INTRODUCTION :The Archipelago of Lakshadweep has some 36 islands which are 200 to 300 kms off the coast of Kerala. Out of these 12 are atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks. There are 10 inhabitted islands and 17 uninhabited islands . the Lakshadweep islands are located between 8 degrees – 12 degree 13’North latitude and 71 degree -74 degree East longitude They are the extension of the Maldives chain of islands. Of the 36 islands the ten islands namely: Andrott, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy are inhabited. The Lakshadweep islands are the smallest Union Territory under India and the only coral Islands of the nation.
The island was first occupied by sailors from Kodungallur or Cranganore who were ship -wrecked after they went in search of their king Cheraman Perumal who left on a pilgrimage to Mecca secretly. In the 7th century a Muslim saint was shipwrecked in the island of Amini. He propagated Islam in the islands and he was buried in Andrott after he died. Though the whole population was converted to Islam , the Hindu Raja of Chirakkal ruled it. In the 16th century ,the Muslim ruler of Kannur took over it and later the Tipu Sultan in 1783. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan by the British the islands were annexed to the British East India Company. After independence the Union Territory was constituted in 1956.
Islands Only five islands are now open for tourists in Lakshadweep out of which four are for Indian Nationals and two for foreigners. Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Kadmat and Mainicoy are open for Indian Nationals.