Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep

Overview
Lakshadweep formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea
Laccadive Sea
The Laccadive Sea or Lakshadweep Sea is a body of water bordering India , the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. It is located to the west of Kerala...

, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West India
South West India
South West India extends over the regions in the states and territories of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Goa, Orissa, and Lakshadweep....

n state of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

. They were also known as Laccadive Islands, although geographically this is only the name of the central subgroup of the group.

The islands form the smallest Union Territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The total land area is 11 sq mi or 32 km².
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Encyclopedia
Lakshadweep formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea
Laccadive Sea
The Laccadive Sea or Lakshadweep Sea is a body of water bordering India , the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. It is located to the west of Kerala...

, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West India
South West India
South West India extends over the regions in the states and territories of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Goa, Orissa, and Lakshadweep....

n state of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

. They were also known as Laccadive Islands, although geographically this is only the name of the central subgroup of the group.

The islands form the smallest Union Territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The total land area is 11 sq mi or 32 km². Ten of the islands are inhabited. Lakshadweep is the northern part of the erstwhile Lakshadweepa. The islands are the northernmost among the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are actually the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge
Chagos-Laccadive Ridge
The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge , also known as Chagos-Laccadive Plateau, is a prominent volcanic ridge and oceanic plateau extending between the Northern and the Central Indian Ocean....

.

The land area is 32 square kilometres (12.4 sq mi);; the lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...

 area is about 4200 square kilometres (1,621.6 sq mi), the territorial waters area is 20000 square kilometres (7,722 sq mi) and the economic zone area is 400000 square kilometres (154,440.9 sq mi).

Etymology


Lakshadweep, comes from Lakshadweepa, which literally means one hundred thousand (लक्षं laksha) islands (द्वीप dweepa) in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. It is the least populous Union Territory of India.

History


The earliest references to the islands is made in Puranuru as part of the ancient (Dravidian
Dravidian peoples
Dravidian peoples is a term used to refer to the diverse groups of people who natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers of around 220 million are found mostly in Southern India. Other Dravidian people are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka,...

) country. There are references to the control of the islands by the Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 in the Sangam literature
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

 Pathitruppaththu. A Pallava
Pallava
The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

 inscription of 7th century AD refers to the islands as Dveepa Laksham and lists them as part of the Pallava domain. Local traditions and legends attribute the first settlement on these islands to the period of Cheraman Perumal
Cheraman Perumal
Rama Varman Kulashekhara was the last King of the Later Chera Dynasty and the first ruler of the independent Venad state from 1102 A.D to 1122 A.D, according to the Rameswarathukoil Inscription. Kotha Varman Marthandam succeeded him as the ruler of Venad.-The end of the Chera dynasty:Rama Varman...

, the last Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 king of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

. The oldest inhabited islands in the group are Amini, Kalpeni
Kalpeni
Kalpeni is an inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It lies 71 km south of Androth and 201 km to the NNE of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them...

 Andrott
Andrott
Andrott Island , also known as Androth Island, is a small inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a group of 36 coral islands scattered in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India approximately 198 kilometers from Kozhikode and 293 km from Kochi. It is the nearest to the...

, Kavaratti
Kavaratti
Kavaratti is a census town in the Indian Union Territory and the capital of Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is also the name of the island upon which the town stands.-Geography:...

 and Agatti
Agatti
Agatti Island , also known as Agathy, is a 5.6 km long island, situated on a coral atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located about 459 km off Kochi in the mainland and 7 km to the southwest of Bangaram, the nearest island...

. Lakshadweep islanders were originally Hindus who later converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in the 14th century. However, recent archaeological evidence has established that Buddhist settlements also had existed in the islands as early as the 6th or 7th century. According to popular tradition, Islam was brought to Lakshadweep by an Arab named Ubaidulla in 41 (661 AD). His grave is located in the island of Andrott
Andrott
Andrott Island , also known as Androth Island, is a small inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a group of 36 coral islands scattered in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India approximately 198 kilometers from Kozhikode and 293 km from Kochi. It is the nearest to the...

. Muslim grave stones dated to 139 (756 AD) have also been discovered here. During the 11th century, the islands came under the rule of the Late Cholas.

In the 17th century, the islands came under the rule of Ali Raja
Ali Raja
The Ali Raja was the title of the Muslim raja of Cannanore from the 16th to early 19th Century. The king's palace, which he purchased from the Dutch in 1663, was named Arakkal Palace after the ruling dynasty.-Origins:...

hs/Arakkal Bheevi of Kannur
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

, who received them as a gift from the Kolathiris. The Portuguese took control to exploit coir
Coir
Coir is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses etc. Technically coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir are in upholstery...

 production until the islanders expelled the Portuguese. The islands are also mentioned in great detail in the stories of the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 traveller Ibn Batuta.

The Amindivi group of islands (Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra) came under the rule of Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

 in 1787. They passed to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War
Third Anglo-Mysore War
The Third Anglo-Mysore War was a war in South India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company and its allies, including the Mahratta Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad...

 and were attached to South Canara
Dakshina Kannada
- Geography :The district geography consists of sea shore in the west and Western Ghats in the east. The major rivers are Netravathi, Kumaradhara, Phalguni, Shambhavi, Nandini or Pavanje and Payaswini which all join Arabian sea. Vast areas of evergreen forests which once covered this district, have...

. The rest of the islands came under the suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 of the Arakkal family
Ali Raja
The Ali Raja was the title of the Muslim raja of Cannanore from the 16th to early 19th Century. The king's palace, which he purchased from the Dutch in 1663, was named Arakkal Palace after the ruling dynasty.-Origins:...

 of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute. The British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district
Malabar District
Malabar District was an administrative district of Madras Presidency in British India and independent India's Madras State. The British district included the present-day districts of Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad , and Chavakad Taluk of Thrissur District in the northern part of...

 of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

 during the British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

.

Independent India


The inhabitants of these islands, remote from the mainland of India, heard the final news of the Partition
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 and Independence of India some days after it occurred on 15 August 1947. As the islands were then British possessions and part of the Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
The Madras Presidency , officially the Presidency of Fort St. George and also known as Madras Province, was an administrative subdivision of British India...

, in accordance with the Indian Independence Act 1947
Indian Independence Act 1947
The Indian Independence Act 1947 was as an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan...

, enacted by the British parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 a month before, the islands transferred automatically to the new Union of India
Dominion of India
The Dominion of India, also known as the Union of India or the Indian Union , was a predecessor to modern-day India and an independent state that existed between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950...

. However, considering that they also had a Muslim majority, it seemed possible that the new dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 of Pakistan
Dominion of Pakistan
The Dominion of Pakistan was an independent federal Commonwealth realm in South Asia that was established in 1947 on the partition of British India into two sovereign dominions . The Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was intended to be a homeland for the...

 might seek to lay claim to them. On the orders of Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister
Minister for Home Affairs (India)
The Home Minister, or more properly the Minister for Home Affairs, is a position in the Indian Cabinet, at both State and Union levels. The Home Ministry is one of the most important, powerful and high profile ministry after the Prime Minister...

 and Deputy Prime Minister of India
Deputy Prime Minister of India
The Deputy Prime Minister of India is a member of the Indian cabinet in the Indian government. The post is not a constitutional post and seldom carries any specific powers. Generally a Deputy Prime Minister also holds other key portfolios like Home minister or Finance Minister...

, known as the Iron Man, a ship of the Royal Indian Navy
Royal Indian Navy
The Royal Indian Navy was the naval force of British India. Along with the Presidency armies and the later British Indian Army it comprised the Armed Forces of British India....

 was sent to the Laccadives (as they were then called) to hoist the Indian national flag and ensure the islands' integration into the new Union of India, aiming to thwart any similar attempt by Pakistan. Hours after the arrival of the Indian ship, vessels of the Royal Pakistan Navy were seen near the islands, but after observing the Indian presence they returned to Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

.

In 1956, despite the fact that most of the Islanders were Malayali
Malayali
Malayali is the term used to refer to the native speakers of Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala...

s, the States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of India's states and territories. The act reorganised the boundaries of India's states along linguistic lines, and amended the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B,...

 separated the islands from the mainland administrative units, forming a new union territory by combining all the islands.

Geography




Lakshadweep is an archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 of twelve atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s, three reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s and five submerged banks
Bank (topography)
A bank, sometimes referred to as a fishing bank, is an area on the continental shelf which is shallow compared to its surrounding area, such as a shoal or the top of an underwater hill. Somewhat like continental slopes, ocean banks slopes can upwell as tidal and other flows intercept them,...

, 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. It has 10 inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands, attached islets, 4 newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs.

The main islands are Kavaratti (where the capital city, Kavaratti
Kavaratti
Kavaratti is a census town in the Indian Union Territory and the capital of Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is also the name of the island upon which the town stands.-Geography:...

, is located), Agatti
Agatti
Agatti Island , also known as Agathy, is a 5.6 km long island, situated on a coral atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located about 459 km off Kochi in the mainland and 7 km to the southwest of Bangaram, the nearest island...

, Minicoy
Minicoy
Minicoy, locally known as Maliku is a census town in the Indian union territory of Lakshadweep and was formerly a part of Maldive Islands.-Etymology:...

, and Amini. The total population of the territory was 60,595 according to the 2001 census
Demographics of India
The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people , more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing...

. Agatti has an airport where there are direct flights from Kochi
Kochi (India)
Kochi , formerly Cochin, is a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea. Kochi is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. Kochi is often called by the name Ernakulam, which refers to the western part of the mainland Kochi...

, Kerala or Ernakulam (Cochin). Tourists need a permit to visit the islands; foreign nationals are not permitted to visit certain islands. According to the current Alcohol laws of India
Alcohol laws of India
India is the fastest growing alcohol market in the world. The alcohol consumption in India is about 6,700 million litres. It grows approximately at a rate of 30% annually. It is expected to cross 19,000 million litres by 2015...

, consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted in the Lakshadweep Archipelago except on Bangaram Island.

India's Coral Islands


The Amindivi group islands (consisting of Amini, Keltan, Chetlat, Kadamat, Bitra and Perumal Par) and the Laccadive group islands (comprising mainly Androth, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Pitti and Suheli Par), both have a submarine connection between them. Together with Minicoy Island, located at the southern end of the 200 km broad Nine Degree Channel
Nine Degree Channel
The Nine Degree Channel is a channel in the Indian Ocean between the Laccadive Islands of Kalpeni and Suheli Par, and Maliku Atoll. These two subgroups of islands, together with the Amindivi Subgroup, form the Indian Union Territory of Lakshadweep....

, they form the Coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

 Islands of India in the Arabian Sea. All these islands have been built up by corals and have fringing coral reefs very close to their shores.

Two banks further north are not considered part of the group:
  • Angria Bank
    Angria Bank
    Angria Bank is a bank, a shallow sunken atoll, on the continental shelf off the west coast of India. It is located west of Vijaydurg, Maharashtra....

  • Adas Bank
    Adas Bank
    Adas Bank is a submerged bank located off the west coast of India, between Angria Bank and Cora Divh bank of the Laccadive Islands . The closest coast of land is the Indian mainland close to Goa, which is 180 km ENE of Adas Bank...



The atolls, reefs and banks are listed from north to south in the table:
Atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

/Reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

/Bank
Bank (topography)
A bank, sometimes referred to as a fishing bank, is an area on the continental shelf which is shallow compared to its surrounding area, such as a shoal or the top of an underwater hill. Somewhat like continental slopes, ocean banks slopes can upwell as tidal and other flows intercept them,...


(alternate name)
typeLand
Area
(km²)
Lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...


Area
(km²)
No. of
islets
Pop.
Census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...


2001
Location
Geographic coordinate system
A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on the Earth to be specified by a set of numbers. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represent vertical position, and two or three of the numbers represent horizontal position...

Amindivi Islands
Cora Divh
Cora Divh
Cora Divh, also called Coradeeve or Little Bassas de Pedro Bank , is a submerged bank or sunken atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is the third largest feature of Lakshadweep, after Bassas de Pedro and Sesostris Bank, with a lagoon...

bank - 339.45 - - 13°42′N 72°11′E
Sesostris Bank
Sesostris Bank
Sesostris Bank is a submerged bank or sunken atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India, at . It is the second largest feature of Lakshadweep, after Bassas de Pedro, with a lagoon area of 388.53 km². It is also one of the northernmost...

bank - 388.53 - - 13°08′N 72°00′E
Bassas de Pedro
Bassas de Pedro
Bassas de Pedro, also known as Munyal Par or Padua Bank, is a submerged bank or sunken atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India, at ....


(Munyal Par, Padua Bank)
bank - 2474.33 - - 13°07′N 72°25′E
Cherbaniani Reef
Cherbaniani Reef
Cherbaniani Reef, also known as Beleapani Reef , is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is the northwesternmost feature of Lakshadweep at . It is located 33 km north of Byramgore Reef...

 (Beleapani Reef)
reef 0.01 172.59 2 - 12°18′N 71°53′E
Byramgore Reef
Byramgore Reef
Byramgore Reef, also known as Chereapani Reef , is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located 33 km south of Cherbaniani Reef and 41 km to the northwest of Bitrā Par, in the northwestern area of Lakshadweep at . The whole...

 (Chereapani)
reef 0.01 57.46 1 - 11°54′N 71°49′E
Chetlat Island
Chetlat Island
Chetlat Island is a coral island belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago in India. It is located 37 km to the northwest of Kiltan Island...

atoll 1.14 1.60 1 2289 11°42′N 72°42′E
Bitrā Island
Bitra
Bitra or Bitrā Par is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in India, 33 km to the north of Perumal Par and 41 km to the southeast of Byramgore Reef...

atoll 0.10 45.61 2 264 11°33′N 72°09′E
Kiltān Island
Kiltan
Kiltan Island is a coral island belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago in India. It is located 47 km to the northeast of Amini Island and 37 km to the southeast of Chetlat Island...

atoll 2.20 1.76 1 3664 11°29′N 73°00′E
Kadmat Island
Kadmat Island
Kadmat Island, also known as Cardamom Island, is an island belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago in India.-Geography:...

 (Cardamom)
atoll 3.20 37.50 1 5319 11°14′N 72°47′E
Elikalpeni Bank
Elikalpeni Bank
Elikalpeni Bank is a submerged bank or sunken atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India.It has a minimum depth of 10.4 m and is located 57 km northeast of Androth at ....

bank - 95.91 - - 11°12′N 73°58′E
Perumal Par
Perumal Par
Perumal Par, also known as Peremul Par, is an uninhabited coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at , 33 km south of Bitra Par and 25 km to the northwest of Bangaram Atoll....

reef 0.01 83.02 1 - 11°10′N 72°04′E
Amini Island 1) atoll 2.59 155.09 1) 1 7340 11°06′N 72°45′E
Laccadive Islands
Bangaram Island (Bangaram) 2) atoll 2.30 46.25 4 - 3) 10°56′N 72°17′E
Agatti Island
Agatti
Agatti Island , also known as Agathy, is a 5.6 km long island, situated on a coral atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located about 459 km off Kochi in the mainland and 7 km to the southwest of Bangaram, the nearest island...

2)
atoll 3.84 17.50 4 7072 10°50′N 72°12′E
Pitti Island
Pitti
Pitti is an uninhabited coral islet in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at about 24 km to the north of Kavaratti, 37 km to the east of Agatti and 42.5 km to the SSW of Amini Island. The island is low and arid and, lacking adequate anchorage points, of difficult accessibility...

1)
islet 1) 0.01 155.09 1) 1 - 10°50′N 72°38′E
Androth Island
Andrott
Andrott Island , also known as Androth Island, is a small inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a group of 36 coral islands scattered in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India approximately 198 kilometers from Kozhikode and 293 km from Kochi. It is the nearest to the...

 (Andrott)
atoll 4.90 4.84 1 10720 10°50′N 73°41′E
Kavaratti Island
Kavaratti
Kavaratti is a census town in the Indian Union Territory and the capital of Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is also the name of the island upon which the town stands.-Geography:...

atoll 4.22 4.96 1 10113 10°33′N 72°38′E
Kalpeni Island
Kalpeni
Kalpeni is an inhabited island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It lies 71 km south of Androth and 201 km to the NNE of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them...

atoll 2.79 25.60 7 4319 10°05′N 73°38′E
Suheli Par
Suheli Par
Suheli Par is a coral atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at , 52 km to the SW of Kavaratti, 76 km to the south of Agatti, 139 km to the west of Kalpeni and 205 km to the NNW of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them. There are two uninhabited islands...

atoll 0.57 78.76 2 - 10°05′N 72°17′E
Minicoy
Investigator Bank
Investigator Bank
The Investigator Bank is a submerged bank or sunken atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located 31 km to the northeast of Minicoy Island in the southern region of the Nine Degree Channel. Its minimum depth is 217 m. Depths in the neighborhood of the bank reach 914 meters...

bank - 141.78 - - 08°32′N 73°17′E
Minicoy Island atoll 4.80 30.60 2 9495 08°17′N 73°02′E
Lakshadweep   32.69 4203.14 32 60595 08°16'-13°58'N,
71°44°-74°24'E
1) Amini Island and Pitti Island are both on Pitti Bank,
a largely sunken atoll with a lagoon area of 155.09 km²
2) Bangaram and Agatti Islands are connected by a shallow submarine ridge
3) new international tourist resort,
otherwise uninhabited, but with a population 61 at the 1990 census

Politics


Lakshadweep forms a single Indian district
Districts of India
A district is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory. Districts are further subdivided, in some cases into Sub-Divisions, and otherwise directly into tehsils or talukas.District officials include:...

 and is governed by an administrator appointed by the central government of India. The union territory comes under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The High Court of Kerala is headquartered at Kochi...

 at Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

. The territory elects one member to the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 (lower house of the Parliament of India
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

). There is no local government at the moment but the administration plans to introduce a two-tiered system based on the Panchayati raj
Panchayati Raj
The panchayat raj is a South Asian political system mainly in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. "Panchayat" literally means assembly of five wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the local community. Traditionally, these assemblies settled disputes between individuals and villages...

. There will be ten island councils for the inhabited islands (with a total of 79 members).

Demographics


According to the 2011 census
2011 census of India
The 15th Indian National census was conducted in two phases, houselisting and population enumeration. Houselisting phase began on April 1, 2010 and involved collection of information about all buildings...

  has a population
Demographics of India
The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people , more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing...

 of 64,429 , roughly equal to the nation of Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

. This gives it a ranking of 627th in India (out of a total of 640
Districts of India
A district is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory. Districts are further subdivided, in some cases into Sub-Divisions, and otherwise directly into tehsils or talukas.District officials include:...

). The district has a population density of 2013 PD/sqkm. Its population growth rate
Family planning in India
Family planning in India is based on efforts largely sponsored by the Indian government. In the 1965-2009 period, contraceptive usage has more than tripled and the fertility rate has more than halved , but the national fertility rate is still high enough to cause long-term population growth...

 over the decade 2001-2011 was 6.23%. Lakshadweep has a sex ratio
Sex ratio
Sex ratio is the ratio of males to females in a population. The primary sex ratio is the ratio at the time of conception, secondary sex ratio is the ratio at time of birth, and tertiary sex ratio is the ratio of mature organisms....

 of 946 females
Women in India
The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful...

 for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate
Literacy in India
Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than sixfold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%, and India currently has the...

 of 92.28%.

Languages


The principal languages of Lakshadweep are Malayalam, Jeseri
Jeseri language
Jeseri is a language derived from old Malayalam, spoken in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in India. It is closely related to Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada....

 (Dweep Bhasha) and Mahl. The people of all the northern islands speak a dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 of Malayalam with Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 and Arabic influences, due to extensive trade activities of these people. The people of Minicoy
Minicoy
Minicoy, locally known as Maliku is a census town in the Indian union territory of Lakshadweep and was formerly a part of Maldive Islands.-Etymology:...

, the southernmost atoll, speak Mahl, a variant of Divehi language spoken in the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

.

Malayalam with Malayalam script
Malayalam script
The Malayalam script is a Brahmic script used commonly to write the Malayalam language—which is the principal language of the Indian state of Kerala, spoken by 36 million people in the world. Like many other Indic scripts, it is an abugida, or a writing system that is partially “alphabetic” and...

 was introduced as the official language of Lakshadweep during the British raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

. Previously a type of Arabic script (Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam is a system of writing Malayalam language language in a variant form of Arabic script.It is a blend of Malayalam grammatical base, Arabic script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam , Arabic, Tamil, Urdu and Persian...

) was used for the language. The policy was continued by the Indian government. Malayalam serves as a link language on the islands including on the Mahl dominated Minicoy Island.

Ethnicity


The islanders are ethnically similar to coastal Kerala's Malayali people, and were influenced by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 traders. Inhabitants of Minicoy, the southernmost and second largest island, are ethnically Dhivehis native to the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

. This group of Dhivehis form a subgroup of Dhivehis, sometimes referred by the name Mahls. Most of the indigenous population is Sunni-Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The locals of all the islands except Minicoy call themselves the Div-i or the Aminidivi
Aminidivi
Aminidivi or Amindivi Islands are an island subgroup in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is the northern group of the Lakshadweep, separated from the Laccadive Islands subgroup roughly by the 11th parallel north. The total land area of the group is 9.26 km².The Aminidivi group...

("from the mother island"). Lakshadweep's ethnic groups can be classified as 84.33% Malayali
Malayali
Malayali is the term used to refer to the native speakers of Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala...

, and 15.67% Dhivehi.

Ecology


The Lakshadweep Archipelago forms a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

 and the Chagos.
The Lakshadweep lagoons, reefs and banks are very rich in marine species with many types of living corals, sea urchins, seaweeds, sea cucumbers, starfish, cowry, clams
CLaMS
CLaMS is a modular chemistry transport model system developed at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. CLaMS was first described by McKenna et al. and was expanded into three dimensions by Konopka et al....

 and octopus
Octopus
The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms, and like other cephalopods they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms...

, including many types of fish, such as butterfly fish, moray eel
Moray eel
Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water and a few, for example the freshwater moray can sometimes be found in freshwater...

s and the lagoon triggerfish
Lagoon triggerfish
The lagoon triggerfish, also known as the blackbar triggerfish, the Picassofish, and the Jamal, is a triggerfish, up to 30 cm in length, found on reefs in the Indo-Pacific region....

, to name a few.
Uninhabited atolls like Cherbaniani
Cherbaniani Reef
Cherbaniani Reef, also known as Beleapani Reef , is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is the northwesternmost feature of Lakshadweep at . It is located 33 km north of Byramgore Reef...

, Byramgore Reef
Byramgore Reef
Byramgore Reef, also known as Chereapani Reef , is a coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located 33 km south of Cherbaniani Reef and 41 km to the northwest of Bitrā Par, in the northwestern area of Lakshadweep at . The whole...

 and Perumal Par
Perumal Par
Perumal Par, also known as Peremul Par, is an uninhabited coral atoll belonging to the Amindivi Subgroup of islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at , 33 km south of Bitra Par and 25 km to the northwest of Bangaram Atoll....

, as well as Pitti
Pitti
Pitti is an uninhabited coral islet in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at about 24 km to the north of Kavaratti, 37 km to the east of Agatti and 42.5 km to the SSW of Amini Island. The island is low and arid and, lacking adequate anchorage points, of difficult accessibility...

 Island, are important as a breeding place for sea turtles and for a number of pelagic birds such as the Brown Noddy
Brown Noddy
The Brown Noddy or Common Noddy is a seabird from the tern family. The largest of the noddies, it can be told from the closely related Black Noddy by its larger size and plumage, which is dark brown rather than black...

 (Anous stolidus), Lesser Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
The Lesser Crested Tern is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae...

 (Sterna bengalensis) and Greater Crested Tern
Greater Crested Tern
The Greater Crested Tern , also called Crested Tern or Swift Tern, is a seabird in the tern family which nests in dense colonies on coastlines and islands in the tropical and subtropical Old World...

 (Sterna bergii) Different species of tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, wahoo
Wahoo
The wahoo is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish...

 and swordfish
Swordfish
Swordfish , also known as broadbill in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood...

, as well as dolphins, are common in the pelagic waters off the islands.

Owing to the wealth of marine life surrounding Suheli Par
Suheli Par
Suheli Par is a coral atoll in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is located at , 52 km to the SW of Kavaratti, 76 km to the south of Agatti, 139 km to the west of Kalpeni and 205 km to the NNW of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them. There are two uninhabited islands...

 there was a proposal to declare the waters of this atoll a Marine National Park.

Native flora includes small trees and bushes typical of littoral zones, such as Pandanus
Pandanus
Pandanus is a genus of monocots with about 600 known species. They are numerous palmlike dioecious trees and shrubs native of the Old World tropics and subtropics. They are classified in the order Pandanales, family Pandanaceae.-Overview:...

, Heliotropium foertherianum
Heliotropium foertherianum
Heliotropium foertherianum is a species of flowering plant in the borage family, Boraginaceae. It is native to tropical Asia, including southern China, Madagascar, northern Australia, and most of the atolls and high islands of Micronesia and Polynesia. Common names include Tree Heliotrope, Velvet...

, Scaevola taccada
Scaevola taccada
Scaevola taccada, also known as Beach Cabbage, Sea Lettuce, Beach Naupaka, Naupaka kahakai , Merambong and Ngahu is a flowering plant in the family Goodeniaceae found in open coastal locations of the tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific...

, Tournefortia argentea and Pemphis acidula.

Economy




Lakshadweep's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at US$60 million at current prices. There is little economic inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

 in Lakshadweep and the poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 index is low. Coconut fibre extraction and production of fibre products is Lakshadweep's main industry. There are five coir fibre factories, five production demonstration centres and seven fibre curling units run by the government of India. These units produce coir fibre, coir yarn, curled fibre and corridor mattings.

Tourism


Due to its isolation and scenic appeal, Lakshadweep was already as a tourist attraction for Indians since 1974. This brings in significant revenue, which is likely to increase. Since such a small region cannot support industries, the government is actively promoting tourism as a means of income in Bangaram and Kadmat islands. Bangaram is projected as a major destination for international tourism.
The rich marine fauna is a delightful treat to the eyes of visitors.
Water sports activities such as scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

, wind surfing, snorkelling, surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

, kayaking
Kayaking
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle...

, canoeing
Canoeing
Canoeing is an outdoor activity that involves a special kind of canoe.Open canoes may be 'poled' , sailed, 'lined and tracked' or even 'gunnel-bobbed'....

, water skiing
Water skiing
thumb|right|A slalom skier making a turn on a slalom waterski.Waterskiing is a sport where an individual is pulled behind a boat or a cable ski installation on a body of water, skimming the surface.-History:...

, yachting and night-voyage into sea are adventurous as well as quite popular activities among tourists. Tourists flock these islands throughout the year except during the South-west monsoon months when sea is extremely rough.

Fisheries


Being rich in marine life and mineral resources, fishing is naturally the main livelihood of the islanders. Though all varieties of fish available in the lagoons, Tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 fish variety is available in abundance around the Lakshadeep sea. Fresh tuna caught is processed by drying it in the Sun after cooking and smoking.The resultant product, known as `Mas`, as well as Tuna-pickle are popular products exported from these islands worldwide. Sharks, crabs, shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

, lobsters, etc. are also available in plenty.

Other products


The world’s first ever low temperature thermal desalination plant (LTTD) was opened in Kavaratti, one of the Indian Lakshadweep islands. The plant cost about 50 million (€922,000) and will produce 100,000 litres/day of potable water from sea water. Production costs, currently 220-250/m³ (€4.1-4.6/m³), are expected to go do down to 30-60/m³ (€0.55-1.11/m³) as the capacity is increased.

LTTD technology involves flashing relatively warm sea water (28-30 deg Celsius) inside a vacuum flash chamber and condensing the resultant vapour using deep sea cold water (7-15 °C). The cold water for the Kavaratti plant is drawn at a depth of 350m some 400m from the shore.

The technology was developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). It can be used not only to produce drinking water but also for power generation and air conditioning. In addition, the deep sea water contains extra nutrients for fish, an important source of food and income for the local population.

The government plans to set up desalination plants with a capacity of 10 million litres/per day on all islands and coastal areas.

Source: Gov of India Press Information Bureau, 23 May 2005

Agriculture


Coconut is the main crop cultivated in the islands. Lakshadweep is India's largest producer of coconuts. About 2,598 hectares are under coconut cultivation and the productivity per hectare is 22,310. Coconuts cultivated in the Lakshadweep are also rich in coconut oil.

Transport



Agatti Aerodrome
Agatti Aerodrome
Agatti Aerodrome is located on the southern end of Agatti Island, in the union territory of Lakshadweep in India. It is operated by the Airports Authority of India . It is the only airstrip in the Lakshadweep Islands, which are off the west coast of India....

 on Agatti Island is currently the only airport in Lakshadweep. Air India Regional, a subsidiary of the state-owned carrier, serves Agatti and flies to Kochi
Kochi (India)
Kochi , formerly Cochin, is a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea. Kochi is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. Kochi is often called by the name Ernakulam, which refers to the western part of the mainland Kochi...

 on the mainland, as well as private carrier, Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines is an airline group based in India. Its head office is Kingfisher House in Vile Parle , Mumbai. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, has a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red....

, has commenced flights to and from Agatti. Kingfisher connects Kochi and Bangalore to Agatti. The other islands are linked by the Pawan Hans
Pawan Hans
Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited is a helicopter service company based in India. The operations are based at Vile Parle . Other than providing helicopter services to ONGC to its off-shore locations, this public sector company is often engaged for providing services to various state governments in...

 helicopter or boat service.

Between 1956 and 1962 there was no ship, but now ships are the major means of transportation for the islanders. Ships are operated from either Kochi, Mangalore
Mangalore
Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located about west of the state capital, Bangalore. Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district in south western...

 or Beypore (Calicut). There are around 5 passenger ships, but generally only two at a time operate. Advance bookings are required. Sailing schedules are arranged so that each island gets priority at some time of the year.
There are vessels operating between some of the larger islands like Kavaratti
Kavaratti
Kavaratti is a census town in the Indian Union Territory and the capital of Lakshadweep. Kavaratti is also the name of the island upon which the town stands.-Geography:...

, Androth, Kalpeni etc., but sailings are affected by weather conditions

See also


  • Laccadive Sea
    Laccadive Sea
    The Laccadive Sea or Lakshadweep Sea is a body of water bordering India , the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. It is located to the west of Kerala...

  • Lakshadweep (Lok Sabha constituency)
    Lakshadweep (Lok Sabha Constituency)
    Lakshadweep Lok Sabha constituency is a Lok Sabha constituency, which covers the entire area of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in India. This Lok Sabha seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes.-Members of Parliament:*1967: P.M. Sayeed, Independent*1971: P.M...

  • Lakshadweep Police
    Lakshadweep Police
    The Lakshadweep Police is the law enforcement agency for the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in India.-Organizational structure:Lakshadweep Police comes under direct control of Department of Home Affairs, Government of Lakshadweep....


External links