Lakshadweep is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 kilometers off the south western coast of India. The archipelago is a Union Territory and is governed by the Union Government of India. Lakshadweep comes from “Lakshadweepa”, which means “one hundred thousand islands” in Sanskrit. The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India.It is a group of about 36 islands and has a total land area of 32 square kilometers which is scattered over 30,000 square miles of the Arabian Sea. Out of the 36 islands, only ten are inhabited and they are Andrott, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LAKSHADWEEP
- The earlier name of these islands was Laccadive Islands. It was declared Union Territory in 1956 with new name of Lakshadweep islands.
- The administrative headquarter was shifted from Calicut (Kerala) to Kavaratti in 1964.
- Coconut is the only crop of Economic importance.
- Fishing, boat building, tourism are the main drivers of economy. It is known for the production and export of Tuna fish.
- The only airport of this territory is Agatti Island and main sea ports are Kavaratti, Minicoy, Agatti, Kadmat and Kalpeni.
- Indian Naval base (INS Dweeprakshak) was established for security reasons and also ensuring smooth trade and exports from these islands.
- Islam is the chief religion of this territory and more than 90% of the population is Muslims.
- There are total 3 groups of islands – Amindivi, Laccadive and Minicoy group of islands
- High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam serves as judiciary of this union territory.
- Amindivi and Laccadive groups of islands have their tradition and culture similar to coastal malayali people of Kerala. The people of southern Minicoy islands have their culture close to the natives of Maldives. The spoken language of Minicoy is Mahl which is the same as that of Maldives.
- Tourism in Lakshadweep is one of the biggest industries as far as income and employment of the island is concerned. The tourism of the place is dependent on its physical characteristics, from its vast marine life to its flora and fauna.
Languages: Malayalam, Jeseri, Tamil, Mahi, English