Comprising a string of 36 palm-covered, white-sand-skirted coral islands 300km off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep is as stunning as it is isolated. Only 10 of these islands are inhabited, mostly with Sunni Muslim fishermen, and foreigners are only allowed to stay on a few of these. With fishing and coir production the main sources of income, local life on the islands remains highly traditional, and a caste system divides the islanders between Koya (land owners), Malmi (sailors) and Melachery (farmers).
The real attraction of the islands lies under the water: the 4200 sq km of pristine archipelago lagoons, unspoiled coral reefs and warm waters are a magnet for flipper-toting travellers and divers alike.
Lakshadweep can only be visited on a prearranged package trip. At the time of research, only the resorts on Kadmat and Minicoy islands were open to tourists – most visits to the islands are boat-based packages which include a cruise from Kochi, island visits, watersports, diving and nights spent on board the boat. Packages include permits and meals, and can be arranged though SPORTS.