kalpeni Tip Beach houses a small café where tea and some snacks can be had, and you can chat with islanders who gather after some hours of searching for cowries, collected for decorating kathakali costumes and as tools of divination by astrologers. You can take a sea bath and go for kayaking, and because of the coral reefs present in the sea near the beach, the water is shallow and calm, making it an excellent spot for beach activities. There is a high lighthouse from whose top travellers can get a bird's eye view of the island, the lagoon with the smaller islands, the reef and the surrounding ocean. From the top of the lighthouse, you can visualize the abundance of coconut trees.
The Kavaretti Island is the administrative centre of the Lakshadweep Union Territory, a busy place, with people everywhere, on the sea, land, boats, working on the off-shore water pipeline, on the jetty, and the trees…….crowded after some relative solitude in other places. The lagoon here is stupendous and enriched with starfish, anemones, sea cucumbers and colourful fish. The white-washed Ujra Mosque on the south-eastern part of the island is mesmerizing, following the practice of ratheeb, an important religious ritual performance. The museum-cum-aquarium has different varieties of shells, including cowries once used as money across the Indian Ocean, amazing corals and many species of fish preserved in innumerable glass jars, on the Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package!
Minicoy, another island, is organized into nine villages, each with fascinating cultural traditions, as most residents dress here as Maldivans in long toga-like capes and chew betel like a true Malayali. This beautiful crescent-shaped island has a gleaming lagoon, including a secluded beach complete with a lake suoys’surrounded by the only clump of mangroves. The lake is home to water crabs, turtles and schools of fish, which can be seen from an overbridge. A walk through the villages with well-appointed houses covered with Mangalore- tiles is rewarding, particularly near the shore, where you can admire the colourfully painted houses, and blend with the inhabitants, complementing them on their image, rituals and style. Look for an old sun dial near the Aloodi village, which the locals still follow. You have a lighthouse here that offers unparalleled views of the vast sea and the island. Minicoy’s pride, the Tuna Canning Factory is where foot-long tuna are processed, canned and pickled.
Move backwards to Kozhikode or Calicut in the northern Malabar region, and take a pleasant round of the Mananchira Square, the heart of the city, which has the Town Hall and the Public Library. The presence of temples, mosques and churches here reflect the cultural plurality of the region. The Kuttichara Mosque or Mishkal Masjid is architecturally striking and sports a traditional Keralite pagoda-like roof. On the banks of a large pond, you may explore one of Calicut’s oldest buildings the Commonwealth Trust Office built in the traditional Kerala-style of Mangalore tiles and teak. The Pazhassirajah Museum on the East Hill displays ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes,old coins, models of temples, megalithic monuments like dolmonoid cysts and umbrella stones, among the earliest found in Kerala. Next door is the VK Krishna Memon Art Gallery that showcases paintings by Raja Ravi Varma. The tree-lined beach at Kozhikode is very popular and at the Dolphin Point, it is possible to sight dolphins cavorting. Near the lighthouse is an aquarium. Stroll around Kallai, the bustling timber town, loaded with Malabar teak, where the lumber men are busy rolling logs of timber……a rare sight. Would you like to share a beverage with them, praising their efforts to sustain their livelihood with pride!
It would be great to visit Beypore closeby, where you discover uru, country craft built by traditional ship builders known as khalasis, and at the Cheliyar harbour, you can see large boats being worked on, where almost all the work, including rolling the huge beams into place, is done manually. It often takes fifty khalasis over a year to carve and shape an uru out of teak and jackfruit. Malabar too has its backwaters, with traditional rice boats having been converted into house boats, hired by tourists to cruise along the waters as far as Kadalundi, where the rivers meet the sea, on this Lakshadweep Island Holiday Package!
In the Lakshadweep Islands, along the shores and the beaches, tourists may look out for some souvenirs displaying exotic shell-craft, coral and mother-of-pearl, cowries, jewellery, coasters, decorative, blended with metal, wood and stone. Of course some apparels, footwear and bags are also available.
In Kozhikode, you can shop for mithai theravu, or `sweet street’ which packed with sweet stalls, selling Calicut halwa, black or brown, but very sweet, Calicut chips or banana chips, that have been deep-fried in coconut oil. There are also dozens of textile and jewellery shops. Check out the model boats at Kairali Emporium.
In Lakshadweep Islands, most of the guest houses and lodges are inclusive of meals, serving the speciality `tuna’ which may be fried, curried or pickled, sambhar, rice and curry with vegetables, avial, a spicy vegetable dish of ladyfinger, carrot and yam with coconut, chicken and potatoes, as the Keralan is de riguer. The most popular beverage is the humble green coconut! Besides the traditional delicacies, there is a blend of North and South Indian food, along with Continental and Chinese, and custom-made dishes, to cater to the palette from around the globe, though it is certain that tourists would relish the traditional food here, as a novice!
Kozhikode also serves delectable Keralan cuisine such as chicken biryani and mutton fry, fantastic ghee roast dosa and parottas, along with multi-cuisine restaurants that offer both South and North Indian food.
The most pleasant weather to visit the Kerala region is from October to March, although even the hot summers are good enough for indoors, and the monsoons might just put a temporary block for sea activities on the beach island resorts.