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State of India - Lakshadweep
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer - Max: 35, Min: 22, Winter - Max: 32, Min: 20 | Best Season: August - March | Languages Spoken: Malayalam Mahl and English | Capital: Kavaratti

The Lakshadweep or Laccadives, as they were formerly called, are a string of little known islands resembling beautiful emeralds against the vast blue Arabian Sea. The charm of Lakshadweep islands lies in their remoteness. Far off the beaten track with huge wall like reefs, the Islands attract no hordes of merry makers to its shores. The snow white coral sands, crystal clear water, rich marine flora and fauna enhance the mystique of the Lakshadweep islands.

Geography of Lakshadweep:
Lakshadweep Island, India's smallest union territory with an area of 32 kms is tucked away at 220 - 240 kms off the Malabar Coast (Kerala) in the Arabian Sea. It is located between 8º- 12º 13" North latitude and 71 º 74 º East longitudes. With a lagoon area of 4,200 sq. kms Lakshadweep is an archipelago including 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. Of the 36 islands of Lakshadweep, 10 are inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands, 4 are newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs.

History of Lakshadweep:
The mention of the Lakshadweep Islands is found in the stories of Ibn Batuta, an Arab traveler. It is also believed that before the 7th century, the population here was entirely Hindus. It slowly and increasingly converted to Islam due to the influence of Hazrat Ubaidullah, from Mecca. However its history can be traced back to the arrival of the Portuguese. Due to strong opposition by the people, they didn't last for very long in the islands. During this time, the islands were under the rule of the Raja Chirakkal who was later defeated by the Muslim house of Arakkal of Cannanore in the mid-16th century. Their harsh and unbearable rule soon led the islands into the hands of Tipu Sultan in 1787. After the third Anglo-Mysore War the islands were attached to the South Canara district and came under the direct administration of the British. The rest of the islands became a suzerainty of the Chirakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute. After a while, the British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. The Union Territory was formed in 1956 & it was named Lakshadweep in 1973.

Tourist Places of Lakshadweep:
Silver coloured crescent shaped sea beaches and endless expanse of sky, makes visit to Lakshadweep a beautiful experience. Of all the 36 islands of Lakshadweep, only 10 are habited and can be visited by the tourists. These islands are namely; Minicoy, Kalpeni, Androth, Agatti, Kavaratti, Amini, Chetlat, Bitra, Bangaram, Kadmat. Accommodation facilities however are provided only at beach resorts located in Agatti and Bangaram, from where one can opt for tour to the other islands or simply opt for the various adventure water sports activities.

Fairs and Festivals in Lakshadweep:
Considering majority of the population of in Lakshadweep Islands are Muslims, so undoubtedly the festivals of this religion are widely celebrated with great fanfare and enthusiasm. Some of them include: Id-ul-fitr, Milad-Ul-Nabi, Muharram and Bakrid. Id-Ul-Fitr is celebrated on the day of the new full moon after one month of Ramadan fasting. Milad-Ul-Nabi also known as Mawlid in Lakshadweep is celebrated to honour the birthday of Prophet Mohammad by distributing sweets and sprinkling attar at public gatherings. Muharram is not a festive celebration. On this day, luxuriously decorated taziyas which are the replicas of Imam Husain tomb are carried through city streets with people beating their chests, lamenting over the murder of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Bakri Id festival is a tribute to Prophet Ibrahim's readiness to sacrifice his son for the Almighty and marks the completion of pilgrimage to Mecca.

Cuisine in Lakshadweep:
The cuisine of Lakshadweep is influenced by its geographical location and close proximity with Kerala. Being an island there is great use of coconut and fish in their meals which is quite spicy. Visitors can look forward to some variety in the form of curried, fried and barbecued fish. Vegetarian meals, though limited are also available in the island. There are not many local small restaurants here for the tourists. Food items like rice, vegetables and tinned food are all transported from Kerala. The shops that you will come across cater to the everyday needs of the locals. However, one can eat at the luxurious restaurants of Agatti and Bangaram Islands resort, which offer both Indian and International cuisine that suits every palate.

Shopping in Lakshadweep:
Lakshadweep is not your typical shopping destination. With limited accessibility to the island there is not much that you can find here for your shopping splurge. It is mainly visited to enjoy nature and relax in an exclusive atmosphere. However as a souvenir one can buy the locally made craft works of seashells, coconut shells etc available at the resorts.