The whole Maldives vs Lakshadweep controversy has evoked many Indian citizens to support local tourism and here’s how you can plan your trip and visit Lakshadweep.
X (formally Twitter) was flooded with hashtags like Explore Indian Islands and Boycott Maldives after some Maldives officials made derogatory remarks about India’s efforts to boost beach tourism in places like Lakshadweep. This came after a tweet by a Maldives minister on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lakshadweep which triggered a row on social media which saw people cancelling their trips to Maldives. The thoughts were even backed by some famous personalities like Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, Adar Poonawalla and Sachin Tendulkar.
Came across comments from prominent public figures from Maldives passing hateful and racist comments on Indians. Surprised that they are doing this to a country that sends them the maximum number of tourists.— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) January 7, 2024
We are good to our neighbors but
why should we tolerate such… pic.twitter.com/DXRqkQFguN
People from the travel and tourism industry also joined the moment. EaseMyTrip suspended all Maldives flight bookings amid a row over anti-PM Modi posts: 'Chalo Lakshadweep,' STIC Travels also supported the move and Subhash Goyal, chairman of the aviation, travel and tourism committee at the Indian Chamber of Commerce, appealed to Indian carriers to cancel the flights to Maldives and requested the government to issue an advisory to promote beach tourism and provide a subsidiary for flight tickets to Lakshadweep under the UDAN scheme. Keeping this in mind, here is how you can explore the Indian Archipelago - Lakshadweep.
Places to visit in Lakshadweep
The Union Territory which consists of 36 islands is one of the most serene and tranquil landscapes in the country that is yet to be explored. And since the destination is making rounds on the internet you might also want to plan a trip here soon. Here are a few places which you can add to your list.
Islands: Bookmark these islands in Lakshadweep that offer a majestic view of the horizon with crystal clear water running over your feet:
Kavaratti Island Lagoon
Bitra Islands and many more
Activities in these islands:
You can indulge in water sports like kayaking, canoeing, pedal boating, sailboating, parasailing, windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling in the lagoons and beaches. On the other hand, Kadmat, Kavaratti and Bangaram have facilities for scuba diving. Deep-sea fishing can be pursued in the water bodies of Lakshadweep for species like barracuda, sailfish, yellow-fin tuna, triveli and sharks.
If you want to indulge in relaxed activities you can visit the Pitti Bird Sanctuary, which is the only bird sanctuary in Lakshadweep. Here you will be able to spot birds like the sooty tern bird, the greater crested tern bird, and the brown noddy bird. For marine enthusiasts there is also a Marine Museum in the capital of Lakshadweep, Kavaratti. This museum represents the marine ecosystem of the Island and showcases an array of colourful corals, fascinating and intricate shells, and a variety of tropical fish and other marine creatures. It also hosts workshops, seminars, and educational programs to promote environmental awareness and conservation.
Local Businesses in Lakshadweep that you can support:
Lakshadweep is renowned for its exquisite handicrafts crafted from sea products such as shells, oysters, corals, and stones. Local artisans on the islands are actively involved in the handicrafts business, creating items like junk jewelry, home decor, ornamentals, and decorative pieces from naturally available sea products. As you shop for these unique handicrafts as souvenirs, you can also purchase various fish and coconut products, including coconut powder and oil. Most markets on the islands are situated along the beach, with key shopping destinations being Agatti, Minicoy, and Kavaratti. Here, you'll find a variety of packaged products originating from the island, such as fish oil, frozen fish cans, and fish biscuits.
Delicacies to try in Lakshadweep:
As an island, Lakshadweep is famous for its seafood and coconut-based delicacies. One must try local dishes like Kilanji - a thin crepe-like dish made of rice and eggs, Mus Kavaab - a spiced tuna curry, Octopus Fry, Maas Podichathu - a dish made with dried tuna fish, Rayereha - a red tuna curry, Sanath - a coconut-based curry and Kadalakka - a sweet made from ground rice and pulses with sugar.
Culture of Lakshadweep:
While Lakshadweep is a small Union Territory with a limited population, it is blessed with beautiful cultural aspects. The local culture is predominantly influenced by the North Eastern belt of India. Two popular folk art forms, Kolkali and Parichakali, play a significant role in the cultural tapestry. Kolkali is a dance form where performers, each wielding a stick, move in a circle, striking the sticks in rhythm with accompanying music. The circle expands and contracts as the dance progresses.
The term 'Parichakali' is derived from the word ‘Paricha,’ meaning ‘shield’ in the local native language. Hence, Parichakali is also known as the 'Shield Dance,' where dancers perform with shields and swords made of softwood. In addition to this, 'Oppana' is a song sung by a lead singer and followed by a group of women at weddings.
All these factors truly make Lakshadweep worth exploring, but we should also understand the sensitive and fragile nature of such a small place. In one of his columns in the Times of India, Chetan Bhagat emphasized the need for super-high-end tourism in Lakshadweep, making it the most exclusive destination. He suggested, 'The sprinkling of a few ultra high-end resorts, managed by the world's best brands. The construction of these resorts must follow strict environmental norms.' This aligns well with the Tata Group's plan to open two Taj resorts in 2026 on the islands of Suheli and Kadmat in Lakshadweep. If collaborative efforts are made to explore and preserve this pristine location in India, we won't have any debates like this in the coming future.