Lakshadweep lies to the southwest of India in the Arabian Sea. It was declared a union territory on November 1, 1956.
The name Lakshadweep comes from two Sanskrit words, 'laksha' meaning 'thousand' and 'dweep' meaning 'islands'.
Area and Borders:
This union territory covers an area of 32 square kilometres and is bordered by Kerala and Karnataka.
Malayalam, Mahl, Tamil and Hindi are the main languages spoken.
Learn to Speak Malayalam:
- How are you?: Sukhomaano?
- What is your name?: Ninte perentaanu.
- What did you do?: Nee entaanu cheytatu?
- What should I do?: Nyan entu cheyyanam?
- What can I do?: Enikku entu cheyyan kazhiyum?
These islands have a tropical humid, warm and pleasant climate, becoming more equatorial in the southern islands of the territory. The climate is calm with no different, well-marked seasons. Temperatures are generally uniform over the territory with a minute rise from south to north. April and May are the hottest months in the year. Winters last from December to February with temperatures ranging from 20 to 32 degree Celsius.
The southwest monsoons bring in the rains. The rains last from late May to early October. The rainfall over the southern islands is more evenly distributed than over the northern islands.
90% of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Coconut cultivation is a major economic activity here. Jowar, ragi, sweet potato, sorghum and banana are the other agricultural products of Lakshadweep. Most of these crops are grown after the rains.
Coconut is the main cultivated crop here and coconut husk is the main raw material used in the territory's cottage industries. The economy is essentially dependent on agriculture and fishing. Over the last few years, the boat-building industry has also taken off. The marketing and canning of fish is yet another industry that flourishes here.
The tomb of Hazrat Ubaidullah showcases the Islamic style of architecture.The Samudrika or Naval Marine Museum at Delanipur has been constructed with the sole purpose of spreading awareness about the ocean environment of this region. It has a large collection of shells, corals and colourful fish from the islands.
Arts and Crafts:
Most of the crafts here are made with coconut and tortoise shells. These are used to make jewellery, household articles and toys. Wood carving is another craft that flourishes here.
The tribal men of these islands wear a white or coloured lungi. Men and women tie a silver thread around their waist. The traditional costume for women comprises of a kachi, a rectangular piece of cloth which is unstitched unlike that of men. It is often made of silk and is usually black or white with black borders. The women also wear heavy ornaments.
The cuisine of Lakshadweep is influenced by Kerala and includes both spicy non-vegetarian dishes and healthy vegetarian delicacies. The local food of Lakshadweep comprises primarily of coconut and sea fish. Almost all the dishes have a touch of coconut. The people of the island also drink a lot of coconut water as it is the most abundant drink available.
Bakri Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr, Muharram and Miladun- Nabi are some of the important festivals of Lakshadweep.
The Union Territory is Famous for:
- Its size. Lakshadweep is the tiniest union territory of India and is an archipelago consisting of 12 atolls (coral islands), three reefs and five submerged banks.
- Kolkali, Dandi, Parichakali, Fuli, Thara, Bandiya and Lava, which are the famous dances of Lakshadweep. Moidin Mosque, the main monument in Kalpeni, one of the atolls of Lakshadweep.
- It is known for its walls, which have made been out of coral.
- Minicoy, which is a striking island dotted with palm trees and enclosed by coral reefs. One of the most impressive sights in Minicoy is a 50mt-tall lighthouse that was built by the British. Agatti Island, which is known for its coral growths and multi-coloured coral fish.