Never in my life, did I have a clue
that one island could be so blue
Turquoise, Teal, Aquamarine and Azure
tons of other names that I wasn't even sure
There was the sea, blue, so vast, so pristine,
corals were the ornaments for the island to preen
Like the mixing on an artists palette
Only he could have created this on a clean slate
Why go there?
We had taken a 5 day vacation to Lakshadweep and chose to stay in Agatti and Agatti alone. There are no restaurants, no famous resorts in this place. The island was 8 kms long, of which 1 km was dedicated to the airport. You cannot wear your shorts at will given that the people here are relatively conservative. Now that I have scared you enough, here is why you should be going there.
We had seen the cleanest of the water in the beaches of Lakshadweep. Shallow waters on the west end make for excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities. This island has a sunset to die for. There is a private beach in the south end of the island which makes up for all the conservativeness out there. This is an ideal place if you enjoy sitting by the beach side, sipping coconut water, (yes, alcohol is banned) reading a book and just talk.
There isn't much to do here but laze
There isn't anyone to talk to but your girl
There isn't another sound but that of the waves
There isn't another sight but of the deep blues sea
The quiet of the day was such good change
that chirping of the coconut tree leaves
with the sound of waves in the background
was the Beethoven's tenth symphony in the making
Welcome to Lakshadweep or Lakshwadeep as my girlfriend puts it. A set of tiny island dotted along the Western coast of India. The first site of this island is a thin 500m long airport strip at Agatti adorned by the navy blue ocean to the right and an Azure shallow lagoon, 50m to the left. An atypical tourist destination in the country that needs a permit for Indians and foreigners alike.
The place currently is facing a lot of flux owing to a flurry of permissions and lease expiration. Other islands like Bangaram have a few dysfunctional resorts which have been stopped mainly due to expiry of lease for a casino.
With a 100% Muslim population, the people here are the friendliest lot you will encounter. Conservative in their outlook, they do not shy away for the usual photograph. The best part of Lakshadweep is however the quiet of the place and the nature at its best. There are none of those usual holiday resorts or restaurant in Agatti. There are some private resorts that are run by people on the island. Agatti and Kadmat are the main islands inhabited by people where the dressing and behavior are more conservative is nature.
Towards the evenings, the people of the island get together by the beach side and project videos ranging from sea life documentaries to the latest reality singing show. You will start seeing people migrate to the beach side by 5 in the evening and sitting there chatting along with their dear ones till night fall. Boys playing football on the beach side and girls swinging along the coconut trees on the coast is a common sight.
There is barely any food that is available outside your resort. So one cannot do much but stick to the patta gobi, fish, papad and dal provided by most of your resorts. The resort owners understand English well and hence should not be a huge issue for most. Having a knowledge of either Malayalam or Tamil would make your stay a smooth ride (Thanks to my girlfriend who could manage the talking despite here broken Tamil :P).
Lakshadweep is probably one of the best places to do water sports in India. It has been blessed with an array of colorful corals dotted all along the coast of Agatti and Bangaram islands. It was like watching discovery channel in slow motion.
Boat ride to Bangaram from Agatti - Rs. 4000
Boat trip from Agatti to Kalpitti (Adjoining island) with Snorkeling - Rs. 1200
Snorkeling around Agatti, Bangaram - Rs 300 per hour
Getting there and around
Home stay 1: 9447611160 - They charge around 3500-4000 Rs per day (per couple - Food included). This is one of the cheapest options on Agatti. They homestay is 3 minutes walk from the beach (Either side).
There are other options like Kasim's homestay and Abdul's Homestay along the beach (Charges around 8500 per night per room). The permit can be obtained from the resort with which you will be staying. Only BSNL and Airtel work here while there is not internet connection anywhere on the island.
Only Air India currently flies from Kochi to Agatti. There is also an option of taking a ship to Agatti which is scheduled 3 times a week. This is an overnight options with prices varying from Rs.500 to Rs.4000 depending on the ship and class.